French author Victor Hugo (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Les Misérables) enjoyed Vianden and stayed four times in the town between the years of 1862 and 1871. Hugo found Vianden to be beautiful and was a strong supporter of others visiting the town. He is quoted as saying:
"Your town is not well-known enough; it is not known as it should be, I shall do all I possibly can to make it better known and to contribute to its prosperity."
On one side of the bridge crossing the Our stands a bust of Victor Hugo by Rodin and across the street is a museum located in the house where Hugo would spend his time. From the Victor Hugo House, visitors can see that the author had a wonderful view of the town and the castle.
Other exciting tidbits of important information about Victor Hugo and his life in Vianden include having his first tooth removed here in 1871 and he ran the bucket brigade to extinguish a fire from ten houses in the town (also in 1871).
The museum has Hugo’s personal artifacts such as his furniture, letters, and copies of his drawings made while he lived in Vianden. Admission to the museum is €4 and the museum is open almost every day from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (check their website for a list of holiday periods where the museum is closed).
There are a number of rooms in Vianden Castle that have been restored and furnished with period furniture, tapestries, and designed to give the visitor a look at what castle life was like. Overall, these rooms are very well done. I especially enjoyed looking at the tapestries, sculptures, carvings in the furniture, and other artworks.
Available for viewing are a bedroom, banqueting hall, festival hall, genealogy hall (with displays from the former residents of the castle), dining hall (less formal than the banqueting hall), kitchen, and a study. Be sure to look down the well on the first floor as well! While not furnished, the second floor Byzantine gallery is a beautiful restoration with its six trefoil shaped windows.
With all this looking about the rooms, you may need to take a break for some fresh air. This is available on the second floor with access to a terrace and bathrooms.
Underneath the castle is the large cellar consisting of a large dark room (29 meters long) and five large round columns supporting the cross vaults, which is still preserved from the original castle. A good look at some early architectural structures – be sure to look at the walls built from the rock and the stone work creating the ceiling.
The room appeared to the set up for functions with tables, flags, kegs decorating the room – it would be a great room for a party, a festival, or some other type of event.
The chapel at Vianden Castle is in two parts, the upper chapel and the lower chapel – both worth seeing.
From the first floor on the tour, visitors will first visit the lower chapel. It is in this area that the earliest known section of the castle was built overtop of former Roman construction, a castellum that dates back to the 3rd century that was discovered as a square tower underneath the lower chapel. The lower chapel was built during the Carolingian period and would have been used later by the villages and servants during worship services as the nobility would be above in the upper chapel. From the lower chapel, visitors can look up at the upper chapel’s vaulted and painted ceiling.
The upper chapel, seen on the second floor of the castle, is where the counts of Vianden and later nobility held mass. This was the church for the people of Vianden. Today it has been reconstructed and is beautifully painted accenting the high vaulted ceiling. In the center of the chapel is former tower that one can look down from the second floor into the lower chapel.
This is the first room that you come to on your tour of Vianden Castle. The room has a Gothic style vaulted ceiling (restored in the 1960s to match its original 15th century ceiling). On display in the Arm’s Hall are the coat of arms of Nassau-Vianden and baden-Sponheim and Vianden. There are knight’s suits of armour, shields, pikes, halberds, swords, and cannon balls on display as well. Military history buffs will enjoy this hall.
Off to the side of the Arm’s Hall is the entrance to the crypt where visitors can see parts of earlier castle constructions made obvious from excavations. Additionally, the room has several models of what the castle would have looked like during those eras and displays of some of the items found during excavation.
If you visit Vianden, you cannot miss the castle. Beautifully restored, it sits high above the town providing visitors with a spectacular view of the Our valley.
Admission is €6/adult and €2/children (2012 prices). The ticket booth is at the entrance to the castle.
We found parking along the road on the hill and walked up to the castle. If you are parked down near the town center and the river, then you have a longer uphill hike. The day we were there it was a bit crowded since there was a bike race ending in town, so parking was difficult to find. There is a parking lot up the hill and across the road from the castle (full on the day we were there).
The castle is open every day starting at 10:00 a.m. (but closed on November 2, December 25, and January 1). The closing hours vary depending on the time of year; the castle closes at 4:00 p.m. (January and February), 5:00 p.m. (March), 6:00 p.m. (April through September), 5:00 p.m. (October), and 4:00 p.m. November and December).
This spectacular castle sits on the hill overlooking the valley and town of Vianden. The original castle was built beginning in the 11th century on top of earlier Roman ruins. It was originally built in the Romanesque style, but later Gothic additions and castle renovations left their mark on the castle. The castle and its contents were sold in the early 1800s and the building was left to deteriorate; people used it for blocks and masonry which led to the castle ultimately becoming a ruin. Thankfully, since 1977 the castle has been reconstructed and is now open to visitors.
There is a lot to see in the castle and there is good walking tour – simply follow the numbered rooms. Of particular interest is the archaeological crypt in which visitors can see the various layers from centuries of building dating back to the medieval period. To see parts of the castle that date back to Roman times, visitors will need to go to the lower chapel in where the tower was part of the Roman castellum, dating back to the 3rd century. This is where the earlier part of the castle building program during the Carolingian period occurred. The Knight’s Hall with its weaponry and armor is also well worth some time viewing. Other rooms in the castle are furnished with period tapestries, furniture, and other decorations. And a peek at the large cellar in the bottom of the castle is also a good stop on the tour.
