Nestled in a relatively isolated valley, 33km northwest of Stuttgart, the small town of MAULBRONN is famous for the medieval Kloster Maulbronn, which is so well preserved it still exudes monastic contemplation and labour. Founded as a Cistercian monastery in 1140, it was dissolved during the sixteenth century after which it became a Protestant school: fans of former pupil Hermann Hesse may recognize it as the semi-fictional Mariabronn in his book Narziss und Goldmund. Parts still serve as a school but only for around fifty pupils.

Initially the most striking feature of the monastery is the wall that encircles it and other defensive fortifications, dating from an era when the region was wild and fairly lawless. Within the compound a tidy collection of Gothic half-timbered buildings reveal themselves, looking much as they would have done five hundred years ago.

You can wander the compound free of charge, and there’s a useful information board showing the layout and original uses of the buildings outside the visitor centre, which sells entry tickets to the church and refectory, and rents out moderately useful audio-guides.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived sh…

29 Mar 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month