Visiting Luxembourg – The North European pearl
Luxembourg – Best places to visit
Calling Luxembourg the hiking capital of Northern Europe is probably an understatement. Its bolt nature is unrivaled in many aspects and although small in size, one of the world’s richest countries has a lot more to offer.
From lush vineyards to cool medieval castles and from winding rivers to a UNESCO World Heritage capital. Join us on a trip through one of Europe’s most fascinating mini-states.
There are tons of ways to describe Luxembourg city: ”The cradle of Europe,” ”the capital city of the only Grand Duchy in the world,” or ”city of a thousand contrasts.” The latter might be best suited considering the striking contrast between old and new.
Old and new
We arrived on a bleak Monday morning by train in the most modern part of town (bonus tip: all public transport in Luxembourg is free, so make use of it if you can). The look of the present-day architecture and fast-food chains lining the streets didn’t sell it for us.
UNESCO World Heritage site
Luckily for us, a steep walk down (and back up) into town showed us a completely different side of the city. In short, Luxembourg City was built on a rock-converted-complex-defense-system that has successfully protected the Luxembourgish from attacks.
Wenzel Circular Walk
The best way to gain a 365 degrees view of the fortress is by taking the signposted Wenzel circular walk, guiding visitors through the millennial history of Luxembourg City. On route, you can opt for visiting the Bock casemates. The first underground tunnels were built in 1644, in the era of Spanish domination. Today, there are still 17km of the in total 23km galleries left and open to the public.
Luxembourg Old Town
The older parts of Luxembourg consist of an upper- (Oberstadt) and lower-level (Grund). Oberstadt is where you can find the Grand Ducy’s palace, tons of quality restaurants, shops and museums. Grund on the other hand, is a peaceful area around the Alzette River that features a beautiful chapel, the National Natural History Museum and green parks. Both are a must when you’re visiting the European capital.
Vianden’s main attraction looms up the second you roll your car down its green hills. The Disney-worthy castle took our breath away and together with other spectators, we got in line on the side of the road to capture its perfect grandeur.
Inside Château de Vianden we noticed a blend of different kinds of architectural styles. During the second part of the tour, we learned the reason being the several rounds of extensions that were added by the different owners over the centuries.
After our audio-guided tour, we headed into town. Vianden is charming and worth a stroll, finishing with a scrumptious lunch on the banks of the Our River.
We stayed on a campsite near Esch-sur-Sûre, which meant a visit was mandatory. The small village is balancing on the edge of an Ardennes mountain and a river that ends up in Luxembourg’s largest reservoir lake, so in other words: picturesque!
It took us a sweet ten minutes to walk around town but it made an everlasting impression on us. Not in the latest because they were filming a WWII film in the streets while we visited the first time. It seemed so real – with 1940’s shop fronts, old military jeeps, and the castle in the background – that we almost believed to have traveled back in time.
The view of the village and surrounding mountains from the castle are pretty impressive and worth the walk up.
On another occasion, we ventured slightly further out and rented kayaks to explore the Esch-sur-Sûre reservoir by boat. We soaked in some necessary rays and built up muscle strength in our arms.
From the boat rental place, it was only a short ride to viewing platform Burfelt from where we took in the amazing views of the nature around us.
Where to even start. If you’re into hiking I wouldn’t even think twice when deciding on where to stay in Luxembourg. Mullerthal, or Little Switzerland, is the place to be.
The 112km-long Mullerthal Trail for one is a hiker’s paradise with bizarre rocks, mysterious forests, and slippery slopes along quaint stream valleys. I do realise that 112km sounds like a lot but there’s no need to walk the entire trail. Sections of different distances and even circular walks are signposted carefully, which means you can walk parts of it as you please.
Schiessentümpel / Schéissendëmpel waterfall
There are a few highlights that are worth pointing out in Luxembourg’s Mullerthal region, such as the Schiessentümpel / Schéissendëmpel waterfall. The waterfall itself forms the background of a highly picturesque site, together with the sandstone bridge and mossy rocks standing proudly in the stream.
There’s no need to hike miles and miles to visit Schiessentümpel, as a parking lot is only a 10-minute walk away. However, if you can, I’d highly recommend you to hike somewhat further, as the views further down the trail are amazing.
The 9km circular hike of the Mullerthal trail starting in Consdorf was another one of our favourites. The spectacular rock formations were an amazing sight and the narrow passageways and steep climbs really made us feel like we were on an adventure. At some sections we even needed a flashlight, the passageways being too narrow to let in natural light. Pretty cool for such a small country, huh?
The capital of the Mullerthal region, Echternach, deserves a separate mention. It’s the oldest town in Luxembourg and home to a Roman Villa, world-famous Abbey and the Basilica of St Willibrod.
The Sure River in Echternach forms the natural division between Luxembourg and Germany. It also led us to another part of the Mullerthal trail: the section towards the Gorge des Loups (Wolves Canyon). Many call it the most beautiful canyon of Luxembourg and we couldn’t agree more.
Have you ever visited Luxembourg? What was your favourite place to visit? Let us know in the comments.
Frequently asked questions about Luxembourg
Luxembourg is politically and economically stable and crime levels are low. It is therefore considered as a safe country. That being said, always keep your wits up and be mindful while traveling the country.
For all up-to-date information about traveling into Luxembourg during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the governmental website .
For all up-to-date information about COVID-19 measures in Luxembourg, please visit the governmental website.
According to a 2018 study of the Ministry of Education, 80% of the Luxembourg population speaks English. Our experience is that there is a good level of English spoken everywhere in the country.
Luxembourg is a fairly expensive country. The cost of living is about 17% more expensive than in France, Germany, the Netherlands or United Kingdom. Petrol on the other hand is cheaper than in neighbouring countries.
Most foreign visitors travel to Luxembourg in late spring and summer (May-August), as there is less rain and the temperatures are higher. Spring and Fall on the other hand are quieter but beautiful in their own way.
Since 2019, all public transport (train, bus, tram) is free in Luxembourg for citizens and visitors alike.
I’ve always heard that Luxembourg was boring with nothing to do. But you’ve taught me those people were all wrong!
There is so much to do, I’m sure I’ve nearly covered half. Thanks so much for commenting!
Wow, Luxembourg is super pretty! I’m not sure why it gets labelled as boring and nothing to see. It looks gorgeous with lots to do and see!
It really is. High time to change its image 😉 Thanks for reading and commenting Missy!
Luxembourg looks and sounds so interesting! I really like that there seems to be a mix of architecture and history and nature!
There’s a lot to see and to see for sure!