Durnstein, Melk and Austria’s Wachau Valley
Our Danube Delightsitinerary aboard Emerald Waterways’ Emerald Starwent into Austrian overdrive today as we called on two very small but beautiful towns nestled within the country’s picturesque Wachau Valley.
At 0800, we arrived in Durnstein, a picturesque little village located at Kilometre 2000 of the Danube that is notable for its blue-and-white cathedral and the medieval ruins of Kuenringerburg Fortress that dates back to the 12th Century. Kuenringerburg is rather interesting: it was almost entirely destroyed in 1645 by – of all people – the Swedes, who razed it during the Thirty Years’ War, toasted Skål, and caught the next minstrel-carriage back to Stockholm. Today, you can still hike up to the ruins of the fortress, which held Richard the Lionheart in 1193. Being imprisoned in wine country must have been terrible…
Emerald Waterways provides a guided walking tour of Durnstein, which I do recommend taking even though the village itself is quite small and home to just 950 year-round residents. You can walk it yourself, to be sure –but then you’d miss out on the fascinating history of the town.