The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg enlists among the world’s smallest countries, although deep-rooted history. Evidence found in the southeastern parts of the country, testify the presence of the primary European tribes in Paleolithic age. Cultural vestiges, in both developmental and archeological perspectives, reflect the multidimensional ethnicity of this northern country. Form Julius Caesar that recounted his victory over Gallic tribes in his personal commentary, to the succeeding Celtic rulers of Gallia Belgica, to Austrian, French and German monarchs and even Benedictine monks of Tier- declare this land’s past before the present-day borders.
The historic thumbprints of these origins are echoed in the dialect, culinary art, and urban architecture, particular to each locality. The terrain of Luxembourg is divided into two major regions; Oesling that conceal the country’s highest peaks and Bon Pays, or the good lands. As the name shows, the Gutlands-in Moselle-Franconian dialect- sits on the bypasses and soft meadows of the mountain ranges. Fertile valleys eased of communication and commercial routes, have created the industrial and agricultural poles of the grand duchy, in the Gutland area.
To explore the wilderness Ardennes Mountains, to tasting the sparkling wines of Moselle, to wandering about the cultural dimensions of Luxembourg city, here is our take on the top 15 destinations of Luxembourg.
1. Luxembourg City
Luxembourg is the capital and most populous city in the country while serving as the industrial and commercial center of the country. It lies in a deep canyon between Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, and in consequence, a scenic nature encircling its proximity.
Nicknamed as the Gibraltar of the north, Castle of Luxembourg, soars on the craggy cliffs of Luxembourg city, pinpointing the country’s first historic event. Bartered by the Count of Ardennes in the 10th century to germanic monks, it was initially built on a Roman stronghold. Many specialists suggest this castle as the burliest fortress in Europe; mostly for the strategic positioning that imprints the techniques of duchy ancestries, which is, in effect, nearly impenetrable.
The castle rises at the north of the old town district, often referred to as Bock Casemates; the fortified castle descends to a series of dungeons, prisons, the famous hollow-tooth structure, and military watchtowers, dating from the medieval era. This site, similar to most of the Luxembourgish castles, is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most fabled destination throughout the country.
Pont du château or the two-story bridge was constructed under the Austrians’ influence in the 17th century to link Bock to Luxembourg’s old quarters, and the castle’s chapel at Church of St. Michel. Museum of Art at Villa Vauban, Museum of History, and Notre Dame Cathedral are other notable structures, and worth a visit in the capital city.
Echternach is a town and canton, verged by outstanding natural gravitations such as a large lake, and the scenic Mullerthal trail with miniature waterfalls and dense forests. The artificial lake, which often is peppered with sunbathing beds and small dining tables on its banks, is the gate to the city. At the historic center, the abbey of Saint Willibrord marks the natal structure of Echternach city in medieval ages. Although the remnants found in the surrounding areas reveal that the earliest settlements go back to prehistoric tribes; these artifacts are showcased at Musée de la préhistoire.
Leading hotels at the old town often overlook entertaining views; natural sceneries, the baroque urbanscape, and stone-paved alleys, and the pedestrian sideways- bustling with cheerful residents. Echternach is also known for its kin towards music in particular Jazz. Every year, the beginning of summer is celebrated with an annual music festival, sided with culinary specialties of the Mullerthal Region.
Strolling at the lake’s shore, small pathways lead the way to tree arched hideouts, trekking trails, and even a roman villa, located paces from the civic limits of Echternach.
The tiny village of Mullerthal shares its name with the entire region, also described as the little Switzerland of Luxembourg. Adorned with the silver-lined Schiessentümpel cascades, the landscape is titled with “the best of European hiking trails- the erosion of bedrocks, water-built gorges, and the thick native vegetation devise a unique scenery that remains unmatched in their beauty.
The area is, profoundly, safeguarded within the nature and Geopark of Mullerthal and the well-maintained hiking trails that stretch as long as 120 kilometers. The village itself has an appearance similar to its german cousins and often frequented as a Basecamp to cycling and hiking trails at vicinity; splendid views over rocky outcrops and a quaint urban-sprawling that captivate the visitors with its timeless charms.
The regional culinary specializes in catering of honey bees, brewing quality liqueur, and cheese production, along with a concoction of local ingredients into refined flavors and mouthwatering dishes.
Luxembourg is a multi-facade country: a characteristic gained by cultural evolution through the folds of times. City of Oetrange represents what is perhaps the starting point of the country’s culture, 3500 years ago. Relics of the early Paleolithic tribes, or the old stone age dwellers of Ardennes, have been found at vicinity of the small township, included artifacts, pottery, basic tools and remnants of building structures.
While this homestead is humble in its appearance, it is often visited on a day trip, by train, bus, car, and even on the foot, for its historic relics.
