Do you love visiting castles and soaking in the history, looking up at the turrets, and spying the torture chambers?
Well, you are absolutely spoilt for choice because Luxembourg has a ridiculous amount of castles to visit! In fact, there are too many to list in one article so we're just going to pick five castles that would be ideal for a day trip. The best thing about Luxembourg's castles is that they aren't all concentrated in one area of the country - instead they are spread around the country.
There's even a Valley of the Seven Castles (which includes the castles of Mersch, Schoenfels, Hollenfels, the two castles of Ansembourg, Septfontaines, and Koerich) which spans only 24 kilometres. Those of you who are keen walkers could even do the national trail of the Valley of the Seven Castles.
So get your journey planned and some comfortable shoes on, because we're going on a (virtual) tour of five of Luxembourg's castles! Interestingly, whilst Luxembourg has over a hundred castles, not all of them are accessible to the public. Some are privately owned, others house embassies and university buildings, and they are also used as old people's homes.
Entrance fee: Beaufort Castle actually has two castles, the Medieval Castle and the Renaissance Castle, and each has different pricing. The Medieval Castle costs €5 for adults (€4 per adult in a group of more than 12 people) and is free for children and students. The Renaissance Castle costs €10/€9 for adults and €5/€4 for students and children.
Address: Rue du Château
Opening hours: 9am to 6pm between 24 March and 4 November
© By Reniarf at Luxembourgish Wikipedia - Own workTransferred from lb.wikipedia to Commons. and white borders losslessly cropped by Bjung., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14630777
The old Medieval Castle in Beaufort dates from the 11th century and was built over four distinct periods, with parts of the castle being added with each period. Whilst the old castle was ruined by the Thirty Years War, it's newer addition, the Renaissance Castle (built as of 1649) and never suffered severe damage. It was lived in until 2012, at which point it became available to the public for tours. To participate on a guided tour of the Renaissance Castle, you have to register in advance as each group only includes up to 12 individuals.
Entrance fee: Free of charge, although there is a guided tour which costs €3 per person.
Address: 2, rue de l'Église
Opening hours: 8.30am to 7pm, all year round.
© By Philip Wenger - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 lu, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16689111
Useldange Castle is more ruins than a full castle nowadays, but the tower and surrounding walls remain in tact. Interestingly, a trail for the partially sighted is being set up as a pilot project by UNESCO. The trail includes stations in Braille, allowing the partially sighted to feel, hear, and touch history.
Ansembourg Castle (gardens)
Entrance fee: Free of charge, but you can only access the gardens rather than the interior of the castle.
Address: 10, rue de la Vallée
Opening hours: Usually, the gardens are open every day of the year to the public but when the castle is rented out for events, the gardens are closed to the public. The gardens will not be open from 6 to 7 July and 29 July to 3 August this year. On the following dates, the gardens will only be accessible after 6.30pm from 5 to 6 August, 31 August to 1 September, 5 to 6 October, 9 to 10 November, and 30 November to 1 December.
© By Photodudau - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59366907
One of the great attractions of visiting a castle or chateau is having a wander through the ornate gardens. The New Castle of Ansembourg was built in the first half of the seventeenth century and its opulent gardens were laid out a century later. You may not be able to visit the castle, but you can wander through the gardens of the castle and admire it from outside.
Entrance fee: Clervaux Castle is actually split into different attractions, which consequently have different entrance fees. The castle hosts the Museum of the Ardennes Counterinitiative (basically the Battle of the Bulge), the Museum of Models of the Castles and Palaces of Luxembourg, and an exhibition of Edward Steichen's 'The Family of Man'. For more information on the Steichen exhibition, check out our Knowledge Bite! The admission prices for both museums are €3.50 full price, whereas the Steichen exhibition is €6 for admission. There is also a combined price for both museums, which is €5.
Address: Montée du Château
Opening hours: The opening hours of the castle differ depending on the exhibition or museum, and the castle is also home to the Clervaux Tourist Office and local government offices. Both museums are open year-round: Tuesdays to Sunday between 10am and 6pm from 1 May to 31 October, and only at weekends from 1 November to 30 April.
© By Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16348322
There is so much to do at Clervaux Castle it almost feels unnecessary to detail the history - but of course we will. Whilst the origins of the castle remain unclear (either built on a Roman fort or Celtic foundations), the first major construction in the castle took place in the 12th century, under the direction of Count Gerhard von Sponheim, a brother of the Count of Vianden.
The castle then came under the ownership of the House of Brandenburg in the 15th century, which saw the castle extended majorly. Through later centuries, the castle was renovated, improved, saw the construction of the mighty 'Witch Tower', and inevitably, was heavily damaged during WWII. The Luxembourgish state then funded its rather extraordinary renovation, which has made the castle such an excellent and varied cultural institution.
Guided tours are also available if you wish to learn more about the castle itself rather than the separate museums, and include a visit of Clervaux itself and the abbey. For guided tours, those interested should contact the Clervaux Tourist Office.
Entrance fee: €7 for adults, concession prices available.
Address: Montée du Château
Opening hours: Open every day except Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Hours depend on the time of year. From November to February, open from 10 am to 4 pm, in March and October open from 10 am to 5 pm, and from April to September open from 10 am to 6 pm.
Vianden Castle, purported to be one of the world's most beautiful castles according to CNN, is a must-see in Luxembourg. The 11th to 14th century castle is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine. The castle's ownership has varied through the centuries, having been sold to a spice merchant (who then sold it bit by bit) to coming under the ownership of Grand Duke Adolphe, the first of the Nassau-Weilburg line in Luxembourg. The Grand Ducal family then transferred the castle to state ownership in 1977 and it remains a beloved attraction for Luxembourgers and visitors.
And of course, the best views of castles are also from afar and there is one spot where you can find a wonderful viewing platform for all your photographs of the castle, as seen above.
To find that platform to get that winning photograph, we've attached the Google Street View of the CR322 towards Niklosbierg. Happy snapping!
There are obviously many, many more castles in Luxembourg and you can truly take your pick! Let us know which castles you've visited and recommend in the comments.