Palace, citadel or fortified cathedral? At first glance it’s hard to tell just what it is that towers so grandly amid the mists and wooded hills above historic little Vianden. In fact it’s a vast slate-roofed castle complex whose impregnable white stone walls glow golden in the evening’s floodlights, creating one of Luxembourg’s most photogenic scenes. Vianden’s appealing old town is essentially one road, the cobbled Grand Rue that rises 700m to the castle gates from a bridge across the River Our. Newer sections of town follow the riverbanks in either direction.
On weekend afternoons in summer, Vianden can get overloaded with noisy fleets of motorcycle tourists. But get up early and you’ll have the whole town largely to yourself.