Luxembourg is a really magical place. The country’s rich history and cultural influences of neighbouring countries is quite visible in the architecture, many of which are castles, forts, and other historical ruins. Because this is a very small country you can see all of these phenomenal structures, and on occasion functioning castles, through a handful of easy day trips.
We did a half-day drive and were able to drop by 3, it was a fairly rainy day but the views are still worth the travel. This is a really great scenic drive through the mountainous terrain and open fields. Driving through you will coast through picturesque farms, small towns and villages, and have many opportunities to enjoy the greenery of the country through a car window [bottom image].
Built over many years by various counts starting in the Romanesque period with the last additions completed in the Gothic period. The area eventually became a defense system surrounded by a thick rampart, some of which you can observe from the top of the tower. The ruins are now a part of the Esch-sur-Sûre town. There are a few hotels and a spa, some casual restaurants and many spectacular viewpoints on the hills. The ruins are divided into two main structures: the Upper Sûre Lake tower with the monument up a steep staircase and the chapel with surrounding structures on the other side up the hill. Both structures are open 24/7 and easily accessible on foot. The view from one offers a great view on the other so make sure to wear your comfortable shoes because these staircases, as one would imagine, are not the most even.
Visiting: open 24/7, no admission.
This is your typical Disney fairy tale castle, atop of a hill, surrounded by woods and a small town, and fully functional today. The structure , built in the 11th and 14th centuries, showcases Romanesque and Gothic period architecture, and was privately owned by the Grand Ducal family until 1977. Fully restored since then the castle has an interactive visitor centre with a permanent exhibition, hosts a variety of special events, and can also be rented, how fun would that be for a bubble gathering!
Fun historical fact: Vianden is the first medieval stone castle, at the time it was just a circular wall on an oval ground plan which had served as a base for government purposes and a chapel. All of these early bits of architecture are a part of the lower castle.
Visiting: 8€, open daily 10am-5pm.
This castle is located directly on the highway. From the street level you see a walled structure with a tower peak which does’t look like much but on the inside it’s a rather impressive complex. Past the humble entrance the visitors are invited to explore the largest castle in the country (not really sure how this is measured). Bourscheid is also one of the most important because it used to belong to the most respected knight family in the region, The lords of Bourscheid. The castle was abandoned in 19th century and is now a cultural property you can visit or even rent for an event.
Visiting: 7€ per adult, open daily year round, hours vary seasonally.
On my Wishlist for next visit:
Medieval Castle Beaufort: 11th century medieval fortress ruins in what looks like pretty great shape and are open for visits.
Bourscheid Castle: A castle located 150 metres above the River Sûre, wrapped by a circular wall with 11 watchtowers, dating back to Roman times.
Wiltz Castle: Another active castle complex, home to the National Brewery and Tannery Museum. Here you supposedly can get a guided tour on the art of brewing!