Camping in Luxembourg

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Spring is here! Dust off the tents! Grab the sleeping bags! City Savvy’s Adrienne Gross has been busy taking the family (husband, 2 toddlers, plus dog) camping and has checked out 4 of Luxembourg’s luxury camping sites. So, if you’ve been wondering where to go camping in the Duchy or are unsure whether to take the plunge, here is your go-to guide to camping in Luxembourg.

 

Those who have met me, but really don’t know me well, probably don’t see me as the camping type…at least, they wouldn’t see me that way in America where I’m originally from.  This is because, in the USA, camping is usually done on the weekends and it’s for those who just HAVE to get outdoors and get their fix of nature and solitude.  And it’s no frills—smelly communal bathrooms, overfilled trash cans that are inconveniently located and bear sightings are all potential “perks” of camping in the States, which is why it doesn’t seem like my thing to many people.  I like high heels, makeup, spas and being served cold white wine in the summer time.

But there’s something about camping—the escape from city sounds, the sense of discovery and accomplishment when we set up our tent, the camaraderie with other campers and the good conversations that I always have with my husband around a campfire, that makes me pro-camping.

So it’s no wonder that when we moved to Luxembourg one of our first ideas about how to spend this summer was to camp.  Neither my husband nor I had ever camped in Europe before, so we were looking forward to the new experience.  We decided to start with local campgrounds because we thought it would be an inexpensive and adventurous way for our family to explore Luxembourg, and what we found when we began researching was that the difference between camping in North America and camping in Europe is much like the difference between the two continents when it comes to football.  America does the bare minimum just to satisfy the minority, but Europe has perfected it.  We’re talking campgrounds with indoor and outdoor pools, kids’ clubs, geocaching, beauty salons, beach volleyball, full restaurants and bars, billiards rooms, multiple playgrounds (indoor and outdoor) and minigolf, just to name a few of the features we saw.  We scanned the amenities at each campground and decided, as we say in the USA, to “go big or go home,” and start with the five star campgrounds, really because both of us were curious about what a five star campground looks like in Luxembourg, which is already known for its affluence.

Since purchasing a used camper trailer in May that we won in an auction on German eBay, we have camped at four different five star campgrounds in Luxembourg in just two months.  They include Camp Kautenbach, Camp Birkelt, Camp Nommerlayen and Fuussekaul.  So what can you find at each of these campgrounds (aside from a LOT of Dutch people)?  Below is an overview of each campsite, as well as a sample master camping list that we use every time we pack for a camping trip.

 

Camp Kautenbach

This little campground is probably the most natural and relaxed of all the campgrounds we visited.  It is located in the heart of the Luxembourgish Ardennes in a picturesque little valley beside a creek and a high ridge covered in trees and hiking trails.  We pitched our tent beside the creek and fell asleep to the lovely sound of running water every night.  The showers and toilets were clean and well stocked every time we used them, and what I really liked about their showers is that no token was required and the timer was long enough to ensure a pleasant, hot shower.

Highlights:

  • full restaurant, which also served breakfast
  • fresh pastry delivery every morning
  • laundry facilities
  • baby bathing stations
  • camp store
  • billiards/game room
  • trampoline, “bouncy house” and playground for children
  • pets allowed
  • friendly, helpful staff
  • imposed quiet time at 11pm
  • no major roadways nearby, but not a far drive from Vianden and its striking castle (which is worth a visit)
  • many accommodation/rental options if you do not own a tent or camper such as cabins, furnished safari tents for those who want to experience “glamping,” and camping pods—which are still a bit of a mystery to me!

Pros: toasting marshmallows over an open fire – this is the only camp we visited that permitted fires at individual campsites.
Cons: those addicted to their iphone as there is no camp-wide wifi and if you want a swimming pool there is just a fresh COLD creek.

Where: An der Weierbaach, L-9663 Kautenbach (map)
Website

 

Camping Birkelt

Birkelt is located in Larochette in the Mullerthal region of Luxembourg.  Hiking abounds in this area, and Camping Birkelt is conveniently situated for nature lovers wanting to hike or those interested in exploring the town and Larochette castle.  Birkelt is not a large campground, but it is modern and well-run.  The small camp store always had a good selection of fresh vegetables and fruit, and fresh pastries in the morning.  And something my three and two year old daughters really enjoyed were the friendly “camp cats” that were happy to be stroked.

