It’s amazing Vianden isn’t more popular than it is. Nestled in a valley surrounded by lush green forest, with the impressive Vianden Castle watching over it, the small medieval town of Vianden (population: 1800) is like a scene from a fairytale.
A scene made even more impressive by the stunning Our River that runs directly through Vianden, past colorful architectural delights occupied by some of Europe’s friendliest residents.
We discovered this incredible little town in Luxembourg while on a road trip around Europe. In the ten countries visited across that time – and the countless villages, towns and cities over those months – this town was our favorite.
So why was that the case, and what is there to actually do and see in Vianden?
Read on and we’ll explain exactly why you should visit Vianden – Luxembourg’s best kept secret!
Why you should visit Vianden
Vianden is a contender for most beautiful town in Luxembourg
Ok, so that isn’t an official competition or title (as far as we know), but for us at Wandering our World, Vianden is by far the most beautiful place in Luxembourg.
Not just for the nature – Vianden has a gushing river running down the center, and beautiful forests hugging the town – but also for the architecture.
Here you can gaze out towards the looming impressive Vianden Castle that is perched above the town (more on that later), or sit beside the picturesque Our River while enjoying a beer or incredible food.
And unlike other towns and villages set in similar stunning surroundings, Vianden still seems to be little known – so you’re not fighting for the best spot to sit and enjoy. That spot seems to always be available..
The cobbled roads that wind up the valley sides that surround Vianden give you a sense that you’re in 19th century Luxembourg rather than a 21st century nation, and many of the buildings that line them remain in the same condition as when they were built several centuries ago.
It’s a really special place.
The best way to describe it, is that the whole town has been built around nature, not on it. And that’s what really makes Vianden so beautiful.
It’s a fantastic place for walking and hiking
Now we know walking or hiking isn’t at the top of everyone’s list of must-do holiday activities, but hear us out on this one.
Vianden is a stunning setting for a day’s hike, and there is a large network of routes that go through the forests and up the hills surrounding the town. Some make their way up to Vianden Castle, or let you follow the winding path of the River Our.
And whilst Vianden is set in a valley, the walking routes are definitely possible for all ages. They are also all well-signposted and the paths are regularly maintained.
What’s more, the state has recognized how special this region and town is, and designated the area a Nature Park in 2005. In fact you can see the walks in and around Vianden, and other information, on a dedicated mobile app – just search NATURPARK-App.
If you don’t fancy walking too much, there’s a chairlift in Vianden that will take you up to the top of the hillside, where you can choose then to walk back down towards the town.
With an array of great pubs and restaurants in Vianden itself – many that sit on the banks of the River Our – the town is a great place to start and end a hike. Begin the day with a hearty breakfast, and end it with a well deserved local beer – what more could you ask for!
Even on days when the weather isn’t perfect, nature throws up some incredible sights here.
Clouds will often form in the bottom of the valley that Vianden sits in, so just a small ascent and you will find yourself literally above the clouds.
The ancient castle is an absolute must see
And a must visit.
The 11th century Vianden Castle is the most prominent building in Vianden, and what a building it is.
An architectural gem, the Medieval fortress is in incredible condition and has been restored to almost the exact same condition as it was centuries ago.
It’s also one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe.
Home to the powerful Counts of Vianden, the castle’s history stretches even further back than the 11th century – it was built on the remains of a Roman castle and a Carolingian refuge.
You don’t need to just admire the castle from a distance either. It’s possible to visit and see inside the impressive structure – if you have a Luxembourg Card it’s free – and get a guided tour.
The panoramic view from the top, down towards the town and beyond is breathtaking.
The food (and drink) is fantastic!
Seriously, for a town of less than 2000 people, it’s quite amazing how many options there are to grab a bite to eat here.
Want an upmarket meal with an expensive bottle of wine? There’s several options in Vianden.
Want something simpler, or cheaper, but you still want local quality produce? Vianden has you covered.
Or maybe you just want a beer after a long day’s hike? Well the pubs, bars and restaurants in Vianden have a huge variety available – and no wonder with Luxembourg surrounded by some of Europe’s greatest brewing nations.
It seems like a simple reason to visit Vianden, but an evening with good food on the banks of the River Our, is an evening well spent.
We could give you our recommendations, but honestly it’s better to wander the main street yourself and have a look at the daily specials on offer. You’re not going to be disappointed.