Romantic: the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein

Grisaille painting at the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

It's actually a contradiction in terms: how can a Benedictine abbey be romantic? But that is possible in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum. No monks have lived in the Benedictine monastery since 1525, when the monastery was dissolved as a result of the Reformation. Since then it has changed hands several times and has been owned by the Confederation since 1945. The amazing thing about this monastery is that despite its history, it has stood the test of time so well. We visited the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein our stay in this city.

The Benedictine Abbey of St. Georgen is considered one of the monastic complexes in Switzerland that is well preserved. The construction phases between the 12th and 16th centuries can still be seen today. What impresses us most is the location on the Rhine and the impression left by the courtyards, the cloister and the premises. Stone walls on which vines climb, lavender and roses, stained glass windows and ceiling paintings and carvings contribute to this.



Romantic monastery
Romantic monastery
wine cask
Wine barrel in the monastery St. Georgen
entrance fresco
Entrance fresco above the gate to the inner courtyard

Wine barrels and the wine press bear witness to the monks' wine cultivation

In the trotte we find wooden wine barrels and a press, with which the monks once pressed the wine from the area. A wooden staircase leads up to the guest house, with plants twining along the banister. A bishop's hat with a bishop's crosier is emblazoned on the wall of the bakery. Next to it, two putti present shields that look like coats of arms. Above the entrance to the monastery courtyard, two lions hold aloft a crown and a coat of arms on a wall painting. Above them, the year 1665 commemorates an event in the history of this monastery.


Side gate to the Rhine
Side gate to the Rhine
Yellow roses
Yellow roses
Mahonias in the rain

The monastery museum in Stein am Rhein is located on the banks of the Rhine

Before we enter the monastery, a side entrance lures us through a door with a pointed arch to the banks of the Rhine. The river flows with full force directly along the outer walls of the monastery. We are standing on a promenade that stretches across to the bridge that connects the districts of Stein am Rhein on the banks of the Rhine. Roses line the entrance back into the monastery. Mahonia bushes grow on the outer walls of the inner courtyard, the fruits of which grow in clusters down the branches of the plants. Its leaves catch the raindrops that are now falling from the sky. The tower of the church in Stein am Rhein rises above the outer courtyard with its gargoyles, which spit out rainwater like dragons.


Inner yard
Inner yard
Cactus in the shed window


Grape vines in the courtyard of the monastery museum

Grapevines climb up wooden pillars in the inner courtyard. On closer inspection, grapes are already hanging from these. “In the fall, that will definitely result in a good harvest,” I think to myself. A sundial above shows the time. However, because of the rain, she can only guess at the time today. The rain clouds prevent the formation of shadows. A half-timbered shed in a corner of the inner courtyard, with its wooden beams in the facade, the glass windows with a cactus on the window sill and the wooden shop, reinforces the romantic impression of the monastery building. Because the rain is falling more and more, we enter the premises of the monastery and begin a journey through the history of the monastery, which stretches from the 12th to the 16th century.


In the calefaktorium, the warming room in the monastery St. Georgen

The calefactory in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The tour is not chronologically correct. We start it in the calefactory, the warm room of the monastery. This dates from the 15th century. However, I wonder how the room was once heated. Because apart from a wooden table, a few cupboards, an altarpiece on the wall and a niche under a cross vault in one corner of the room, there is only a window sill that runs along the window front.


In the cloister
Keystone monastery museum Stein am Rhein
Capstone in one of the vaults

The 14th century cloister

From there we step out into the cloister, which dates from the 14th century. There we pass the parlatorium where the monks were allowed to speak. We also see the summer refectory, the dining room where the monks ate their meals in the summer, and the bakehouse. Vaults always draw my gaze upwards. I also discover keystones and ceiling paintings. The struts of the vault are painted in color to this day. This increases the effect of the cloister on romantic souls like me.

