Luxembourg may be small, but it is packed with lashings of wine, wealth and architecture, and a distinctly fairy-tale-like charm. Turrets, towers and lush, dense forests evoke enchanting tales of knights in shiny armour and damsels in distress. Check out some of our favourite sites, and what makes them so magical.
Chateau de Vianden
Of all the things to do in Luxembourg, Chateau de Vianden may just be your favourite! Built between the 11th and 14th Centuries, the Chateau de Vianden has been subjected to complete restoration and now reflects its former glory. Occupied from the Roman Ages onwards, a trip to the depths of the castle reveals layer upon layer of civilisation, each making its own mark on this stunning settlement. Chateau de Vianden presides majestically over the commune town of Vianden in north-eastern Luxembourg. With just 1,800 inhabitants, the quaint town positively oozes history; narrow alleys winding cobbled streets are lined with medieval cottages and houses, making you feel uncertain just which century you are in. Here, among the ancient buildings, you will find the former home of Victor Hugo, which has since been turned into a museum of his life and works. Depending on your energy levels, you can reach the castle by foot or by cable car; both will be rewarded by astonishing views and a tour of the magnificent castle.
Half an hour’s drive from Luxembourg City, perched on a sandstone headland 150 metres above the Valley of the White Ernz, you will find Larochette Castle. Thought to be first built in the 12th Century, Larochette was home to the most prominent members of Luxembourg society; The House of Homburg was added in 1350 and The House of Crehange in circa 1385, before burning down in the 1500s. The castle ruins were returned to Luxembourg State in 1979 and has since undergone partial restoration. The castle can be approached by a steep path or a gentler, winding track. Up close, the castle is less complete than it is from a distance but many original features remain and you can while away a good few hours exploring ruins, renovated halls and the impressive lawns. In fact, its partial restoration makes the castle even more compelling, evocative as it is of centuries of wealth and opulence, snatched away by one tragedy.
In Beaufort, castles are buy one get one free! Choose from the mighty, 11thcentury ruins or the intact Renaissance Chateau. The original Beaufort Castle occupies a commanding position over the countryside. Originally built as a defensive fortress in the 11th century, the castle was expanded considerably in the 12th century – a reflection of the area’s prosperity. Despite their disrepair the turrets, arches and stairways are incredible; it is impossible to see them without considering the architectural skill that allowed them to remain relatively intact after nearly a thousand years. There is a certain poignancy to these imposing ruins, as though, if you stand still enough, you will be able to hear and see the ghosts of yesteryear.
Next to the ruins of Chateau Beaufort perched atop its own hillock, you will find the Beaufort Renaissance Chateau. Built in 1649, the castle is relatively young by Luxembourg’s standards, its square architecture and red bricks looking positively modern next to its 12th-century counterpart. Tours of the Renaissance Chateau are by guided tour only – check to find out when tours are underway.
Overlooking the River Clerve, some parts of Clervaux Castle date back to the 12th Century. The castle was added to over the centuries and remained intact until second World War, when it was destroyed by a fire. The castle has since been completely restored and is now home to three museums: The Family of Man exhibition, Castles in Luxembourg, complete with scale models, and the Battle of the Ardennes. The rambling castle complex looks like a small village from afar, and is flanked a large church and a monastery. With its pristine white stonework and imposing slate turrets, the exterior of the building is an unspoken promise of the delights held within. If you have too many things to do in Luxembourg, start your castle tour with a trip to Clervaux Castle; its miniature castle models will give you a good idea of which ones you will most enjoy seeing!
Sitting on top of a perfect hill, surrounded by a winding road and thick pine forests, Chateau Borscheid is straight out of a picture book. The castle is about 4 miles from Ettelbrück, and is definitely worth the visit; walk amid partially ruined walls and take a tour with the help of a detailed and informative audio guide. Don’t forget to climb the keep, where you will be rewarded with an exquisite sight which ticks every castle box: long-reaching views, circular turrets, forest and the winding river Sûre.
Aside from castles and countryside, there are so many things to do in Luxembourg. Whether you enjoy the country’s modern or medieval culture, one thing is for sure; your heart will warm to the country’s pretty charm.