In the east of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg lies the Mullerthal region, called Mëllerdall in Luxembourgish and often referred to as Luxembourg's Little Switzerland. Two Unesco heritage sites await you: the Echternach hopping procession, which is on the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage, and the Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall, which is part of the Unesco global network of geoparks. Discover this exceptional biotope marked by surprising rock formations and dream while visiting the historical sites of Beaufort and Larochette castles.
Mullerthal, experience geology
The Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall is an invitation to experience geology at its best. The sandstone and dolomite rock strata formed the bottom of a sea 250 to 200 million years ago. After the sea disappeared, today's rivers carved themselves into the rocks and the current landscape emerged, composed of plateaus and deep valleys. Narrow rocky passages and grottos took shape in Luxembourg's sandstones.
Mesmerising discoveries await you. For example, the 'outlier' mountains that point to the geological past and are scattered across cuesta landscapes. You can also see traces of honeycomb weathering that is highly characteristic of this limestone rock.
Experienced hikers can discover the region through the 112km of the Mullerthal Trail. The trail is composed of three loops that are interconnected, but which can also be completed separately. Route 2 passes through the centre of the region with its spectacular rock formations: the Wollefsschlucht or wolf's gorge, a very craggy rock where wolves used to hide; or the Pérékop rock, a massive stone block that can be accessed by ladders.
The trail also offers shorter and easier paths that all family members can enjoy. Children or visitors in search of a place to unwind can opt for the Mullterthal Trail Extra Tours or local signposted trails.
Climbing fans are also in for a treat in this region. In fact, climbing is authorised in the rocky cliffs of Wanterbach in Berdorf. If you want to give climbing a go, the Echternach Youth Hostel offers introductory courses for children and adults under a trainer's supervision.
The Natur- & Geopark Mëllerdall belongs to the German-Luxembourg Nature Park and thus offer a unique cross-border experience.
Echternach, a city with a long history
Echternach has long been a crossroad of cultures. A Roman Villa lies in the outskirts of the city: one of the largest and richest rural properties in Trier's surrounding area, the Roman Augusta Treverorum. Amidst the vastness of agricultural lands, a farm surrounded by walls stretches across over 25 acres of land. This real palace featured no less than 40 and later even 70 rooms on the ground-floor with porches, inner courtyards, water basins, marble facings, floor mosaics and floor heating. Fans of ancient history can explore the mansion and wander through a pergola covered with vines and a Roman garden in which over 70 medicinal and ornamental plants are presented. A must of Luxembourg summers with very enlightening guided tours.
The history of Luxembourg's oldest town is intrinsically linked to the Hopping Procession. It takes place every year on Whit Tuesday, in order to pay tribute to the Irish monk Willibrord (658-739), the founder of Echternach Abbey. The pilgrims form rows of five or six people and, linked by handkerchiefs folded into triangles, move forward by hopping to the rhythm of marching bands that play the folk melody of Adam had Seven Sons. The procession takes them to the alleyways of Echternach, leading them to Willibrord's grave in the crypt of the basilica.
This procession is special because it entails praying with your whole body: walking while hopping to the rhythm of an ever-repeating polka melody represents a unique expression of Christian joy. It owes its UNESCO recognition to its very singular character and the procession has been listed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010.
The castles: in search of lost time
The ruins of Larochette Castle - which are located on a sandstone promontory - overlook the Valley of the White Ernz, a confluence of the Sûre, by about 150 metres. Imagination gets carried away with the setting of this amazingly restored and reinforced castle: enclosure, ditch, lords of Larochette! The Regional Tourist Office for the Mullerthal region offers a fun-filled tour of the castle for 6 to 12-year-olds. Not to be missed!
Beaufort Castle is a unique setting for summer evenings. The courtyard of the Renaissance castle hosts classical and contemporary music concerts. The night falls, the walls of the castle are lit by a myriad of colours and melodies give wings to your mind! From April to November, the castle also offers guided tours that will allow you to discover Luxembourg's ten centuries of history.