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A walk to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle

A walk to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle

December 2019 · 3 min read · Gemeinde Dürnstein

A walk to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle near Dürnstein in Wachau valley is an absolute "must" when you come to this area.

A lot of (paid) parking possibilities can be found at the pier.

Then you walk up to the old town and through the gate.

Right after this gate a small path called "Eselssteig" ("donkey track") leads up the mountain.

Oh yes! You really should wear good hiking shoes and using hiking poles is also a good idea. Although the ruins are just 300 m above sea level and you just have to cover a height difference of not even 100 meters, the trail is really steep and rocky.

Now you know what I mean.

After some minutes you can already see the striking blue church steeple of Dürnstein abbey.

But it won't take you much time until you already reach the outer castle yard.

Now you can start to explore the ruins of the castle that has been built in the 12th century. In the year 1679, the castle was not inhabitable anymore and was abandoned to decay.

The castle became famous when Richard I the Lionheart has been captured on his way back from the Third Cruisade and imprisoned in Dürnstein castle.

This photo of course does NOT show his prison although the room might look like a prison. As Richard was an extremely valuable hostage it can be assumed that he was treated very well and more like a state guest than a usual prisoner. A critically ill or even dead hostage would not have any value.

The view on Dürnstein is wonderful!

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For the way back you can use the "Wunderburggraben". Go down to the outer castle yard and then pass through this gate.

This way also offers beautiful views and is not as steep as the Eselssteig.

Various lookout points and information boards inform (also in English language!) on the history of Dürnstein and about Richard the Lionheart.

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It is a beautiful but exhausting hike. Athletes will probably make it in 30 minutes, but I recommend to take yourself at least 2 hours of time since there is a lot to explore, many lookout points that you can use to take beautiful photos etc.

A more detailled story in German, with a more detailled map and more photos including 360° panorama photos can be found on my weblog!

The photos shown have been taken in August, 2019.

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