Monastic gardens in Lower Austria

Monastery Altenburg

Our monastery garden route - a journey to the self

We were on our way through our monastery garden route for three days Lower Austria. We visited five monastery gardens. We expected it to be a treat for the eyes and senses. But the trip had more surprises in store for us. Monasteries such as Melk and Klosterneuburg were on our itinerary Weinviertel at Vienna. Among them were also less known monasteries. These include Stift Seitenstetten in Mostviertel, Geras Abbey and Altenburg Monastery in Waldviertel.

Neither Petar nor I are particularly religious. Monasteries and monastic orders interested us in historical, cultural or art historical terms. In the gardens of these monasteries we searched for the traces left by the monks. We found these in excess. But we discovered even more. What makes this trip so special? I present that to you here.


Stift Klosterneuburg - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Monastery Klosterneuburg - monastery gardens in Lower Austria

The gardens of Klosterneuburg - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria

The gardens of Klosterneuburg most closely corresponded to what we had expected from the gardens. Josef Bauer sen., The director of Klosterneuburg Stiftsgärten, guides us through his life's work. This he looks after his retirement with his son and his team.


Nice hotels near Klosterneuburg:


It was he who revived the gardens of the monastery. There is a Mannerist garden and a Renaissance garden. He shows us a courtyard, a medieval garden, a herb garden and a convent garden. There, the monks retire to find peace. In the midst of roses they can meditate and pray. Bauer deepened over decades in drawings and paintings as well as in records in the monastery archives. He then got an overview of how the monks once used and beautified inner courtyards, niches and open spaces.

Medieval plants on our monastery garden route

He went in search of plants of which there aren't many today. So he planted a collection of historical roses in his convent garden. There is even a mandrake in his medieval garden. There are legends about this plant. Healing powers were ascribed to it in the Middle Ages. Enjoying them could also be fatal if you took too much of it. A sign on the plant in the medieval garden in Klosterneuburg warns against touching the plant.


Mannerism Garden - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Garden in the style of Mannerism - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Cloister Klosterneuburg - at our monastery garden route in Lower Austria
Cloister in Klosterneuburg - Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Orchid - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Orangerie in Klosterneuburg - Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria


Klosterneuburg Gardens - on our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria

The gardens of Klosterneuburg are not always accessible. However, there are events throughout the year. Then visitors can see the monastery gardens. Current information can be found on the Website of Stift Klosterneuburg.

Garden of Encounter in Stift Seitenstetten

We drive about an hour and a half from Klosterneuburg to the Stift Seitenstetten im Mostviertel, There awaits us another garden experience. The abbey houses a private school. It is also known for the Hofgarten. This extends below the Meierhof and offers visitors theme gardens. The most striking of these is the baroque garden. In its center, water splashes out of a fountain surrounded by grassy areas that represent the elements of water, fire, earth and air.



Behind it is a rose garden, whose climbing roses lush overgrow the arches and gates of metal and wood. Part of the 110 shrub and climbing roses was donated by a mother whose son was educated in the collegiate school. A rosary labyrinth at the end of the garden of bookballs and roses offers visitors a place of silence. The courtyard garden of Stift Seitenstetten is also a teaching garden.

This is most evident in the vegetable and herb garden. From this the pen-kitchen, as ever, gets vegetables, herbs and berries. In addition, potatoes play a role. The monastery was one of the first places in Austria where the tuber from America was planted.


Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria: Rosengarten in Stift Seitenstetten


Seitenstettner garden days

We are guests at the Seitenstettner garden days. These will take place in June. An example of the fact that the Hofgarten is also a meeting place. During normal weekends, visitors can relax on sun loungers in the holiday garden. You can watch the bees in hammocks as they gather nectar from the flowering plants. On the garden days, however, the grass is occupied by artists, artisans and garden specialists. These offer their works and goods to the visitors.

P. Ferdinand Ilk is too much excitement. Our companion keeps pointing out to us what we should think away. But I like this mix of art, crafts and flower assortment. She brings the garden to life and establishes a connection between monastic life and the modern world.


Paul Troger
Paul Troger's work
Library in Stift Seitenstetten

Kloster Seitenstetten is located on our monastery garden route

We use the time for a tour of the monastery and its interiors. Here we see the collegiate church, the marble hall and the library with the frescoes by Paul Troger. Also worth seeing are the Matura Room and the abbey with the fresco by Bartolomeo Altomonte.

The Hofgarten of Stift Seitenstetten is open to the public. Further information about the Hofgarten and the monastery can be found on the Website of Stift Seitenstetten.


Melk Abbey
Entrance to Melk Abbey

Baroque gardens in Melk Abbey - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria

The most beautiful are the gardens in Melk Abbey on the northern edge of the Wachau on our trip. They are worthy of a world cultural heritage. This includes the monastery and its buildings. However, we ignore this during our visit. Instead, we are interested in the gardens. These have been revitalized since 2000 after the Lower Austrian State Exhibition. Until then, the site had been fallow since the Second World War.


