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Castles you can visit
Day out

Castles you can visit

1 by Sarita Rao 8 min. 11.07.2020 From our online archive
Staying in Luxembourg this summer? Then why not visit one of the country's fairytale castles
Beaufort castles - Medieval and Renaissance castles sit side by side. Photo: Birgit Pfaus-Ravida
Beaufort castles - Medieval and Renaissance castles sit side by side. Photo: Birgit Pfaus-Ravida

Luxembourg is overflowing with castles marking the history of the country through the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods. Many are still in private hands, some undergoing renovation and others are now museums or restaurants. So which ones can you still visit to get a slice of life in Luxembourg in times gone by and hear a local legend?

Castles which contain other museums or exhibits (not related to the castle itself), are restaurants, or not open to the public on a regular basis are not listed here. You can find information on all Luxembourg’s castles here.

Where available, we've given any rules or restrictions provided by the castle management on visiting during deconfinment. 

Beaufort castles

Two castles for the price of one! The Medieval castle in this complex dates back to the 11th century. Now more a ruin, it was built over four periods, The knights’ castle of Beaufort was built between 1050 and 1650, and Walter of Wiltz was the first Lord of Beaufort. In the early 19th century the castle was used as a quarry and in 1928 work began to clear the castle and make it available to the public.

The Renaissance castle was built by, Jean Baron de Beck, who rose from humble beginnings to be ennobled by Ferdinand II for his service to the Austrian army. Luxembourgish born, he bought the old castle in 1639 and built a new one next to it. 

The Renaissance castle was occupied until 2012 and left to the government and public in perfect condition by its last inhabitant, Anne Marie Linckels-Volmer, who died at the ripe age of 97 years. 

Today, All interiors remain as they had been during Madame Linckels-Volmer’s lifetime, together with gardens, stables and a distillery, which are maintained  in the same condition as they used to be when its last owners were still living in the castle.

The tour includes a visit through the living rooms, garden and outdoor areas including a former distillery, and the chance to taste the castle's blackcurrant liqueur, Cassero, still produced on the site.

Although there are no guided tours of the Medieval castle, you are welcome to wander the ruins, whilst tours of the Renaissance castle last about an hour.

The maximum number of groups at any one time is four (with a maximum of 8 people in each group) and no more than 50 people will be allowed to enter the castle complex at one time. The wearing of masks is obligatory, as is keeping a distance of 2m, and hand disinfectant is available. The castle management advise that you notify them in advance of any visit to avoid having to queue.

Contact details and opening times are available on their website.

Bourscheid castle

This triangular-shaped castle is one of the oldest in Luxembourg with part of the site dating back to Roman times. Perched 150 metres above the River Sûre, only the main tower and inner walls remain today. When the last Lord Bourscheid died without descendants in 1512, the castle was divided into three living quarters.

Legend tells that during a siege all that was left to eat within the castle walls was a cow and a sack of grain. The cunning castle dwellers fed the cow the grains and then butchered it, throwing its stomach over the castle walls. The army below, also tired and starving, saw the grain-filled stomach and retreated thinking the people within must have several months of food if they could feed a cow with grain.

Restoration work is still ongoing but you can visit the castle from the beginning of April to mid-October from 09.30 to 18.00 (last entry at 17.30), and in the winter months from 11.00 to 16.00. Dogs on leashes are welcome. If  you would prefer an in-person guided tour, the limit is currently 20 people per tour. 

Audio guides are available to download to your mobile in seven languages including Luxembourgish, English, German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Russian. At night, the castle is illuminated giving the surrounding countryside a magical glow.

You can find entry prices and information on parking here.

The last remaining watchtower of the castle ruins that overlook Esch-sur-Sûre Photo: Guy Jallay
The last remaining watchtower of the castle ruins that overlook Esch-sur-Sûre Photo: Guy Jallay

Esch-sur-Sûre castle

On a meander in the river and towering high above the lovely village of the same name this castle's first tower is Romanesque and dates to 927, but the majority of its Gothic style was created in the 13th century.

The 1.5 metre thick ramparts were built as a defence for the town in the 15th century together with a watchtower. Despite the decline of the castle from the 16th century, the rampart was not destroyed because private houses backed onto its walls, some of which are still standing. Today only the ruins remain, lit at night to give it a fairytale look.

You can visit the castle ruins free of charge and also follow the legends circuit (an audio guide may be available at the museum at the Nature Park). Every year the Night of Legends includes fire shows, dance performances, storytelling, music and theatre, and finishes with spectacular fireworks at midnight. Unfortunately this year the event was cancelled. 

Larochette castle

Perched on a sandstone outcrop overlooking the village of Larochette, the castle bearing the same name is now mostly a ruin.

The lords of Larochette were 12th century standard-bearers to the House of Luxembourg, and at one point, five families lived within the castle complex before it was burned down at the end of the 16th century.

Inside the castle a deep well is carved into the stone rock. Legend tells of a castle steward who was thrown down the well for his treachery with the enemy and was transformed into a dragon who guards the gold at the bottom of the well that he took in payment for his betrayal.

You can visit the castle from mid-March to the end of October between 10.00 and 18.00. More information on the castle is available here.

Vianden castle

Probably the best known castle, accessible by foot or by a cable car and path, Vianden castle was mostly built between the 11th and 14th centuries. Romanesque in design with Gothic trimmings, in 2000 it was the location for the film Shadow of the Vampire starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe.

The counts of Vianden were close to the German Imperial Court, but in 1820 the building was sold to a spice merchant who sold first its furniture and then its roof slates.

In 1890 it became the property of Grand Duke Adolphe and was given to the state by the Grand Ducal family in 1977, when detailed restoration work began.

You can visit the castle daily in January, February, November and December from 10.00 to 16.00, in March and October from 10.00 to 17.00 and from April to September between 10.00 to 18.00.

The site includes a cafe and a traditional tavern. During summer the castle normally hosts a medieval festival with battle re-enactments, gun salutes, music, dance, bird of prey displays and traditional medieval food and market stalls. 

Although the Medieval Festival has been cancelled, on 22-23 August, there will be a presentation of soldier's equipment from the Thirty Years' War, together with guard drills and shooting demonstrations, and a guided tour of the defence system. Tour numbers will be restricted, but you can find more information here

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Useldange castle

This small village with a weir also houses Useldange castle which dates to the 1100s. Entry is free and the site is un-manned.

A trail leads around the castle and inside the tower presenting local culture across 20 stations with information of the castle's history. A culinary itinerary gives information on local wildlife and an aromatic herb garden. Information panels are also provided in audio for partially sighted visitors. You can find more information here.

A medieval festival is held at the castle and grounds every year in June (cancelled this year) with fire shows, animations for children, medieval combat, music and a medieval encampment. You can find more information on this event here.

The valley of the seven castles

Legend says that the devil walked through the valley of the River Eisch carrying a bag of seeds. The bag sprung a leak, and the seeds that scattered turned into castles. Seven castles are now spaced 24km apart in this region.

Though some like Koerich and Mersch castles are in ruin, and others like Schoenfels, Hollenfels, Septfontaines and the two castles of Ansembourg are not regularly open to the public, you can admire them from the outside or alternatively hike a 32 km trail passing by all the castles.


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