During the past few months, where our world has been jolted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the number of activities/distractions that were compliant with social distancing measures was quite limited. Luckily, Luxembourg never forbade people from going on walks and hikes in nature.
I had bought this book last year, but it was just collecting dust:
Once lockdown started, I decided that Max (my dog) and I would get started on doing all 201 circular walks that are mapped in the guide. Yes, all 1708 kms of them! We’re assuming it will take us nearly 4 years to do them all ! (PS. On that note, if you’re a sucker for puppy pictures, you can find the pictures of our trips on Max’s Instagram account)
What I really like about this book is its practical format. Each hike is a removable page and you have a plastic sheet to protect it so you can take it on the go on your hike. It also has a map showing the localization of all hikes, but also a few pages at the beginning where the hikes are organized by regions and lengths. Sure, you can get the hikes on the Visit Luxembourg website too, but when you’re lost and without any access to internet, believe me, having a paper map is VERY useful 😄
Once you’re in the forests, the paths are clearly marked by the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg – there’s ALMOST no way to get lost (unless you’re absent-minded like me, of course). The paths are usually well kept and unless it’s been raining, they’re easy to walk on. Some hikes have some quite steep hills, but usually, they’re mostly flat.
Luxembourg offers a variety of landscapes for the hikes. The most popular spots for hiking are definitely the Mullerthal (also known as The Little Switzerland) walks, with its caves, rivers and steep hills.
© 2020 Office Régional du Tourisme Région Mullerthal
I am also particularly fond of the hikes in the Moselle region (maybe because I can easily reward myself with a well-deserved glass of crémant 🥂 afterwards). The valley views are always amazing, and it’s nice to have a change of scenery.
The rest of the hikes across the country usually go through eerie forests and often have amazing views of the fields. With the maps from the book, you can also often find a detour that will take you to secret ponds, observation points, and much more!
My favorite hike remains the Lellingen one. As soon as spring starts (usually early April, but this year it was as early as March), thousands and thousands of wild daffodils bloom in the Via Botanica. Check the pictures on Christophe Van Biesen (Luxembourgish photographer) ‘s blog!
Tips and Tricks:
If you’ve never hiked before, start with the shortest walks. They’re usually 4-6 kms, and they will get you used to following the paths, keeping your balance, etc. You will soon realize how rewarding hiking can be! That being said, if you have kids, I would recommend to keep them short.
Wear comfortable shoes for the hikes: usually, good sneakers are enough but real hiking shoes are definitely necessary for hikes in Mullerthall! Remember to bring water and snacks, and a bowl for your dog too. Mosquito repellent is also necessary during the summer.
Even if not mandatory, I personally hike in longer clothes, even in summer, because Luxembourg’s forests are usually filled with ticks and sometimes even processionary caterpillars 😟
If you have an emergency, usually you still have enough reception to call 112.
Go off the beaten path
Before starting a hike, examine the map to get familiar with the area. The maps are quite helpful if you want to take deviations to visit interesting places that aren’t too far from the original path, or if you want to take shortcuts to make the hike shorter.
The most important thing is to have fun. Hikes are great opportunities to reflect and think about life’s mysteries! Kids and dogs will love running around to blow off some steam too.
Whether you are doing a silent walk by yourself, or in groups, don’t forget to look up from time to time and enjoy being surrounded by nature. I usually go hiking early in the mornings to avoid crowds. I like having the forest to myself.
Already did the 201 hikes? Looking for other hikes? Looking for bigger challenges?
Luxembourg counts 27 national hiking trails, ranging from 15 to 68 kms. These are longer than the hiking trails in the book, and are more suitable for more advanced-level hikers.
There are over 100 themed hikes, maintained by the local offices of tourism. I personally love these, as they’re often shorter and have signs with explanations related to Luxembourg’s flora and fauna, culture, and history.
The CFL Hiking Trails from Station to Station also provide a great opportunity to discover the country for those who don’t drive. Public transportation is free in Luxembourg, so this is also a great way to discover the country!
The 9 Youth Hostels trails start and finish in one of Luxembourg’s youth hostels around the country, allowing you to stop and rest between hikes. From April 1st to October 31st, they offer luggage transfer service so you can hike lighter!
The Mullerthal Trail stretches over 112 km and consists of three big loops (Routes 1, 2 and 3 – each between 36 and 38 kms) in six stages. And if that’s not enough, four additional routes (the “ExtraTours” A, B, C and D) will make you discover even more corners in Lux.
The Escapardenne trail is a 158 km hike that crosses the Belgian-Luxembourgish Ardennes, split up into 8 different stages, even offering options for hiking without luggage. The trail is divided into two main sections: the Lee trail (53 km) and the Éislek (106 km).
Similarly, the Naturwanderpark DELUX offers 170 kms of hikes across the German-Luxembourg border, split into nine cross border routes.
For the lovers of the Moselle, the 3 Dream Loops guide you through vineyards, remains dating back to the Romans, and cute villages along the river.
Different international trails have a portion of their paths across Luxembourg: the European long distance paths E2 and E3 and even the Way of St. James (El Camino de Santiago).