Austria’s romantic, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley is world-renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, historic sights and famous wines, and nowhere better epitomises the appeal of this stunning region than Dürnstein. Situated on a curve of the Danube River afront forested hills, and home to steep vineyards and a collection of beautifully well-preserved medieval buildings, this town is as picture-perfect as they come.
Simply admiring Dürnstein from your riverboat on a Danube River cruise would be an experience to behold, so picturesque is the town, but stopping here to explore one of Austria’s most popular tourist spots is all the more rewarding. After all, there must be a reason why the town’s population of a few hundred swells to a few thousand in the summer months, when people from all corners of the globe visit.
Although Dürnstein is a small town, there are plenty of highlights and attractions to discover as you wander the narrow streets and alleys. Pin Dürnstein, which features a magnificent blue tower; the Kunigunde church, built in the early 13th century; the striking City Hall; and impressive Fort Clarissinnenkirche all await your discovery just a short distance from your boat.
The ruins of the city’s 12th century castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, are not to be missed. The castle towers over Dürnstein from atop a steep hill, and it’s well worth making the effort to climb to this historic fortification to learn of its links to Richard the Lionheart and enjoy unspoilt views of the Danube and the Wachau Valley’s astonishing scenic landscapes. If you’re tempted to try a glass or two of the region’s delicious tipples, be sure to visit one of the friendly taverns or wine cellars too.