Family vacation in Little Switzerland: Echternach, Luxembourg (Part One)

Family vacation in Little Switzerland: Echternach, Luxembourg (Part One)

Echternach, town square.

 

Luxembourg is becoming one of our favorite places to take a family vacation, especially now my son is old enough to hike with us. On our third trip to this tiny country we choose to head south to the Mullerthal region, also known as little Switzerland. Echternach, the area’s cultural capital, was indeed the perfect place for us city folk to get back to nature for a few days and explore the hilly, forested region.

 

View from our hotel room window.

We stayed in the Grand Hotel, a large hotel on the outskirts of town, which turned out to be quite grand indeed. It was a nice mix of old and new, with a great restaurant serving the wonderfully delectable dishes (influenced by French and German cuisine) we have grown accustomed to enjoying while in the Grand-Duchy. And it had a swimming pool with disco lights which made the trip complete, as far as my son was concerned.

 

 

Mullerthal Trail

Hiking or walk ‘up’ anywhere is new for my son, so we were thrilled to see him hopping and skipping up the steep hills.

The region is most famous for the Mullerthal Trail, a network of fabulous hiking trails stretching 110 kilometers through the rugged and forested hills.

 

The Saurer River, looking left.
The Saurer River, looking right.

 

To our surprise, our hotel was located smack dab in the middle of a 6.5 kilometer loop that went down to the Saurer River and along its shrub-filled banks, before heading up a large hill through granite rock formations and old trees.

 

Echternach

 

Echternach is the oldest town in Luxembourg. The village grew around the Abbey of Echternach, founded in 698 by Saint Willibrord, an English monk who later became the first Bishop of Utrecht (The Netherlands). In his honor, a Dancing Procession is held every White Tuesday. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Echternach to celebrate this UNESCO protected tradition by performing a unique spring step dance through the city.

 

Abbey of Echternach.

 

The tomb of Saint Willibrord.
The mythological beasts carved into the Abbey’s pews are quite extraordinary. Anyone familiar with Jheronimus Bosch?

Outlines of unfinished frescoes are still visible in the crypt under the Abbey.

 

Echternach was a ghost town the week we were there because a two-week school holiday ended the day we arrived. A cafe owner assured us it wasn’t usually like this. Many shop owners decided to close down for a few days to recover from the ‘crazy’ amount of visitors that descended upon the town during the school holiday.

 

Lovely pavilion in the city’s park.
Palace of Justice, Echternach.
This sign made me want to buy a cake! Unfortunately, the owners were on vacation. Next time!
I think I took about twenty pictures of these gorgeous street lights; most buildings in the historic center have them.
The Justice Cross, placed in the middle of the town square, close to the Palace of Justice.
Several shops had special hooks next to the door for leashes. I think this dog is tired of waiting!

 

A sign in front of a school, warning parents not to come inside with their children.

 

The town is situated along the Saurer River, which separates Luxembourg from Germany. The German city of Echternachtebruchë is only a short bridge crossing away.

Standing on the Luxembourg side of the ‘main’ bridge over the Saurer River, looking towards Echternachtebruchë.
Standing on the German side of the bridge, looking towards Echternach.

 

I hope my photos have given you a better idea of what Echternach is like. In Part Two, I’ll post pictures and information about other villages close to Echternach and Trier, Germany. Thanks for stopping by!

6 thoughts on “Family vacation in Little Switzerland: Echternach, Luxembourg (Part One)

  1. I remember visiting “little Switzerland” when I was about 10. Great memories :). Looks like you are making some good ones as well! Luxembourg is lovely place, but often gets overlooked as a travel destination. Thank you for sharing!

  2. A really enjoyable post, Jennifer. I love posts about Europe, all the towns have so much history and are so pretty. I look forward to reading part II.

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