Clam Castle… Where History Lives On
It’s not every day you can possibly meet up with a living count in his own castle - and yes, when you take a river cruise through Austria, you may have the chance to do just that. Those sailing the mighty Danube have the opportunity to visit Burg Clam (Clam Castle) in medieval Grein in the hills of the Strudengau Valley. What’s more, you can enjoy an exquisite wine tasting within this majestic and historic setting. Here’s everything you need to know about an unforgettable Clam Castle visit.
Count the Counts
There have been counts living in Burg Clam for more than 550 years. The earliest written record of the estate dates back to 1149. The original Counts of Clam presided over the Danube Valley from a twin-towered fortress, defending the castle by private army during the 30 Year War. While much of the structure survived attacks and parts of it were burned down, the entire building was renovated under the rule of Johann Gottfried of Clam, who also built a church, hospital and water pipes for the village. The fortress was also transformed at that time into the livable home you’ll find today.
Meet the Count
When visitors tour Clam Castle today, they may catch a glimpse of Count Carl Philip Clam or his children playing in the halls. Imagine for a moment everyday life within these massive granite walls and an incredible array of antiques, art and armory. Despite the medieval overtones, the castle is quite welcoming - you’ll have the chance to see the courtyards, the kitchen and the Gothic castle (which the Count himself believes to be inhabited by ghosts!). The Count and his family thoroughly enjoy welcoming travelers and appreciate the support of cultural heritage that each visit provides.
A view of the inner courtyard and the main courtyard entrance
Wine Tasting (with the Count?)
The wines of the Danube Valley are spectacular and what better place to indulge than at Clam Castle? Beneath flowering vines and graceful arches, amidst elegant portraiture, you’ll sample a few regional vintages from the village of Krems, known for their freshness, spiciness and complexity. You never know - the Count himself may join your group!
If you’d like to explore the area a bit more, consider a stop at Winzer Krems, where you can tour the wine estate, learn about the wine-making process and sample some of their produce. The grape varieties include Chardonnay, Neuberger, Yellow Muscatel and Pinot Blanc.
If you’d like to see another iconic fortress, head to Aggstein Castle, sitting atop a rocky outcrop over the Danube since the 1200s. Or, visit Schonbuhel Castle below the town of Melk in the Wachau region.
Finally, I love the Gottweig Abbey south of Krems. The impressive Benedictine monastery boasts a colorful Baroque exterior, impressive twin towers, a walled courtyard, an apricot orchard and incredible views of the Wachau Valley from its terraces.
Ready to visit Burg Clam and perhaps meet the Count? Let’s chat.
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