Ever thought about a round trip through Luxembourg? No? Then it’s high time! Luxembourg has a lot to offer and awaits you with varied landscapes, charming towns, an interesting history, lots of culture and a wide range of leisure activities.
The distances in the country are short, you get quickly from A to B and can therefore see and experience a lot in a short time. In today’s post, we take you to the 13 best places to visit in Luxembourg.
Echternach is the oldest city in Luxembourg and the cultural center of the Grand Duchy. The municipality, which has a population of around 5600, is nestled in the naturally beautiful Mullerthal, also known as Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland. The landscape is characterized by river courses and sandstone cliffs. The latter attract climbers in particular to the region.
Echternach itself has retained its medieval charm: winding alleys, remnants and towers of the old city wall and the market square with pretty town houses make for this. Especially the gothic Dingstuhl from 1444 directly at the market place is worth a short stop. The two towers of the basilica watch over the hustle and bustle in the historic center.
The former Benedictine monastery of Echternach, known for its scriptorium and its valuable book paintings from the 11th century, is remembered today by a museum. Also worth seeing are the ruins of the largest Roman villa this side of the Alps. They are located on the town’s own lake, which they affectionately refer to here as the Sea of Echternach.
Vianden Castle is one of the largest preserved castles west of the Rhine. It is located in Luxembourg in the canton of the same name, Vianden, where it stands at an altitude of 310 meters above the river and above the town of Vianden.
The medieval fortification was built in the 10th-11th centuries on a Roman fort. The Counts of Vianden, who resided here, were the most powerful lords between the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse rivers until the 15th century. Then the imposing Staufer castle came into the possession of the House of Oranienburg until the French Revolution, when it was confiscated by the French.
In 1815 it was returned to the Grand Duke William I of Luxembourg and the mayor of the town at that time, Wenzeslaus Coster, bought it at an auction in 1820 for 3200 florins. He sold all the useful materials, such as the copper roof, lead glazing, wood paneling and iron fittings, as well as the windows and doors. Thus, the castle complex visibly deteriorated.
Grand Duke Adolf from the elder house of Nassau bought the castle in 1890 for 1100 florins. He wanted to have it rebuilt, but this did not happen, so the castle continued to decay.
In 1977 the castle was nationalized and gradually restored and is open to visitors every day.
The castle has an inner wall with corner towers. The core castle contains the living quarters, the banqueting halls and economic rooms. The outer wall ring is much lower. Three successive gates provide access to the core castle. The main area of the extensive castle complex is formed by the armory, an “archaeological crypt”, a large and a small kitchen, a lower chapel, the knight’s parlor, that dining room and the large knight’s hall.
Above there is a courtyard with a battlement. Here you can get to the upper chapel, the “Byzantine Gallery”, the banquet hall and the bedroom.
The district capital of the Northern District of Luxembourg is located on the edge of the Ardennes and Luxembourg Switzerland in a central traffic position. It is one of the first and most important tourist resorts of the Grand Duchy. Recreation is offered by the valley of the Sauer with its meadows and pastures and the adjacent mountains, such as the Herrenberg with its fruit trees. The town is also known for its flowering gardens in a mild climate, the numerous parks decorated with flowers, which are illuminated in the evening during the season, and its own brewery.
The pedestrian zone is followed by the harmonious old town with its cozy alleys and squares. As the “sports town of the north” Diekirch offers: indoor swimming pool, miniature golf, kayaking, tennis, sport fishing, horseback riding and saunas. A cycling path from Diekirch goes along the Sûre River to Echternach.
Diekirch is home to the oldest church in the country (15th century), built on Roman and Romanesque foundations, as well as a church dating from 1867. The town museum houses, among other things, a remarkable mosaic with a head of Medusa visible from two sides and many objects from the Roman period. The large Historical Museum houses documents about the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. In the city are the birthplaces of former Luxembourg Ministers of State Paul Eyschen and Joseph Bech and the Palace of Justice built in 1851.
The four-winged Beaufort Castle was built in 1645 in the French Renaissance style for Baron de Beck, the civil governor of the Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located behind the first castle, of which only ruins remain, but which nevertheless have a romantic charm. They come from a small fortress built in the 12th century, which was protected by a moat and a second circular wall.