Allow at least two hours to see the entire castle, but you could easily spend more time here.
The Viandenburgers, which is possibly what they are called, have always cherished their non –German status and there was a Battle of Vianden in WWII to prove the point. Although the Allies were a little tardy in helping them out and thus Vianden was the last place in Luxembourg to be liberated. Consequently the resistance had to suffer the brutal unpleasantness of German occupation for a long time.
I’m not sure whether the castle was what they were scrapping over but it certainly took a pounding at some stage in its long history. Up until a few years ago it was nought but ruins with the odd vampire flapping about the place. Since then there’s been a long restoration campaign which culminated in ITV sending in the 60 Minute Makeover team while the owners were out at a gynaecologist’s appointment. So now it has a full set of MDF turrets and battlements for you to throw your ungrateful kids off.
We caught it on a good day as there was a medieval festival in full swing. This means you can’t get in for free on your Luxembourg Card (a bargain at a mere 20 Euros a day) but you only had to pay a 4 Euro surcharge. There were plenty of entertainments to be had with swordplay, juggling, market stalls and a scantily clad belly dancer with a snake. I took a lot of video footage of the snake. Indeed I nearly got ejected for going back three times for more footage of the snake.
There were lots of things to buy and there was a particularly large queue for a man dressed in tights and a codpiece who was busy fashioning birds out of what looked like cow-dung. He’d then plonk the turdy-birdie on a stick for the beaming little child to wander off with and hopefully not get confused with its ice-cream.
If you tire of the castle then there’s also a cable-car in Vianden which takes you up to the top of a hill that’s even higher than the one the castle is perched on. One return ride is free with your Luxembourg Card, and that’s about all you’d want unless you’re particularly keen on having your life hanging by a welded joint that really asks big questions of your faith in Luxemburgish engineering. Before I got on the ride I asked if it ever gets stuck and leaves its riders dangling in mid-air overnight. The grizzled old chap in the ticket office told me that this doesn’t happen very often. By sheer coincidence it has only ever happened when there’s been a particularly big bus-load of tourists coming over the border from Germany.
The touristoffice provides several walkingroutes around Vianden. Most of them are in the hills surrounding the town. Through forests and green meadows and always coming back in town. They are signposted with letters. Get a map at the touristoffice to find out the perfect route for today.
But they also have a route along the walls of Vianden. It is called 'intra muros extra muros'. It is only 1.4 km long and can be shortcutted to 0.6 km. Along the route you will find infopanels telling you about the life inside the walls.
Many people visit Vianden to wander through its hilly, historic streets or as a centre for walking, camping or cycling in the north of Luxembourg.
During the summer months, a chairlift operates from the banks of the river in the lower part of the town taking you high above the castle with magnificent views over the landscape.
The only chairlift in Luxembourg takes you from an altitude of 230m to 440m above sea level. Open from April to October.
VIDEO of my visit to Vianden, including chairlift:
The recently restored castle of Vianden is set spectactularly on the rocks above the town. It has become a museum.
The castle was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and became the seat of the counts of Vianden.
It was further developed until the 18th century but with the departure of the Counts of Luxembourg to the Netherlands combined with the effects of fire and an earthquake, it slowly deteriorated.
The final blow came in 1820 when William I of the Netherlands sold it to a local merchant who in turn sold off its contents and masonry piecemeal, reducing it to a ruin.
There were several attempts at restoration but these were hampered by problems of ownership.
Not until 1977, when Grand Duke Jean ceded the castle to the State, was it possible to undertake large-scale work, most of which has now been completed.
VIDEO of my visit:
The castle was build between the 11th and 14th century on a hill above the village. It's well restored and very impressive when you see it from the street. Inside, you will find a few furniture, armours, weapons etc. on several floors. It's pretty huge and labyrinthine, but if you follow the numbered signs you'll make sure that you don't miss anything. Outside, you have a few opportunities to enjoy the view, unfortunately not as much as I'd like to.
The castle is easy to find as you'll already see it no matter from which side you are approaching Vianden. There's a parking (90 ct per hour) near the castle from which you have to walk up a bit. I'm not sure if the more distant part of the parking is free, the sign there was a big confusing.
The castle is not wheelchair-accessible as there are many stairs in the castle. To enter and exit the castle building you already have to take stairs, and outside the building there's not much to see.
Opened daily from 10:00.
Admission: 5,50 Euro (adults).
Situated on a hill overlooking the village, the castle provides an outstanding view of the local area and into Germany. The tour was self paced and we never felt rushed as the castle was not busy at all. Entry price is 5,50€ for adults and 2€ for children.
Well, the point to visit Vianden is to see its magnificent castle. It was built in the XI-XII centuries by the counts of Vianden, who lost in the subsequent power struggles to the counts of Luxembourg.
The castle laid abandoned for centuries, and a local merchants has sold big chunks of it at some point. In the 1970's the state took over and completely restored it to make it the fairy tale castle of today.
In summer months there is a chairlift to the summit. At the bottom there is a pleasant historic cobblestoned town with B&B's and fine restaurants.