Winter often incites introspection. The cold weather is always a good excuse to take refuge at home while watching, through our window, the trees rocked by the wind or the snowflakes falling during the harsh winters. But by doing so, we are missing out on unique experiences in Luxembourg: carpets of yellow and reddish icy leaves that crackle under our feet to the delight of young and old, frozen waterfalls and hiking trails at the end of which a hot cocoa awaits us to warm us up from inside and outside. Luxembourg's dynamic spirit also comes across in winter. So don't leave your camera behind before going around the country with this selection of outdoor winter activities!
The Luxembourg Ardennes - An emotional bath in the forest
Luxembourg's first forest bathing path was opened in Ettelbruck. In a total of six stations, the trail offers a shinrin yoku experience, a popular Japanese practice of bathing in the forest with all five senses.
The path starts at the campsite in Ettelbruck and then climbs up to the edge of the Wëllerbësch, where you will find the first signpost. Once in the forest, switch off your mobile phone, soak up the smell of the trees, observe the colourful leaves in detail... It's surely a nice way of unwinding after a long year filled with work requirements.
Idea to end the walk: a warm drink in Esch-sur-Sûre while admiring the ruined manor and the steep cliffs rising out of the river.
In the Moselle region... walks and raising your glass to the new year
With its relatively mild climate, the Luxembourg Moselle is also a region that also flourishes in winter. The three Boucles de rêve (dream loops) spell pleasure and quality for hikers: these three certified Premium Trails cover rock formations, vineyards, historical mills and forests. So tie up the laces of your hiking shoes and let's go!
You can end your trail with a tour of cellars of Luxembourgish sparkling wine producers and raise your glass to the new year!
A walk amidst sculptures in the Guttland
If you visit the French Gardens of the Ansembourg Castle in the winter, you can not only discover the large fountains and the collection of sculptures adorning the park, but also the Eisch valley's natural environment. If you contact the Regional Tourist Office Centre/West, you can enjoy a guided tour to discover the gardens that were laid out as early as 1750.
If you prefer to immerse yourself in the forest, the Rindschleiden meditation hiking trail is what you need. It is an easy 1.5km trail to disconnect and collect your thoughts.
How about some goodies after your tour of the gardens or your walk in the forest? If you go to the Mersch Chocolate House, you are in for a treat! It's heaven-on-earth for chocolate lovers.
Rock formations, legends and frozen waterfalls in the Mullerthal
Featuring narrow rocky passages and grottos, the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall is an invitation to experience geology. Most of the park's trails can be used in the winter, but what makes this season stand out is that you can observe the spectacular rock formations really well as there is no foliage in sight!
The Wollesfsschlucht, meaning the 'wolf's gorge', is probably the most imposing natural monuments of the park: the rock walls rise up to 50 metres. Legend has it that a treasure is hidden in the gorge, guarded by a dog with sparkling eyes... who is actually a haunted Count! To discover it, take route 2 of the Mullerthal Trail. A diversion is in currently in place on this trail, but there are signs to help you find your way and enjoy your hike. Do not forget sturdy shoes, the trail is demanding in some sections!
If it's a very cold day, tempt fate by visiting the Kalktuffquelle. These two sets of waterfalls are often covered in ice when the temperatures fall under the freezing point. To get there, take route 3 of the Mullerthal Trail. As with Route 2, several diversions are currently in place in the area, but they do not prevent the visit of the Kalkuffquelle.
Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall: UNESCO Global Geopark
Did you know that more than 200 million years ago there was a sea in the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall region? The sandstones that formed the seabed at that time still show many traces that give a unique insight into the history of the region! Today, the orography of the park plays a key role in the supply of drinking water, the presence of certain animal and plant species and the use of the land.
With this remarkable history, the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall officially became part of the UNESCO Global Geopark network in April 2022. A UNESCO Global Geopark is an area with a geological heritage of international importance. Many of the geoparks in the UNESCO network help to raise awareness of geological hazards such as volcanic risks, earthquakes and tsunamis, and as part of this, develop hazard mitigation strategies within local communities. UNESCO Global Geoparks keep records of climate change in recent years. They act as educators for the changes that are taking place and help to adopt good environmental practices by promoting the use of renewable energy and green tourism.
Would you like to go on long winter walks to discover all the secrets of the region? With a network of 112km of well-marked trails, the Mullerthal Trail is not to be missed!
The Land of the Red Rocks for experienced mountain biking lovers
Visiting the Ellergronn nature reserve - Natura 2000 that is in the vicinity of Esch-sur-Alzette is a highlight for both beginners and advanced hikers, and does not become too difficult in winter months. Covering a distance of 12km, it's an educational trail divided into three theme-based loops that can easily be combined. A real gem to explore as part of a hike!
You're an experienced mountain bike lover in need of a physical challenge after the season's hearty meals? The RedRock MTB Trail Haard-black or Haard-red await you. Unique experience guaranteed - but the routes are tough.
Minett Unesco Biosphere
The Minett region, also known as the Land of the Red Rocks, is a densely populated area with a long history of steel mining and steel industry. Featuring Luxembourg's largest nature reserves, the region is now aiming to diversify its economy, reconvert certain parts of its industrial heritage and protect its natural environment.
In October 2020, Minett Unesco Biosphere officially became part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the UNESCO's 'Man and the Biosphere' programme. The region has thus proven to be a model for sustainable development and visitors can enjoy the rich biodiversity of the converted lands.