30km (19 miles) NE of Luxembourg City
This enchanting little town (pop. 5,000) is a living open-air museum, from its patrician houses and picturesque market square to its medieval walls and towers.
Getting There -- Bus no. 500 departs every hour or so from Ettelbruck; the ride to Echternach takes 45 minutes. By car from Ettelbruck, take N7 then N19 east to Wallendorf-Pont, then go south on N10 to Echternach.
Visitor Information -- The Office du Tourisme (tourist info office) is at parvis de la Basilique 9-10 (tel. 72-02-30; fax 72-75-24; www.echternach-tourist.lu), 6401 Echternach, at St. Willibrord Basilica.
What to See & Do
Be sure to take in the Mairie (Town Hall), which dates from 1444, and the 18th-century Abbaye (Abbey) and Basilica. Echternach has been the repository of the ages since the missionary St. Willibrord arrived from England in 658 and established the abbey that made this one of the area's earliest centers of Christianity. Allow yourself enough time to soak up the medieval atmosphere that permeates the air.
If you arrive on Whit Tuesday -- the sixth Tuesday after Easter -- you'll encounter the spectacular and unique Dancing Procession. Pilgrims from all over Europe come to join this parade, during which they march, chant, sing, and dance to an ancient tune performed by bands. This event mixes religious solemnity with a liberal dose of native gaiety. The procession forms at 9am and ends at the basilica.
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