A brief drive from Oetrange lies the small suburb of Weiler-la-tour, as another significant remark of the country’s ancient background. Remains of early bronze age or Neolithic settlements announce the existence of unique tribes, who mostly dwelled in Germany, Netherlands and French Ardennes. These tribes were jungle dwellers, combining biomaterials for construction such as straw, mud, tree trunk. Some of these structures prevail even today, often found at hiking trails at the vicinity of Weiler.
The city’s name, Weiler the tower, is a title earned from the pre-existing roman tower in this area. Except for its Germanic church and calm streets line by well-graded lawns and gardens, the city’s restaurants serve the best of Hassel’s cuisine specialties in the region. Outdoor activities are countless in Weiler; As one of the most renowned hiking trails of Luxembourg, Steekauzewee combines adventure sports and a promising landscape that leads to impressive viewpoints.
Except for its Germanic church and calm streets line by well-curated lawns and gardens, the city’s restaurants serve the best of Hassel’s cuisine specialties in the region.
A compact town, with almost perfect urban outlining, lies amid the lush forests of Mullerthal region, once marched by Luxembourgish knights. The city’s church, Église Saint-Michel, is adorned in neo-gothic decorations and is an enthralling sight for art and heritage; although the main attraction of this locality remains just a few kilometers outside the city.
Château de Beaufort is the French impression for “the castle of Beaufort” and its adjacent fortress, which has deteriorated into ruins. Just paces from the medieval stronghold, a small lake, bordered with dangling trees and richly verdant, adds to the picturesque beauty of its surrounding.
The castle city is also renowned for its top grade liqueur breweries, inherited from their Austrian, Luxembourgish, and even Spanish ancestries. Most flavorful of these liqueurs of black current and Framboise des Bois, which is of raspberry fruit.
Far from the industrial areas of southern Luxembourg, the town of Esch-sur-Sûre sprawls on riverbanks of Sauer, on the slopes of Ardennes mountain. The river is blocked by a dam for hydroelectric purposes, forming the upper Sauer artificial lake, and one of the town’s chief attractions. It yet flows through the urbanscape, lined with a grand canal that transports the river.
Walking along the dramatic waterways, medieval neighborhood, and bridges, the way leads to the highest standing structure of Esch-sur-Sûre. Overlooking the township and river, the rising castle contrast with its rustic and time-worn appearance, with the Neo-classical urban architecture. The pure air, spectacular views from lodges, and exceptional cuisine leave a pleasant remark in every visitors’ memory. Several hand-curated hiking trails, head to a loop walk around the Sauer valley, for immersion in wildlife.
Vianden is nestled on the ramps of Ardennes hills, windswept meadows, and along the river Our. The bold figure of an enormous castle is Vianden’s symbol and one of the grandest in the northern country. Woven around the cords of intellectuality, the picturesque township houses several museums that parade significant expositions.
The castle itself serves as a museum and a source of architectural wonder today; however, it was seated by succeeding rulers in the medieval era; who constantly renovate and decorated it in neo-gothic and gothic styles. Other notable structures are the belltower of Hockelstur, a few aristocratic mansions, and Trinitarians church together with a characteristic cloister, built prior to the renaissance era.
Along with the Museum of Caricature, History Museum and Vianden are famed as a haven for admirers of literature, harboring museums of the national poet Edmond de la Fontaine, and Victor Hugo while exiled from France- including his astounding painting of the castle rising on craggy peaks. Walking outside the city, the narrow hiking trails start to Ourdall Promenade, the eminent hiking trail that connects Vianden to Stolzembourg.
Perhaps the most fairly tale-resembling castle of Luxembourg perches on the highest point of Bourscheid. Two watch towers crowned with conical tops sit at the side of a thick barrier wall that observes the town and neighboring hills from all directions. The interior of the castle is marked with billboards that indicate the independent spirit of the castle; representing the past workshops of potters, bakers, smiths on the outside- that contributed to the fortifications autonomy.
Dungens and storerooms at the basement and the interior’s aristocratic hall and chambers. Sheltered in the thick greenery, a trail of 1.2 kilometers reaches to the village of Bourscheid; quaint, hospitable with a mouthwatering typical cuisine.
Close to the dramatic castle, Molberlee’s wildlife refuge is one of major tourist attractions in luxembourg and features a remarkable ridge trail on summits of Ardeness, that provide unique and panoramic prospectives.
Luxembourg, along with many other features, is plentiful in two; castles and hiking trails that provide dazzling views. The Molberlee trail is 52 kilometer stretch of rocky hills and karst depressions, starting at kautenbach-a village well known among outdoor camping fans- and ends at Ettelbruck or vice versa. Ettelbruck, an optimum hiking destination, is described as “the doorway to Ardennes”, and one of the populated areas in northern Luxembourg. A war museum dedicated to General Patton and a parish church that harbors a medieval mausoleum, are the cultural structures of the city, paces from the town’s center.
