Durnstein, Austria

Durnstein Castle still sits on the cliff face high above Durnstein, Austria. Photo courtesy of Uniworld.

Located along the famous Danube in Lower Austria, Durnstein is well-known for its wineries and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Wachau region. The city’s name literally means “dry castle” in German, presumably after the stone castle situated high above the main town area.

The town was first mentioned in 1019 and gained notoriety in late 1192 when Richard the Lionheart was held captive in the castle by Duke Lepold V of Austria. It was officially made a town in 1476, and is well-known for the 1805 Battle of Durnstein that took place just outside the city.

Your River Cruise Ship Docks …

Durnstein’s prime location along the Danube makes the town an ideal river cruise port.  Your river cruise ship ties up right in the heart of this storybook locale.

When in Durnstein …

Durnstein, Austria exhibits old-world charm treasured by locals and tourists. Photo courtesy of Uniworld.
  • Durnstein Castle’s stone remains can still be seen to this day, situated at the top of the hill overlooking the town. While the structure is a shell of its former self, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision what this imposing structure must have been like in its heyday a millennia ago.
  • Walk. This sleepy little town is a paradise for those who enjoy getting out on foot, and nearly all the town’s major attractions (with the exception of the old castle) are easily accessible. Enjoy wandering the streets of this beautiful town, and don’t be afraid to get lost! Much like Venice, you can never really be lost in Durnstein.
  • Drink. Durnstein is known for its wineries, and you should not miss a chance to partake in some of the local wines. Of particular note are the regional Reislings, which are prized for their high quality.
  • Eat. The Apricot is particularly prevalent (and prized) in the Wachau area, and Durnstein is no exception. Be sure to sample the local apricot dumplings, apricot strudel, and wash it down with a splash of apricot brandy; you’ll be glad you did!

River Cruisers Should Know!

  • The adopted currency of Austria is the Euro.
  • German is the official language in Austria, and while most people involved directly with tourism will speak English, it isn’t as widely used compared with other European countries. Because of this, travelers may wish to bring an English to German dictionary.

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