Mullerthal and Moselle

By | Category: Travel destinations
moselle region vineyards

the vineyards of the Moselle region

The Mullerthal Region of Luxembourg, also known as Little Switzerland, was named as such by Dutch soldiers, used to very flat ground, when they first saw the region. It is the ideal area for walking or biking with nature in abundance. An undulating landscape of hills made from rock formations some with deep crevices, or and valleys covered with woods. I am sure there are an abundance of flowers, but as my visit is in April it is still too early to see. Situated in the middle of no-where, it is an environment to relax in and enjoy nature.

Three walking routes cover 112 kilometres of paths, and offer lots of choice – a rocky trail, one with stops to visit historic castles, and a third taking you through forests and grasslands. All the equipment necessary for hiking can be hired, for free, at various points along the routes. This includes waterproof jackets, appropriate walking boots, walking sticks, baby carrying packs, and even binoculars. A group of hotels has also got together to deliver luggage between them. At Berdorf on route 2, pods have been built with water and electricity for anyone who enjoys camping with some warmth. I like my luxury, and stayed at the 5 star Hotel Eden au Lac situated in an idyllic setting in a valley and, as the name suggests, by a lake. A bonus is the recent addition of a comprehensive spa facility.

Beaufort Castle

Beaufort Castle

We stopped at Beaufort Castle on route 3. Here there are two castles, and the foundations of a third on the site, the oldest dating back to the Celtic period. From the outside the castle looked as if it was a ruin but once inside there is a lot to see. The rooms have been numbered with explanations. One of its previous owners, with a macabre sense of humour, installed a torture room with a variety of instruments – one, covered in spikes was to stretch prisoners, another a metal face mask, and the third to encase fingers. Apparently, this room is very popular with children, but appealed to the men in our party too! Across a bridge from the ruins is a castle or perhaps more of a chateau built during the Renaissance period that is still intact. It was lived in until 2012 with the rooms kept as they were when the last occupant passed away. Included in the price of the entry is a tasting of Cassero, a blackcurrant liqueur similar to Crème de Cassis, one of the liqueurs produced and sold at the castle.

the nearby waterfalls

the nearby waterfalls

Although at one time there were lots of watermills in the region, there is only one remaining at Heringer Millen, a tourist centre conveniently situated between routes 2 and 3, and a point to pick up equipment. Here is a great place to stop for a meal with seats outside, and throws and fluffy cushions provided for when it is chilly.

A short walk from the centre is a pretty waterfall, a landmark, with a shallow area to dip your feet in the clear water. Ideal, if you have come across it after an arduous walk!

The River Moselle from where the wine gets its name, runs through both Germany and Luxembourg. There was no doubting that I had arrived in the wine growing region of the country, as there are rows upon rows of vines everywhere, and as I found out later, with a variety of grapes being grown. White wine predominates in this area with my favourite being their crèmant , which is similar to champagne. They can’t call the drink champagne as the name can only be used for wines produced in that region. However, for anyone who like me, loves the tipple, it is whole lot cheaper, and in some cases better €4 – 6 a glass;  €10 – 13 a bottle. There are fifty private wine producers as well as a wine co-operative, and several of these welcome visitors. At St. Martin in Remich there is a mile of underground tunnels where the wine is produced and stored.

The ecologically designed hotel Ecluse at Stadtbredimus is very interesting to visit even if you don’t stay. There is a restaurant and bar which is open to non-residents. On the wine route bordering the Moselle River, from the outside it doesn’t look at all special, but inside is something else. The architecture is geometrical with the use of solid natural materials, floor to ceiling glass windows, and an outdoor natural swimming pool.

the monument to free passage at Schengen

the Schengen monument

During the summer months, sightseeing boats cruise along the river either for an hour’s trip or for a longer period when it’s possible to have lunch on board. It was on one of these that the Schengen agreement was signed. Schengen on the Moselle River is situated at a point, where the countries of Germany, France and Luxembourg all meet. The Agreement permits open borders, and the free circulation of trade between the countries that have signed it. The museum of the same name explains all the different implications of the Agreement, and includes a children’s corner where they can have their picture taken, and create their own Schengen Passport. A sculpture by Jean Bichel symbolises the Agreement of open borders with a different section for each of the member 26 countries. I was unaware that England wasn’t part of it, but of course if we were we wouldn’t need a passport to enter any of the countries in the Agreement!

information signpost

cycling and walking are big attractions in the region

A cycling track runs along the 42 klms of the river. Bicycles can be rented in one town and conveniently left in another. A winemaking area, the region is also a popular holiday destination. At Haff Réimech, there is a nature park facing onto a recreational area with a lake for swimming.

Where ever we visited was no more than one hour away from Luxembourg centre. For hikers, buses stop off at various points on the trails. Worth investigating is the Luxembourg card, which having bought it, got me into the attractions I visited, as well as the buses and trains without having to pay again.

Incidentally, I travelled to Gatwick Airport to catch my flight to  Luxembourg on Southern Railway, a cheaper if slightly longer way of getting to Gatwick Airport than taking the Gatwick Express.

For information about the Moselle region, click here.

For information about Luxembourg generally, click here.

 

 

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