No, this is not a fairytale town, this is Vianden, a town in Luxembourg. High above the Our River that flows from the town’s center lies the Vianden Castle. It watches over the small picturesque town with its around 1.800 inhabitants. The border with Germany is not far away and this is a part of the cross-border region known as Éislek. The region of Éislek is a part of the Ardennes and is known for its many hills, deep valleys, and green forests.
Our Visit to Vianden
We visited Vianden during our European road trip in 2017 and were mesmerized by its impressive castle and natural beauty. It was during our stay in Metz in northern France that we headed to Vianden for a day trip and got to enjoy several hours walking around in the town and its vicinity.
A Short History
Smaller fortifications are believed to have been built here already in Roman times and the valley is said to have been used for vineyards. The first known written mention of Vianden dates back to the end of the 7th century. Construction of the current castle began already in the 11th century and was completed in the 14th century. For the town, it was its craftsmen that made it stand out. While the castle’s status deteriorated in the 19th century, it was the craftsmen that led the way forward. Vianden became home to two tanneries that kept production ongoing until the 1950s. It was first when the castle came under the ownership of the state in 1977 that the ruins of the castle could regain some of its glory.
Things to Do and See
There is a lot to enjoy in this very picturesque town. Walking in the center of the town to enjoy the calm atmosphere of a small town might be a first step. That time relaxing might be needed before climbing the hill towards the castle, or maybe if you decide to head even further up along the hillside.
Vianden Castle is the main attraction and a very impressive sight. Up on the hill watching out over the town it might even be better to view it from afar. There are several viewpoints on nearby hills from where it is possible to see the castle. The castle is also open for visits, but there is an entrance fee.
The Sessellift or the Chair Lift, will take you up on a hill looking out over both the town as well as the castle. The base station close to the town center lies at an altitude of 220 meters and the lift will take you up over 200 meters to an altitude of 440 meters. This is far higher than the Vianden Castle that will be visible below you. It is also possible to hike from the town up to the top of the hill and there are additional hiking paths that will take you town towards the castle.
Trinitarian Church and Cloister
The church of the Trinitarians dates back to 1248. This is a Gothic church that is joined by the former cloister of the Trinitarians as a neighbor. The cloister was built in 1250.
Ourdall Promenade (Hiking)
Following the Our River is the Ourdall Promenade. This is a hiking path stretching from Vianden to the nearby town of Stolzembourg. The one-way hike along the river is 8.5 kilometers long and is estimated to take around two and a half hours.
How to Get to Vianden
- Flights: The nearest major airport is the Luxembourg Airport (LUC), which is to the south.
- Car: Vianden lies at the intersection of Road 10 and Road 17. To the southwest is the town of Diekirch, while to the east across the border in Germany are the villages of Körperich and Geichlingen.