Oh, how much I wanted to visit Admont Abbey library! It was something like three years ago when I’ve read an article about the most beautiful libraries in the world, with this fairytale place opening the list. It took me a while to finally get there, but once I opened the door to this Austrian treasure I was just speechless… Colors, architecture details, history closed in books, this magical atmosphere… it will all take you back in time. As I’m a big books and libraries lover I have my personal list of top libraries. This one is my unconditional number one.
Admont Abbey was founded in 1074 and is now the oldest remaining monastery in Styria, Austria. The name Admont derives from the Latin expression “ad montes,” what means “at the mountains” as it’s located in the mountains of Gesäuse National Park. The library hall, built in 1776 and designed by the architect Joseph Hueber, is really spectacular. The main hall is 70 meters long, 14 meters wide and 13 meters high. Can you imagine that it contains an impressive number of c. 70,000 volumes? The ceiling decorated with frescoes is showing the stages of human knowledge and the colors are so bright that it’s hard to take your eyes of it. This beautiful baroque monument is the largest monastic library in the world. The abbey also houses art collections of Historical and Modern artists that you can admire in the same building.
The nearest airports are: Linz 1,5 hours, Salzburg 2 hours by car, Vienna 2,5 hours by car, Munich 3,5 hours by car and Budapest 4,5 hours by car. The library is located in the Benedict abbey of a small town Admont and has a free parking in the front of it.
The library info
To enter the library you need to purchase an 11 euro ticket (7,5 during winter season) and if you plan to take some pictures (who would even resist?!) there is an additional photo fee of 5 euro per camera. Just mind the opening hours as the place is open Monday – Sunday from 10 am till 5 pm only in the summer season, which is from 19 of March till 5th of November . During winter season opening hours are usually much shorter. All the actual info and opening hours you can find here. If you would like to experience something more special, several times a year the library organizes also night visits. Just imagine how cool that would be?!
Where to eat
Gasthof Zeiser – Simple and traditional place in the center of Admont town. You can expect local specials like schnitzel or fritaten suppe and decent table wines. The place is usually full with mix of locals and tourists and you will be served by really nice ladies dressed in traditional outfits. Very affordable prices. We payed less then 40 euro for a full dinner for two with wine and other drinks.
Stiftskeller Admont – Just next to the Admont library, offers good snacks and lunch meals, coffee, cakes and nice local wines. As t’s located basically on the abbey’s area, the restaurant’s patio has really nice view of the monastery and its charming garden. Also attended by locals.
What else can you do there?
Although the city is rather small and is known mostly from the monastery, the surrounding is also worth exploring. Beautiful mountains, breathtaking landscapes, small villages located in the picturesque valleys. All so tempting that we have been stopping our car every few minutes and took tones of pictures. The area is also loved by cyclists, both amateurs and professionals and you will easily find there nice trekking paths that will take you to some nice, unfrequented glades.
As the Admont town is rather small I would highly recommend you to combine your trip with visiting another Austrian treasure – Hallstatt. All the info about this place with tips where to stay overnight, what to see and where to eat you can find in my Hallstatt guide post here.