Baroque Abbey Garden - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria: Abbey garden in Melk Abbey


Monastery and gardens

We meet Michaela Romako. She leads us through the gardens of the monastery. She explains: “The garden architects recognized that the garden area is the same size as the monastery complex. If you take the Babenberg tower as a division and fold the parts on top of each other, the lantern of the collegiate dome hits the baroque water basin in the park. There is a relationship between the monastery and the gardens. ”We follow her through the garden to the garden pavilion. To the left we see the Cabinet clairvoyée. From here we look down into the Danube Valley and the monastery building on the rock.

Melk on the Danube - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria

Through an avenue we go behind the pavilion to the other half of the garden. We enjoy the view of the Danube and the Wachau, Here we leave the baroque garden. Instead, we enter a forest whose temperatures are welcome on this early summer day. Several paths lead through this forest. The feeling of being here in a special forest is enhanced by choral singing that comes from a loudspeaker.


Hotels to feel good in the surroundings of Melk Abbey:


As we approach the cliff over the Danube, I suddenly hear a confusion of bird calls. This is interrupted by the rattling of helicopter rotors. Although I try to spot the helicopter through the trees, it remains hidden. “This is part of Katharina Gruzei's art installation. With this sound installation she brings the background noise of the rainforest into the monastery park, ”explains Michaela. “The helicopter is the tourist's vehicle there. The noise tells us how much our view of nature is shaped by progress. "


Benediktus Weg - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria
Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria: Benediktus Weg in Melk Abbey


Easy access to Stift Melk from your hotel in Vienna:

Melk Abbey is also easily accessible by car or public transport, eg from Vienna, Salzburg or Linz. It is more comfortable

  • familiar with the private tour from Vienna * with pick up from the hotel. The tour goes to Melk, Hallstatt and Salzburg and can be flexibly designed.


Art in the Park - at our Klostergarten Route in Lower Austria

Art is omnipresent in the Melk Abbey Park. This year, the motto is: Points of Passage. A place of transition. Nine artists play on the abbey area. They give their interpretations on the topics of migration, being alien, being different and exclusion. In the pool, Christian Philipp Müller depicts “The New World” using plants that once came to Europe from there.

Bernhard Hosa shows with his Dead Doors in the Jardin Méditerranéen how difficult it is to find one's way abroad. We discover art installations in the monastery park. These include “The Ravens - Landed in the Abbey Garden” by Ingrid Kralovec. Their ravens are similar to the monks of the abbey.


Strange hare in the garden pavilion of Melk Abbey


Garden pavilion of Melk

We end our visit to the Melk Abbey Garden with a visit to the garden pavilion. Its murals also take up the theme of "strangers". The artists let their imaginations run wild. The rabbit who looks at us from a corner of the room is more reminiscent of a person with too long ears. The ostriches look strange with their grimaces. And people are hard to assign to continents.

Here the monks were able to recover at the meal. There were game tables for relaxation. In general, the life of the monks in this place does not seem to have been so relentless as we learn elsewhere.


At the herb parson in Stift Geras

The herb garden in the Geras Abbey in the Waldviertel is completely different. The pen is located in the Waldviertel. This region is higher than the monasteries that we have come to know so far. Geras is close to the Czech border. To this day, one has the impression of being at the end of the world.


Nice hotels near and in Geras:


Here we meet Father Benedikt Felsinger. He is known in Austria as a herb pastor. He blogs about his passion, growing herbs. He also writes a column about it in one of the country's daily newspapers. Father Felsinger was former Prior of Stift Geras. As such, he looked after parishes. Meanwhile, he focuses on the herb garden. He gives lectures on the healing properties of herbs and studies their effects in the archives of the monastery.


herb pastor
Monastic gardens in Lower Austria - herbal priest Benedikt Felsinger
Mallow in the herb garden


Father Benedikt Felsinger

Father Benedikt impressed us above all by his calm. Weaknesses are just as familiar to him, he says: “There is nothing worse than the saying 'main thing' healthy '. There is no one who spends his life without problems. Only what challenges us makes us strong. "

For him, his herbs are more than remedies that are used in the event of illness. "The question: 'What is this good for?' reduces the plant to one of its aspects. Instead, you have to ask, 'How can you help me?' So you put the plant in a context. You can also see the beauty of the plant. The strength that sits in their stems. The color in her flowers, as well as the fragrance she spreads. Because a plant can cure more than just a disease. "


Orthodox chapel
Orthodox chapel in the monastery Geras


Orthodox chapel in the monastery Geras

After our tour of his herb garden, he finally shows us a chapel with an iconostasis. “One of our fathers has permission to hold biritual masses. He does that when guests from Orthodox countries come to our monastery, ”he explains.


