A monastery stay is an overnight accommodation within a religious community. The stay usually includes a place to sleep, communal breakfast and access to religious services, events and retreats. Each monastery is different, some follow strict schedules and others just offer voluntary events.
Many monasteries are open to anyone, regardless of religious affiliation (or lack thereof). For example, the San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice is open to men, women and couples of any religious belief. The only contingency is that you be respectful of their rules and rituals.
Accommodation ranges from a room shared with strangers to your choice of private rooms, depending on the monastery. Price is different everywhere, as well. Many monasteries don’t set a rate, but instead ask for donations and set a suggested amount. Services, rules and rates vary greatly, it is always important to do your research when looking into a monastery stay.
While some monastery rooms are listed online, many others are not. San Giorgio Maggiore, for example, does not list details of their rooms or rates online, you will need to either call or send them a fax. In cases where the information is not easily accessible, narrow your choices by location and search and contact from there.
Online resources include Monasterystays.com, which is a booking site that lists hundreds of monasteries in Italy. Or you can search for individual monasteries, which may or may not post information online. Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland and New Camaldoli Hermitage in California each have an online presence and offer overnight stays.
A monastery stay won’t be ideal for every traveler, but for those looking to get away and experience something new, the religious accommodations could be a great choice.