Situated in the very heart of Europe. Luxembourg is known for its international scene, friendly locals, and fairytale castles. Here’s your guide to finding the very best castles in Luxembourg. From the magical to the medieval, there are plenty to visit, and even more to see. Trace the rich history of this country through the countless châteaux, Burgen, and palaces…
Vianden Castle, Vianden
Restored: Built between 11th-14th Centuries
A fairytale castle sits at the very top of a postcard-perfect town. Below, cobbled lanes, amazing architecture and oodles of history stretch out in front of you… The castle was built between the 11th – 14th centuries and the settlement itself dates back to the Gallo-Roman period. Of all the best castles in Luxembourg, Vianden may well be my favourite of all!
To visit the castle today, you can either take a chairlift (which offers an impressive viewpoint of the Castle as highlighted in the image below) or walk the winding streets of the town to reach the castle above. Of all the best castles in Luxembourg, I have to say that this was my absolute favourite!
The commune was also home to Victor Hugo. He was the author of Les Misérables and he once lived in Le Marais, Paris. Today, his house by the riverside in Vianden is now a museum, dedicated to his life and works. The house overlooks the imposing castle of Vianden, up overhead. Here’s a full guide to the best things to do in Vianden.
“Vianden, embedded in a splendid landscape, will be visited one day by tourists from the whole of Europe, attracted both by its sinister but magnificent ruin and by its cheerful and happy people.”
– Victor Hugo
Ruins: Dating back to the 11th-Century
Just half an hour from Luxembourg City you’ll find the town and castle of Larochette. To reach the town of Larochette, you can either rent a car or take public transport. I took a bus and found public transport in the entirety of Luxembourg to be inexpensive and easy to use.
In order to take public transport, you’ll pay around €4 for a day pass, or visit for free with the Visit Luxembourg Card. Considering that the population of Larochette numbers just over 1000 residents, there were a surprising number of buses available.
Perched on top of a steep hillside, the ruins of Larochette Castle overlook the valley of the White Ernz. Located not far from the prominent city of Mersch, much of the castle was tragically destroyed by fire in the 16th-Century. Some of the intricate architecture remains, and you can take yourself on a self-guided walking tour of the ruins.
Ruins: Dating back from the 11th-Century
There is not one, but two castles in Beaufort. Both lying side by side…
Impressive and mighty, Beaufort castle still demands attention over the surrounding landscape, despite lying in ruins. Wandering through the remains of the buildings, you can almost imagine what it must have been like in its heyday.
The castle is surrounded by a moat and began as a small fortress in the 11th-century. However, as early as the 12th-century, the castle was greatly expanded, accommodating for a growing population, as well as the increasing power and wealth of the Lords of Beaufort.
Sumptuous architecture is evidence of the skill of the craftsmen who built the place. And the fact that many of the turreted stairwells and grand archways are still standing further the impressive nature of the building. Today, you can visit the ruins of Beaufort Castle. There’s a small gift shop and eatery at the entrance way, where you can enjoy local flavours of ice cream.
Beaufort Renaissance Château
Intact: Built in 1649
The Renaissance Château in Luxembourg is the second of two castles built within the same area. It sits right beside the Ruins of the medieval Beaufort Castle, situated on its own little hill. It has stood, much the same as it does now since the 17th-Century.
A visit to the Renaissance Château is by guided tour only. During peak season (from Easter until Early Autumn) there are two guided tours of the Palace per day between Thursday through to Sunday.
Grand Ducal Palace
Intact: Built 1572
As well as having its own language, Luxembourgish, the country of Luxembourg also has its own ruler. Luxembourg was once part of the Kingdom of Germany, and then part of the Holy Roman Empire (founded in 800 by Charlemagne).
The country achieved full sovereignty in 1815 when it became a Grand Duchy, though it still was ruled by its own various counts and dukes prior to this date. Located in the very heart of Luxembourg city centre, the Grand Ducal Palace is the official residence of the Duke when he is staying in Luxembourg City.
Situated a little outside of the main town square, it’s surrounded by cute eateries and cobbled lanes. Guided tours of the Palace take place between mid-July and the beginning of September each year. If you’re looking to explore Luxembourg on a more local level, then here’s a long weekend guide!
Restored: Dating back to the 12th-Century
Like many of the best Castles in Luxembourg, Clervaux Castle finds its roots in medieval Luxembourg. Situated above the river Clerve, parts of the castle date all the way back to the 1100s. Much of the castle was tragically destroyed by fire in the Second World War but has since been fully rebuilt.
Clervaux is overlooked by a monastery and large church. The castle itself overlooks a fairly large village and offers magnificent views over the surrounding leafy landscape. Today, the castle is home to a few different museums; including a model museum detailing Luxembourg’s Castles, and a museum dedicated to the Battle of Ardennes.
‘The Family of Man‘ is probably the most famous of the Clervaux Castle Museums. It was curated by Edward Steichen, Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The collection comprises of a series of images taken in the 1950s and grouped into collections.
The powerful exhibit puts a focus on the commonalities that bind people from across the world (included emphasis on work, family life etc.) Since the early 2000s, the collection has been part of UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World Register’. If you want to know more about Clervaux, here’s a complete guide to Clervaux Town.
Ruins: origins date back to the 10th-century
In the North of Luxembourg, not far from the border with Germany and below Clervaux, the impossibly pretty settlement of Esch Sur Sure is part of the canton is Wiltz. Crowned with the ruins of a middle ages castle, it’s well worth a visit on any trip to Luxembourg, one of the smallest countries in Europe.
It’s said that in 927, a Meginaud or Maingaud built a Romanesque tower together with his wife. Later on, during the 13th century, the original structure was significantly increased and improved. By the 15th-century, the entire town was fortified, the ruins of which you can explore today…