Other than leisure activities, the main reason that people visit Mondsee is to see this church. It began as the church for the former Benedictine monastery which was the whole reason the town was founded way back in the 8th century. Today it's known officially as Pfarrkirche St Michael, although it's also known as the "Wedding Church" from the movie "The Sound of Music."
Architecture buffs will enjoy the interior of Pfarrkirche St Michael which features seven altars carved by Meinrad Guggenbichler who I never heard of until I visited here, but apparently he was a famous Swiss sculptor who dedicated much of his life to beautifying the monastery here in Mondsee as well as the church.
A slight oddity of the town of Mondsee is that it's built about 500 yards off of the lake. However, it's just a quick, slightly downhill walk to the waterfront and there you'll find a nice walking promenade and small grassy park as well as a couple places to eat and some boat docks. Here you can also rent boats and windsurfing boards or just enjoy the view of the lake that shares the town's name. The word Mondsee, in fact, means "moon lake" because the lake itself resembles the shape of the crescent moon.
Mondsee's main market square sits right in front of the church of the former Benedictine monastery and is lined with great cafes all with with outdoor seating. The buildings in the square are really colorful and interesting and provide a beautiful setting for a meal.
You'll also find a few shops in the square and on the streets jutting off of the square.
Just to the left of the entrance to the church, you'll find the Heimatmuseum which has items from over the years collected from the former monastery. Remember, this place was founded way back in the 8th century, so there are many artifacts that have been collected over the years. In fact, there are items here that date back to 2500 B.C. that are believed to be relics from inhabitants who lived on the lake in dwellings built on stilts.
To the right and slightly behind the church you'll find a nicely manicured little park with this memorial that I think is some kind of war memorial, although I couldn't read it.
If you continue up the hill on this side of the church, you'll end up at the Freilichtmuseum, which includes a few wooden houses that depict 18th century life in the town. One of the houses, the Rachhaus ("smoke house") is a farmhouse and gives you a true sense of what life must have been like for people back then. I didn't walk up and see this, but you can see plenty of pictures of it on VT member, globetrott's Mondsee page.
Advent in Mondsee is a great christmasmarket in front of the church of Mondsee. I have been there last year and it looks very romantique when the village of Mondsee is covered by snow. It is open obviously only at the 4 weekends before 24. dezember.
One of the reasons for visiting Mondsee was to try a boat trip on the lake. The lake is one of the warmest in Austria and is popular with swimmers. We were really lucky because the first place we tried the boat which is also called Mondsee was just about to leave at 1030am. It was a good choice and only cost us about 6.80 euros each and the trip lasted about 1 hour. The boat is the largest on the lake and can take up to 120 people, it was launched in 2009. Because we spoke to the captain when we purchased the ticket, he did some of the commentary in English. The boat has a range of refreshments and snacks and there are some roast trips in the evenings with a meal included in the price.
Whilst wandering around the town of Mondsee we came upon the town centre. An ornate path lead to St Michael’s Church. One of the reasons people come to this is area is because of the film ‘The Sound of music’. St Michael’s Church was used for the filming of the wedding of Maria and Captain Von Trapp. The church was extremely busy and another reason is its history which dates back to the 12th century, it is also one of the largest churches in this area. The beautiful Baroque interior dates back to the 17th century.
The Advent Market in Mondsee has become more attractive from year to year. Seasonal events, such as carol concerts and plays, get you into the Christmas Spirit. Amid Mondsee´s historical ambience, with the basilica (well known form the film "The Sound of Music") and its cloisters, the château and the church square.
What words can you use to descibe this beautiful little village and the area that surrounds it. It's just like you would imagine it would be. The little town looks as if it was just painted before you arrived. Of course the church (Pfarrkinche St. Michael) that "Maria" was married in (in the "Sound of Music") is in the center of this village. It is beautiful on the outside and inside. When we go to Europe we always drive car so we can to go out of the way places like this. It is a great place to stop and catch your breath and have some coffee or lunch. Oh and of course there is shopping there too!!! We took way too many pictures here and of the surrounding hillsides. Oh by the way #2 there are over 40 lakes in the surrounding are of Salzkammergut. So much to see!!!
Just to say you've been there. If you have no interest in seeing the church, I can't imagine why you'd be here!