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  • Meredith Peters

Durnstein on the Danube

The small river town of Durnstein, Austria is one of the most visited cities in the region of Wachau, a extraordinary stretch of the Danube Valley that has been preserved since medieval times. This beautiful, charming town is just a short hour's drive from Vienna and can be explored on a day trip, though if you love history and vineyards, you may want to stay a little longer.

Cruising on the Danube

Durnstein is a slow-paced, peaceful town where walking is the preferred mode of transportation and most of the major attractions are very easily accessible. It is located on the Danube and is renowned for its wineries and ideal port location for river cruises. Durnstein is full of cheery houses, intimate wine taverns, and many notable monuments.


The Wachau region is one of Europe’s treasures that gives visitors a glimpse of how a landscape can change organically throughout time. The Wachau Valley's visual quality is so high; it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Cruising on the Danube

The city is best known for its wineries and, similar to the rest of the region, its prized apricots. Visitors have the opportunity to sample a variety of apricot themed dishes such as dumplings, strudel, and even apricot brandy.


Cruising on the Danube

Often called Austria’s prettiest village, Durnstein is a photographer’s dreamland. Its stunning blue abbey bell tower is one of the most famous sites in the Danube Valley. The town offers rocky hikes up the restored partially ruins of the storybook castle, Kuenringerburg where Richard the Lionheart of England was imprisoned and held for ransom in the 12th century. If history alone does not get you to the castle, the beautiful sunset view of the valley should encourage visitors to climb the ruins.



The picturesque Durnstein village has been perfectly preserved with much of its medieval character from its past. These virtually pedestrian-only cobblestone streets and charming courtyards are where locals and tourists can shop for locally produced goods and sit down for a bite at a café or restaurant. However, Durnstein’s main attraction is The Blue Monastery Church and Abbey, which is famous as one of the finest baroque towers in Austria. Touring is available and those who choose to can get a glimpse of St. James’ skeleton inside the church.


The village sits at the base of a cliff on the water’s edge, adding to the landscape's beauty. It is surrounded by an 800-year-old medieval wall and vineyards that stretch for miles, making up many wineries. Durnstein checks every box as far as things to see and do in a new city go with its hilly shores, castles and monasteries.


There truly is not enough that can be written about this beautiful village in the Wachau Valley. This is the perfect place to take a quick day trip or to unwind and decompress for a few days after an extended European vacation. Better yet, take a river cruise down the Danube and experience Durnstein and the other charming towns along the river.


Drop me a line to find out the best way to explore this beautiful river town.


Cruising on the Danube

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