Luxembourg is Europe’s seventh smallest country squished by Germany, France, Netherlands and Belgium but did you know the country has also got some amazing castles which are steep with history? The best way to check out the castles is to do hikes through the rolling hills of the Ardennes or drive a car through the pretty towns and villages which many castles are located. When researching the history of the castles, Luxembourg used to have around 120 castles in the middle ages but only 70 have survived as ruins, or fully restored or as a palace. One way of checking out the castles by car is to follow signs which take visitors along the ‘Valley of the Seven Castles’. This route goes through the Eisch valley in the centre of the country, starting from a short distance away from the town of Arlon on the Belgian/Luxembourg border and takes about an hour to drive the whole route. On the way there is Mersch castle, Schoenfels castle, Hollenfels castle, Ansembourg castles, New castle of Ansembourg, Septfontaines castle and Koerich castle. I managed to tick some of these off but I was after the big boys in the country so here I go, here are my top castles to check out in this small but amazing country.
Vianden Castle is one of the most beautiful castles I have come across on my travels in Europe. Located in the small town of Vianden in the north east of the country, the castle is one of the largest fortified castles situated west of the River Rhine. Built back in the tenth century, the castle is built in the Romanesque style whilst Gothic transformations were added on later. During the seventeenth century, a Renaissance mansion was added but for a while, the castle started to fall into ruin but recently has been fully restored.
Set on a rocky promontory, standing at 310 meters above sea level, the castle dominates the skyline, overlooking the town of Vianden and River Our down below. Inside the castle is worth visiting and an hour is needed (unless visitors take the audio guide). I was amazed to see how beautiful the Renaissance dining rooms, chapels, and kitchens are after the restoration. The restoration took nearly thirty years to complete, when work started in 1962 with the Armory. During this period, a lot of work was turned to rebuilding the walls, the roof and the gables whilst the ownership of the castle was sorted out (which now belongs to one of the Dukes living in the country). Also the viewpoints overlooking the town of Vianden are amazing.
My top tips for a visit to Vianden Castle are: the cost to enter is cheap and the ticket booth can be found at the main entrance after a long sloping walk from the town. Also located here is a small gift shop, information and toilets. There are disabled ramps located in the grounds and as mentioned, it is a long slope up to the entrance to the castle, so wheelchairs can arrive here with ease (unless the wheels get stuck into the cobblestones). A car park can be found nearby, but the first 50-60 spaces are paying spaces. Drive up the hill a bit more, and there is free parking but this will mean an extra two-three minute walk to the castle.
On the drive around the central part of the country is the ruins of Beaufort castle which was built in the 11th century and has now fallen into ruins. The one thing to note about this castle is that there is actually another castle a few meters behind this one located in the woodland. So when checking out Beaufort, remember to check out both castles.
Located near the village of Bourscheid, this medieval castle is the largest in the country and stands on top of a hill overlooking the River Sure. The most amazing fact about this castle is that there is historical evidence that the castle was built on structures dating back to the Roman Empire. The castle is enclosed by a circular wall which has eleven watchtowers. Entry to the grounds of the castle is free but to walk around inside, a small fee is payable. To get an excellent overview of the castle, I parked up near a caravan park on the same road which the castle is located about 1km-2km away.
From the first stones to be laid to the actual completion of the castle took a long time and was finally completed in the 15th century. The first buildings were constructed in the Romanesque period whilst most of the development took place in the Gothic period. Located on top of a hill overlooking the village, the castle mainly consisted of two defensive towers and a 450 meters long – 1.5 metre thick rampart. However it didn’t take long for the castle to go into ruins. In the 19th century the castle was in the hands of the locals who lived there and the chapel was restored.
Most of the castle is still in ruins but it does give the village a magical feel when I was walking around in the area. The views from the river down below of the ruins are breathtaking but I also enjoyed the walk up to the ruins to check out beautiful views of the river and the village down below. This village is a must on any road trip to Luxembourg.
Located in a beautiful village on the south-western side of the country, the castle has stood here since the 11th century and is located near the River Eisch.
Whilst in Luxembourg, check out nearby Trier & it’s Roman Ruins, over the border in Germany. Here is my day trip guide to Trier.
As Luxembourg is located in the Ardennes, the scenery is amazing. Rolling hills, rivers, stunning villages however there are some hidden secrets. One of my favourite places to stop off is checking out Schiessentümpel waterfall on the Black Ernz river in the Mullerthal region (which is also known as Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland). There is a lovely stone bridge and impressive rocks which gives this place a bit of extra magic. To reach the waterfall, head to the village of Mullerthal and aim for the large parking lot between the view and the crossroad at Breidweiler bridge. From here it’s a 500 metre walk.