Mullerthal, Luxembourg. They call it “Little Switzerland” with its sweeping landscapes, streams, and towns that will seem familiar to anyone who’s traveled Central Europe. It’s hardly an unknown region. Tourism is popular in the area, especially so with Dutch tourists, and of course, Luxembourgers themselves.
But Americans will find Mullerthal to be refreshingly serene compared to some of the more well-known natural regions of Europe suffering from mass tourism. In fact, considering how remarkably easy it is to connect the already wonderfully unique Luxembourg City to Mullerthal, it seems to only be a question of time before more travelers take a pass on the familiar and plan a trip to Mullerthal.
Hiking Mullerthal, Luxembourg
Berdorf to Echternach
The 111 bus runs from Luxembourg City through Berdorf en route to Echternach. Get off at the stop for Hôtel Perekop and go south down a narrow country road toward the forest. Pass by a small parking lot and you can pick up the E1 route of the Mullerthal Hiking Trail that runs from Beaufort and through Berdorf. Follow the dirt trail east toward Echternach and continue following signs for the E1 trail. Easy peasy.
At about 4.5 kilometers, you’ll find a descent of about 300 meters over 3.5 kilometers into Echternach. The hike itself is nothing challenging, but it’s blissfully quiet and with plenty of scenic forest views with Germany easily visible on the other side of the Sauer River.
Luxembourg packs an impressive array of culture within its compact borders. Locals speak Luxembourgish at home before immediately learning French and German, and eventually, English. Considering that more than a third of the country’s population are immigrants, you can expect to hear an array of languages anywhere you go.
But Echternach very much leans on the German side of things with its Germanic square in the center of town in front of city hall, surrounded by a number of restaurants. A pedestrian street, Rue de la Gare (there’s your French influence), leads to it all. It shouldn’t be entirely surprising that Echternach embraces its Germanic heritage since you could very easily walk to Germany from anywhere in town.
Returning to the Mullerthal Trail
After seeing the sights and grabbing a bit of lunch, you can retrace your steps along Rue de la Gare back to the Mullerthal Trail, except this time heading west via the southern route. It’s on this section where you’ll regain that elevation lost on the earlier descent by hiking 200-plus meters over about a kilometer, then another 100-plus by the end of the hike. This is also indisputably the more visually interesting portion of the hike. Here you’re in the depths of the forest, hiking up and down stone steps past (and in between) a labyrinth of giant rocks, dwarfing you as you pass by.
The trail continues west, but at around 15 kilometers, you can bail out onto a country road just like the one you started on to keep it at a day hike. Then it’s just a short jaunt into Berdorf where you can pick up the 111 bus again to head back into Luxembourg City.
Disclosure: I traveled as a guest of Visit Luxembourg. As always, all opinions are my own.