Luxembourg is the often overlooked and partly forgotten nation that sits landlocked between Belgium, France and Germany. Despite being one of Europe’s smallest countries, the world’s last Grand Duchy is a place packed with a fascinating array of attractions. Lush green valleys play host to ancient villages and medieval castles, while the cosmopolitan capital city boats an excellent cultural and culinary scene. Strategically situated in Europe’s heart, Luxembourg is easy to reach via inter-country trains. Here are three reasons to make Luxembourg your next vacation destination.
Jaw-Dropping Natural Beauty
Luxembourg is predominantly a rural land, thus presents the perfect excuse to get outdoors. Whether you want to hike in a forest, trek to a mountain summit, go mountain biking, or simply enjoy a lazy lakeside stroll, there’s an activity for everyone. In the north, the Éislek region (Luxembourg Ardennes) lures cyclists and hikers with its dense forests, picturesque highlands and plunging valleys. Hike sections of the meandering Escapardenne Eisleck Trail and amble along the banks of the Sûre and Wark rivers. Sample local products at protected reserves such as Naturpark Our and Naturpark Oewersauer.
Plan a trip to the Mullerthal region, affectionately known as Little Switzerland because of its lofty hills, placid lakes, sprawling pastures and woodland. The 70-mile-long Mullerthal Trail weaves its way through the region and to inspiring natural landmarks such as Mullerthal Waterfall. The magnificent rock formations of Geyerslay and Piteschukummer are must-sees on the trail.
From medieval fortifications to a Renaissance-style chateau, approximately 50 castles decorate the country and showcase the power and wealth of previous feudal lords and monarchs. The pick of the bunch is Vianden Castle, established in the 11th century and today home to museum exhibits that showcase medieval history. Take a guided tour of the Renaissance-era chateau and fortress ruins of Beaufort Castle. Here you can also sample a blackcurrant liqueur distilled within the castle grounds.
For true castle and history enthusiasts, the Valley of Seven Castles is a 23-mile trail that connects seven castles in the Eisch valley. Among them, Ansembourg Castle is a Baroque masterpiece and Koerich Castle forms a striking backdrop against a serene town. Also worth visiting is the Grand Ducal Palace of Luxembourg City, where summer tours offer a glimpse into the residential life of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
Sipping wine while gazing out over a majestic valley is an idyllic way to relax. So head into the Moselle region and you’ll uncover a wine-making heritage that dates back to the time of the ancient Romans. The milder climate of this area set above the Moselle River allows vineyards and fruit orchards to flourish. This is your opportunity to sip on varietals including Auxerrois, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Sparkling wines, crémants and liquors are also produced here. Caves Desom Saint-Remy and Caves St. Martin are both bodegas that combine superb tasting sessions with unrivaled scenery.
Plan your wine tours around the region’s colorful festivals. In September, the residents of Schwebsingen meet to drink wine from the village fountain during Schwéidsbenger Wäifescht. In the same month, the Wine and Grape Festival of Grevenmacher is a 3-day event with concerts, parades and fireworks on the riverbanks. The Riesling Open and Hunnefeier grape harvest are other celebrations of the nation’s ever-burgeoning viticulture.