Highlights:

  • a huge pool with a retractable dome that can be adjusted according to weather
  • a children’s wading pool with cool water features
  • One very large playground with two in-ground trampolines
  • beach volleyball
  • minigolf
  • snack bar open from lunch until evening
  • a full restaurant with a good menu
  • clean, well-stocked bathrooms and sanitary facilities
  • laundry facilities
  • water at each campsite
  • Camp-wide Wi-Fi (for a fee)
  • Friendly staff
  • pets allowed
  • imposed quiet time at 11pm
  • a well-appointed, quaint kids’ club with crafts in the morning and story time at night
  • rentable accommodations such as cabins, tents and bungalows

Pro: well-provisioned camp store
Cons: the restaurant is not open for breakfast, the showers are on a very short timer (although they do not require tokens) and no personal fires allowed.

Where: 1 Um Birkelt, L-7633 Larochette (map)
Website

 

Camping Nommerlayen

Also located in the Mullerthal region of Luxembourg, this campground is one of our favorites so far.  Despite choosing a rainy weekend to try this one, we had a wonderful time, which is partly due to the fact that some friends of ours joined us on this camping adventure, but also because this campground has a smart layout and is ideal for families.  This was the first campground we visited that had private bathrooms for rent, as well as bathrooms especially for small children, which thrilled our three-year-old daughter.  The campground is also designed to separate families with young children from those with older children or no children, which means that other parents of toddlers will understand when your kid starts wailing at midnight, or 3am… or 6am.  And there were play structures within eyesight of every tent or camper, so parents can have a relaxing moment or two while still being able to see who is eating sand, and who is stealing a toy.

Highlights:

  • playgrounds, playgrounds, playgrounds—everywhere
  • kids’ club room and animation for children of all ages throughout the day
  • full restaurant and bar
  • sports room
  • fitness facilities
  • camp store
  • laundry facilities
  • pools (more on this under “Pros”)
  • Roman Bath with sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool
  • pets allowed
  • rentable accommodation such as chalets, bungalows and mobile homes
  • free, camp-wide Wi-Fi

Pros: The sanitary facilities near our campsite were brand new and beautiful—always clean.  A camping card was issued at check in which was used to access any hot water, whether washing dishes or taking a shower.  Each card was allotted a certain amount of time for hot water, and it was more than enough for showers for our whole family over the weekend.  The pool facilities were incredible.  There were two Olympic sized pools—one outdoor and one indoor, an outdoor wading pool for children, and an indoor, heated splash and play area that our children never wanted to leave.  It is perfect for a rainy day at the campground.
Cons: no personal fires allowed, no breakfast served at the restaurant, and the camp store did not have a broad selection of goods—it mostly carried specialized, Dutch novelty foods.

Where: Europacamping Nommerlayen, Rue Nommerlayen, L-7465 Nommern (map)
Website

 

Fuussekaul

This is the largest of the five star campgrounds we have visited.  Located in Heiderscheid in the heart of the natural park of the Upper Sauer, this campground seems to have a regular clientele and is well known among campers in the Benelux.  We quickly realized that out of all the campgrounds we have stayed at over the summer, this one is definitely the “party” campground.  We particularly enjoyed some of the features for families and children, such as the tractor rides and the massive yet inescapable indoor playground, and were surprised by some of the other features of the camp, such as the “naturist” or nudist section.  (Thankfully they were separated from the rest of us!)

