With love from Luxembourg

With its beautiful natural scenery and picturesque castles, Luxembourg’s Éislek region is the ideal destination for a walking tour, whatever the season.

Sandwiched on the map between Belgium, France and Germany, Luxembourg is small but perfectly formed. With a wealth of stunning natural landscapes, it’s perfect for walkers – especially the Éislek region in the north. Time to grab your rucksack and discover this hidden corner of Europe.

A curving river passing through a landscape of trees

A loop in the Sûre river, Éislek region

Discover the Éislek Pied

When it comes to exploring unspoilt countryside, it doesn’t get much better than the Éislek. This rural area is full of dense pine and oak forests, deep valleys, rolling hills and rugged mountain plateaus. In total, there are 1,900km of paths to discover, making it heavenly for hikers.

In particular, this is the perfect location for a self-guided ramble away from the crowds. There are 18 well-marked circular trails, known as the Éislek Pied, ranging in distance from 6.6km to 19.3km, with a route to suit every ability – whether you are looking for a more challenging hike or an easier wander through the woods. All are designed to conform to the strict quality criteria of the European Ramblers Association. It’s no surprise this area has been earmarked as a future European Leading Hiking Region.

The Éislek forms part of the Ardennes, which extends to Germany and through Belgium and northern France, meaning you’ll be heading deep into its famous conifer forests. On your travels, you might also find yourself walking beside an overgrown quarry or winding river, admiring a placid lake, passing a well-preserved traditional town or village, or, if you’re a more experienced hiker, navigating a steep mountain incline offering spectacular views.

The 18 Éislek Pads are dotted across the region, from Diekirch in the south, to Troisvierges, in the north. You’ll find all the trails listed at visit-eislek.lu, with times and difficulty ratings so you can plan your trip, as well as find other ideas for hikes.

This refreshingly peaceful area isn’t just a draw for intrepid walkers, either – there are countless cycle trails, while you can try wild swimming, canoeing and other water sports at Upper Sûre Lake (Luxembourg’s largest body of water) and Weiswampach Lake. In winter, also try your hand at cross-country skiing.

Paddleboarders passing an old town on a river

Paddleboarders by the pretty town of Esch-sur-Sûre, in the Éislek

Hike the Escapardenne Lee Trail

If you’re seeking a longer-distance walk, one of the most satisfying routes in Éislek is the Lee Trail, part of the Escapardenne Trail. It shows off the area’s steep rocky ridges, known as ‘lee’ in Luxembourgish (the national language). Over three stages, the trail leads you 50km/30 miles from Luxembourg’s Ettelbrück to Kautenbach. Here, it joins its big brother, the 100km/ 60-mile Eislek Trail, which follows on to Belgium. The serene, fragrant conifer forests will help you forget daily life as you hike to the Belgian La Roche-en-Ardenne.

The trail winds through peaceful rural pastures and wild, wooded valleys, passing a number of villages, including picturesque Dirbach on the banks of the River Sûre. In all, you’ll cover 2000m of ascent, and be treated to numerous outstanding panoramas across the way, including from the viewpoint at Gringlee (the ‘green rock’) in Bourscheid-Moulin, and the top of the Molberlee in Hoscheid, a spectacular craggy outcrop known for its wild blueberries (‘molbier’).

Other brilliant hiking opportunities in Luxembourg, closer to the German border in the Eifel region, include the Nat’Our Routen, by the Sûre and Our rivers. Here you’ll find five themed circular trails, many of them family friendly. Try the route from Wehrrückbau, where you’ll finish up at the ‘border triangle’ where Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg meet.

A grand palace high up above the mist

The beautiful Vianden Castle is a must-visit for lovers of history

Dive into Luxembourg’s history

As well as being a walker’s paradise, Éislek is rich in history and culture. The medieval splendour of Vianden Castle, 55km north of Luxembourg City, is a must-visit. This quintessential fairy-tale chateau, perched above the town of Vianden, is Luxembourg’s most visited historical site, and often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful castles. Built between the 11th and 14th centuries, it’s renowned for its Gothic and Romanesque architecture and French author Victor Hugo wrote of its ‘sinister but magnificent ruins’. Ascend via the chairlift for the full magical experience.

Other regional highlights include the 12th-century castle at Clervaux, where you can see the world-famous Family of Man photography collection. The permanent exhibition features 503 photos by 273 photographers from 68 countries, including acclaimed names like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dorothy Lange. Remember to reserve some time to explore the city of Clervaux, with its medieval abbey and a museum dedicated to the Battle of the Bulge, the Second World War conflict which centred in the Ardennes.

A trip to the enchanting Bourscheid Castle is also recommended – the largest in Luxembourg, featuring 11 watchtowers. Alternatively, if you wish to actually stay in a castle, head to the hotel at the renovated 18th-century Château d’Urspelt. Here you can relax and unwind in the luxurious wellness spa, with its saunas and treatment cabins, and explore the tranquil gardens and grounds (chateau-urspelt.lu).

Finally, beyond the Éislek, don’t forget to squeeze in a trip to Luxembourg City, a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its fortified medieval old town. Luxembourg is renowned for being the world’s only remaining Grand Duchy – visit the Grand Ducal Palace with its 16th-century facade, and see the Chemin de la Corniche, dubbed ‘the most beautiful balcony in Europe’.

Need to know...

Read more about the Éislek at visit-eislek.lu

After arriving in Luxembourg, download the new visitluxembourg app for local info

For inspiration on travelling in Luxembourg, order Luci magazine for free at luci.travel

Find luggage transport for hikers and bikers at movewecarry.lu/en

Remember, public transport has been free of charge throughout Luxembourg since 2020

See @visit_luxembourg on Instagram, @VisitLuxembourg on Facebook, and search #visitluxembourg for more info.

Find out more

For more information, head to: visitluxembourg.com and also information on Éislek

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