Durnstein in the Wachau

Durnstein Wachau

(Advertisement) Dürnstein Abbey in the Wachau looks best from the Danube. You can see the blue tower of the collegiate church below the castle from afar, if you approach the place by ship. The town itself does not offer many sights, but those that are are worth a visit. They bear witness to the great past of the place. Dürnstein Abbey is next to the Monastery in Melk and the Abbey in Gottweig one of the three main sights of the Wachau. If you are not on one of the numerous river cruise ships, you can easily stay in one of the hotels in the city or nearby. Then a longer stay is worthwhile, because there is a lot to experience in the area. Wine, hiking and cycling or boating on the Danube are just a few of the options.


Book your accommodation in Dürnstein here

  • Im Winzerhof Stöger* is there free street parking available
  • In a five star hotel Dürnstein Castle* you stay in a historic building in Dürnstein. Free parking spaces are available at the hotel.
  • The four star hotel Richard the Lionheart* is right on the banks of the Danube. Here you sleep in a historical ambience. Free private parking is available at the hotel.
  • We like to stay in one of the pleasure rooms in the Garden Hotel & Weingut Pfeffel just outside the town with its spa with a magnificent view of Dürnstein. The hotel's kitchen also offers enjoyment. Free private parking is included.
  • Are you looking for more hotels? Then you will find one here Selection where you can compare prices*.


Lower Austria vacation in Dürnstein
Dürnstein in the Wachau in Lower Austria

Sights in Dürnstein in the Wachau

The two main sights of Dürnstein in the Wachau are not far apart. While the abbey is located in the town center on the Danube, the castle towers above it, giving the town its dramatic past.


Inner courtyard in Dürnstein Abbey in the Wachau
Inner courtyard in Dürnstein Abbey in the Wachau

The Augustinian Canons' Monastery on the Danube

In 1410, Otto von Maissau brought Augustinian canons from the line of Kuehnringer Augustinian canons from Bohemia to Dürnstein in the Wachau. They built the church, the cloister and the monastery. At the end of the 17th century, Provost Hieronymus Übelbacher had the monastery renovated in the Baroque style. Ubelbacher was a learned man. His portrait can be seen on a tour of the monastery. He had precise ideas about how his monastery should be redesigned. He worked together with Joseph Munggenast. The magnificent entrance portal and the inner courtyard were created by Jakob Prandtauer, and the church gate, the church interior and the substructure of the tower are the work of Matthias Steinl.


collegiate Church
Collegiate Church Dürnstein in the Wachau

Since 1745 the collegiate church has also been the parish church of Dürnstein in the Wachau. The sculptor Johann Schmidt, the father of the famous Kremser Schmidt, who we met on the tour of the church, worked on the interior decoration of the church City of Krems met. He himself designed two side altars in Dürnstein Abbey. As early as 1788, however, Emperor Joseph II closed the monastery. Since then, the Herzogenburg Abbey has looked after the monastery buildings and the parish. One looks in vain for monastic life here today. Instead, there is a guided tour through the monastery building, where you get to know the history and the buildings better.

Opening times Dürnstein Wachau Abbey 2022

March 26th to October 30rd
Monday to Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m
Sunday and public holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m
(last admission 17:30 p.m.)

Guided tour in German daily at 11.00 a.m. and 14.00 p.m. An audio guide in 5 Languages is available at any time.

Opening times Dürnstein Wachau Abbey 2023

from April 1st to October 29th. The opening hours themselves remain unchanged.



Durnstein Castle

The second sight of Dürnstein is the castle that bears the same name. It is known as the place where Richard the Lionheart was captured on his way back to Jerusalem from his crusade. The story of how his brother seized power during this time should be familiar to many from the stories about Robin Hood. The Kuehnringers only released their noble prisoner for a large ransom. The whole Legend about Richard the Lionheart you can also read about it in this post.


Castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned
Castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned

Ascent to the castle

Only ruins remain of Dürnstein Castle in the Wachau. If you have some time and good shoes, then a climb to the castle is worthwhile. There are two paths leading up to Richard the Lionheart's former prison.

The easy way to the Dürnstein castle ruins


This path begins in front of the city gate. Park your car at the parking lot in Oberloiben (see map). In front of the town gate, turn right and follow the signs to “Dürnstein castle ruins, easy variant”. There are always information boards along the way that tell about Richard the Lionheart's imprisonment. The path goes uphill, so you can take a few breather breaks at these stations. In total, it takes about 20 - 25 minutes to walk to the ruins.

The difficult donkey trail to the Dürnstein castle ruins


This path is rougher and leads over hill and dale. Sturdy shoes are essential here. The path branches off to the right immediately behind the Wiese distillery and leads steeply up the mountain. It takes about 20 minutes to walk up to the top.

From the ruins you have a magnificent view of Dürnstein and the surrounding area

The effort of the ascent is worth it. Not only do you have a beautiful view of Dürnstein and the Danube, but you also see Göttweig Abbey on one side and Weißenkirchen on the other. My tip: Buy a Wachauer Laberl in the Rudolf Schmidt bakery (address: Dürnstein 21) before the ascent. This type of bread from the Wachau was invented there. Then you can enjoy the view even more with a small snack.


Wachau label
Wachau label


You need that for a hike near Dürnstein in the Wachau


Do you like traveling to Dürnstein in the Wachau in a motorhome?

- Do you want to rent a motorhome? Then you will find information here and booking options. Or would you prefer to stay overnight in a roof tent on the car? In addition, the overnight stay in camping tents is possible.
- Check with ours packing list for camperswhether you have packed everything for your motorhome tour. Then you are ready for your mobile home tour in the Wachau.
- You want to know where to go with a motorhome stay in Europe can and are you looking for pitches and campsites? You can find information about this under this link.
– A campsite near Dürnstein is Wachau-Camping Rossatz, 3602 Rossatzbach 21, navigation: N48° 23.396´E015° 31.008. Alternatively, you can also stay overnight at the Melk campsite, Kolomaniau 3, 3390 Melk, Austria. There you can after a day trip in a with a Dutch Oven or preparing your meal on the portable grill after a day trip . Dutch oven accessories can be found here.
– Why is an e-bike folding bike practical when camping?


Dürnstein and Dürnstein Castle in the Waldviertel
Dürnstein and Dürnstein Castle in the Waldviertel

Questions and answers about Dürnstein in the Wachau

Who was imprisoned in Dürnstein?

The most famous prisoner in Dürnstein Castle was Richard the Lionheart. Duke Leopold V held him there until the English paid the ransom demanded.

How high is the Dürnstein?

The hill behind the town on which the castle stands is 209 meters high.

In which district is Dürnstein?

The town of Dürnstein is located in the Wachau in the Waldviertel region of Lower Austria.


Travel Arrangements:

Arriving by plane, public transport or car

Arrival by plane, bus or train* The nearest airport is Vienna Schwechat. From there you can travel by rental car or public transport. There are train stations in Krems and Melk.


The Wachaubahn also runs from April to October: Information about this

Car Rentals:

Cheap rental cars - book here! *

Accommodation in Dürnstein in the Wachau:

Book yours here Accommodation*
Stay overnight in one winery in the Wachau, where you can experience wine intensively



Durnstein in the Wachau
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Do you already know:

Source: own research on site as well as press trips with Klösterreich

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs and TravelWorldOnline

Durnstein in the Wachau
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