Last weekend, Hayley and I went to Luxembourg for a weekend mountain retreat. Apart from visiting Vianden castle and finding mythical creatures, we also spent one full day hiking to explore what the Ardennes has to offer.
Chair Lift? Aren’t you cheaters?
After playing with the ducklings in the morning, we hiked to the Vianden village and took the chair lift up to the hills. OK, to many hiking purists this may be a cardinal sin, but the view from above was awesome. Also, that was my first time to be on a chair lift so it felt execrating.
From the chair lift station on the top, we trekked through some forest and some steep hills to reach the top of a mountain ridge. The view there was amazing and we loved the grasslands and woodlands on the top. Surprisingly, there were many brambles up there. Of course, it would be rude not to try out the blackberries, and they were delicious. In fact, it took us a very long time to walk that 1 km stretch as we were foraging for all those yummy berries!
Not soon after, we followed the mountain bike trail and headed towards River l’Our. This river is an actual border between Luxembourg and Germany. It was amazing to be looking at the landscape from the top and it was something that we haven’t done for a while.
Wandering Around the Borderland with Germany
After we approached the village of Bivels, we bushwhacked up the hill on the head land. Just before we took the turn off down to the river, we took another path to the summit of the hill. As we approached the hill, we saw an abandoned brick house with broken windows and overgrown vegetation around the house. We quickly explore the outside of the house and then I decided to wade through the shrubs to the summit. At the summit, there was a watch tower with a glass window facing Germany. We wonder whether it was those observation tower left behind after the world wars, especially when we also saw some hillside structure that is highly resembled as bomb shelter entrance. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to explore them since they were all locked up. It would be great if someone can enlighten us.
Soon after we make a quick descend to the quiet river path along the River l’Our. We made our way around the headland until we saw a bridge where we crossed over to the other side of the river to the German side.
Lost and Found
After walking along the river path on the German for a while, then we decided to take a turn on to the hill. We climbed up this steep hill and towards the ridge, we scrambled over some rocks with some amazing view below. At this point, we were getting a bit tired and a bit lost. Guess what we were also looking at the wrong part of the map and thinking we were on our way back to Vianden. Then as we walked further on we released we took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up somewhere completely different. Luckily our map reading and compass skills were reasonably good and we quickly identified where we were and slowly headed back to Vianden on an alternative route.
While we had got a bit lost, we have to admit scrambling over rocks were the most fun bit of the hike. If we weren’t lost we wouldn’t have such awesome experience!
- There are many local scenic hiking and mountain biking trails around Vianden. Local hiking maps published by Topografische Dienst Luxemburg can be purchased online and in this case Map R3 Luxembourg. Hiking map at the scale of 1:20000 is recommended.
- You can also get inspirations on some hiking or mountain biking routes around Vianden on https://www.wikiloc.com/
- We pitched up at Camping de L’Our. But there are also other campsites available within walking or short driving distances of Vianden. Many of them wouldn’t require prior reservations. Just turn up and ask for a spot. That said, it is worth phoning up in advance especially if you are taking your camper van.
- See our other blog post on other trip information.
Note: we have made deviation on our planned route, but this is a good approximate.
Where is your favourite hike and what was your experience? Comment below and we would love to hear your experience! Maybe we’ll be inspired to do it ourselves too!