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Can you do a River Cruise on Danube AND visit Dernstein in one day?

We will be in Vienna next month and have already decided to do a River Cruise down the Danube, based on suggestions from this forum. We would also like to sample the local wine in Dernstein. Can this be done in the same day? Our hotel is in Vienna, so we would have to travel back there at some point in the evening.
Help with transportation suggestions if this is possible would be very helpful. Thanks!!

Posted by
527 posts

I believe you are speaking of Durnstein. You can get off the boat there and then take the bus to Krems to catch a train back to Vienna. There will be plenty of wine to drink.

Posted by
35 posts

Dürnstein is upstream from Vienna and to get there from the city on a river cruise you would have to be going upstream. At any rate, it depends on how long your ship stops. The local river boats, the ones you take for a day trip up through the Wachau, where Dürnstein is located, stop there only for 25 minutes, long enough to drink a glass of wine and walk from one end of the town to the other, but not long enough to look at anything in detail or hike up to the castle ruins. On the local cruises you could interrupt your trip at Dürnstein and continue in the afternoon, but that would be considerably more difficult if you are actually on an extended Danube cruise. There is also an inexpensive local bus service, the Wachau Line, so you might consider that, too.
In the end it all depends on how you get there in the first place and that's difficult to determine from your question.

Posted by
527 posts

If the poster is speaking of going down the Danube I assume that meant Melk to Krems which would not be upstream. So train from Vienna to Melk, take the boat and get off at Durnstein, wander and enjoy, then take the bus to Krems where you can take the train back to Vienna.
I would never recommend a cruise from Vienna up to Melk, Durnstein, etc. Takes too long and the scenery is no good until you hit Krems and further.
You should be able to purchase a Kombi ticket at the train station that will cover train and boat. I do not think it covers the bus from Durnstein to Krems though, but the cost of that would be minimal.

Posted by
11 posts

I appreciate all three of your responses. I am sorry I was not clear with my question. We will travel by train from Vienna to Melk and then take a river cruise on the Danube, and back to Vienna via train. I was not aware that Durnstein was a stop along the way on this cruise, but am grateful for the guidance as to how to incorporate it into our day.
:-)

Posted by
527 posts

The bus from Durnstein is better anyway, it will drop you at the train station at Krems, whereas the boat would not leave you close if you took it to Krems.

Posted by
11 posts

How does this plan sound?:
Take train from Vienna to Melk. See Melk Abby. Take a boat from Melk to Durnstein. Spend time sampling wine and seeing sights. Take a bus to Krems and see sights there. Take train back to Vienna.

If this sounds doable, how much time should we allow in each Durnstein and Krems? What time should we think about departing back to Vienna? Do the trains run late?

Again, I appreciate all your help!

Posted by
527 posts

You can check the train schedule at:
http://www.oebb.at/en/
I would allot the time to Durnstein as there is not much worth seeing in Krems.
Better yet, do an overnight in Durnstein. It is wonderful at night after all the tourists have left. We stayed at Stockingerhof for a night and loved it:
http://www.stockingerhof.at/
There are also other little villages along the way from Melk, such as Spitz or Weissenkirchen, that are also very nice.
You will be in Vienna and the Wachau during Sturm time. This is wonderful lightly fermented young wine that is produced only during this time of year in the area. Very unique and quite an Austrian tradition, make sure to try some while there.

Posted by
35 posts

I checked the schedule of one of the companies who operate a Danube cruise in the Wachau (www.brandner.at/en/) and saw that they leave Melk twice a day. There is a departure at 8:25 am and one at 1:50 pm. If you take the morning trip you'll be in Dürnstein at 9:40 pm. The afternoon cruise will arrive in Dürnstein at 3:15 pm.

You could take the morning trip, stop at Dürnstein, and continue you cruise to Krems in the afternoon. That should give you enough time to sample all sorts of wine. However, I also think its better to take the bus back to Krems.

I want to elaborate a little on what Alex said about the small towns along the way. All of them are worth a stop. For instance, you might consider getting off at Spitz and then continue by bus with stops at Dürnstein and Krems. The immediate area around Spitz produces excellent wine, and the town is worth seeing.

You should also make an effort, where ever you go, to find a local vintner who's just serving the most recent wine of his estate (Heuriger). You have to ask a local or at a tourist information office because different vintners are open at different times of the year. You won't have to go far, though, and in my opinion, they beat most tourist bars and taverns in town for atmosphere, price and product any day of the year.

I think you can do all of that in a day, especially if you don't rely on a return trip by boat to Krems, but if you can spare the time, stay another day or two.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you Roland and Alex. Your suggestions have been very helpful! Can't wait to leave!

Posted by
35 posts

One last tip: the bus lines are an excellent way of getting around. The Wachau Line runs at hourly intervals on the north bank of the Danube (where Dürnstein is located), and on a two hour schedule on the south bank. On top of that, there are also bus lines for hikers to the back country that operate on demand. A day pass will set you back 10 Euro. For that you can ride on all of the buses and ferries.

Posted by
4698 posts

A few other thoughts from me:

-The OP's plan for the day trip sound good to me, but biking hasn't been mentioned. The area between Spitz and Durnstein is terrific terrain for biking on a dedicated path. Several bike companies to choose from that will allow you to drop the bike in another village.

-You can wine taste in the villages where many winemakers have shops. In Durnstein, there is a shop representing a collective of vintners just next to the town gate closest to the train station. Huge selection there for tasting and info on the unique wines grown in that area. I would say that Weissenkirchen is a more comprehensive wine town however with many heurigen in town and just outside (another reason for a bike). Here are a few links:

http://www.domaene-wachau.at/Weine-mit-Charakter.48.0.html?&L=2
http://www.weingutprager.at/english/index.php?id=2
http://www.hirtzberger.com/
http://www.weingut-jamek.at/index.php

If wine and small villages are more of a priority, then you might want to consider skipping Melk and the cruise part; instead train to Krems, bus to Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Durnstein (or bike or walk) and then train back to Krems onward to Vienna.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you to everyone. You have all been very helpful. We leave Monday and I couldn't be more excited!!!