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… is a small section of the Danube river, between Durnstein and Melk, lined with vineyards, and famed for its wine – at least in the local area! It’s short – only about 40 km – but sweet, and we stopped at both ends of it today.


The village of Durnstein, on the Danube River at the start of the Wachau valley.

Ruins of Kuenringer Castle at Durnstein

Ruins of Kuenringer Castle at Durnstein. Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner here in 1192-93, until the royal ransom was paid.

Main street in Durnstein.

The main street of the small village of Durstein. There are less than 1000 people here, and when we first arrived on Sunday morning there was no-one around. We walked up to the castle ruins, and when we came down an hour later, the place was alive with small tourist shops and cafes all open for business.

Melk Abbey

The Benedictine Abbey at Melk, on a hill 130 feet above the Danube, was originally established over 900 years ago. The present building dates from the first half of the 18th century, and is very impressive; it stretches for almost 400 yards, and includes a historical exhibition, and a huge library containing over 16,000 volumes on show – and more in an archives section.