Luxembourg or as it is officially called, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is the historic, cultural and geographic center of Western Europe. Known for its rolling highlands and gorgeous valleys, thriving restaurant scene and economic freedom, this small country, which also happens to be the least populated in European Union, has always been popular with expats. For all expats, new and old, here are 5 things you must try in Luxembourg before returning home.
Hike the Mullerthal Trail
The Mullerthal Trail covers a distance of 112km and travels through the Mullerthal region, also known as Little Switzerland because of its rocky terrain, lush forests, streams and caves.The trail takes you through forests, pastures, unusual rock formations and canyons. There are excellent hiking paths just next to the trail, for circular and distance hikes. The paths are well marked in sequence and are a delight for nature lovers because of their picturesque waterfalls, meadows, flora and fauna. You will get to see some rare mosses and ferns here, which grow only in highly humid places such as rainforests. The Mullerthal also has some well-known sites such as the culturally historic Viergötterstein (rock of four gods) and the Hollay, a sandstone rock out of which millstones were made. In addition, visitors can sample the rich culinary fare of the region such as the special cheeses, honey and liqueurs, which are available in the small markets.
Explore Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and is among the largest feudal homes belonging to the Romanesque and gothic periods in Europe. It used to be the abode of the powerful counts of Vianden who had close connections with the German imperial court and the French royal family. The Vianden Castle is the grandest of the many castles in Luxembourg and its strategic location on a hill overlooking the River Our along with the bordering forests make it a memorable place to visit. The castle is open through the year from 10am to 4pm daily. Closing time is extended till 5pm in March and October, and till 6pm during the summer. In the summer months, a chairlift takes visitors up to the castle gates, offering a spectacular view along the way.
Go on a wine-tasting tour
The valley of the Moselle is the place where Luxembourg wines are born. This scenic region known for its magnificent hills and lush vineyards are where many of the white wines like Riesling, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois are made. There are also fruit tree plantations, which are involved in the production of juices, schnapps and liqueurs. Many of the wineries offer tours of their cellars, which include a session of wine tasting. You can even take a boat tour along the River Moselle.
Participate in the Dancing Procession of Echternach
Echternach, located near the border of Luxembourg and Germany, is known for its Dancing Procession held every year.
It occurs on the occasion of Whit Tuesday where pilgrims and spectators flock in large numbers to participate in the event that is meant to honor St. Willibrord, patron saint and founder of the famous Benedictine abbey around which the commune of Echternach grew. The Dancing Procession begins in the morning at the bridge over the River Sauer following a sermon by the parish priest. Several groups of musicians and pilgrims form part of the procession, which travels through the streets towards the basilica. While the traditional music plays, pilgrims hold the ends of white handkerchiefs and hop from left to right as they move forward. The procession continues past St. Willibrord’s tomb and the event ends with prayers in his honor.
Enjoy Luxembourg’s culinary fare
Thirteen of Luxembourg City’s restaurants are Michelin-starred and the country has a grand total of 16 stars, thus making it the city with the most stars per capita in the world. Some of the renowned restaurants include the Japanese-inspired Kamakura, Mosconi for classic Italian fare and the more affordable Wäistuff Restaurant, which specializes in the classic Luxembourgish dish of Kniddelen. You can even head to the outdoor farmer’s market at the town square, Place Guillaume II, on Wednesdays and Saturdays where you can sample local and international foods from the many vendors