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The Kartause, or Charterhouse monastery,  in Gaming, Austria, dates back to the 13th century. The stone wall trail behind the monastery is a great place to view the city.

The Kartause, or Charterhouse monastery, in Gaming, Austria, dates back to the 13th century. The stone wall trail behind the monastery is a great place to view the city. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Mentions of Austria tend to evoke thoughts of the Von Trapps from “The Sound of Music,” the grandeur of Vienna or maybe the picturesque panorama that is Hallstatt.

However, tucked away in the foothills of the Austrian Alps is the small town of Gaming, a quiet retreat that mostly has escaped notice. But after seeing a post on social media about beer brewed by monks, I knew I had to go.

The Kartause monastery in Gaming, Austria, is home to students from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, a restaurant and brewery, and a hotel.

The Kartause monastery in Gaming, Austria, is home to students from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, a restaurant and brewery, and a hotel. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Peeking through the countryside is the steeple of the former monastery known as the Kartause, or Charterhouse. Once home to monks, it now serves as a hotel, school, restaurant and brewery, hosting students and travelers alike. The monks now live in various places around Gaming.

The town was the home of Duke Albert II in the 13th century, and the Charterhouse has an image of the duke. Let’s just say that Albert had a face that makes onlookers wish they could unsee that portrait.

However, Gaming’s roots date back to the ninth century. Portions of this long history are displayed in the museum of the Charterhouse.

A view of the city of Gaming, Austria, seen from the top of the iron cross trail.

A view of the city of Gaming, Austria, seen from the top of the iron cross trail. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

While walking around, visitors will see signs shaped like beer mugs leading just outside of town. At the end of these trails is what appears to be just a normal well next to a pond. It’s actually one of the town’s best surprises.

By donating a few euros, you can hoist up and enjoy beers brewed by the monks of the Kartause that are kept cool at the bottom of the well.

Gaming’s main attraction, though, is its views and hikes. Looking out over the surrounding peaks gives a sense that the city has been frozen in time.

Beers are hoisted from the bottom of the emptied well on a trail near Gaming, Austria.

Beers are hoisted from the bottom of the emptied well on a trail near Gaming, Austria. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

The trails, which often meander between houses or buildings, can be challenging to find but are well worth the adventure. They are peaceful and family-friendly, with varied lengths and degrees of difficulty.

At the top of each mountain, along with the view, logbooks invite hikers to leave a written record of their presence.

I spent two days and one night exploring all this little getaway has to offer. While the scenery and the suds were wonderful, a major highlight of Gaming for me was the kebab stand in the heart of the town. Cheap and delicious, the kebabs were the perfect lunch after a long hike.

The beer trail through Gaming offers great views while guiding travelers to the town's best spots for a quick drink. This pond is one of the stops along the way. Hikers can stop and grab a beer from the well next to the pond.

The beer trail through Gaming offers great views while guiding travelers to the town's best spots for a quick drink. This pond is one of the stops along the way. Hikers can stop and grab a beer from the well next to the pond. (Michael Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

For longer stays, the region has more to offer. A short drive from Gaming leads to Melk Abbey, the ruins of Durnstein Castle or the crystal-clear waters of the Lunzer See.

Directions: Using the Kartause as a landmark in your GPS, driving is simple via the A3. Cellphone service gets spotty in the mountains, so preloading the maps is a must.

Cost: Hiking trails and other activities are free. Overnight stays in the Kartause range from 93 to 193 euros.

Information: https://www.kartause-gaming.at

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