When mentioning Luxembourg to people, the extent of their knowledge about the place doesn’t tend to extend much beyond the fact it’s very small. But, if you’re looking for a city break that won’t leave you just as stressed as you were when you set off on holiday, it is a wonderful destination to explore.
It’s true that Luxembourg is tiny, the second smallest of the European Union member states in fact, with just over half a million residents, and is landlocked between France, Germany and Belgium. The main languages spoken across the country are German, French and Luxembourgish, and almost nine out of 10 of its immigrants come from other EU countries. But Luxembourg is very much a country with its own unique character.
Luxembourg City, the capital, takes just one day to fully explore. Here you’ll find many cities in one; from the shining business district and the Grand Rue’s modern rows of shops, to the Old Town’s castle ruins; all joined together with calm streets and an abundance of parks and gardens.
Many of the city’s scattered, breathtaking bridges give way to hidden pockets of Luxembourg life below, and superb views above. This modern city, dotted with clues of its rich history, is the ultimate city to purposefully get lost in.
It’s recommended that tourists pick up a Luxembourg Card from the city’s tourist office, which will give you free or discounted access to many of the city’s museums and galleries. Make your way down to the hidden Natural History Museum to see a stuffed animal kingdom, to the Museum of Military History and the National Museum of History and Art – which boasts the world’s largest mummy exhibition. Then there’s the old town, where you can visit the stunning Grand Ducal Palace.
Make sure to also go to the Casemates du Bock, a complex of underground tunnels and galleries dating back to 1644 and the Spanish domination. If ground level doesn’t suffice, you can take it all in by going up the City Skyliner by the river, ready to take you 81 metres above the city in a rotating observation tower.
And later in the day, when you’ve got to grips with the city, you can head to the Place d’Armes square, which is surrounded by bars and restaurants, for a lively evening meal after a day taking in the city’s rich history and culture.
Nothing is too far away from Luxembourg City, should you want to venture further afield – not even its neighbouring countries. Nearby Mondorf-les-Bains, which is very close to the border with France, offers a rural escape of you want to hire a rowing boat through a hidden gem of a park. Or take a trip to the lively town of Echternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg, for its Medieval buildings, forests and caves. The Guttland region isn’t far from the city centre, but offers a whole other world. Among its castles and quaint villages are cycling and hiking trails to help compensate for any over-indulgences in the local cuisine.
Speaking of food, visit the north of Luxembourg and the county’s two largest nature reserves, the Naturpark Our and the Naturpark Öewersaue, where you can spend your Euros on delicious local produce, including oils, teas, herbs and cereals.
Wherever you venture out to beyond the city centre, it’s guaranteed you’ll pass strings of pastel houses, rural delights of some form or another, friendly locals and one of the country’s cycling scheme. Once you’ve enjoyed Luxembourg’s immaculate streets and abundance of public spaces, you’ll soon see why it’s consistently rated highly for life satisfaction. And it makes for a very satisfying holiday destination, too.