Czech Republic holidays in the monastery
Not everyone associates a Czech holiday with one Holiday in the monastery, We neither. And if so, then most people usually look for a monastery in Prague or in the Czech spa area around Mariánské Lázně. Only a few people have heard of Zeliv Abbey. This was not different for us until we were invited to a press trip to Bohemia Premonstratensian monastery Zeliv fluttered into the house. That made us curious. Especially because we are traveling to Czech Republic after Ostrava want to get to know this country better. So we immediately agreed. Zeliv Monastery surprised us.
Arrival to Zeliv Abbey
From Stift Schlägl in the Austrian Mühlviertel we first drove through the rolling hills of the Mühlviertel to the Czech border. On the Czech side of the border, too, the winding journey through the hills of the Bohemian Forest continued for a while. However, once we leave the heights of the Bohemian Forest, the hills are progressively lower. The view continues. Our ride is over Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice, the former Budweis. After a section on the motorway towards Prague, our sat nav finally shows us the way to Zeliv. The roads through the country are winding. This gives us time to enjoy the landscape and the views. (Map)
Stift Zeliv in Bohemia
What awaits us in Zeliv Abbey surprises us. At first we are amazed that it looks like we have landed on a construction site. However, it quickly turns out that these are the last façade works that integrate the monastery's outbuildings - the hotel, the brewery and the restaurant - into the monastery ensemble. In September 2019, the renovations are completed. Only the parking lot and the farm building on the other side of the parking lot are not renovated or tarred. The reason for this is that this building and the parking lot are owned by the municipality. You are currently working on a solution.
What awaits us behind the facades impresses us. Here we meet people who work full of verve and optimism to make Stift Zeliv something special. Leaving behind the dark days of Communist rule in the Czech Republic. Abbot Jáchym and Prior Tadeáš present their ideas and plans for the future of the monastery. These are visionary. The monastery buildings are being renovated with EU funds. After years of neglect during Communist rule in the Czech Republic, this is an enormous undertaking.
The equipment is modern. No wonder! Almost all of the original furniture has disappeared. What could be saved and found again, can now be seen in the Abbey Museum. There we also learn the sad story of the congregation. In those years, Zeliv Abbey served as a prison for priests and monks. They had to do forced labor and were not allowed to do their pastoral work. Only after the end of communism in the Czech Republic, the Premonstratensians moved back into the half-dilapidated abbey building.
Meanwhile, the pen is developing into a cultural center. Photo exhibitions, concerts and candlelight tours through the monastery are part of the cultural repertoire. Planned are seminars and workshops. In addition, one thinks about the establishment of a wellness center.
A bit of adventure spirit
Not only the pen, but also its surroundings worth a stay. Prior Tadeáš takes us on a half-day trip. Here his entrepreneurial spirit shows, which he proves not only in the pen. In the pen-own minibus he drives us to a chapel above the monastery. It had rained the night before. Therefore, the paths are still wet. As long as they are tarred, that's no problem. However, he soon turns into a wet meadow path, which is getting muddy.
When we almost get stuck in a muddy cave, he says: "Stay seated" and lets the car roll back. Even after several attempts, the car cannot make it through a slippery elevation that blocks our way to our destination. "Staying seated" is the saying after the fourth unsuccessful attempt. This time the car rolls a long way back on thick nettle undergrowth. Not without sometimes going sideways. Then he starts again. And this time it works. All car occupants cheer. And Prior Tadeáš does this the most. Our trip almost reminds me of my travels through Wilderness in the Yukon.
Then it goes through the middle of the meadow to a viewpoint of the monastery and the village of Zeliv. "The meadow is part of the property of the monastery," explains Prior Tadeáš. "We leased them for processing." Apparently, this was not the first time he had taken this tour.
The surroundings of the monastery offer beautiful nature experiences
There is more to discover around the monastery. The monastery is located between two rivers, Zelivka and Trnava. Both rivers are dammed in their course. Their reservoirs are easy to reach on foot, by bicycle or by car. For all those looking for peace in nature, they are just the thing. During our visit to the dam of Zelivka, we only meet a school class, which is just making a bike ride. After crossing the road over the dam, we are almost alone at the lake. Only on the shore is still an angler who tries his luck. There are apparently enough fish. We even see them from our vantage point on the bridge in the lake water below.
