Less than an hour north of Luxembourg City is a collection of castles; the most significant of those–at least as far as attracting tourists–is Vianden Castle. My partner and I had originally planned a picnic with friends the day we were to visit (the surrounding countryside is gorgeous), but the weather was still hovering in the 30s. So the picnic was eaten in the car with the heater on full blast. Regardless of winter temperatures, this was well worth the drive and the short hike up to the castle.
Originally built between the 11th and 14th Centuries and connected to both French and German royalty, Vianden Castle had fallen into ruins by the 19th Century. Though most of what you will see in these photos is a restored castle, the restoration is extremely well done, and touring it can periodically seem like a journey back in time to the Middle Ages (though the occasional car and light switch can limit that effect somewhat).
It had been our intention only to see Vianden, but we then decided we were having too much fun and wanted the day to continue. So we set out for our next destination, Pettingen Castle. While we argued about where to turn and whether or not the GPS was accurate (it would only speak to us in German), we stumbled upon this additional castle completely by accident. Creepy and cool, huh?
We were finally able to find Pettingen, which is a small village of only around 200 people. The castle ruins, dating from around the 10th Century, lie within the city limits. It is free and open to the public. The ruins were a nice contrast to the reconstructed Vianden.