Suffering an unintentional vow of poverty

Staying for free in a European monastery or convent

The wildly rococo Basilica di Superga, designed by Filippo Juvarra and a scenic cog railway ride above teh city of Torino in Italy's Piemonte region, is run by the Servi di Maria (Servents of Maria) lay order, and has a hostelry which will put up guests for €25 a person (tel. +39-011-898-0083,

Though most convents and religious hospices charge a modest fee of $20 or so (and are often found in places of pilgrimage, Rome being the biggest example), many monasteries will take in travelers absolutely free of charge.

This is because several monastic orders take "hospitality" as one of their rules, along with their vows of poverty and charity and the like.

Accommodations may be in a special wing of the monastery complex set aside for visitors, or in a dorm-like room of bunks, or even an unused monk's cell.

Sleeping for Free
Overnight trains
Sleeping in Airports
Crewing a Boat
Home Swapping
Hospitality Exchanges

Monasteries are rarely found in the big cities, as most keep to isolated, rural areas more suited to a monk's life of contemplation. This can add to the triple benefit: a free place to sleep, a unique cultural experience, and a chance to get off the tourist treadmill of Europe's major capitals and into the woods or small town to which the monks have retreated.

For much more info (and resources to help you find a holy bed for the night), check out the section on staying in monasteries and convents.



This article was last updated in January 2008 . All information was accurate at the time. | | |
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