Our journey through the region shows us that farmers in the Czech Republic cultivate their fields in a sustainable way. Wildflowers grow along the way. We notice the cornfields where cornflowers grow between the grain trees. In the Czech Republic, no wildflower strips have to be sown at forest edges to attract insects. Here the flowers are still growing where they want.
The hilly landscape around Zeliv offers good hiking possibilities. Prior Tadeáš shows us a second chapel in the forest above the abbey. It is built over a spring and is located on a small stream. The chapel is easy to reach. In its surroundings, beautiful views of the Bohemian forest landscape open up.
In the monastery hotel experience a Czech holiday in the monastery
The Stiftshotel offers cozy accommodation for guests who want to spend their holidays in a monastery. The rooms are more comfortable than many we have met in other monasteries. We are located in a room that has period furniture and overlooks the Zelivka River. Our room offers plenty of space and peace. When the window is open, we are dormant in the evening by the sound of the river and the sound of the wind in the trees in front of our window. At night we enjoy the silence.
The monastery restaurant
The restaurant serves breakfast in the morning, which consists of a buffet of cold dishes and hot dishes from the kitchen. For lunch and dinner we try our way through the regional specialties of Bohemia and the Czech Republic. The offer ranges from steak to chicken breast, tartare, roast pork with Bohemian dumplings to beer from the Abbey Brewery. For vegetarians and vegans, there are salads on the menu.
The Abbey brewery makes a Czech holiday in the monastery a pleasure
Small but nice is the Abbey Brewery of Stift Zeliv. It is located right next to the Stiftsrestaurant, and of course there are the beers from the in-house brewery. Brewing has a long tradition in Zeliv Abbey. Already in the 14. Century mention the chronicles that beer was brewed in the pen Zeliv. One of Zeliv's beers is brewed according to a recipe from 1626. Jiří Kratochvíl, brewer of the monastery, tries to get the taste of historical beers as close as possible. It's definitely worth a try. But there are also other types of beer. A British stout can be found as well as a wheat beer, a lager, a semi-dark draft beer, a Belgian-style Trappist beer and a dark Schwartz beer. Today's beers are named after former abbots of the convent. A beer tasting is exciting in Zeliv.
Our conclusion: Stift Zeliv is perfect for a Czech holiday in the monastery
We learn a lot about the contemporary history of the Czech Republic in Zeliv Abbey. But not only that. In the monastery we experience a spirit of optimism and an optimism that is contagious. The abbot, prior and the confreres are full of ideas and visions on how to turn their abbey back into a center for people looking for peace and a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We were excited about the motivation with which they work. We are curious about what they will realize and wish them every success with their plans. Maybe we'll have another chance to see what happens later.
Parking at the airport
Entry to the Czech Republic
For example, you can find out about the current entry regulations for the Czech Republic here.
Arrival to Zeliv Abbey in Bohemia in the Czech Republic
Arriving by car:
From Linz: Via the A7 to Freistadt. From there you continue on the E55 to Tabor. Then you follow the B19. There you turn off onto the B112 and continue via the B347 to the Stift Zeliv.
From Prague: Drive over the E50 and turn off behind Kuberovice to the pen Zeliv.
In the newly restored Abbey Hotel in Zeliv * you can sleep well.
Do you also know:
- Heiligenkreuz Abbey and Mayerling Castle for connoisseurs
- Lilienfeld Abbey - monastery, abbey library and gallery
- Visit churches, monasteries and cathedrals
- Mühlviertel excursion destinations
- Upper Austria travel destinations
- Time out in the monastery in Stams Abbey in Tyrol
- Landal Marina Lipno in South Bohemia
- Holidays in winter at the Lipno reservoir in the Czech Republic
- Vyssi Brod and its monastery
- Cesky Krumlov Hotel – Krumlov Hotel
- České Budějovice Czech Republic – Ceske Budejovice and its sights
- Hotels in České Budějovice Czech Republic
- Bohemian food
- Easter holidays
Source Czech Republic Holidays in the monastery: research on site with the support of Klaustria. However, our opinion remains our own.
Text Czech Republic Vacation in a monastery: © Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos Czech Republic Vacation in a monastery: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Video Czech Republic Vacation in a monastery: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline