Echternach is the oldest town in Luxembourg and one of the most beautiful areas in the country to walk around in. I found a downloadable walking tour here, where you can go on a cultural walk of the town at your own speed. This one in particular covers the entire town and everything in it. Please be aware when planning your visit that in the winter most things are closed and the population is about 1/3 of what it is in the summer. The streets are spotless and you can take a bus straight from Luxembourg City to get here.
My favourite part about Echternach was the Abbey and its Orangerie. Since it was winter the gate was closed to the Orangerie, but even peeking through in the middle of winter, one could imagine what it would be like in the summer time. The Orangerie actually has four statues out front representing each season. They were built by Ferdinand Tietz, a German sculptor. The Orangerie is just across the street from the Abbey so make sure you don’t miss it.
Vianden is a one street town in Luxembourg where Victor Hugo found refuge after being expelled from Belgium in 1871. “Vianden, he wrote, embedded in a splendid landscape, will be visited one day by tourists from the whole of Europe, attracted both by its sinister but magnificent ruin and by its cheerful and happy people.” At the top of one of the many hills surrounding the town is Vianden Castle, the main attraction site of the town. The castle is one of the largest residences from the Romanesque and Gothic period built on the foundation of a roman fort from the 11th to the 14th century.
It’s a very affordable place to visit only costing 4.50 € for students (under 25) to walk through. You are guided through 18 different rooms and for a detailed explanation of all of them check out their website. My personal favourite was The Byzantine Gallery pictured to the left. Six windows face the valley while four face the west side of the castle. The most interesting room was the chapel. It was located in the tower and consisted of two floors and an open middle. This was so us commoners and servants could follow the religious ceremonies without endangering or bothering the count’s family who would sit on the upper level.
Luxembourg is at the cross roads of Europe with Germany, France and Belgium surrounding it. It was one of the original countries to help form the European Union (EU) and is one of the three official EU capitals. The name Luxembourg is derived from Lucilinburhuc and has the equivalent meaning of a small fortress. The city is characterized by two dominant features, first being the high peaks of rock used as a strategic advantage to build fortresses on, and the other being its small size.
The highlight of the city was The Grund, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods located down in the valley. Most of the area’s original construction remains the same including the homes along the Alzette River. Grund was the first neighborhood to surround the castle, which was built in 963. The image featured above is also of Grund from above in the main part of the city.
A city visit isn’t complete without checking out some free exhibits. We went to see Jean Cocteau, The Graphic Oeuvre and Marco Godinho, Invisible More Visible More Invisible. The Jean Cocteau exhibit was divided into 10 chapters. The most fascinating of his work is self-portraits, religion and the synergies he had working with other famous artists like Picasso and Matisse. The most amazing part about his work was the amount he could express with a minimal amount of lines and colour. The Marco Godhino exhibit was held at the Casino, a modern art museum in the city that used to be a real casino. I’m not a huge fan of most modern art but if you check out the website links above you might understand why I would describe him as more of a philosopher than an artist.
You can see the city and visit everything in it in just a day so it’s worth checking out even if only on your way to another destination.
My best friend from Canada recently surprised me with a visit to London. I had the week off so we decided to go on our own little adventure without our husbands. We had a strict 5 day timeline, a tight budget and I also had a broken toe. After the process of elimination, we chose to visit Luxembourg. The country is small enough that we could visit the entire thing within our time frame while staying relaxed. With EasyJet we booked a great package deal. Below was our plan:
Day 1: Fly from London – Luxembourg. This is only a one hour flight however they are one hour ahead so you end up arriving two hours later. We left in the late afternoon so arrived around dinner and headed into the city.
Day 2: We spent today in Luxembourg City. The maps really should be pop-up ones because the roads and bridges are on all different levels. Our favourite part of this day was the Grund area, make sure you get down to see it.
Day 3: Today we took the train and bus up to Vianden. This is a very small town with a beautiful castle at the top of a hill. In the summer you can take a lift up, however it is closed during the winter.
Day 4: Our last day in Luxembourg we went to Echternach. This is the oldest town in Luxembourg and a bus will take you directly there from the city. This town made you feel like you were on a film set and was absolutely spotless.
Day 5: Fly from Luxembourg – London. We went shopping in Luxembourg on our last day. Nothing is open on Sundays so it’s best to go during the week. On our flight home we left and arrived at the same time because of the time difference.
We did not have a vehicle and you do not need to rent one to visit Luxembourg. Transit will take you anywhere you want to go for only 4 euros a day! On our way to these towns we drove through many others, allowing us to see a bit more of the country. I will post in more detail about these towns within the next few days. If you want to have them sent to your email address feel free to subscribe below.