When I was by the Danube, I saw a Day Cruise Boat about to call into port.
I would love to do a cruise around here amongst the lovely scenery.
DDSG DANUBE CRUISES is one of the companies that do cruises along here. You can read more on their website.
I think the best way to see historic Durnstein, is to walk.
It is situated on the side of a hill, and I happened to be at the bottom beside the Danube River, this meant I had an uphill climb to reach the town centre.
What is good, is there are short cuts, in the way of tunnels. I know it means quite a few steps, but I thought it much better than doing a long walk to find a road up to the middle of town.
A local train route runs through the Wachau from Krems via Dürnstein to Spitz. In Krems you connect to trains to Vienna and elsewhere.
These local trains are small, consist of only one railcar, but they run every hour.
Cruise boats run on a regular timetable along the Wachau valley from Melk to Krems. This is an easy and enjoyable way of experiencing the landscape.
Fares are not cheap, though - 20€ from Melk to Dürnstein. No prebooking, buy your ticket at the booth next to the landing before boarding. Food and drink can be obtained on board but you can also bring your own.
Several more photos of the cruise are in my travelogues.
The DDSG Blue Danube Schifffahrt GmbH offers many different cruises along the Danube. The most common go between Melk and Krems and Dürnstein and Vienna. The cruise along the Wachau between Melk and Krems is especially great because this area is on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of its beauty.
There is a small train station called Durnstein-Oberloiben at the outskirt of the town area.
Here is some train information on the internet which may be useful if you are travelling from Vienna or Salzburg to Durnstein by train. If you are not sure, please visit the OBB website below (OBB is the major train company of Austria).
From Salzburg/Linz: St. Pölten Hbf. – transfer to Dürnstein-Oberloiben via Krems (travel time approx. 50 min.)
From Vienna: From Vienna's Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof to Krems - there you have to change and take the train to Dürnstein (travel time approx. 70 min.)
There are basically two ways to go to Durnstein and rest of the Wachau area from Vienna.
The first way is by car and the road conditions are good, with stunning sceneries of the hills, Danube River, lovely towns, vineyards, castles etc. It takes about 2 hours drive North-west of Vienna to reach the Wachau area. After passing by some flat land area outside Vienna and crossing the Danube River, you will soon see that the scenery begins to turn to hilly region (which indicates you are entering the Wachau region). The first prominent town you will reach is Krems (see my VT Krems page) followed by Durnstein and then Melk, which you need to drive across the Danube River to reach Melk (see my VT Melk page). My trip to Durnstein and the Wachau area was by car, thanks to Michael (VT member Globetrott) who took my wife and I on a wonderful day trip. If you can cycle, there is a good cycling path network in the Wachau region for spending a few days cycling in the region.
The second way is by a cruise along the Danube River (most tourists will visit the Wachau region by this way because it is a packaged day trip). The good thing is that everything is arranged and you get to cruise along the river, and visiting places like Melk. But the downside is that these sort of trip is usually very rush and you may not stop at Durnstein and Krems. Furthermore, it is not cheap (arount 60 Euros for adults and 30 Euros for children). I have not tried the cruise trip but if you are interested, you can see the webpage below.
Walking is in fact the best and only way to truely appreciate the beauty and architecture of Durnstein and its surroundings. The town and surrounding areas are not very big, plus the walking paths are in good conditions. There are also many signages and maps which will guide you, the Danube River and hills can also be used as directional markers :)