From the breathtaking scenery of Ardennes to the captivating vitality of Luxembourg City, this charming country has plenty to offer the adventurous camper.
The world’s only remaining grand duchy, Luxembourg has attracted great military interest throughout its history, with many of the surrounding nations vying for control. Today, it is the country’s nature, its historic buildings and extensive vineyards that attract around two million tourists each year.
An outdoor playground
In the north of the country lies the Ardennes, a verdant haven of tranquillity ideal for mountain bikers, walkers and nature lovers. The rolling hills, large leafy forests and glassy lakes can be explored via a variety of trails, from the Remembrance Path, which traces the various stages of the confrontation between the American and German troops in the Battle of the Bulge, to the Sonorous Trail, which invites the hiker to stop and make music or listen to nature at each of its 17 stations. In addition, there are countless other routes of varying lengths to explore, designed as round trips and easily accessible by car.
Bikes can be hired for around EUR15 for a whole day and guided cycling or mountain biking tours are lead by qualified guides who will show you some of the Ardennes’ best kept secrets. Trails are organised to suit all abilities and range from 10 to 40km.
For those feeling a little more daring, the Our Nature Park has two adventure parks within it. Discover the outdoors from a different perspective on the high ropes course in the Indian Forest at Vianden, a journey that takes you through the treetops on ropes and zip wires. After a short safety briefing, visitors can choose one of six courses to complete for the ultimate aerial adrenaline rush.
Budding adventurers can also enjoy a range of outdoor activities at the Mamm’Out Outdoor Sports Centre. Covering 2.5 hectares and comprising three abandoned quarries to discover, you can scale the cliff faces by climbing and abseiling, brave the giant ladder or practise your archery.
Immerse yourself in the Ardennes at Camping Kautenbach, situated in the heart of the region with numerous excellent walking routes nearby. There’s also access to a rail station, making for easy day trips to Luxembourg City.
The Chemin de la Corniche is described as Europe’s most beautiful balcony, and for good reason. Carved into the rock, it offers stunning views across the historic buildings, old viaducts and manicured gardens of the city.
A cosmopolitan capital
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Luxembourg City’s Old Town is perched high above the surrounding valley and towers over the remains of the once formidable fortress. At over a thousand years old, it bears testament to the country’s turbulent history.
The fortress itself was built by Count Siegfried and it was around it that the city gradually grew up. During the Middle Ages, fortifications began to be built and by the sixteenth century, Luxembourg was one of the most strategic and impenetrable strongholds in Europe. A tumultuous period followed, with the country falling under French, Spanish, Austrian, Prussian and German rule.
Today’s Luxembourg City is cosmopolitan and multilingual. Of its 85,000 inhabitants, over half are foreign, so you may expect to be greeted in French, German or Luxembourgish. Indeed, Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture twice, and it’s easy to see why when you begin exploring its art galleries, museums and theatres.
Part of the city’s enduring charm is the juxtaposition of ancient monuments and urban vivacity with peaceful green spaces. The parks and gardens are open throughout the year and provide welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the town. Well worth a visit is the Petrusse Valley Park, which lies between the Bourbon Plateau and the upper town. It can be explored by train or on foot, and offers a harmonious balance between beautiful flora and historic structures.
Foodies won’t struggle to find excellent cuisine thanks to the wide selection of restaurants and the pervading cosmopolitan influence. Whether you’re after French, Indian, Italian or Japanese, Luxembourg City has something to offer. Sample the delights of the East at Restaurant Tibet, or treat yourself to a Michelin starred gourmet dinner at the exquisite Ma Langue Sourit.