Zirc, Hungary’s highest-altitude town is home to an exceptional monastery

Despite not being one of the big cities, Zirc plays a very important role in the cultural life of Hungary.

About 130 kilometers from Budapest and 60 kilometers from Siofok on Lake Balaton, Zirc is worth a visit for one of the most beautiful monasteries of the Pannonian Plain built in the Baroque style, which is currently the center of the Cistercian order.



Interior of Zirc monastery, Photo: Istvan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED


This small town earned its honorable name thanks to its turbulent cultural life spanning several centuries. The predecessor of the Cistercian order was built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style.

That church was exposed to destruction on several occasions throughout history. It was ravaged by a plague epidemic, and on several occasions by various battles and wars. This also sealed the fate of the Zirc monastery.

Over the course of several centuries, it was practically destroyedIn the garden, you can see the ruins of the first monumental church. The Cistercian church in Zirc was built only in the 18th century, and since then it has been an outstanding example of Baroque architecture



You can learn more about its exciting history if you visit the church with a guide. After the half-hour tour, you can take a look around this baroque space yourself, which is not only a place for holding holy mass but is also often a place for concerts.

The three-nave church offers an incredible sight. Its beautiful frescoes, two huge organs, carved choir benches, and the pulpit of the sanctuary represent priceless cultural monuments.


The church next to the Zirc monastery, Photo: Rlevente, CC BY-SA 4.0


Visitors are also tempted by a pleasant walk through the arboretum inspired by English gardens. You can easily spend 2-3 hours in the park walking along its winding paths.

During the walk, you can get to know the diverse flora and fauna of the park with the help of signposts and several fun tasks. The arboretum offers a wonderful atmosphere in every season.



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It would be a sin to omit a visit to the Széchényi State Library (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár) – a Cistercian library.


Zirc Monastery Library, Photo: Istvan, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED


At the end, stop at the Zirc monastery manufactory, where in its cellar with a 300-year tradition, you can taste high-quality manufactory beer, which today is prepared with the help of the most modern digital technology. The manufactured products of this first Hungarian Opatija brewery are special because of the duality of tradition and innovation in beer making.


The immediate surroundings of the church also have numerous opportunities for relaxation, so there are all the conditions and facilities for a perfect time spent with friends or family. 🙂








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