Join our mailing list and get
all the latest cruise
deals direct to your inbox


Sign up today and we'll
send you the latest
edition of our
cruise concierge

Durnstein Castle set on the hillside


Durnstein River Cruises

About Durnstein

Nestled in the celebrated Wachau wine-growing region of Lower Austria, Durnstein features on the itineraries of many a Danube cruise. This picture-perfect village offers a scenic contrast to some of the larger cities you’ll visit on a voyage along this celebrated river and the view of it from the Danube is the perfect snapshot of everything that makes cruising the Rhine such an idyllic experience. The town got its name from the medieval castle which overlooks it and indeed, it is this structure which is its single biggest attraction. None other than Richard the Lionheart was held captive here, making it a natural place of pilgrimage and historical curiosity for many UK river cruisers especially.

Exploring Durnstein

Dating back to the late 1100s, the aforementioned Durnstein Castle, also known as Kuenringer Castle,  is the main reason you’ll visit the town and indeed, you’ll spot it on its rocky perch overlooking the Danube long before you disembark. Today, it’s little more than a ruin but the structure is still visible and it won’t take too much imagination to cast your mind back to the time when Richard I was held here for a year after returning from one of his Crusades. It was Leopold V Duke of Austria who was responsible; acting on his outrage at the Lionheart’s casting down of his standard at a key battle during the Third Crusade. Though the structure lies in ruins it is truly satisfying to see for yourself a building which played such a key historical role. The view from the castle ruins of the town and river below is pretty special too.

Durnstein’s other most visible attraction is its striking blue and white church, which is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Austria. The village’s parish church originally started off life as Augustinian monastery and dates back to 1721. Inside, there are some beautiful reliefs and altar pieces to enjoy, courtesy of the celebrated Austrian artist Johann Schmidt.

Aside from its architectural attractions, Durnstein is a great place to simply relax, take a stroll and drink in the ambience and indeed, the wine. The Wachau is well-known for its wine and despite its small size, Durnstein presents plenty of opportunities to sample some of the regional vintages for yourself. There are local stores as well as restaurants and though no assurance is needed, you’ll find plenty of the wine’s authenticity when you gaze up to the surrounding hillsides, which are resplendent in Wachau vines.

Durnstein tips

Durnstein presents the perfect opportunity to pick up some souvenir wine. The village is small and located close to where your ship docks, so you’ll have plenty of time to shop around for a bargain. The convenience of trying before you buy is a bonus, too.

Customers recently booked

Magnificent Europe Paris to Prague
Paris (Le Havre) to Prague, Czech Republic
APT Cruising
27 Mar 2018 - 20 nights
34 sailing dates
A view across stunning Bratislava
The Blue Danube
Prague, Czech Republic to Budapest
05 Apr 2018 - 11 nights
32 sailing dates

You may be interested in

A view over the Linz skyline
Jewels of Europe
Amsterdam to Budapest
Scenic River Cruises
16 Jul 2018 - 14 nights
Includes HUGE savings of up to 45% and FREE door-to-door transfers
63 sailing dates
Munich - Early morning aerial view of Feldherrenhalle and Theatinerkirche in Munich, Germany
Melodies of the Danube
Budapest to Vilshofen
21 Sep 2018 - 7 nights
Includes FREE flights and private transfers on selected 2018 sailings PLUS plus €100 FREE to spend on-board per couple
51 sailing dates
A scenic river view over Miltenberg, Germany
Magnificent Europe
Amsterdam to Budapest
Avalon Waterways
21 Sep 2018 - 14 nights
Secure your 2018 cruise now with LOW £75pp deposits and FREE VIP chauffeur home pick-up service
44 sailing dates
An amazing view over Budapest at night
Amsterdam & Budapest by Riverboat
Amsterdam to Budapest
22 Sep 2018 - 14 nights
13 sailing dates

For the best prices call us free on:

Thank-you for signing up
RiverVoyages acts as a retail agent to you and also as a disclosed agent of the holiday provider. Many of the flight inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking terms and conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here
Call us FREE on 08001970854 (free phone).