Monastery hopping might sounds fast-paced and a touch irreverent, but unlike island hopping it is a calm and contemplative way to travel. Set against the enchanting backdrop of the northern Black Forest, the Monasteries route from Alpirsbach to Maulbronn offers fascinating glimpses of monastic life. The former Benedictine abbey in Alpirsbach – 900 years of history shrouded in stone – is a striking example of Cluniac architecture. Visitors can enjoy monastery or cloister concerts or attend one of the abbey's interesting workshops. The former world of the monks and abbots at the St. Peter and St. Paul Benedictine Abbey in Hirsau contains arresting relics of monastic history. Visitors can stroll around the enchanting ruins or maybe take in a play in the abbey grounds. The extremely well preserved, elegant old monastery at Maulbronn, built by Cistercian monks around 850 years ago (seemingly for eternity) in the secluded Salzachtal valley, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Throughout history, members of religious orders have made an important contribution to the development of European culture. Their monastic architecture is an inherent part of our cultural heritage.