Luxembourg – A Fairy Tale State
Strategically situated where the borders of Belgium, France and Germany meet, Luxembourg was able to extract heavy tolls on traders moving between her neighbors in times gone by - and so became immensely wealthy and able to build the mighty castles that preserved the nation's independence.
There is much of interest, even though the tiny country measures only eighty two by fifty seven kilometers. Many tourists enter from the north through the lush hills and valleys that merge into ancient forested landscapes. Further south are steep vineyards with rivers and villages below, and in between lay undulating farmlands dotted with fairytale castles.
As might be expected, the foods of Luxembourg are heavily influenced by French and German tastes. Meals to definitely try include judd mat gaardebounen (smoked pork, potatoes and broad beans in a creamy sauce) and ferkelsrippchen (deliciously grilled spareribs). You can wash these down with one of the popular local beers, or choose from the range of locally produced fruity white and sparkling wines for which the region is famous.
Climate and Weather
Luxembourg enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters. Spring is a great time to see the flowers, although the weather only really starts to warm up in May as the people ready themselves for summer festivals and outdoor candlelit dinners. Wine buffs may prefer fall as this is the time for bringing in the grape harvest and the folksy celebrations that follow.
What to See and Do
There is a great deal to see and do in this fascinating country. Here are a few of the most popular must-visit destinations:
Luxembourg is a dramatically situated city of legendary beauty positioned on a high cliff overlooking steep valleys and deep gorges. The best way to discover the city is by wandering through the cobbled streets in the old town that lead to architectural treasures like the Chemin de Corniche. You are never far away from the romantic countryside either, which you can reach by following one of the many bridges and viaducts. Along the way, you will see a myriad of turrets and towers, and when you get tired and hungry, you can pop into a fine restaurant with a view to die for.
As mediaeval towns go, there are few places to beat the vibrant sophisticated town of Echternach. You can stay in a castle, explore the ancient basilica, hike or cycle the forests, or join in the dancing at one of the festivals in honor of Saint Willibrord, the Anglo-Saxon Monk who founded the town in the seventh century when he began building his Abbey.
Vianden, with its perfectly restored mediaeval castle set in forests and veiled in mist is the very essence of Luxembourg. As you stroll along the battlements or explore the forests far below it is not all that impossible to believe that dragons once roamed this place while jousting knights vied for the attention of a beautiful princess.
Luxembourg is truly a great place to soak up what is for many the true essence of Europe. It is also a vibrant modern country with superb places to stay and some of the finest restaurants around. Overlook Luxembourg and you will regret it forever.