Engelberg Abbey (Kloster): Benedictine History In The Alps

engelberg monastery

Engelberg Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located in the Swiss town of Engelberg, in the canton of Obwalden. Since its founding by Konrad von Sellenb├╝ren in 1120, the abbey has been inhabited by Benedictine monks.

The monastery has held a central role in the Engelberg valley for over 900 years, offering both education, hospitality and refuge in the area.

Today it is still a working monastery, a school, a library and a historical landmark in the Engelberg region.

Engelberg Monastery Layout
Engelberg Monastery Layout
LocationBenediktinerkloster 1, 6390 Engelberg, Switzerland (Google Maps)
Phone+41 (0)41 639 61 19
ParkingParkplatz Zentrum und Langlaufloipe (Google Maps)
Opening TimesGrounds are open year-round
Entry PriceGrounds & church are free to enter
Engelberg Monastery details

Engelberg Monastery Gardens

One of the most notable aspects of the Engelberg Monastery, aside from the austere white buildings, are its gardens. The meticulously manicured gardens surrounding the monastery building are a pleasure to stroll around, especially when everything is in bloom in summer.

Engelberg Monastery Gardens
Engelberg Monastery Gardens
Engelberg Monastery Gardens & mountains
Engelberg Monastery Gardens

Engelberg Monastery Church

Engelberg Monastery Church
Engelberg Monastery Church with a chapel (left)

The monastery church is something of a surprise because from the outside it appears quite plain and uninspiring. However, once you enter, you will certainly be glad that you did.

Engelberg Monastery Church interior
Engelberg Monastery Church interior

It is one of the most striking interiors in the rococo style you will find and it is also home to Switzerland’s largest church organ.

Engelberg Monastery Church Organ
Engelberg Monastery Church Organ

So, any visit to the church is both a visual and aural experience! Especially with the monks chanting during the daily mass. (You can find the mass times on the monastery website)

Soak in the frescos towering over you as well as the other paintings and religious artifacts throughout the collegiate church’s small hall.

Engelberg Monastery Church Statue
Engelberg Monastery Church Statue
Engelberg Monastery Church WIndow & Statue
Engelberg Monastery Church WIndow & Statue

Engelberg Monastery Tours

You can book an in-depth tour of the Engelberg Monastery from a Benedictine monk three times a week. They will give you a detailed look into both the history and their lives inside the monastery with an hour-long tour of the complex.

Tour Times & DaysTuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 4 pm (book here)
Ticket PricesAdults: 12 CHF
Students and apprentices (16 years +): 8 CHF
Children (12 – 16 years): 6 CHF
Children (6 -16): Free
Under 6 not recommended
Tour LanguageUsually in German, however sometimes in English upon request
English & French texts provided during tour
Meeting PointBy the monastery gate (Kloster Pforte inside the monastery)
Group ToursGroup sizes of 7 – 20 are available, Group tour price: 120 CHF
Tour details

History Of The Engelberg Monastery

Prior to the French Revolution, the abbot served both as a spiritual and secular Lord in the Engelberg valley. However, in 1798, the Engelberg people gained their independence.

Monastic life was maintained throughout the nine centuries of the building’s existence. And monks continue to live there to this day. The monastery has been plagued by internal difficulties and external temptations throughout its life, especially during medieval times. There have also been countless fires and a plague, making the monastery’s continued existence such a marvel.

The current baroque monastery complex you see in Engelberg today was built after the third fire in 1729.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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