Only three hours from Frankfurt and just minutes from the German border, one of Europeâ€™s smallest and most underappreciated countries makes a stand with a castle on a hill. Luxembourg doesnâ€™t always get the attention it should. A town like Vianden has it all, but none of the hype that the cities and towns in neighboring France, Belgium or Germany receive. If you are making a connection in Frankfurt or just looking for a good weekend gateway, Vianden should make your list for its cobblestone streets, medieval castle and dramatic location along the River Our. Those that only have a weekend to spend in town will find agreement with Victor Hugo. Hugo said of Vianden, â€œYour town is not well-known enoughâ€. Yes, Vianden isnâ€™t known as it should be and just a weekend in town will convince the traveler of that fact.
Go For a Ride On The Townâ€™s Chairlift
The Vianden chairlift takes riders on a short trip from the bottom of Vianden up to its top. If you are a photographer or you can just appreciate a good view, from the two-by-two chairlift you can capture the best shots of town, the river and the crowning glory, the castle. The Vianden chairlift begins at the lower part of town at just 230 meters. It takes travelers up to 440 meters to a cafÃ© at the top. You pass through not just forestry, but over many localsâ€™ backyards. A rocky trail leads down to the townâ€™s castle, so adorn your feet appropriately.
Mosey Over To The Vianden Castle
Coming up on Vianden, you will spot the Vianden Castle up high on a hill, surrounded by dense greenery. It is a scene you stop your car for, one that truly could be on the cover of a fairytale book in some 5 year oldâ€™s playroom. The Castle was first a possession of the Nassau dynasty. The main attraction in town, the Vianden Castle almost wasnâ€™t. In 1820, it was sold piece by piece until all that remained was a pile of rubble. And yet, they would rebuild and recreate for making such a colossal mistake.
If you decide to tour the castle, you will wander through halls, kitchens and bedrooms. Mannequins wear chainmail here to show what it was really like. The most interesting room on the tour might be the Roman foundations on display. The Castle was constructed on the top of a Roman Castellum. While a recreation, the original Vianden Castle did stand here between the 11th and 14th centuries. It is still considered one of the largest and most appealing feudal residences of Romanesque and Gothic periods in Europe.
Get A Little Nutty
You might want to schedule your visit to Vianden around the Nut fair, held at the beginning of October. The famous nut fair is also referred to as Nessmoort. The festival features vendors selling the nuts gathered from numerous nut trees from the neighboring slopes of Vianden. Just watch out for squirrels after your loot.
Dine in Dramatic Fashion
Many of Viandenâ€™s cafes face towards the street, imitating Paris to some degree. Along the river however are some of the best places to take in a meal and a view. The cuisine in Vianden is reflective of the countryâ€™s neighbors. Most of the dishes here reflect Austrian and German heartiness. Post meal, you may need to take a jog around the River Our to fight off those feelings of being uncomfortably full.
Written by: Suzy Guese