Castle Tour: three day easy mountainbike trip for beginners

We start form the western border of the city of Luxembourg and ride as much as possible on the playful singletrails of the valley of the Mamer river, home to a Nature reserve since 2012. First night in Hollenfels… hosting an ancient castle, transformed into a Youth Hostel. On the second day we head east, towards Larochette, a very nice and touristic little village at the border of the Müllerthal, home to an… ancient castle. Finally, on the last day, we return South, towards Luxembourg-city, through the majestic Grünewald, former private hunting ground of the Grand-Duke, now open to the public. Largely More than 50% of this tour leads through the beech and oak woods of the Luxembourg sandstone area.

 

This tour is among the easy ones in the program and shall be seen as an introduction into multi-day mountain biking through Luxembourg. Yet, it is not convenient for complete novices, but rather as a “first experience” for beginners that feel comfortable on their bike and for intermediate mountain bikers. Technical level 1/3. About 30-35 km and some 500 m of total climb per day. For more details, please refer to the “For Whom” section.

 

Detailed description

 

1. Day: Luxembourg-city to Hollenfels

 

We leave Luxembourg-city along the main road going west, the “Nationale 12”, but use, wherever possible, nice small singletrails (possibly up to 30% of the tracks during the first day). We climb towards Bridel and pull down to Kopstal, diving into the "Mamerdall". The latter gives name to one of the most extensive protected areas of Luxembourg (2400 ha). One of the marking elements of the reserve are regularly flooded so-called riparian forests («Auenwälder») in the vicinity of the Mamer river. Other striking features are the high biodiversity and the elevated average age of the tree population (120-140 years).

We can choose whether joining our stay for the night rather quickly or enjoying a bigger share of sometimes more difficult singletrails and two more chateaux (or their remnants: Schoenfels and Ansembourg) before we reach Hollenfels. Its castle with the mighty donjon dates back into the early Middle Ages, being first mentioned around 1050, just 100 years after Luxembourg-city was founded by Count Siegfried. It lies at the edge of a small village overlooking the Eisch valley and is home to one of the 10 youth hostels of the country, good-value-for-money accommodations that are open to guests of all ages. Alternatively, more demanding guests can book a double or single room in a **** Hotel in Beringen/Mersch (Hotel Martha).

 

Total distance: 30 km        Total climb: 500 m 

  

2. Day: Hollenfels to Larochette

 

On the second day, there are still some castles to spot as well as some nice singletrails, for example around the «Mamerlayen», a famous hiking area best known for it’s caves, that can partly be visited, and later in the neighbourhood of Larochette. Before arriving there, we cross the wide valley surrounding Mersch, from where we slowly but steadily climb to join Angelsberg, some 200 m higher. From there, rushing towards another (privately owned)... castle namely Meysembourg before getting down to to Larochette, not forgetting a last, almost spectacular, balcony-like singletrail that enables us to visit the well preserved ruins of Larochette castle, before joining the stay of the night (Youth Hostel or Hotel).

 

Total distance: 35 km         Total climb: 500 m

 

3. Day: Larochette to Luxembourg-city

 

The last day features the most climb. One of the reasons for this is that the massive forest that we will cross, the so-called «Grünewald» lies atop a kind of plateau, featuring the highest point of the southern part of the country, the «Gutland» (430 m). But first we have to leave Larochette which we will do following the river «white Ernz». We will actually later come across its very source, a tiny trickle of water that runs amidst of the aforementioned Grünewald. White Ernz and black Ernz are affluents of the Sûre (Sauer) and most important rivers of the wider Müllerthal area, together with the Sûre.

 

Once more, we will have the possibility to put our noses inside ancient walls, this time very nicely renovated and full with life: château Bourglinster, which is part of the belongings of the State, home to two starred restaurants and featuring conference facilities. After a break on the terrace of the castle, we enter into the Grünewald, the biggest contiguous forest of Luxembourg (about 2500 ha), of which a big part still belongs to the grand-ducal family. Formerly their private hunting ground, enclosed by a high fence («Gatter»), it is now open to the public and surprises by the peace and calm it diffuses. Optionally we might visit the roman aqueduc called «Raschpetzer» which lie on the western border of the Grengewald.

 

Total distance: 35 km           Total climb: 650 m

 

 

Organizational aspects

 

This trip is planned for May 19-21, 2018.

 

Starting point is the Luxembourg city Youth Hostel (2, rue du Fort Olisy, L-2261 Luxembourg, Tel.: 26 27 66) where we will drop our luggage and meet for a coffee or a small optional lunch at 13h00. Starting time is 14h00. Cars may be left at the Youth Hostel or in the neighboring streets. Return time is 14h00 on the third day, at the same spot.

 

Prices are as follows, they include the guiding, the transport of the luggage, the overnight stays and the breakfast :

- Youth Hostel: 220 EUR;

- Hotels, double rooms: 325 EUR;

 

Single rooms upon request and availability. Evening meals and lunches are not comprised. Registration deadline (payment received) is April 27 for the Youth Hostels and May 12 for the Hotels.

 

Please use the following link to the registration page (reservation code CT 2018). This is not binding at this stage, you will be sent a registration form to be filled in, scanned and sent back. Once the payment is done, your registration is effective.

 

 

Every participant will be responsible for the biking gear and the bike - participants without a helmet or with a clearly insufficient bike will be refused. For this trip, a standard cross-country bike with 100 or 120 mm front travel is sufficient. Bikes with rear suspension provide more comfort but are not needed. Participants can rent test bikes from S-cape Sports (25 EUR / day).