Recently I spent a wonderful long weekend in Luxembourg exploring the city and a few of the many castles, found in the surrounding countryside, which was lush and green and very picturesque. Most memorable of all was the fairytale castle of Vianden.

View across Luxembourg's lush green countryside from the castle of Bourscheid

above: view from Bourscheid Castle in Luxembourg, below: Luxembourg City

Luxembourg city

Luxembourg City was surprisingly green too, with woodlands and parks. The old town, a UNESCO heritage site, was fabulous to explore. In contrast, there is also striking modern architecture to be found.

Luxembourg's striking modern architecture

The highlight of the weekend for me though was the pretty town of Vianden, with its impressive medieval castle, perched on the wooded hillside looking down on the town far below it.

Vianden Castle, Our Valley

Following a hearty breakfast at the cosy Hotel Pétry, I set out to visit the spectacular castle. It dates back to the 11th century but had long since fallen into ruin. When left to the State in the 1970s, extensive restoration began and is now almost complete. From my hotel it’s a short walk to the chairlift that will take me up the hillside for what I’m told are glorious views. The clouds are thinning and there’s a patch of blue. After a very hazy start, I think it’s going to turn out to be a lovely day.

The pretty town of Viaden in the Our Valley, Luxembourg

I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves as I stand in line, carefully watching just how you get onto the chairlift. They frighten me. Irrational maybe, but true nevertheless. I’ve always imagined that I’d fall off or somehow get stuck as I try to get down. And for 51 years I’ve managed to avoid them. I’m determined to change that today!

I stand at the front of the queue as they load crate after crate of canned drinks on to the chairlift instead of me, but at last it is my turn. Before I know it I’m heading up the hillside, across the River Our and up above the trees. It’s wonderful and the views down the valley, when I dare to turn round, are beautiful in the hazy sunshine.

Viaden Castle, Luxembourg

As I climb up into the air the castle rises up before me with a spectacular expanse of blue and a few wisps of clouds as a backdrop. Onwards and upwards I go, now above the castle, as the chairlift approaches the top.

Take the chairlift up the hillside for fabulous views of Viaden Castle and the Our Valley

I was planning on watching how the people in front of me dismounted but the crates of fizzy drinks aren’t much help. Of course, all my worries are unfounded and I hop off the seat without falling over or strangling myself with the shoulder straps of my bags.

View from the top of the chairlift of Viaden Castle and the Our Valley

The reward is as stunning as promised, as I look past the castle turrets and along the river valley. I had no idea that Luxembourg was so very beautiful.

The walk through the woods from the top of the chairlift to Viaden Castle

A path winds down through the woods – a lovely walk in the dappled sunshine. I catch glimpses of the castle through the trees as I make my way to its entrance.

Broom making at the Medieval Festival at Viaden Castle, Luxembourg

Inside the castle gates the annual medieval festival is in full flow with stalls and craft demonstrations, birds of prey, archery, and sword fights. Music fills the air as I explore.

Birds of prey at the Medieval Festival in Viaden Castle

Viaden Castle's tavern, Our Valley, Luxembourg

A flight of stairs brings me to the tavern in a cool vaulted cellar. A pint of local beer with Bratwurst (traditional sausage) in a roll makes an inexpensive and tasty lunch.

Auberge Aal Veinen Beim Hunn, Viaden, Luxembourg

It’s an easy walk back down to my hotel, passing the Auberge Aal Veinen Beim Hunn, a cosy rustic restaurant where we’d eaten a fabulous meal the night before. Steaks are their speciality and I can certainly recommend them. The town is looking very pretty in the sunshine, nestled in the Our Valley on the banks of the river of the same name, the impressive castle, high above it, standing sentinel.

Viaden Castle overlooking the town and the Our river, Luxembourg

Luxembourg Card

Entrance to Vianden Castle is normally free with a Luxembourg Card (but not when the festival is on). The card offers free access to over 70 museums and tourist attractions and free travel on the trains and buses throughout the country.

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The fairytale Vianden Castle in the Our Valley, Luxembourg

Thank you to Visit Luxembourg for sponsoring my visit to Luxembourg – a wonderful introduction to a beautiful country with so much more to offer than I had realised. I look forward to returning one day.

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