The country of Luxembourg has a population of just over 600,000 and is contained within the area of 2,586 square kilometers. This small nation, though often overlooked by tourists in favor of its bordering countries (France, Germany, and Belgium), should not be missed by the traveler in search of an adventure off the beaten path. I recently spent a weekend wandering through this gorgeous country, and found a particular sense of peace within its sprawling forests, majestic castles, and winding side-streets. During my four day journey from Amsterdam to Luxembourg and back again, I explored Echternach, Vianden, and Luxembourg City, with smaller amounts of time spent in Diekirch and Berdorf.
On the first full day in Luxembourg, I travelled to Echternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg, and the center of the Mullerthal region, sometimes known as Luxembourg’s “Little Switzerland.” Though the city center is a fascinating place in itself, may visitors are drawn to Echternach due to the presence of the Mullerthal trail, a sprawling network of three different routes that make up over 112 kilometers of paths, all interspersed with towering rock formations, flowering rivers, and features like the Hohllay Cave, use of which dates back to the middle ages. The paths of the Mullerthal trail are at times incredibly easy to get lost in, with their abundant twists and turns, but provide a step back from the world outside and a beautiful glimpse into the scenic beauty of Luxembourg.
For the second and last full day in my journey, my destination was the commune of Vianden, home to the Victor Hugo Literary Museum, located in a building where the acclaimed writer lived during his exile years; many historic monuments, such as the 11th century Church of the Trinitarians; and, perhaps most notably, Vianden Castle, an imposing and magnificent sight to behold. The castle was built on the site of a Roman castellum, and was the residence of many Counts of Vianden before it was abandoned in the 16th century. This extraordinary historic site is now open to visitors, who can wander through its chapels, kitchens, dining rooms, and wine cellar, and who can witness picturesque views of Vianden from along the parapets.
For visitors to Luxembourg, Luxembourg City can provide an excellent travel base, being centrally located and thus easy to navigate to and from. Both Vianden and Echternach are within an hour from Luxembourg City by bus, and the city itself is worth spending some time exploring as well. While here, I visited the Pont Adolphe, the Golden Lady, several delicious restaurants, and the network of tunnels that snakes beneath the city above. An incredible way to begin and end my brief tour of Luxembourg, this city serves as a reminder not just of why this country is more than worth visiting, but also of the beauty in taking the road less travelled.
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