Bourscheid Castle- Luxemburg’s Largest Castle (History & Travel Tips)

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Known as one of the largest castles in Luxembourg, Bourscheid Castle is a remnant of the medieval feudal period. The castle’s impressive structure with erected stone walls and Gothic towers mesmerizes the viewers. The enticing past etched on the castle walls, with splendid panoramic views visible from its vicinity, makes it a definite visit for history and nature lovers.

In the coming sections, we will take you along a journey from highlighting its glorious past with the reasons that make this castle worth a visit, followed by a detailed guide as to how you can visit this Luxembourg glory.

The castle maintains a long history of chivalry as courage, with the lords of Bourscheid being the most respected and chivalric family of the region. 

The whole view of the structure of Bourscheid Castle.
The whole view of the structure of Bourscheid Castle. Les Meloures, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons
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Frequently Asked Questions

FOR HISTORY | BEAUTIFUL IMAGES | INTERESTING FACTS | TRAVEL TIPS

Early History

Early Construction of the Castle (10th century)

The castle first appeared on history pages concerning Lord of Bertram von Bourscheid, who is supposed to be the first resident of the castle. The initial construction of the castle dates back as far as 1000 AD. It is believed to be the first solid castle within Luxembourg where the primitive wooden fortifications were replaced with stone walls. The initial structure of the castle consisted of a little square near the gates, a chapel, and a small palace with an adjacent great hall surrounded by circular walls with four towers. 

An old illustration of Bourscheid Castle.
An old illustration of Bourscheid Castle. Nicolas Liez, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Expansion of Bourscheid Castle (14th Century)

The castle grounds were later expanded in the coming centuries, where the number of towers was doubled to eight, followed by the expansion of the outer circular wall. In 1384, almost three decades after the castle’s expansion, the Stolzemburger House was erected as a residential building. 

With the eight towers, followed by the expansion of the great hall’s wall to a  height of 10 meters (33 ft), along with the ditch dug behind the gateway to restrict access to the upper and lower castle, the defenses of Bourscheid Castle were maximized to prevent any intrusions.

An inside glance into Stolzemburger house.
An inside glance into Stolzemburger house. Caranorn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The collapse of Bourscheid Castle (16th Century)

The castle continued to serve as a defensive fortress for the residents till the 16th century when the last lord of Bourscheid died without a direct heir. As a result, the castle’s prospective heirs divided the castle into three separate dwellings: Metternich in the old palace, Zant of Merl in the lower part of the upper castle, and Ahr in Stolzemburger house. 

Bourscheid Castle miniature model.
Bourscheid Castle miniature model. Bourscheid Castle, Luxembourg flickr photo by Μanu shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The divided dwellings did not last for long, and the residents had to abandon the castle due to France’s invasion of Luxembourg. The castle came under Heir Freiherr von Schmidtburg, the Chamberlain of the Elector and the Archbishop of Trier. Schmidtburg auctioned off bits of pieces of the castle in 1812, including the floorboards, doors, stairs, and numerous other valuables. 

The Southeast tower at Bourschied Castle.
The Southeast tower at Bourschied Castle. Caranorn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With the French Revolution putting an end to feudalism and no residents looking after the castle, the castle fell to ruins in the early nineteenth century.

Current Times

The ruins of Bourscheid Castle were recognized as ‘historical monuments’ in 1936, which triggered multiple excavations and archeological studies. The castle was later restored and opened up for the public to visit in 1972.

The aerial view of Bourscheid Castle.
The aerial view of Bourscheid Castle. Junmi, CC BY-SA 3.0 LU, via Wikimedia Commons

At present, the Stolzemburger house of the castle is used to hold cultural activities. In contrast, the gatekeeper’s house is restored as a museum that holds the artifacts reflecting the glory of Bourscheid Castle and the lords of Bourscheid. 

Interesting Bourscheid Castle Facts

  • Bourscheid Castle is one of the largest castles in Luxembourg. 
  • The castle’s expansion occurred in four phases beginning from the tenth century and extending to the fifteenth century. 
  • The castle maintains a long history of chivalry as courage, with the lords of Bourscheid being the most respected and chivalric family of the region. 
  • The archeological evidence from the site where Bourscheid Castle stands shows that the castle’s foundation dates back to Roman times.

Visiting Bourscheid Castle – Tips and Tricks

The castle is accessible to the general public to visit all days around the year. You can visit this historical wonder anytime by paying a small ticketing fee. To make your visit to Bourscheid a smooth journey, we have listed some of the necessary information and tips to look out for a while visiting Bourscheid Castle.

The front entrance to Bourscheid Castle.
The front entrance to Bourscheid Castle. Château de Bourscheid flickr photo by Anna & Michal shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

How to get to Bourscheid Castle?

The fastest and cheapest method to get to Bourscheid Castle is via train line 540 which costs around €2.6 ($3 USD). Whereas taking a taxi to the castle can cost you about €66 ($75 USD). You can also take your car since a car park is available right across the road from the main entrance to the castle. 

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

The castle is open for visitors all days around the year. However, the visiting hours may differ to match the country’s seasonal aesthetic. From April to October, the castle is open from 9:30 am to 6 pm. From Mid-October to March-end, the timings are from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. 

Bourscheid Castle’s grounds are free to visit since the ticketing office is located within the castle’s grounds and not at the front gate. Therefore, if you just want to take a casual stroll or take pictures at the castle’s front gate, you can do it for free. 

If you wish to take a detailed look around the castle and visit the castle’s museum, a small fee of €5 ($6 USD) must be paid at the ticket counter.  For students and elders above 65 years of age, the ticketing price is €4 ($4.5 USD). For children between 6-12 years of age, the price is €3 ($3.5 USD). Entry is free for children under five years of age. Discounts are also available for group tours. 

The ticketing price includes a guided tour which is offered in six languages: English, Luxembourgish, German, French, Dutch, and Spanish. You can avail the guided tour to learn more about the castle and its historical significance. The weather is the key feature to enjoy during your visit. You can enjoy foggy and cold walks around the castle during the daytime or can marvel over the beauty of the castle at night when the castle is beautifully lit.

The view above Bourscheid Castle.
The view from above Bourscheid Castle. Bourscheid castle flickr photo by keivi shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

It can take up to 90 minutes to take a complete walk around the Bourscheid Castle, including Stolzemburger house and the castle’s museum. 

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • Only caged pets are allowed in the castle. Be mindful of this tip when bringing your pets along. 
  • You can avail free parking, available on the left side of the castle. However, there is limited parking space so plan accordingly. 
  • Some areas of the castle have uneven walkways. Be careful while strolling around. 

Quick Video Tour of The Main Bourscheid Castle Areas

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Kainat Khalid
Kainat Khalid
Kainat is an English literature graduate with a profound interest in historical architecture. She has studied and explored the dusted pages of history for years which has ignited her passion to explore the existing remnants of our past glory and revisit them from a revised perspective. “There is no present without the past” is what she believes in and what drove her to begin cataloging these timeless historical monuments.

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