3601 Dürnstein, Austria
Castles and Vineyards in DürnsteinAs the ship approaches a gentle bend in the Danube, the small village of Durnstein comes into sight, first with the appearances of the distinctive blue and white tower of the old town’s Abbey Church and, up above, the rocky ruins of an 1140 castle. Take the steep (but blessedly brief) climb up to explore—within those walls Richard the Lionhearted was held prisoner after being captured on his way home from the crusades. From up here, the views of the peaceful Wachau Valley, one of Austria’s premier wine-growing regions, extend forever. Along the local Austrian Wine Trail, vineyards and tasting rooms pour the local wines, which include Grüner Veltliner and Rieslings, which often have a cool mineral tang resulting from the stony growing fields.