Thinking about taking a Danube River Cruise? We recently went with Gate 1 Travel. Cruising through the Wachau Valley is one of the highlights of a Danube River Cruise. Here’s what you’ll see in the Wachau Valley:
On the third day of our Danube River Cruise, we woke up in the Bavarian village of Durnstein, one of the prettiest villages on the Danube River.
We spent the morning exploring this fairytale town, then spent the afternoon cruising through the scenic Wachau Valley. We had incredible views of vineyards, castles, hilltop ruins, and also monasteries. This was one of my favorite days on the cruise! Keep reading below for photos of everything we saw.
This is the picturesque village of Durnstein, one of my favorite villages we visited on our Danube River Cruise.
This tiny Austrian village has less than 1,000 residents.
This is the small ferry to get to the other side of the river.
Durnstein is in the heart of Austria’s wine country, so we saw garden vineyards all over the village!
Medieval cobblestone streets lead the way into the tiny village.
This blue church in Durnstein was built between 1721-1725.
I loved exploring this beautiful village on our Danube River Cruise!
At the top of the hill are the ruins of the 12th century Dürnstein Castle. After exploring the village, we went to see the ruins.
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 before we continued our Danube River Cruise in the Wachau Valley.
We spent a beautiful morning hiking and exploring Dürnstein, and after that we took 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 Gate 1 Travel 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 of the Danube River.
St. Michael’s Church
This is St. Michael’s Church in Spitz, Austria. Inside the church is an altar made of human bones!
Views of the Wachau Valley on our Danube River Cruise:
Vineyard Views in Austria on our Danube River Cruise
I could not get over how gorgeous the weather was. Just look at those clouds!!
What is the difference between a castle and a palace?
Our guide also taught 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.
This is just a glimpse of what all you’ll see on a Danube River Cruise through the Wachau Valley! For more information on a Danube River cruise, see our posts below!