Luxembourg is one of the smallest nations in Europe but despite its diminutive size, the country has long been at the forefront of events through European history and politics. This is the crossroads of the western portion of the continent, where French and German have traditionally been spoken along with an eclectic mix of Luxembourgish. This is a country that has belonged to all of its neighbors at some point in history but that at the same time has never really belonged, because this is a country that is as distinct from its larger cousins as it is unique.
Luxembourg City is not only the nation’s capital but it’s a capital of the European Union, and this modern, dynamic city is at the forefront of modern European progress, while in the surrounding countryside you can find sleepy villages and medieval castles that hark back to an age long ago.
There are a lot of places to visit in Luxembourg and to help you to plan your trip here’s our ultimate Luxembourg guide.
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How to get to Luxembourg
Luxembourg is found landlocked in western Europe, sharing borders between the larger surrounding countries of Belgium, France, and Germany. The country’s main transport hub is the capital Luxembourg City and here you can find bus, rail and flight routes that connect Luxembourg with the rest of Europe.
Luxembourg International Airport has regular flights to most European capitals with both scheduled and budget airlines while the airport itself is located just a few kilometers away from the Luxembourg City Centre with frequent buses connecting both.
Many travelers will also find it convenient to enter the country overland due to the open borders and the great connections. Paris is just two hours away by high-speed train, Brussels is three hours away and Trier in Germany is just a 45-minute journey.
Due to its membership of the European Union, you will need to ensure that you have a valid Schengen visa if you are not holding an EU passport.
How to get around Luxembourg
Due to its small geographical size, a Luxembourg trip can easily take in more than just the capital as the country can be navigated quickly. From Luxembourg City, you can take buses and trains to most provincial towns in the country although services may be reduced on weekends.
Getting around Luxembourg City is easy too, as the city is well connected with extensive bus services. The city center is compact and walkable while the roads are very bicycle friendly. If you plan on using public transport then it’s worth investing in the Luxembourg Card. This gives you not only access to sights and Luxembourg attractions but free travel on transport too.
In the city, you would not exactly want a car, as driving can be strenuous and parking difficult to find. Outside the capital though, you may find it convenient to rent a vehicle to travel from town to town and to get off the beaten track as the roads are quiet and easy to traverse.
What to expect in Luxembourg
Luxembourg can be a difficult country for visitors to unravel. At first glance, it may seem French and on second inspection perhaps more German. But in reality it is neither, it is very distinctly Luxembourgish and locals may even be offended if you stereotype them as belonging to their neighbors, as the country is fiercely independent and proud of its unique status.
What you can expect though, is to hear a plethora of languages from across the region. Luxembourg has three official languages, French, German, and Luxembourgish but you can rest assured that due to its importance as a European Union Capital everyone here will speak English too.
The local currency is the Euro. Compared to other destinations in Europe and due to the country’s booming financial sector Luxembourg may be more expensive to travel around, so be prepared to splash out to enjoy yourself here.
The best time to visit Luxembourg
Luxembourg enjoys a temperate, European climate and although there may well be hot summers and cold winters the weather is never too extreme here. You can visit all year round but be prepared to see a different side of the country depending on the seasons.
In summer you can enjoy pleasant weather and join in the outdoor lifestyle, while in autumn you can experience the beautiful colorful scenery as the leaves turn from green to vibrant shades of red and yellow.
There are even a lot of things to do in Luxembourg in winter and although the country can see snow at times you can also enjoy the Christmas festivities and immerse yourself in the festive markets and events.
Things to do in Luxembourg
Explore the Old Town
The Luxembourg Old Town is a beautiful area of medieval streets, walls, buildings, and fortifications that are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s an impressive place to explore and you can spend hours wandering through the streets and discovering all the unique hidden charms of this delightfully ramshackle part of Luxembourg City.
One of the more unusual things to do in Luxembourg is to visit the charming Chocolate House. This famous chocolate shop offers some of the best treats and delicacies in Luxembourg City and some wonderfully pleasant surroundings in which to enjoy a coffee and some chocolate.
When you are planning what to do in Luxembourg, it’s impossible to miss off a visit to Little Switzerland. Found in the east of the country, the small region is officially named Mullerthal but earned its nickname as a result of the wonderful scenery to be found here; scenery dramatic enough to be acquainted with Switzerland. Here you can explore caves, rocky landscapes, vast forests, and spectacular waterfalls.
Places to visit in Luxembourg
Grand Ducal Palace
Luxembourg is officially titled as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, as the head of state is the Duke of Luxembourg. The current Grand Duke is Henri and he resides at the traditional Grand Ducal Palace – in the local dialect, the Palais Grand – in the center of Luxembourg City. The elegant outward facade is instantly recognizable from the streets, as of course are the guards posted outside. You can take a guided tour of the palace throughout most of the week.
