Castles and palaces in the Wachau

With the incorporation of the Celtic kingdom Noricum in the Roman Empire, the Danube formed at least in the Wachau the northern border. At that time, along the border of the Danube limes, there are still some ruins of castles still visible today. The Roman Museum in Mautern gives a good insight into this time. The emergence of the castles in the Wachau is due to the Middle Ages.

In the Middle Ages, the Wachau was dominated by the Kuenringer. This noble family owned the castles in Aggstein and Dürnstein. Above all, the Dürnstein castle ruins are closely linked to the history around Richard the Lionheart.

Blick von der Burgruine auf das Donautal Wachau
Burgruine Aggstein CC0 Pixabay

Which castles and palaces are there in the Wachau?

  • Schloss Schönbühel
  • Burgruine Aggstein
  • Ruine Hinterhaus
  • Schloss Spitz
  • Burgruine Dürnstein
  • Gozzoburg Krems

Castles and palaces in the Wachau

Along the Danube there are some historic castles in the Wachau, but above all churches and convent buildings. As early as around 1,000 AD, the first church buildings were mentioned. The oldest church of the Wachau is the “fortified church of St. Michael” and the abbey building of Stift Melk and Stift Göttweig. But it took about 150 years until the time of the castles and palaces began.

Schloss Schönbühel

Schloss Schönbühel was built in the 11th century and was owned by the Starhemberg family for several centuries. The castle itself is still privately owned and therefore is not open for sightseeing or guided tours. The Servite monastery Schönbühel was and still is a place of pilgrimage at which the visit of the church, but also guided tours are possible.

Burgruine Aggstein

As a special destination, the castle ruins Aggstein tower on a rock high above the Danube. Built in the 12th century, the castle was for a long time owned by the Kuenringers. Today, it is one of the top tourist destinations in Lower Austria and is also popular for hiking tours to Advent markets.

Burg und Schloss in Spitz

The ruin Hinterhaus is located near Spitz on the Danube and was first mentioned in 1243. Located on a foothill of the Jauerling you get a nice view of the thousend mountain and the course of the Danube. Spitz on the Danube is also home to another building, namely Spitz Castle. The castle is located in the heart of the village and was first mentioned in 1245. Today it is used for events and also some office space has been set up.

Burgruine Dürnstein

The well-known castle ruin of the Wachau is located in Dürnstein. The ruins Dürnstein was built between 1140-1145 by the Kuenringern and demolished in 1645 by the Swedes under General Torstenson. Through the stories around Richard the Lionheart, many tourists come to this place every year.

Gozzoburg Krems

The “Gozzoburg” is a high medieval city fortress in Krems on the Danube. The core of the castle dates back to the 13th century and was expanded into a palace complex following its takeover by Krems City Judge Gozzo von Krems. Over the centuries, the plant lost some of its extensions, but the core has been preserved to this day and has been revitalized. The building can be visited, or there is also a restaurant in the Gozzoburg. Guided tours give you deeper insights into history.

More interesting informations about the region “Wachau”: Where is the Wachau in austria?