On the shores of the Danube, a blue church spire signifies the approach of Durnstein, Austria, a town with a population of less than 1,000.
High above the village is another landmark, Kuenringernurg, the castle where Richard the Lionheart was held in the 12th century during the Third Crusade. I am a passenger on the AmaWaterways AmaSella and I am excited to visit this tiny village with a welcoming reputation.
Historically, Durnstein was first mentioned in conjunction with Kuenringernurg.
I walk through the old entrance to the city, known by the locals as Steiner Tor, and into the village. The streets are narrow and many of them are pedestrian-only, making an exploration even more enjoyable. Located just northwest of Vienna, the village is known for its charming streetscapes, dining and shopping opportunities.
A monastery was established here in 1410 and the church was completed in 1720. The original colors have adorned the church since the day it was finished; the blue and white of the steeple representing heaven, and the gray and yellow of the abbey representing earth. It is famous as one of the finest baroque towers in Austria.
It is raining, but this doesn’t dampen my spirits. With limited time I opt to forgo the church in exchange for walking through the village stopping at tiny gift shops and admiring the centuries-old architecture.
I walk to the river at one end of Main Street and then walk back slowly taking in the beauty of my surroundings.
Never underestimate the significant history or quiet beauty of less-known locations while on a Danube River cruise or another European river while comfortably sightseeing from the ship along the waterways. Durnstein is a delight and one I would enjoy returning to.