In the 17th century it was destroyed in the course of the Thirty Years’ War. The ruins were soon plundered by the surrounding population and used as a quarry. It was not until much later that the site was cleaned and restored. Edmond Linckels, Anne-Marie’s spouse, made it accessible to visitors from 1932.
And you will not want to leave this place, which will remain in your pleasant memory, without trying the cassero made here. It is a liqueur made from black currants (picked in the region), which is said to contain a lot of vitamin C.
9. City of Luxembourg
One of the most important sights of the Grand Duchy is without question the capital. It has twice been awarded the title of “European Capital of Culture” and the Old Town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Luxembourg City is culturally as well as historically an unmistakably impressive city where multicultural life pulsates.
Luxembourg is a city with many faces: on the one hand, gigantic modern buildings as well as luxurious stores dominate, on the other hand, the well-preserved remains of the medieval fortifications tower high above as the city’s landmark. Deep gorges are formed by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, which seem to wrap around the city. An extremely beautiful panorama of this is obtained by looking down into the valley from the ramparts.
Anyone staying in the Luxembourg capital cannot fail to marvel at the fortress known as the “Gibraltar of the North”. One should definitely venture into the “underworld” there. A visit to the gigantic casemates is a must for every visitor. In the Bock casemates, which were used for defense purposes from the 17th century onwards, the visitor enters caves and corridors carved into the rock and experiences a journey through time par excellence. A prison, a dungeon as well as the birthplace of the city, the archaeological crypt, as well as some fantastic views “outside” offer a breathtaking experience for the whole family.
Those who want to soak up an especially large amount of the city’s history will entrust themselves to the approximately 5.5 km long “Wenceslas Trail”, a circular route that has casemates, defensive walls and citadels as its cornerstones.
8. The Moselle Valley
If you long for idyll in Luxembourg, head for the Moselle Valley. Like everywhere else in this small country, destinations are quickly reached. After a short drive from Luxembourg City, one has already reached the wine route with its well-kept villages. Here, the winegrowers still set the rhythm of life. The Romans once brought the vines with them to the north. Today, the Moselle forms the border between Luxembourg and Germany for 42 kilometers.
If you travel from village to village here, you should bring some time with you to discover the tranquil winegrowing villages. They lie at the foot of vineyards, which are well served by hiking trails. A trip on an excursion boat on the Moselle is recommended. This way you can enjoy the passing landscape in a deeply relaxed way.
But also those who like it more sporty will get their money’s worth: whether on a bike, by canoe or on horseback, there are plenty of offers.
Those who are interested in the production of the famous Crémant will find themselves in the Caves St. Martin. In the wine cellar, which was cut deep into the mountain in the 1920s, true top quality products are stored. A large part of the vines are processed into crémant, made according to the principle of traditional bottle fermentation, also called méthode champenoise.
The Mullerthal, also known as “Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland” is a breathtaking landscape where you can always expect to meet elves and gnomes. Almost like a fairy tale forest…
But what is so special about the Mullerthal? Quite simple: It is an ideal hiking area with gigantic rock formations that leave a lot to the imagination, with romantic brooks, beautiful small villages with castle ruins such as Larochette or Beaufort, impressive panoramas of the valley of the Sauer and of course the landmark of the region, the Schiessentümpel, where water forms a fairy tale situation.
In the Mullerthal, several longer and also shorter hiking trails are well signposted. The most famous is the Mullerthal Trail, a hiking route of 112 km, consisting of three routes. The tours can also be walked independently and of course extended. Also the starting point of the hike can be chosen individually. The trail is marked by a large red M.
No matter where and how, in any case, you will reach some partly spectacular natural sites like the Schiessentümpel or the Wolf Gorge. Truly gigantic rock formations await hikers at almost every turn.
6. The Ardennes
The Ösling (or Éislek in Luxembourgish) is the northern region of the Grand Duchy. The landscape is characterized by winding valleys and dense forest areas that lead up to high plateaus, from which the visitor has a spectacular panoramic view of the Luxembourg Ardennes. Here, at 560 m, is also the highest point in the country: Op Kneiff in the village of Wilwerdingen.
Because of its strong connection to nature, the Ösling is ideal for a relaxing and restful retreat from the urban hustle and bustle. Numerous cycling and hiking trails invite you for a short or long excursion, for example the 104 km long cross-border hiking route Escapardenne Éislek Trail, which stretches from Kautenbach in Luxembourg to Roche-en-Ardenne in Belgium. And you can even canoe on the Sûre River, water levels permitting.
