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Durnstein is a small town on the Danube in the Wachau region of Lower Austria. The area is famous for its wine growing and picturesque landscape, and connoisseurs and epicureans come from far and wide to sample the fine wines on offer. The best places to stay in Durnstein provide an ideal base for exploring the locale, whether you're here to taste the wines or simply soak up the riverside settting.
The town was established in 1019 and has been described as the ‘most romantic place...in the Wachau’. It’s scenic beauty is the stuff of picture postcards, and the town is overlooked by the evocative ruins of the medieval castle Burgruine Durnstein.
In 1192-3 King Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner here during his return from the third crusade. He had deeply insulted Leopold V, Duke of Austria, and was only released following the handover of 35,000 kilos of silver. The castle was almost completely destroyed in 1645 but its ruins remain an impressive sight perched on a rock 1000 feet above the river.
Less than four miles down the road is the wine producing village of Weissenkirchen - all cobbled streets and arcaded courtyards - where you'll find an eighteenth century winepress.
The Wachamuseum has many nineteenth century paintings of the local landscape and notable residents.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Durnstein are all popular spots. So if you want to be sure of a room during peak season, do yourself a favour and book well ahead.
For a romantic castle
- Hotel Schloss Durnstein is a romantic choice with a lovely situation, right on the banks of the Danube Rooms are traditional and luxurious, plus you'll find a terrace restaurant and sauna and steam bath for relaxation.
For a Country Escape
- Barock Landhof Burkhardt is a former Bavarian Abbey which sits on the banks of the river Danube and enjoys great views. The rooms are elegant, and it makes the perfect base for walking or cycling through the beautiful countryside. Plus you're walking distance from a range of wine taverns for sampling the local vintages.
For Contemporaray Chic
- Malat Hotel is a striking example of modern design and style situated on a family vineyard estate. With just nine luxury suites and apartment it's an intimate spot. Wine tastings are de rigeur. A great place to relax or explore.
Best Hotels in Durnstein
Hotel Schloss Durnstein 45 rooms from $197Durnstein
A 17th century schloss in the Wachau Valley offers a unique holiday experience. Its grand, lavish rooms are steeped in the history of the bygone Hapsburg era. Situated on the banks of the Danube, it affords fantastic views of the river and the surrounding World Heritage Site. An Austrian delight.Hideaway - Historic charm meets modern comforts in this castle hotel- think sauna, steam bath, terrace restaurant and pampering suites.Great walks - At the heart of the Wachau World Heritage Site, with wonderful walking along the Danube.Full of characterSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoor