Our family is totally into visiting ruins these days, so I thought it might be fun to pop in to a castle that has been restored. Vianden is one such castle, located in a small town of the same name in the northeast corner of Luxembourg. Lucky for me, this castle was a huge hit with all male members of my household.
If you are able to visit Vianden in the summer during their Medieval Festival, I hear it is spectacular. But even if you find yourself charging up the stone path while fighting gusts of icy wind, you’ll still enjoy Vianden Castle.
The castle is restored, and all the rooms are interesting in their own way. For those concerned about little fingers touching things they ought not to, note that most of the hands-off items are in the first few rooms. After that, the task shifts to keeping small bodies away from big drop-offs.
The beginning of the marked route through the the open rooms features old knight armor and weapons from the many centuries Vianden has been standing. Other highlights include the chapel, the dining hall, the well, and some very Narnia-looking wardrobes. History buffs will need to brush up on their German and French; none of the exhibit information cards were written in English.
In one of the rooms, I noticed a puzzle, some plastic swords, and a few other souvenir-type items in a glass case. I whispered to Doc Sci, “Be ready – we’re going to be hit with the gift shop on the way out.”
But, I was wrong. No gift shop. If you’d like to purchase a trinket bearing the visage of Vianden, you’ll have to do so from the tiny admission booth near the entrance.
For those interested in practicalities, Vianden has two sets of bathrooms: one outside the castle, and one inside on an upper floor. Bring your own baby changing mat. It is possible to push a pram up the hill to the entrance, but you’ll have to ditch it to go inside the castle. When we visited, the only refreshments available came from a soda vending machine. It looked like a cafe was being constructed, but I couldn’t tell for sure. Until then, bring your own…
If you’re in need of an ice cream or bottle of water on a warm day, I noticed a small souvenir shop in the town a short walk down the road from the castle. You’ll have to go further and cross the river for anything more substantial.
For outdoorsy types, Vianden is at the top of several hillside hiking trails. Visit the castle, and then hike your way down the mountain to the river and village below. We didn’t venture out due to time restrictions, but a quick look revealed the path to be rather steep. Take care when going down with little ones underfoot.
All in all, Vianden Castle is a delightful gem on the Luxembourg – Germany border. It’s worth your time, but make sure you have plenty of it. The roads leading in and out of Vianden are rural, winding, and often stop-and-go.
Not able to get to the castle at Vianden? Consider these other kid-friendly destinations in Luxembourg.
- Gaalgebierg – A park with animals near Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. Free!
Parc Merveilleux – An amusement park with mini golf, pony rides, an animal park, playground, and more! Route de Mondorf L-3260 Bettembourg.
- Luxlait Vitarium – A brand-new, hands-on museum all about MILK!