34km (21 miles) NE of Luxembourg City; 18km (11 miles) SE of Clervaux

Vianden straddles the Our River and looks across to Germany's forested Eifel region. In 1871, exiled French writer and Vianden resident Victor Hugo described the village (pop. 1,600) as a "jewel set amid splendid scenery, characterized by two both comforting and magnificent elements: the sinister ruins of its fortress and its cheerful breed of men." Well, the splendid scenery and the fortress are still there, and the populace seems cheerful enough.

Getting There -- From Clevaux, bus no. 663 goes to Vianden in 45 minutes. There are two trains every hour from Luxembourg City to Diekirch, which connect with buses (line 570) to Vianden; the ride from Diekirch takes 15 minutes. By car, take N7 north from Luxembourg City to Ettelbruck, and then go east on N19 and north on N17.

Visitor Information -- The Syndicat d'Initiative is at rue du Vieux Marché 1A, 9419 Vianden (tel. 83-42-57-1; fax 84-90-81; www.vianden-info.lu).

What to See & Do

For the best view of Vianden's narrow winding streets, castle, and the river valley, take the Télésiège (chairlift) that operates from rue du Sanatorium 39 (tel. 83-43-23), April to October daily from 10am to 5 or 6pm. The round-trip fare is 4.50€ ($7.20) for adults and 2.75€ ($4.40) for children.

The Maison Victor Hugo (Victor Hugo House), rue de la Gare 37 (tel. 26-87-40-88; www.victor-hugo.lu), is where the great French writer stayed during his sojourn in Vianden. Its museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Admission is 4€ ($6.40) for adults, 3.50€ ($5.60) for ages 13 to 25, 3€ ($4.80) for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.