Echternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg, was founded in 698 by St Willibrord, a monk of Irish origin. It lies near the border with Germany.
The picturesque town, still surrounded by its medieval walls with towers, was badly damaged in World War II and has been thoroughly restored.
There are two churches at Echternach. The larger is the Abbey's basilica of St Willibrord, now surrounded by the eighteenth-century abbey (now a school) in the town's historical and cultural centre. The other is the parish church of St Peter and Paul.
VIDEO of my visit:
173 kms long, this river draws the border between Luxemburg and Germany. It raises in the Ardennes (Belgium) before flowing eastwards and crossing the border with Luxembourg. It then goes on o Germany and the Moselle. It makes for very nice walks either towards other parts of the town or towards the neighboring towns in the other direction.
This benedictine monastery was founded by Saint Willibrord, to which we own the founding of the city, in the 7th century. Although a big fire caused severe damage to the building, the new construction was finished in 1031. Its main feature is the alteration of pillars and columns, a style copied later on in the Rhineland. Pillaged by French revolutionary troops in 1794, the church became a china factory. Its reconstruction in neo-gothic et neo-roman style was suggested near the end of the 19th century. The building was again destroyed by bombs during World War II before being rebuilt from 1948 to 1953. The basilica draws thousands of people every Whit sunday when a dancing procession is held and houses the crypt in which Willibrord is buried. The latter goes back to Carolingian times.
The Law Cross or Colum of Justice stands on the market square, near the pedestrian shopping street. It was supposed to demonstrate abbot Willibrord's supremacy on the citizens regarding all matters of judgment. The cross was destroyed by the French revolutionary troops in 1794 and set up again in 1982 in its original place according to 18th century plans.
The Abbey museum tells the history of the Abbey and Monastery, founded by Willibrod. It's history can be traced back to the 11th century.
The museum is in the vaulted cellars of the abbatial palace of 1727, it also gives a quick over view of the works and life of Willibrod.
The Church and Abbey, was founded in 698, and, it's well worth a visit.
They have a famous dancing procession, which is performed every Whit Tuesday, also an International Festival of classical music held in May - June.
You can make a long walk along the river Sure (Sauer). The river is the border between Luxembourg and Germay. The bridge across the Sure is connecting Echternach with the German village Echternacherbrück on the other side.
Start your trek near the Echternach bus terminus. Ask the locals for help. It is behind the bus terminus.. a little side lane and then you cross the road and then you begin your climb up the slope. Look out for sign E1 in green and white as well as the red M for Mullerthal. can be found on signposts or painted on tree trunks.11.7 km long. level of difficulty : difficult....but there are steps up and down. be prepared to walk at least 4-6.5 hours depending on your speed or whether u need to stop and take photos or just to admire the foliage. if you are too tired to complete the loop, head for Berdorf and take the bus back to Echternach.
About 60 km tracks through "Little Switzerland". You can get detailed walking maps free from tourist office. You can do the Mullerthal Trail. Get your info from this website
If you happen to take a walk along the Sûre river you will surely go through the municipal park. Another nice little place in the town. Beautiful flower beds and perfect mown lawn. You'll also see a rococo pavilion built in 1761.
Enjoy a nice stroll through the streets and you'll come across nice little shops and beautiful fronts. I particularly appreciate the architecture. You can for example visit the Willibrord - founder of the town - basilica just off the market square, then cross the square and go through the shopping streets.
Given the weather is good, there is a recreational centre with lake around 50 hectares. Also there are promenades in the beautiful muellerthal region that can cover a total of 70 kms!!
Also the town is a perfect base to discover all the villages in the region either by car (as we lazy didi), or by bicycle or for the nature lovers on foot.
The roman villa is a site situated in the recreational centre to the west of the town of Echternach and was excavated in 1975-6 and boasts a palace with 70 rooms, 2 baths, mosaic floors, heating systems. The site also houses the exhibition the “Life of Romans” and a roman garden
If you are the absolute museum type, then Echternach has its share to keep you occupied. There are totally 4 museums:
the museum of prehistory (private collection),
near to the Roman villa the “life of Romans”,
the museum of the Abbey (with book illustrations and techniques)
and the museum of rural architecture in the Pavillion (models and audio-visual)
…unfortunately I can’t give any recommendations as we arrived a bit late in Echternach to check out any of them.
The Baroque Abbey was designed by Leopold Durand from Lorraine and built by the Austrian family Mungenast. Since 1899 it houses the “Lycee classique d’Echternach”. It is an impressive building both in terms of architecture and size dominating the centre of the town.
Just opposite to the Abbey you’ll see (unluckily access was not possible at the time we arrived), the modest but elegant Orangerie.