Bourglinster is one those places I didn’t expect. And I mean that in a few senses. I didn’t expect it to exist, I didn’t expect it to be so pretty, and I certainly didn’t expect it to have such a nice youth hostel.
The town is in a rural area, right in the middle of Luxembourg. Walking downhill along a road, we took a short cut through a small part of forest and arrived at the top of Bourglinster.
The street was lined with the cute Luxembourg architecture I was starting to get used to. The sound of a passing car was already getting softer as it drove away and a dog’s barking took its place. It was clearly a small community.
There’s a castle at the highest point of this small town, which presumably has a lot to do with why the settlement was originally formed. It doesn’t explain why it still exists today, because the castle is now used only for functions. I guess that people just didn’t want to ever move on, after their families had lived there for centuries.
But I couldn’t work out why there was a youth hostel there. Bourglinster is a town with an official population of 680 people. Not exactly a bustling metropolis. And not exactly a bustling hostel either. There weren’t too many visitors when my friend Meredith and I stumbled on in.
Not that we weren’t grateful for its existence. We were on a mission to walk across the entire length of Luxembourg from north to south and needed places to stay.
It’s not like we were travelling huge distances every day (probably an average of about 25 kilometres), so we appreciated that there were so many accommodation options along the way. At times I thought there were more hostels than places to get something to eat (a theory I still haven’t been able to disprove).
Hostels in Luxembourg
It’s odd how many hostels Luxembourg has, considering it is not the most popular of tourist locations. Across the relatively small country, there are ten sites that are part of the Hostelling International group.
They cover a large part of Luxembourg and are all connected in a way that lets you easily organise a trip. The staff at each hostel will call ahead and reserve a bed for you so you can be guaranteed of somewhere to stay.
I wondered why there were so many. It didn’t really make sense. Until we walked in to the hostel at Echternach. As you can see from the photo below, it’s a large modern building that even has its own indoor rock climbing wall. That should’ve been the giveaway.
You see, these youth hostels are used by schools and community groups for camps. Youngsters are bussed out from Luxembourg City, thrown into the dorm rooms, and then ‘entertained’ all day with outdoor activities and group projects.
I also heard from some other travellers that Luxembourg is becoming increasingly popular as part of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The regular hostels (and the large number of beds in some of them) are needed during the busier times of the walk. This cute one in Vianden is particularly popular with the pilgrims, apparently.
Overall, it’s another one of the wonderful charms of Luxembourg I discovered. The walking trails and the bike paths had been a great discovery – the excellent system of places to stay made things even better. The variety in the styles – from the modern, to the outdoorsy, to the Renaissance – was just the icing on the cake.