The cells we are passing date from the 19th century when Ferdinand Vetter had them restored. Only the monk's cell in the north-east corner has been preserved in its original form, and the remains of the murals can still be seen on the walls. Opposite, the scriptorium of the monastery has been reconstructed, probably to show what the monks were doing at the time.


Winter refectory monastery museum Stein am Rhein
Here the monks ate in the winter
Refectory ceiling of the Stein am Rhein monastery museum
refectory ceiling

The winter refectory in the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The winter refectory is well preserved. Here I can imagine how the monks met every day to eat. While the wind was blowing down from the mountains outside, it was probably similar to today. In front of the windows there is a table in the room. It is almost as if he is waiting for the monks to come in from their work to sit down to eat. Above, I discover frescoed ceilings, a wooden chest of drawers and a lamp made of wood and deer antlers above the dining table. In an adjoining room we find a tiled stove whose enamel details amaze us.


Ballroom at the Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum
Festival hall in the monastery St. Georgen
Grisaille painting at the monastery museum in Stein am Rhein

The ballroom in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum

The last rooms we visited in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum all date from the 16th century and are therefore the youngest in the building complex. Wall paintings can be found in the ballroom, which was commissioned by Abbot David von Winkelsheim (1499 – 1525) to furnish in the style of the early Renaissance. These mainly show profane content. For this reason, this hall escaped the iconoclasm of 1525, when the monastery was dissolved. The grisaille painting has been expanded to include the colors blue, red and yellow gold. The paintings show motifs that depict the people and life of the time. A trip to Stein am Rhein is worthwhile for this hall alone. The art lovers among you will enjoy it.


Abtsstube Monastery Museum Stein am Rhein
abbot's study
Carved key "stone" monastery museum Stein am Rhein
Carved final "stone"

The abbots' rooms in the Stein am Rhein monastery museum

The abbot's rooms are one floor below. Their furnishings show how comfortably the abbots lived in the last years of the monastery. Window niches with slug windows, a tiled stove that provided warmth, finishes in the cross vaults, borders that adorn the room walls, and wall and ceiling paintings made life for the abbots a life of luxury. They give us an insight into the everyday life of the monks in this monastery shortly before the Reformation.

Our visit to the St. Georgen Monastery Museum in Stein am Rhein was one of the highlights of our short trip to the Untersee region on Lake Constance. It is worth the trip on its own. The insights into the life of the monks between the 12th and 16th centuries were one side. We found the works of art even more impressive, which have survived to this day despite the dissolution of the monastery and the iconoclasm in its rooms. The layout of the courtyards and the location on the banks of the Rhine are romantic, making the monastery a total work of art.

Klostermuseum St. Georgen

The monastery is located about ten minutes walk from the station Stein am Rhein. It is about a five-minute walk from the boat landing stage.

Opening hours:
From the beginning of April to the end of October, daily except Monday from 10: 00 to 17: 00 pm
Good Friday, Easter Monday and Whit Monday open.
Closed from November to March.

By appointment, prices on request

Stay you can be good at Bora HotSpa Resort in Radolfzell, which is less than an hour away by bus.

Travel Arrangements:

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

Check in:

Book yours here Arrival by plane, bus or train*. The nearest international airport is Zurich. It is also possible to travel to Stein am Rhein by train.  Timetable and booking*.

Car Rentals:

Cheap Car Hire - Book Fast and Easy! *

Hotels in Stein am Rhein:

Accommodation in Stein am Rhein* you can book here.

Are you traveling to Stein am Rhein by motorhome?


Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum

Click on the photo and make a note of the “Stein am Rhein Monastery Museum” on Pinterest

Do you already know:


Source Klostermuseum Stein am Rhein: Research on site. We would like to thank Tourismus Untersee for the invitation to this trip. Our opinion remains our own.

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

Romantic: the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein

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.

2 thoughts too "Romantic: the Benedictine abbey in Stein am Rhein"

    1. That's right, Chrissy. The monastery has a very special charm that captivates you.

Comments are closed.