From Rein Abbey to the “Styrian St Stephen’s Cathedral”
Visit Rein Abbey, the oldest Cistercian monastery in the world, and the church of Maria Strassengel, both of which are important pilgrimage destinations in the region.
Rein Abbey is the oldest Cistercian monastery in the world, and the pilgrimage church of Maria Strassengel, also known as “the Styrian St Stephen’s Cathedral”, is one of the most beautiful high gothic ecclesiastical buildings in Austria. You’ll hike through the beautiful countryside surrounding Gratwein and come across lovingly arranged Stations of the Cross between these two pilgrimage destinations. There’s also a beautiful view of the Gratwein-Gratkorn basin. A visit to one or, better still, both of the sacred buildings is a must!
Take the A9 to Peggau/Deutschfeistritz and the B67 to Gratwein, then go on to Rein.
Starting at Rein Abbey, walk along the stone wall to the large parking area and go right up the road towards the Reiner Teiche ponds. At the crossroads to the Josefsheim (Sisters of the Holy Cross Convent) follow trail no. 15 in an easterly direction over the Kalvarienberg near Gratwein (“Kreuzweg” sign). The trail leads you downhill to the road and then right in the direction of Bad Weihermühle (where you might want to take a dip). At the Weihermühle car park, turn right over the bridge and go along the pavement to the road sign for Gratwein. After about 50 m, turn right up the hill and follow trail no. 12 in the direction of the Lindenkreuz cross. Asphalt roads alternate with forest trails and gravel paths. On the way, you’ll find several benches inviting you to take a break. Signs direct you towards Plankenwarth Castle. After about 90 minutes of walking and a long passage through a beautiful beech forest, you’ll get to the intersection with the municipal road. Turn left and follow trail no. 14 along the paved road downhill to Hundsdorf/Strassengel. Your goal is visible: the pilgrimage church of Maria Strassengel towers majestically on the Kirchberg. In Strassengel simply follow the signs to the church. After a short, steep climb up the Kirchberg, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view from the beautiful pilgrimage church. A steep path to the left of the cemetery will lead you straight down to Judendorf-Strassengel railway station.
Pilgrims with energy to spare can march on along the pilgrimage trail from the pilgrimage church to the ruins of Gösting Castle. The two-hour hike towards Graz goes along trail no. 1 over the Frauenkogel and the Steinkogel saddle and past the St Anna fountain, and ends at the ruins. This hike is topographically varied and will reward you with a magnificent view of the Gratwein/Gratkorn and Graz basins.
If you want to walk further, you can continue on to Thal on trail no. 30 or to the ruins of Gösting Castle on the northern outskirts of Graz.
Hikers can easily arrive without a car by using bus or train services. The frequent S1 trains between Graz and Bruck/Mur make reaching OberGraz easy. (Gratwein–Gratkorn railway station)
The no. 110 bus will take you to Rein.
More information on train and bus connections: www.verbundlinie.at and www.oebb.at
Parking is available at Rein Abbey.
For 650 years, pilgrims have been visiting the beautiful gothic church of Maria Strassengel, which looks out onto the Mur valley. The “root cross”, a piece of tree root in the shape of Jesus Christ on the Cross, and “Madonna of the Wheat Ears”, a devotional picture of Mary wearing a dress decorated with ears of corn, are particularly revered here. There is also the highest smokehouse in Styria to be admired. Guided tours can be booked (T +43 3124 51 255).
If you want to walk further, you can continue on the pilgrimage trail no. 1 to Thal or hike to the ruins of Gösting Castle on the northern outskirts of Graz.
This topographically varied two-hour hike to the northern outskirts of Graz passes over the Frauenkogel and the Steinkogel saddle, goes past the St Anna fountain and ends at the ruins of Gösting Castle.