Highlights:

  • sanitary facilities and bathrooms designed for children
  • a full Delhaize supermarket on the premises
  • a store specifically for camping with a good selection (according to my husband)
  • many outdoor playgrounds and one large indoor playground adjacent to a coffee/pastry bar
  • beauty salon
  • bowling alley
  • tanning salon
  • fitness center
  • laundry facilities
  • snack bar with live music in the evening
  • full restaurant and bar
  • rentable accommodation such as mobile homes, cabins, chalets, tents
  • open year-round
  • friendly staff
  • pets allowed
  • outdoor pool and children’s pool
  • trampoline center
  • large kids’ club
  • ropes’ course
  • pizza oven (for baking your own pizza)

Pros: The extensive and varied animation program for children – our favorite part was the four tractors that rode throughout the campground three times a day to give kids a ride to the scheduled activity.  This way, we always knew when the animation was beginning and it helped to get us into a routine.  At other campgrounds, we would get busy and forget about the animation available to the kids.
Cons: Although there was much to like about Fuussekaul, because it is so large and popular, it has the feel of being a bit run down and under supervised.  The bathrooms were the messiest and most poorly stocked of any of the campgrounds we visited.  The staff charge extra for shower tokens, and the timer on the shower is agonizingly short, which almost requires that you have two tokens per shower.  Many of the campsites are in direct sunlight without much shade—making for a very hot tent in the heat of July and August.  No personal campfires are allowed, and the permanent structures are nearer to the entrance with the tent/trailer/camper pitches located at the back of the campground, which means a long walk to and from the pool and the common facilities, especially when hauling small children and babies.  The pool is not very large, looks dated and many of the water features in the children’s pool are not operable.  Finally, there is no imposed quiet time, and the first night we stayed, there was a pool party with VERY loud music going strong until 2am.  Those of us in tents did not sleep very well.

Where: 4, Fuussekaul, L-9156 Heiderscheid (map)
Website

Makeup is pretty unnecessary when camping, and it may not be practical to walk around the campground in high heels, but if your cooler or camping fridge is cold enough, you can still enjoy your white wine no matter where you pitch your tent.

Overall, camping at Luxembourg’s five star campgrounds has been an enjoyable experience for our family.  I am five months pregnant and am starting to prefer my bed over an air mattress, so we are pretty sure that we are finished camping for the summer, but we look forward to testing out the four star sites next year – so watch this space!

Camping List

Gear: Sleeping bags, blankets, sheets, pillows, air mattresses, camping grill, lighter, chairs, clothes line, candles, lanterns, flashlights, garbage bag stand, broom or dust pan/brush, First Aid Kit, camping toilet, space heater or fan (weather dependent), extension cord, foldable table(s), storage bins. (If hiking: Camelbak, hiking backpack, walking stick and map.)

Personal Items: Prescription and OTC medicines, sunscreen, insect repellent, towels, washcloths, hair/body/skin products, hairdryer, toothbrushes/toothpaste, toilet paper, hand sanitizer.

For Adults: Clothes, warm socks and jackets, undergarments, boots, sandals, bathing suit, shower shoes, books, mobile phone and charger, tablet or laptop.

For Children: Clothes, warm socks and jackets, warm pajamas, favorite stuffed animals, boots/sneakers/sandals, pool shoes, bathing suits, pool floats, outdoor toys (sand shovels, inflatable kiddie pool, ball, water balloons, etc.), bikes/skateboards, (diapers, wipes, changing pad, cot, baby food, bibs—for parents traveling with infants).

Pets: Leash, water/food bowls, waste bags, food/treats

Kitchenware: Pots/pans, grilling/cooking utensils, potholders, propane tanks, cutlery, plates/bowls/serving pieces, cutting board, colander, cups/drinking glasses/coffee mugs, travel coffee mugs, water bottles, plastic food storage containers, plastic storage bags, trash/garbage bags, wash basin, sponges/dishwashing cloth, dish soap, dishtowels, charcoal, can opener, wine bottle opener, wine bottle stopper/cork, spices for cooking, cooking spray/oil, aluminum foil, paper towels, drink pitcher, coffee, coffee pot, sugar/creamer/milk, food.

 

Featured photo: Arup Malakar/flickr (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

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Adrienne Gross
Adrienne is a former Air Force brat turned corporate American wife who can't seem to stay in one place. She moved here from Seattle in May 2013 and is enjoying travel, cheese and wine. She likes being home with her girls and when possible, writing, singing, and doing creative things that make people happy.

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