Echternach is a small town at the northeast corner of Luxembourg, just a short drive on E29 from the capital. It's a good place to get away from it all -- either to relax quietly with a warm capucchino at a main street café, or take a refreshing walk on one of the many forested footpaths nearby.
Echternach is a tourist-friendly place, and nearly all tourists come to see the majestic basilica and abbey (pictured at left). This picture was taken just as a Sunday Mass was being let out. The basilica accounts for about one-third of the town's land area, and is surrounded by a massive wall with a beautiful, ornate entrance gate.
The rest of the town is a sleepy hollow with a wondeful mix of architectures reminiscent of Luxembourg's neighboring countries. The Rathaus, shown in the picture below at center, is clearly German in style, but contrasts with the surrounding buildings. In the distance, at the entrance to the main street, was a flea market where many antiques (mostly of Belgian origin, I gathered) were available at unbelievably cut-rate prices.
The Main Street is about a half-mile long, and loaded with places to eat. Echternach is inexpensive and offers a wide range of cuisines -- French, Italian, German, etc. Of course, after a satisfying meal, one would want to take a nice leisurely walk to help with the digestion, right?
At the far end of the Main Street, there lies a city map and road signs leading to over a dozen marked footpaths leading through the nearby forested hills. Many of the locals spend some of their Sunday mornings out enjoying Echternach's natural beauty. I chose to follow the path marked for Berfort, which followed a natural ridgeline under a series of sheer rock cliffs, such as the one in the below photograph.
Some parts of the path were very steep (up and down), snaking through rock crevasses and weird natural stone formations. I passed over several small creeks and cascades. The city strategically placed rest areas along the path, which I greatly appreciated.
Other points of interest -- there is a river walkway nearby (surprisingly Echternach was built near, but not on, the river). The river makes up part of the German-Luxembourg border, and is crossed by several small stone bridges, some of which have religious statues on them. Also, look for the St. Peter Eglise near the Abbey, a very pretty little church.
Echternach -- Quaint but unforgettable!
Trip taken 13 May 2001 -- Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin