Wachau Valley, Austria
On the third day of our cruise with Gate 1 Travel, we woke up in the Bavarian village of Durnstein, one of the prettiest villages on the Danube. After spending an enchanting morning exploring this storybook town, we took an afternoon cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley, with incredible views of vineyards, castles, hilltop ruins and monasteries. This was one of my favorite days on the cruise!
This is the picturesque village of Durnstein.
This tiny Austrian village has less than 1,000 residents.
This is the “ferry” to get to the other side of the river, lol!
Durnstein is in the heart of Austria’s wine country. There were garden vineyards all over the village!
Medieval cobblestone streets lead the way…
Loved this blue church. It was built between 1721-1725.
Such a charming village!
At the top of hill are the ruins of the 12th century Dürnstein Castle.
Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned here in 1193.
There’s a well-traveled path to the top of the ruins with stunning views all across the valley.
It’s about a 20 minute walk, and it’s pretty steep, but there are several places to stop and take a break on the way up. I totally did not wear the right kind of shoes (just ballet flats) but I was totally fine taking this walk. If it’s a nice, clear day, it’s totally worth it for the views alone!! :)
One last look at Dürnstein Castle overlooking the village.
After a refreshing morning hiking and exploring Dürnstein, we were treated to a sunny afternoon cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley.
Wachau Valley is one of the most picturesque regions in all of Austria. We had incredible views of vineyards, castles, churches and hilltop ruins the entire way.
Our cruise director was extremely knowledgeable about the region, and told us all about the castles, legends, and sites we were seeing as we sunbathed on the sun deck.
Fairytale Bavarian villages lined the shores.
This is St. Michael’s Church in Spitz, Austria. Inside is an altar made of human bones!
Hinterhaus Castle, Spitz, Austria
I could not get over how gorgeous the weather was. Just look at those clouds!!
Our guide also told us the difference between a castle and a palace. Castles were built solely for protection of the city, and were cold, damp, and not very pleasant to live in. Palaces on the other hand were built solely for the comfort of the royal family, and were plush and extravagant.
This fortress high on a hill has one of the best preserved medieval kitchens in Austria.
I probably should’ve taken notes, but I was too busy gawking!! :)
See more posts from our cruise!
- Budapest & Bratislava
- Vienna, Austria
- Wachau Valley, Austria
- Melk Abbey
- Salzburg, Austria (The Sound of Music Tour)
- Regensburg & Nuremburg
And be sure to check out Stephanie’s posts from our trip!! :)