The country of Luxembourg is home to many castles. once of the most famous can be found in the town of Vianden. While the castle is definitely the most popular attraction, there are a few more things to do in Vianden.
Check it out.
Things to do in Vianden
1. Walk down the main street
The town of Vianden in Luxembourg is about as close to a fairytale as you can get. The whole town is an aesthetic delight, but nowhere is better for soaking up the fairytale feel than Vianden’s Main Street (Grand Rue in French). Not only is this street a historical masterpiece, but it is also the town’s high street.
This cobbled street is flanked with gorgeous buildings, which makes strolling up and down it a pleasure in and of itself. Along the Grand Rue, in the Place Victor Abens you’ll spot the beautiful Town Hall. Carry on and you’ll see all the other things you would expect to find on a town’s main thoroughfare, such as bars, restaurants and a hotel or two.
It won’t take you long to meander the length of the Grand Rue and it won’t cost you a penny to do so. If you want to soak up the vibe of Vianden in a cost-effective way, there’s no better way to do it. If the sun is shining, you could always grab an ice cream en route to sweeten the deal (pun intended).
2. Pop into the tourist office
Vianden is a tiny town and is home to just 1,800 people and yet it is one of the main tourist hubs in Luxembourg. It might not seem like much at first glance, but the town has a surprising amount to offer.
To learn all about what you can do when you visit Vianden, pop into the tourist office (Fremdenverkehrsamt). The Vianden Tourist Information office is located on Rue du Vieux Marché, just by the bridge and overlooking the river.
The tourist office will have all kinds of information on restaurants, cafés, and hotels. It will also be able to point you in the right direction if you’re looking for the town’s tourist attractions. The tourist office will also tell you whether there are any events on during the days that you are there.
The Fremdenverkehrsamt also has a website, but if you’re in town you might as well poke your head in. If nothing else, you should head over to the building just for the view of the river from its front door. If you were looking for a dream-like fairytale photo op, this is a great spot.
3. Visit the Victor Hugo Museum
If you’ve ever watched or read Les Misérables then you probably know of Victor Hugo. This author, who lived from 1802 until 1885, spent some time living in Vianden and his house has now been turned into a museum. People come from far and wide to learn more about this literary master who once called this small town in Luxembourg his home.
The Musée Littéraire Victor Hugo exhibits a range of artifacts that belonged to him during the few months he lived in Vianden. He moved to the town during his months of exile from France in 1871.
Here, you will find extracts of manuscripts and drawings the novelist worked on during his stay. You’ll also learn all about his life as a writer and his personal life, which was full of travels, lovers, and, of course, literature.
Even if you’re not a fan of Victor Hugo – or you’ve never even heard of him, the Museum is pleasant to explore. The artifacts are brilliantly preserved and the collection is small so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. It costs just 5 EUR to enter the Museum or it’s free if you’re under 25. Just note that it is closed on Mondays so time your visit accordingly.
4. Take the cable chair lift up
Once you’ve seen Vianden from the ground level, by walking through the Grand Rue, and explored its smaller streets, it’s time for an aerial view. The Vianden chairlift rises up over 440m over the town of Vianden, providing breath-taking vistas of the town and its surrounding area.
Unlike cable cars, in which you are fully enclosed, this is a chair lift. This means that you can bask in the warming sun and breathe in the fresh air as you travel up the hill. This adds immensely to an already exquisite experience.
The chair lift travels at a leisurely pace, so you will have plenty of time to soak up your surroundings. If you plan on snapping photos along the way, make sure you have a wrist strap or you risk losing your camera forever.
Once you are at the top there are a number of walking trails you can follow to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Vianden. Green spreads out below you in every direction, broken only by the small patch of civilization forming the town of Vianden. Here, you can truly feel lost in the mountains.
When you’re ready to head back down, simply hop back on the chair lift and begin your descent. This gives you a second opportunity to admire the sweeping views – this time from a different angle.
5. Visit the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville de Vianden
If you have been wandering around Vianden wishing you knew more about the town, the Musée d’Histoire de la Ville de Vianden (Museum of the History of Vianden) is the answer to your prayers. It’s only 3 EUR and the décor alone makes it worth the entry fee. Don’t be put off by all the text in the museum being in German, if you ask for an English translation they will give you one.
The Museum is situated in two houses that were renovated to form one big building. One of these former houses maintains its 19th-century interior, making the Museum itself a piece of history. The other building still has some of its original equipment from its days as a bakery in the 1950s.
Upstairs in the Museum, you will find exhibits that detail life in Vianden and tell the stories of the streets and houses that fill the town. The Museum is small but cozy – don’t expect the National Gallery – and it presents its artifacts in a fun and interactive way. Take note that the Museum is only open from Easter until October and is closed on Mondays during the low season.
6. Visit Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle is undoubtedly the highlight of any trip to Vianden. Supremely picturesque and utterly enchanting, the Castle was built predominantly between the 11th and 14th centuries. However, it has had a few facelifts since then, including a significant restoration in the 1970s. On first sight it looks like the castle out of Beauty and the Beast or some other Disney fairytale and as you get closer it only gets more beautiful.
Once inside, you can explore 20 rooms – all of which have been carefully restored to depict an authentic retelling of life in the Middle Ages. If you’re a history buff, you will find information about the history of the family that lived in the Castle throughout the ages.
Not only are the views of the Castle breathtaking and well worth taking up a bit of storage in your phone, but if you turn around you’ll be treated to equally stunning views of Vianden. The Castle sits over 300m above the town, giving it an excellent vantage point to see the town.
The Castle always opens to visitors at 10 a.m., but closing times vary throughout the year. Entry is 6 EUR for adults and 4,50 EUR if you’re still lucky enough to be a student.
Want to avoid the queues? Buy your skip-the-line ticket before you go.
7. Walk along the 8.5-km long Ourdal Promenade
Some people want to do absolutely nothing on their holidays and some people want to pack them full of activity before they have to go back to the office. If you fall into the latter category then you might be interested in walking the Ourdal Promenade.
Although long, this is an easy hike and is mainly along flat ground. It can be done in two hours, but I recommend taking longer and soaking up the scenery as you go. You could even take some sandwiches and have a picnic en route.
The trail follows the Our River in a gorgeous valley away from noise and traffic. It provides plenty of first-class photo opportunities and the chance to disconnect from the world for a bit and immerse yourself in nature. The trail is signposted so you don’t need to worry about getting lost. Just put your legs on autopilot and enjoy the journey.
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