A visit to Luxembourg would not be complete without visiting a castle or two. Vianden Castle, and the quaint little town of the same name around it, is a great choice for a day trip.
Getting to Vianden from Luxembourg City
There are a few options on how to get from Luxembourg City to Vianden.
You can take the bus from Luxembourg City to Vianden, but you need to make a few transfers along the way. Opt instead for the train to Ettelbruck, then hop the 570 bus straight to Vianden, Breck. The total travel time is around an hour and a half. Best of all, transportation all across Luxembourg is now free!
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Of course, you also have the option of renting a car. But public transit is easy to navigate and quite efficient if you prefer to sit back and watch the beautiful landscapes pass by.
Exploring the Town of Vianden
Before making your way to Vianden Castle, set some time aside to explore the town of Vianden. It is both quiet and picturesque, the perfect setting for a castle.
Vianden’s history stretches back for centuries. It’s original name was Viennensis, when the Gallo-Romans built a castellum (a small fort or tower) on the spot where the current castle now sits. So don’t be surprised by how old some of the buildings here look. The Church of Saint Nicholas, for example, goes all the way back to the 13th Century:
Vianden also has a claim to fame due to ties with the famous poet, Victor Hugo. He visited Vianden three times before settling here briefly after being expelled from Belgium. Some of his works and belongings can be seen here at the Victor Hugo House Literary Museum.
Take some time to stroll along a few of the narrow, winding streets. Sidewalks on the side streets are more of a suggestion than a rule, especially in front of doorways or stairways. Thankfully there isn’t a lot of traffic!
Some of the building facades have seen better days. The rough, crumbly exterior of the Musee des Artistes in particular has that shabby chic vibe:
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are also buildings which look freshly painted and flawless:
Taking the Chairlift to Vianden Castle
The best way – or at least, the most enjoyable way – to get to Vianden Castle is by chairlift. Yes, this petite town of only 1800 people has a chairlift to and from the castle. What a wonderful way to travel. It even takes you across the river.
Oh, unless you have a fear of heights. This steep section might make you a bit nervous. Maybe don’t look behind you:
You get amazing vantage points of the town though, including the castle looming over it:
How to Take the Chairlift:
39, rue du Santorium
L- 9440 Vianden
Phone : +352 83 42 57
Opening hours: Open from Easter to October from 10 am to 5 pm.
One way – 4,30 € (adult) 2,70 € (children 14 and under)
Both ways – 5,80 € (adult) 3,30 € (children 14 and under)
Getting to Vianden Castle
Once you get off the chairlift, you’ll have to walk a bit to get to Vianden Castle. The trail is a little tricky in spots and can get slippery when it rains, but it is such a pretty walk, you won’t mind taking your time.
Little glimpses of the castle through the trees piqued our excitement as we got closer. I love when you can get great vantage points for photographing things like this.
Visitor Information for Vianden Castle
Address: Montée du Château, 9408 Vianden, Luxembourg
Hours of Operation:
November 1 – February 28: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
March 1 – March 31: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
April 1 – September 30: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
October 1 – October 31: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
December 25 and January 1: Closed.
Adults: 10 €
Children: (6-12 years): 2.50 €
Students: (13-25 years) student card: 5 €
Audio guides: 2 €
Guided tours are only available by advanced booking. Mail: [email protected] / Tel. : (00352) 84 92 91 / 83 41 08
Vianden Castle was built in the 11th-14th Centuries, and is one of the largest feudal residences west of the Rhine River. This area had a long period of occupation. The Gallo-Romans first built a castellum here around 360-450 AD. Between the 6th and 10th Centuries the castellum was altered. Around the year 1000 a hall building and a chapel were added. When the Counts of Vianden made this their residence in 1100, they added a great tower.
This is a rendering of what it would have looked like around the year 1000 (picture 1) and after additional construction one hundred years later (picture 2):
The castle continued to change and grow through the centuries. The castle was built in the Romanesque style, with gothic elements added later.
This is the Arm’s Hall. Originally the ceilings were wood, but they were replaced by the gothic vaulted arches in the 15th Century:
You can’t get much more castle-y than a nice big stack of cannonballs just lying around:
And, of course, every castle needs a knight or two to protect it:
The castle has a wonderful area showing off some of the many artifacts found during archaeological digs. It’s difficult to see in this photo, but the display cabinets are actually suspended from wires from top to bottom.
Most of the rooms are very sparse and unfurnished. The chapel has some marvelous painted details though:
This is the view from the lower chapel basement looking up. Servants and commoners attended church services from the lower chapel. This kept them from entering the castle proper, or from interacting with the count and his family during church services. By the way, excavations in this section of the castle uncovered the remains of a square tower – the original Roman castellum.
The columns at chapel level. The chapel was designed as a double oratory. This means it had two floors so sound could travel to the lower chapel through the opening in the center. The chapel was dedicated to St. Anthony, and was the first church in Vianden.
The chapel all looks quite freshly painted, doesn’t it? So why does the castle look a bit rough on the outside if it was inhabited for so long? Well, around the 15th Century, Vianden Castle lost much of its importance and fell into disuse. In 1820 it was partially demolished and left for ruin. In 1977 the State of Luxembourg acquired it. That’s when the real reconstruction began. It’s been a lengthy and costly process ever since. But well worth the effort, I would say.
This is the Byzantine Gallery. It has 6 trefoiled window openings overlooking the valley on one side, and four openings facing the west side.
This is the Banqueting Hall. Doesn’t it give you the urge to find a pewter beer stein full of ale and make yourself comfortable?
This is the grand bedroom:
And this is the Festivity Hall, with walls covered in luxurious tapestries:
The Grand Kitchen lives up to its name:
The castle well is still visible. It’s 53 meters deep:
This is the Knight’s Hall. Could you imagine hosting a party here?
Be sure to end your self-guided tour with a peek into the cellar:
Vianden Castle also has an on-site cafe where you can wet your whistle with a locally made beer!
Where to Stay
Looking for accomodations in Luxembourg City? Begin your search here:
If you prefer to stay in Vianden, start your search here: