Fodor's To Europe!

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Days 4-5
Next stop: Bad Ischl Previous stop: Vienna Return to full itinerary »

Dürnstein is a classic Wachau Valley village. For such a small town, it has a lot of history, including the castle where Richard the Lionhearted was held captive. These days, it's popular with day-trippers who come for the tiny lanes of houses en route to one of the region's many wineries.
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  • Food and Wine


  • The Richard-the-Lionhearted Castle overlooks Dürnstein. Leopold V held the crusader here in 1192. The reward for the 30-minute uphill climb here is a spectacular view of the Danube Valley and the town below.
  • Hauptstrasse, Dürnstein's main drag, is lined with 16th-century houses. Stay overnight and you'll have this crowded boulevard to yourself.
  • The Stiftskirche is considered to have one of Austria's finest Baroque towers. It sits at the edge of town, on a cliff overlooking the Danube.


  • Late April to mid-May is apricot and apple season, when the region looks its best.

Side Trips

  • Try some authentic Austrian fare at the Gasthaus Erwin Schwartz, about 10 mi/16.1 km away from Dürnstein. According to locals, the Gasthaus makes the finest dumplings in the region.
  • Nearby Krems (10 mi/16.1 km) is the hub of Austria's wine trade; sample some of the local varieties here.

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