One of the most iconic things to do in Luxembourg is to visit the Bock Casemates. This is the distinctive fortress found on a prominent rocky outcrop in Luxembourg City that has long defended the country from outside threats.
Being at the crossroads of western Europe, the Bock Casemates have seen their share of action and today only a fraction of the original fortifications have actually survived. There are still several kilometers of walls, towers and underground tunnels built into and around the rock to explore though and it’s the best place in the city to learn more about the country’s unique military history.
National Museum of History and Art
The National Museum of History and Art is the premiere insitution to visit to learn about the country’s origins and development, both historically and culturally. The museum dates back to the mid 19th century when Luxembourg was asserted by the surrounding powers to be neutral territory and since then it has grown its collection into an extravagant display of exhibits that you can spend hours exploring.
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is the most impressive church in Luxembourg. The cathedral was originally constructed in the early 17th century and served as a Jesuit place of worship before being turned into a Catholic Cathedral in later years. You can explore the lavish interiors and admire the grand outside designs of this marvelous building.
The European Parliament
Luxembourg is synonymous with the European Union and in the capital you can find many of the organization’s most important institutions. The European Parliament is one of these and it’s even possible to arrange a visit in advance if you want to learn more.
Luxembourg is a country renowned for the beauty of its many castles. While there are many to choose from across the small nation, one of the most authentic is Beaufort Castle. This ramshackle medieval castle has fallen apart over the centuries since it was first constructed in the 12th century but it still remains a great location to visit with a crumbling, almost romantic look to it. The castle is located on the eastern border with Germany.
What to eat in Luxembourg
Luxembourg has a great culinary scene and across the country, you can find some excellent restaurants and cuisine, both local and international. Like most things here, the cuisine takes influences from both France and Germany and then fuses the two to create unique flavors.
You can find excellent French pastries alongside the local pretzels and plenty of warming soups and stews. A national favorite is Judd mat Gaardebounen a dish of pork meat and beans while almost anywhere it’s easy to find french fries and mayonnaise and plenty of German-inspired sausage dishes.
Where to stay in Luxembourg
Luxembourg has an extensive range of accommodation and some excellent quality hotels and guesthouses but don’t expect to find too many budget options. Prices here can be on the higher end and hostels are almost nonexistent. A great base for your trip to the country is Luxembourg City, where you can find the best hotels.
Ibis Styles Luxembourg Centre Gare – This basic chain hotel offers some cheap rooms near the station, making it a good base if you are just traveling through or only have a day or two. The rooms are basic but it’s one of the cheapest options in Luxembourg.
NH Luxembourg – The NH Luxembourg offers a great standard of consistency in Luxembourg and although the rooms and amenities are nothing to shout about, everything is modern, clean and the price is great.
Hotel Le Place d’Armes – This luxury option is found right in Luxembourg City’s center and is one of the most uncompromising options in the country. The hotel maintains a boutique feel despite its opulence and each room is individually crafted and designed.
Tours to do in Luxembourg
Hop On Hop Off Bus
Have a great Luxembourg travel experience by taking the Hop On Hop Off bus tour through the capital. Combining your travel and your sightseeing, this makes for a very convenient way to explore.
Walking Tour of Luxembourg City
Luxembourg City is a wonderful place to wander around on foot. With a maze of medieval alleyways and old fortifications though, it can be difficult to navigate without getting lost. With a walking tour, at least when you do inevitably get lost amongst the streets you will be able to discover a little bit more about where you are from the local guide. Indeed, one of the best free things to do in Luxembourg is to join a tip based walking tour.
The Luxembourg countryside is full of excellent hiking trails that take you through some of the most scenic locations in the nation. A great way to see some of the lesser known trails is to join a guided hiking tour to see some of the more unknown rural villages and hidden natural attractions.
Day trips from Luxembourg
The glitz, glamor, and romanticism of Paris are just two hours away by high-speed rail from Luxembourg and you can easily enjoy an incredible day trip. See the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and partake in the distinct Parisian cafe culture that the French capital is so famous for.
The German city of Trier is just a short hop away across the border of Luxembourg and makes for a great day trip. This historic city can trace its origins back to the Roman conquests and you can find many lasting relics from more ancient times in Trier.
Just a short drive or train ride away is the Belgian capital, Brussels. Here you can explore this multicultural European city on a day trip from Luxembourg by exploring the Royal Palace and the many cathedrals and museums found in Brussels.
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