Our final day in beautiful Luxembourg had come around all too quickly but with a late afternoon flight back to the UK we still had ample time to explore. Our plan for the day was to drive to Luxembourg’s wine growing region in the Moselle Valley just 40 minutes from the city centre.
We made our first stop at a viewpoint above Remich, which offered splendid views across the vineyards. Despite it being an overcast morning we still enjoyed our stroll along the pathways beside the vines which were loaded with grapes nearing their time for harvesting.
From there we drove into the town of Remich managing to find a parking place by the riverside. This picturesque small town lies on the banks of the Moselle with the river providing a natural border with Germany.
The town is characterised by its picturesque narrow alleyways and small squares lined with attractive little shops and cafes. We enjoyed our morning cups of coffee along the pedestrianised high street and then returned to the car along the riverside promenade that stretches for 3 km and is shaded by cherry and birch trees.
The promenade seemed a popular place for a walk or cycle ride as there were lots of people out enjoying the fresh air and views of the Moselle.
Moored along the river bank we spotted several tourist boats that offer pleasure trips of varying lengths. If we’d had more time I would have loved to have taken one of these. Numerous cafes and bars are dotted along the riverside close to the large Remich visitor centre which was designed to resemble a white cruise liner moored on the banks of the Moselle.
Also of interest along the riverside promenade is the Bacchus Fountain which depicts the Roman god sitting on top of a cask of wine. A Bacchus festival takes place in the town every August when a Riesling queen is chosen.
Back in the car, it was just a short 1.5 km journey along the riverfront to the Caves St. Martin, where we’d reserved places on one of their guided tours of the caves €7.50 (£6.60) and included in the Luxembourg Card. After meeting our guide Liliana, she supplied us with fleece capes to keep us warm in the caves as the temperature below ground is a constant 12 degrees.
After popping on the capes, we were taken down into the underground tunnels which extend for almost a kilometre. These caves have been carved out of the solid limestone rock and are the ideal temperature for storing wines.
We saw thousands of bottles stored in racks and it was explained that these needed to be turned daily, a very labour intensive procedure as it is carried out by hand. On our tour Liliana pointed out numerous features and it was very interesting to learn about the wine making process. Caves St. Martin is an independent vintner producing both still and sparking wines.
We learnt that the winery is noted for its Crémant de Luxembourg sparkling wine which is very similar to Champagne and made using only the best local grape varieties of the Moselle valley. Crémant adheres to the traditional Champagne method of production which includes a second fermentation in the bottle followed by nine months of maturation. The wine takes the Crémant name as it is not produced in the Champagne region.
After completing our tour we sampled three of the wines in the tasting room starting with the Crémant which tasted just like Champagne and of a similar quality but less expensive. We really wanted to buy some bottles to take home but although we had checked luggage the bottles would have been too heavy to transport. As I wasn’t the one driving, I was also able to also sample glasses of the St. Martin Rosé and Riesling which were both light and refreshing.
After enjoying our tour of the caves and samples in the tasting room we made our way to the Pavilion restaurant for some lunch. Unlike the other days of our trip, the sun didn’t shine but it was still warm enough to dine out on the terrace overlooking the Moselle.
Noticing that slow cooked lamb was on the menu I couldn’t resist ordering it, as cooked well, it is one of my favourite dishes. It definitely lived up to expectations as did the roast beef across the table, setting us up for our journey back home. Service was efficient and lunch at Caves St. Martin had been the perfect end to our stay in Luxembourg.
It was then just a 35 minute drive back to the airport and close by we filled up the car with petrol. Interestingly, all petrol stations in the country sell fuel at the same price so there was no need to be on the lookout for cheaper options. We had picked the car up from the city centre which was very easy but returning it to the airport turned out to be more problematic due to lack of rental car drop off signs. After driving around the airport for about ten minutes we were none the wiser so I got out of the car and asked a taxi driver for directions. Eventually we found the correct location in the basement of the multi storey car park and were glad that we had allowed plenty of time as returning the car took much longer than expected.
Both check-in and security at Luxembourg airport were trouble free and we had time to enjoy cups of coffee before boarding our flight back to the UK.
Luxembourg may only be a small country but with so many interesting things to see and do we could have easily stayed longer than five nights. From the historic World Heritage city centre to its industrial heartland, castles and wine country we had enjoyed it all and received the warmest of welcomes wherever we went.
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During our stay we were guests of Visit Luxembourg and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.