Although Durnstein in a very small town on the Danube River compared to big cities like Vienna and Budapest it still is one of the most visited and well known areas in the Wachau Region, and most notably know for its wine growing. We arrived here in the evening after a full day of sailing, and even through the fog and at the distances you could see the looming ruins of the Durnstein Castle.
Durnstein was first brought to light in the history books when the Leopold V Duke of Austria held King Richard I of England (Richard the Lionhearted) captive in the Castle after their dispute during the third crusade in 1192. However, in 1645 the castle was almost completely destroyed by the sweetish empire.
This is the condition in which we visited the castle, the stone steps leading up almost 900 ft had no guard rails, they were carved directly into the mountain and always had an edge that lead directly off of the cliff face. We traveled up these steps as night approached which added to the ominous feeling walking up the mountain.
By the time we reached the top we were out of breath, and although it was at least 30 degrees I had shed a few layers. I stood there on that cliff side in the midst of the Durnstein Castel Ruins looking over the entire Wachau Valley as dusk descended. From the top of the mountain the wind had picked up and made all of the surrounding trees creek and wane in an eerie tone, but we continued up. Inside the Castel confines we found a cellar with rust iron bars and a widow sill in a crumbling wall.
The view from the top was unbelievable at night,and nothing on my trip could compare to the feeling of being on top of the world in the Durnstein Castle Ruins.