Four Season Retreat Waldviertel
Four Season Retreat Waldviertel
Farm duckling
The farmer duck with potato dumplings


Art and culture in Geras

In the Schütthaus of the monastery is the main building of the art and culture seminar hotel Geras. The Vierjahreszeiten Retreat Geras is located in the Vierkanthof. There we spend two nights. With herbal drinks with water, cinnamon, cardamom, stinging nettle, sage and lemon juice in the evening memories awake to our visit to the herb parson. Let's have a peasant duck with potato dumplings or a vegetable stroganoff for lunch.

details Information about Stift Geras you can find here.


In Altenburg Abbey
In Altenburg Abbey - Abbey gardens in Lower Austria

Jewel of the baroque and gothic in Altenburg Abbey

We came to Altenburg Abbey to look at the Garden of Religions and the Garden of Silence. These are two of the gardens of this monastery. The Garden of Religions is dedicated to world religions. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam are the focus here. Connections to these religions are made in cultivated areas. This is done using plants, water, shapes and elements.


In addition to the hotels in Geras, these hotels are perfect for a trip to Altenburg Abbey:


The Garden of Silence is located at the back of the monastery below the baroque building. This rises on a rock above the Kamptal. I'm taking my breath away from the lavender bushes in front of the monastery entrance. The blue of the lavender harmonizes with its baroque façade. What a sight!


Lavender in Altenburg Abbey
Lavender in Altenburg Abbey
The crypt in Altenburg Abbey


Monastery of Altenburg

Stift Altenburg is waiting with a surprise. Here you have the remains of the monastery complex of Altenburg exposed from the Middle Ages. This was under the Baroque building. Over the centuries it had been piled up. Only investigations by structural engineers made a restoration indispensable. Otherwise the baroque pencil would be in danger.


ceiling painting
Ceiling painting in the anteroom to the library


Middle Ages, Gothic, Baroque

Therefore, the monks decided to excavate. These brought to light the remains of the monastery from the Gothic period. This was founded in 1144. This brought indications of monastic life to light. These show how people once lived in this monastery. The St. Vitus Chapel is worth seeing. This cannot be seen from the outside. Instead, it is hidden behind the baroque facade. There you will also find the crypt with its frescoes, the library and the collegiate church. This monastery near the border with the Czech Republic is a gem of baroque art. It is also a masterpiece of archeology and architecture. Because they have brought this church to light again in the church.


lily pond
Water lily pond in the garden of the religions in Stift Altenburg


Information about Altenburg Abbey can be found here

Journey to the monastery gardens in Lower Austria

In any case, it was extraordinary, our trip to the monastery gardens in Lower Austria. It did not correspond to what we usually experience on our travels. The encounters we had on the road were with people who had arrived. They knew what was important to them in life. I especially noticed that many of them radiate an inner peace. This affected us in the itinerary also on us. In general, we found time on this trip to let the gardens and their surroundings affect us. You should absolutely take this leisure time when planning a trip of this kind. For me it was like a journey into the self. Especially those moments gave me time to think a little about life and what we do.

Do not forget during a trip on the Klostergarten Route:


In the monastery gardens of Stift Klosterneuburg we went back in history. We were accompanied by the man who revived them. In Stift Seitstetten we met a monastery, which opens to the people. In Melk Abbey, I remember the Benedictus Trail, the sounds from the rainforest and the view out into the Danube Valley. In Geras Abbey, I can still smell the herbs that brought us to herbal minister Benedikt Felsinger. Altenburg Monastery retains the impression of a journey through time from Baroque to Gothic. This could hardly have been more impressive. But one thing I take away from all these monasteries. A reflection on the essential for the life we ​​lead. In addition, we discovered a quiet that you have to go to the monastery to experience.

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3 days


Stift Klosterneuburg - Stift Seitenstetten - Stift Melk - Stift Geras - Stift Altenburg


By the way: Do you already know the monastery garden from Admont Abbey?

Monastic gardens in Lower Austria


Do you already know:


Slow Travel Tips you find here. discover Routes for connoisseurs in Austria.

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Source: Research on site. We would like to thank Klösterreich for inviting us to this trip. Our opinion remains our own.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Monastic gardens in Lower Austria

Travel expert Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.

4 thoughts too "Monastic gardens in Lower Austria"

  1. The Klösterreich is already a while on my Reisewunschliste! Your blog post once again makes it clear why gardens fascinate me so much. They not only tell their own story but also stories of people like Josef Bauer sen. Klosterneuburg or the herb priest Felsinger in the monastery Geras. These stories enrich the beauty of the gardens even more - Thanks !!

    1. It is these people who make the gardens, Sabine. It is they who create these garden landscapes and devote their entire lives to these gardens. They impressed us a lot and helped us to make this trip unforgettable.

  2. Great contribution - a trip to the monastery gardens in Austria is therefore a somewhat "different" trip if it has the described "encounter quality" ?!

    1. I think that's a big part of this experience. I have seldom returned from a journey with so much inner peace as from this one.

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