Vianden Castle – The largest fortified castle in Luxembourg and west of Rhine
After my short trip to Esch-sur-Sûre of which I’ve told you about in my last article, I’m picking up my Luxembourg tour today with an article about Vianden and its castle!😊 The picturesque village which lies at the river Our is located 47km north-east of Luxembourg City.
How to get there?
Take a train from Luxembourg Gare to Diekirch or Ettelbruck Gare from where you then take bus number 570 to get off at Vianden Bréck. The river and the castle will be right in front of you! 😊 Alternatively, you can get there by driving a car or riding a bike. As public transport has become free of charge in all of Luxembourg earlier this year, my choice was made! 😊
When stepping out of the bus, I am always amazed by the beauty of the small town but most of all by the size of its castle! On a hill above the town, it stands magnificently, reminding everyone of the glorious of the past when people were living there. Over time, Vianden and its castle have become one of my favorite day-trips to take in Luxembourg. In the last 4 years that I’ve been living in the country, I’ve visited 5 times already and I will continue to do so every chance I get!
From the bridge where I got off the bus, I now walk straight up to Grand Rue. Personally, I think this walk up is one of the most beautiful strolls you’ll ever experience. Passing through beautiful narrow streets with beautiful old buildings. The commune and the Trinitarian church are located on the left not far from each other.
I’m still moving upwards the hill towards the castle while enjoying the beautiful decorations and flowers of the different houses. Logically the decorations and flowers depend on the season, but I’m sure the people living there always take time to decorate a bit.
Getting closer and closer to the castle I can feel the“back in time” vibes kicking in quickly. 😀
A bit of history of the castle: The castle is believed to have been built between the 11th and the 14th century. In 1820, the castle was sold to Wenzel Coster who started selling off the building materials one by one. The castle became deserted and in ruins. Due to popular resentment, the king, who himself was a count of Vianden, repurchased it in 1827 hoping for restoration. His hope shouldn’t turn to reality as he was taken op with the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and it was only in 1851 that Prince Henry of the Netherland reconstructed the chapel at his own expense, giving it a lower roof. It was restorated later under the reign of Adolphe Nassau-Weilenbourg until the First World War begun and construction got interrupted. During the Second World War, in the Battle of Vianden, it proved to have some military value even under conditions of modern warfare. It was in 1962 that restoration continued, resulting in reconstruction of the Armory. It took another 15 years and Grand Duc Jean ceding the castle to the state that the huge renovation works took place.
For those visiting Vianden by car: there is car and bike parking a few meters away from the castle. Entrance fee for the castle are as follows: €8 for adults, €6 for seniors, €4.5 for students, & €2 for children between 6-12 years. There are discounted packages for groups. For more information, make sure to check out www.visit-vianden.lu
Once inside the castle grounds, you get an all-round view of the village and taking the tour, you’ll learn about its history including defense mechanism, ways of living for the inhabitants of the castle in the day; themed year exhibitions, military artefacts, the chapel, the history of house of Nassau and most importantly a modernized and interactive screen of the renovation works that have been done over all these years.
Fun fact: During normal opening hours the dinner table is not accessible but during the annual Vianden medieval festival you can actually have a meal here.
Medieval festival in Castle
The festival takes place during summer for approximately 9 days starting somewhere around end of July and spilling over to the beginning of August. Do check out the Visit Luxembourg website for further information.
With or without the festival taking place when I visit the castle, it amazes me every single time. However, the festival does bring liveliness to this impressive building and if you don’t live in Luxembourg; I totally recommend scheduling your visit to coincide with the festival. It is one of the annual highlights of the castle and you will thank me later!! (Hopefully it will take place this year…)
What to expect? The Knight camps with medieval style bunting and flags, armor, musical instruments and other medieval artefacts. Traditional dressed men and women will showcase their fashion; musicians and dancers will be ready to give you a performance of your life, with chefs ready to feed you and the bars ready to quench your thirst. It’s a spectacle!
There is also a medieval market taking place with handicraft exhibitors and medieval specialties that will impress you. To put it simply; there will be a range of events and activities waiting for you. 😀
What else can you see/do while in Vianden
Cable car ride
Take the mountain cable car and enjoy the panoramic views of Vianden including views on the castle.
It is a 10-minute ride that costs €5.8 for adults and €3 for kids for a round trip. You can also just get on for a one-way ride.
It is the only ride in Grand Duchy that allows one to move from an altitude of approximately 230m to 440m. There is a viewpoint at the top and a restaurant.
Take time to soak in the incredible views. If you are tired or hungry; time to refill and rest a bit before going back down.
From the viewpoint you can walk down to the castle which takes around 20 minutes. Personally, I would recommend visiting the castle first by walking from the village through Grand rue; then walk to the viewpoint and take the cable car down the hill! 😊 There is a path on the right-hand side when coming out of the castle that signal direction to Seilbahn. If your purpose of going to Vianden is hiking; then follow the hiking trails recommended by the city. Check them out here.
Tip: There was only cash payment accepted at the cable car counter when I last visited.
When coming by car: there is unlimited parking right next to the start of the cable car.
Take a stroll in the lesser touristic areas
Once back in the village; take some time and walk on the quieter side of the town. There are beautiful streets and a lot of authentic restaurants if you would like to indulge.
I stopped this beautiful little Saint Nicolas chapel.
& walked along the Our river from where I enjoyed yet another magnificent view of the castle.
On summer nights, when strolling around the river in the evening, you might bump into people fishing.
- Museum of Vianden village: Immerse yourself in the history of Vianden.
- Musuem de la caricature et du cartoon : Suited for those who have humor and want to laugh.
- Victor Hugo House Literary Museum: Learn about the works of Victor Hugo and where he stayed during his exile. If you love “Les Miserables” the museum visit should be a no-brainer.
Heated swimming pool on an altitude with amazing views of the castle. Open during summer season.
Personally, I haven’t gotten the chance to visit the adventure park in Vianden due to wrong timing of my visit. However, please note that timing is of an essence here. Based on seen reviews; it seems that you need to walk around 20-30 minutes to the starting point hence incorporate this in your schedule. Have enough buffer time not to get disappointed especially if you have children and need to walk slower.
Camperpark Vianden provides further information of nearby camping sites. The details can be found here .
Interesting facts about Vianden
- Vianden castle has post-poned application for UNESCO world heritage listing. The government wants to do further renovation of Vianden
- French Novelist Victor Hugo lived in Vianden for three months during his exile from France as political refugee and his house has become a tourist attraction containing original manuscripts and documents.
Final tip: For staying overnight in Vianden; I highly recommend to plan your stay well in advance because especially during peak season (summer) there are a lot of tourists.
Thank you for reading! I hope I could inspire you to do a trip to Vianden! 😊
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