At the outside edges of the rural area, lies the entrance of a river cycling trail, sloping over green viniculture fields, wetlands, and rising peaks with exceptional viewpoints; known as Sauertal Cycle-Path. Beside the stone-paved streets at the central quarters, several diners offer Diekirch culinary specialties, in particular braised meats and melt-in-the-mouth pastries.
11. Nature Parks of Luxembourg
Two of the sensational nature parks in the country lying between the valleys of Our and Sûr rivers, wrapping a vast natural wealth and several charming settlements. Nature Park Our is located in the vicinity of Eislek and fluctuates in the landscape as the terrain escalates, or drops deep into water built canyons- setting forth exceptional scenery. Not far from Luxembourg, Nature Park of the Upper Sûre is the metropolitan’s major source of drinking and urban water, while conserving the region’s flora and Fauna.
Nine routes that cross the rivers Our and Sûre, both nature parks and even Luxembourg’s confines to the Eifel forests of Germany and Belgium; these paths are collectively titled as NaturWanderPark deluxe. It is one of the most scenic trails in Europe, with small waterfalls flowing over sleek bedrocks, vibrant vegetation, natural stone arches carved by the erosion, and many other wonderful sights, mark the entire region special in its kind.
At the southern bank of Lac Sûre, an alluring homestead lounges in the forests of Burfelt; an area frequented for its round-about trails, occasional wooden slabs and benches at Belvédères and a sunbathing and swimming nude-beach. At proximity of the town, the lake offers many other swimming spots, with solar-powered boats that make possible the admiring of the land, while suspended on the lake.
Ruins of a fallen bridge, dating from middle ages, and the wetland conservation area of Burfelt, sheltering a bird sanctuary, are the touristic highlights of Insenborn.
One of the northernmost cantons, Clervaux has bored a great impact during WWII, in particular the Battle of Bulge. Grasped by the urban structures at the center of the city, the castle of Clervaux was built in the middle ages, renovated several times until the war, and its major destruction. It was refurbished after the great war and today harbors a war museum.
Narrow valleys with the stone-veneered surface walk to the locales with shops, restaurants and important historic and cultural complexes including; a modern art gallery, the permanent exhibit of Edward Steichen names as Family of Man, an 18th-century chapel and a church hinting to both Romanesque and Rheinisch.
On the northern hills, just outside the town’s boundaries, sits the abbey of St. Maur and Saint Maurice, associated with significant catholic undertakings.
On the west of the country, Useldange assembles under the silhouette of its medieval castle. The town rises on the hills that border the River Attert- the aquatic link between Belgium and Luxembourg- and best known for its castle, aromatic herb gardens, and natural gravitations in and around this canton. A large fortified complex of ruins represents the glorified past of the 12th-century castle.
This chateau currently holds the city’s town hall, and offers striking viewpoints on the rustic walls, over the river and neighboring woodlands. Useldange takes pride in its cultural itinerary to provide disability-friendly facilities while displaying the local tradition of herb cultivation and organizing tours into the green refuge of Useldange’s biota.
Canton of Mersch, with its homonymous capital, stands as the only region with no foreign borders throughout Luxembourg. A hilly landscape, drizzled with vivacious greenery, lurks a wealth of nature, sports, history and knowledge. At the central most part, the capital city houses the national literary archives of Luxembourg, Eenelter chapel and its adjacent Menhir, Mersche castle, medieval villas and imprints of the city’s past, as once a prosperous Roman city.
Most of the villas and castles in Mersche function as modern government offices such as town halls and administrative departments. Along with art gazing and cultural immersion, the city offers posh touristic amenities and entertainment with state of art restaurants, fancy accommodations, and a few watermarks for aquatic fun and adventure.
With a bountiful nature, cycling and trekking trails connect this canton to its neighbors, although what emerges in between the wilderness is astonishing; sandstone caves of Mamerleeën, spectacular pond of Hunnebour and Pëttenerbësch Nature Reserve.
The cantons in Gutland valleys suggest a relevant history and architectonic imprints; perhaps due to common ancestry and close relation that identified the past rulers. An instance is seen in “the valley of seven castles” or “Eisch valley” that expands to Belgium; seven castles that soar on charming localities of towns and villages have inspired the name; including the castle of Schoenfels hamlet, the castle of Hollenfels village and Mersche’s castle.
Hiking trails of Luxembourg, some in loops, while other boldly crossing cantons and countries are the ultimate destinations of any nature enthusiast. Kallektuffquell cascades are reached through Mullerthal hiking paths, verged with an emerald lagoon,: the pilgrimage route of El Camino de Santiago that connects northern Europe to the Mediterranean terrains, also known as long-distance European footpaths, and numerous thematic trails such as barefoot path- for additional fun.