5. Bourscheid Castle
Bourscheid Castle towers high above the town of the same name. There are also many beautiful viewpoints around the valley, from which you can see the castle in the distance.
Bourscheid Castle is not only the largest castle in the country, but also one of the largest between the rivers Rhine and Meuse. The medieval building was extended in four stages, the last of which ended in 1430. The then Lords of Bourscheid belonged to the most prestigious knightly families of the region. The House of Bourscheid was replaced by the House of Metternich in 1626.
The French Revolution put an end to the feudal power. Since the 19th century the castle stood abandoned and finally fell into disrepair. In 1972, the Luxembourg state bought the ruins of the castle, which had been declared a national monument in 1936, and opened it to the public. Since then, parts of the castle have been restored.
An impressive circular wall with 11 watchtowers surrounds the castle, which stands proudly on the promontory above the Sûre River. In the courtyard there is a terrace from which you have a beautiful view of the Sûre valley and the individual buildings of the castle.
Located in the middle of Éislek, the small town of Clervaux is dominated by a 15th-century castle, a Romanesque church and the large Benedictine monastery of St. Maurice and St. Maurus. In all its splendor, the chateau is perched on a rocky outcrop and is surrounded in a horseshoe shape by the houses of the market town. Due to its picturesque character and natural location in the Clerve river valley, it is a frequently visited attraction. The old castle, magnificently restored after its destruction in World War II, is now a venerable witness of a glorious past and houses interesting exhibitions, including the remarkable collection of artistic documentary photographs “The Family of Man” by Edward Steichen.
3. Larochette Castle
The extremely worth seeing ruins of the Larochette Castle, are located north of the city of Luxembourg in the Mullerthal region. The impressive remains of the castle are located on a promontory of the Luxembourg sandstone, at an altitude of 150 meters above the valley of the River White Ernz. A visit to the castle is a must for any traveler to Luxembourg. Larochette Castle is one of the most important sights of Luxembourg.
The Lords of Fels were first mentioned in the 12th century. It was they who had the castle built and subsequently inhabited. Due to the powerful position of the castle, a total of 5 lordly families inhabited it at the end of the 14th century. At the end of the 16th century, an overpowering fire ruined most of the venerable castle. Since then, only the ruins of this once spectacular building can be seen.
After the acquisition of the castle by the State of Luxembourg towards the end of the 1970s, Larochett Castle began to be extensively restored, including masterpieces of Luxembourg architecture such as the Kriechinger House or the Homburger House. The extensive restoration has now made a visit to Larochett Castle even more rewarding for travelers.
As in the past, visitors today reach the actual main castle via the outer castle and the ring wall. Not only the restored buildings, but also the ruins themselves reveal what a magnificent structure the castle must have been in its time.
In the south, where the long chimneys of the industrial plants stand, there are many attractions for tourists to discover. In the middle of the 19th century, iron deposits ensured the economic survival of the newly independent country. In the land of the “red earth,” Esch-sur-Alzette grew explosively to become the second largest city in the country. Today, the magnificent buildings that were once the calling cards of rich merchants and industrialists shine in new splendor. For the tourist, the museum pit in Rumelange keeps its gates open and not far away, a nostalgic steam locomotive puffs along the rails.
1. The Nature Park of the Upper Sûre
The Upper Sûre Nature Park is located in the low mountain range of the Ardennes and is situated in the northwest of Luxembourg, on the border with Belgium. In 1999 it was founded as the first nature park of Luxembourg, since then it protects an area of 162 square kilometers. Its territory, comprising five municipalities and about 13,700 inhabitants, extends around the Obersauer reservoir.
The heart of the nature park is the Obersauer reservoir, which attracts with a shore length of 42 kilometers and supplies seventy percent of Luxembourg’s households with drinking water. The vast expanse of water is a paradise for water sports and promises wonderful nature experiences. Densely wooded slopes and wet meadows, deeply cut valleys and plateaus used by gentle agriculture extend around the lake.
The charming village of Esch-Sauer, which nestles in the landscape on a narrow loop of the Sauer River, is definitely worth a visit. In the past, the village was considered a tourist magnet, but today it seems to be sinking more and more into a slumber. Those who stroll through the narrow streets, which have hardly changed since the Middle Ages, can buy regional products and climb up to the old castle ruins that tower above the village.