RICHARD LÖWENHERZ - DÜRNSTEIN
In 1192, while returning from his adventures in the Third Crusade, King Richard I, or Richard the Lionheart, was captured by the Austrian Duke Leopold V, and held captive for nearly a year in the castle of Dürnstein, which stood high on a hilltop over-looking the Danube River. The duke demanded ransom for Richard’s return to England. He was upset that the English king had tossed the duke’s flag of conquest off the walls after the Battle of Acre and believed he had played a part in the murder of his cousin, Conrad Montferrat, the Crusader governor of Jerusalem. Richard would eventually return home without ransom being paid, and the castle of Dürnstein is now a rocky ruin, but the little medieval walled town among the wine vineyards along the Danube River in the World Heritage Wachau Valley region is still a darned nice place to be held captive for a while.
The Romantik Hotel and Restaurant Richard Löwenherz in Dürnstein takes its name from the famed English hero king of legend and is located in one of the most pristine river landscapes in Europe, about an hour west of Vienna and two hours east from Salzburg. Set in the heart of the Danube biking trail, surrounded by wine vineyards and apricot orchards, this is a prime stop for the river cruise ships along the Danube. The Village of Dürnstein was the location of the Augustinian Monastery and Convent of the Clares. The monastery fell into private hands and in 1820, the brewing tavern and rooms were turned into a traveler’s hotel, and named for the king. This is now still the Richard Löwenherz Hotel, but while maintaining the ancient charm, with its garden nestled among the monastery walls, the hotel is of a beautiful and stylish modern boutique accommodation, with an award winning gourmet restaurant under the chestnut trees below the Baroque bell tower, providing views of the cruise boats passing on the river and the castle ruins standing lonely sentinel above.
The Four Star quality hotel has elegant appointments and amenities, with a heated pool and open fireplace for romantic nights, and the restaurant serves a tantalizing range of traditional and innovative culinary delicacies, with a wide selection of wines from the surrounding local, Austrian and world vineyards. From the hotel, you can enjoy biking through the vineyards and hiking to the castle or exploring the river. A short distance away by car or bike is the magnificent monastery of the Göttweig Abbey monastery, still an active enclave of monks and stunning Baroque palace of former bishops.© Bargain Luxury Travel
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