Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

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Choir stalls in the abbey Heiligenkreuz

Day trip to Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

The monks from the Cistercian Monastery of Heiligenkreuz are known in the Vienna woods especially because of the sensational success of her choir. They celebrated this with their Gregorian chants in both the Classic Charts and the Pop Charts. The CD Chant – Music for Paradise alone stormed into the top ten of the pop charts in England immediately after its release. A success that until then only Falco and DJ Ötzi had achieved. This phenomenal success continued in Austria, Germany, England, Holland, Poland, Belgium and even the USA, where she topped the Billboard charts.

The music on this CD is 900 year old Cistercian chorale songs. These obviously met the taste of the time. If you want, you can listen to the monks live, even during the monks' choir prayers every day. However, we did not come to the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz to hear the monks. We wanted to visit the Cistercian abbey Lower Austria to watch, which was founded in 1133. It is the largest cultural attraction in the world today Vienna woods.


The monastery building of the Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz
The monastery building of the Cistercian monastery Heiligenkreuz


Guided tour through Stift Heiligenkreuz

And impressive is the Collegiate Church of Heiligenkreuz, which is located in the narrow valley in the Vienna Woods, not far from the city Baden near Vienna nestles. We meet Frater Nicholas, a young monk who guides us through the monastery and the church. He speaks amazingly open about life as a monk in modern times. At first I do not dare ask too curious questions about life in the monastery. I fear being too indiscreet, but when Fr Nikolaus, without hesitation, answers my cautiously formulated questions, I am getting more and more courageous. He tells us frankly about the life behind the monastery walls.


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Father Nicholas explains monastic life to us
Father Nicholas explains monastic life to us


Life as a monk

I want to know from him what life as a monk looks like these days. Isn't that how you live in a world outside of the world? Brother Nikolaus laughs and explains that, especially for the Cistercians, proximity to modern people is very important. Only in this way can the Christian idea be further conveyed. Somehow we get to talking about missionary work. Here, too, he believes that only through contact with local people can they find out what Christian life looks like. The focus is not on missionary work, but on living together in everyday life. As an outsider, I cannot judge whether this is actually the case. But I am impressed by the openness with which Brother Nicholas speaks to us about these topics.


A saint relief in the monastery
A relief of a saint in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz


Cloister, mortuary chapel and Anna chapel in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz

He leads us through the cloister and shows us the death chapel and the Annakapelle in the inner monastery area. In the collegiate church he tells us about the founding of the church and how Robert of Molesme founded the Order and Bernard of Clairvaux made him known. He shows us how different the works are that monks practice in Heiligenkreuz Abbey. In the sacristy, we see works of art created by monks of the monastery. Even today, a monk living in Heiligenkreuz Abbey produces his works of art, sculptures and furnishings for the public spaces of the monastery.


Beautiful stained glass windows in the collegiate church
Beautiful stained glass windows in the collegiate church of the Cistercian monastery Heiligenkreuz


In the collegiate church in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz

After our tour, at the end of our tour of the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, we stop at the beautifully carved choir stalls of the collegiate church, where Brother Nikolaus shows us one of the hymn books. He picks it up from below, places it on the choir bench and hits the book cover so that it cracks. Then he looks at me mischievously and asks: "Do you know where the saying 'open a book' comes from?" It's not hard to guess that it has something to do with his behavior. And he explains: “The books are closed on the side with a tight metal buckle and can only be opened if the book pages are close together. Therefore the monks must open the books in this way.”


The book is open
The book is open in the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz


After our tour of the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, we gained interesting, amazing and surprising insights into the life of today's monks and will certainly see life in the monastery with different eyes in the future. And as it should be, after our visit we make a stop in the monastery tavern, where we end our visit with the monks in the monastery of Heiligenkreuz for a hearty drink snack relish.

Travel Arrangements:

Parking at the airport

Here you can reserve your parking space at the airport.

Arrival at the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz

Compare and book flights here*. The nearest airport is Vienna Schwechat. The Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz can be easily reached by public transport from Vienna, via Baden or via Mödling.

The most comfortable way is by car. You can book a rental car * here.

Accommodation in and around the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz:

The Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz offers simple overnight accommodation in the monastery for guests who are seriously interested in life in the monastery. Participation in church services and prayer times is desired.
Inquiries by email to:

If you do not want to, you will find accommodations here


Travel destinations in the Vienna Woods



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Source: Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz: Research on site at the invitation of Wienerwald Tourismus. However, our opinion remains unaffected.

Text Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Video: © Copyright Petar Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Cistercian Monastery Heiligenkreuz

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Slow Travel and Enjoyment travel blog TravelWorldOnline Traveller. You have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Your topics are Trips to Savor and wine tourism worldwide and Slow Travel. During her studies, Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she traveled to the USA and Canada - sometimes together with Petar Fuchs - and spent a research year in British Columbia. This strengthened her thirst for knowledge, which she pursued for 6 years Adventure Guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as Study tour guide for Studiosus Reisen tried to breastfeed all over the world. She constantly expanded her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: “What is beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do you eat in this region?” These are the questions she is now trying to answer as a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), among others. travel writer and travel blogger answers in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is below Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021 Other Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs. Recommendations on LinkedIn from tourism experts Further recommendations from cooperation partners and tourism experts Professional experience Monika on LinkedIn