Castles, Ranked

I've started to figure out a possible reason why more people don't visit Luxembourg as they hop and skip across Western Europe: It's rainy! It's rained almost every one of the last 30 days. But usually only a little at a time. And let's not forget that Austin has done that to me too (looking at you, May 2015).

So we got a little bit wet as we ventured out for our castle tour, but we found that Luxembourg has many more palaces than we could squeeze into our 3-day trip. Some of them now hold hotels, youth hostels, and restaurants so you might end up near one without trying, and, in an 80 km country, the next one won't be too far away.

4. Château de Mersch

Chateau de Mersch, Luxembourg

I don't think we would've even visited this very un-castle-like castle had it not been less than a mile down the road from Mike's apartment. It's currently being occupied by administrative offices, doesn't give off many castle vibes, and could easily be driven past if you were out searching for any distinguishing features that castles normally supply. I would have given it a 1 out of 10, but it was saved by the cool dragon statue out front. 2/10

Uncle Rick slaying le Dragon de Mersch

Uncle Rick slaying le Dragon de Mersch

3. Château de Clervaux

Chateau de Clervaux

We skipped going inside this one, due to cold rain and afternoon sleepiness, but it was indeed very castle-y as it stood out on the hill above town. Its classy white walls in contrast with the lush greenery of the Ardennes forest region were enough to raise my spirits after spending a day in the rain wearing absorbent canvas shoes. As we visited the church next door, we were lucky to take in our first Luxembourgish wedding and hear "Lean on Me" performed in English by the choir. 7/10

2. Palais Grand-Ducal

Palais Grand-Ducal, Luxembourg

Our first castle of the trip is home to the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the guest of honor for Luxembourg's National Holiday/birthday party, which was happening the day we arrived in the city. For us, that meant kebab, crepe, and beer trucks in the main square and a free concert by the Queen Symphony Orchestra (an orchestra that plays songs by Queen, not songs for the royal family). This is a very castle-like castle, and the only one we saw that is fully functioning today. We walked by as guests were leaving the Grand Duke's party, and I am taking off 2 points for us not being invited. 8/10

Palais Grand-Ducal, Luxembourg

1. Château de Vianden

Chateau de Vianden, Luxembourg

Vianden is the type of castle that sneaks up out of the hills and takes your breath away before you wind down hairpin turns into the town below. We were able to go inside and tour the reconstructed bedrooms, ballrooms, and dining areas. There was also an unexpected and slightly out-of-place art exhibit featuring paintings of Albert Einstein, Superman, and other iconic figures in neon blacklight paint. If you can't find what you're looking for in a castle at Vianden, you may want to end your search.  10/10