Luxembourg Complete Travel Guide

Introduction to Luxembourg

Tucked away between Belgium, France, and Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a charming blend of medieval fortresses, lush countryside and modern banking centres. Known both for its wealth and its strategic importance throughout history, Luxembourg offers visitors a unique mix of cultural influences and a high standard of living. This small, landlocked country has developed its character while being surrounded by larger European powers, providing tourists with a fascinating history to explore, alongside picturesque villages and contemporary attractions.

Despite its small size, Luxembourg punches above its weight in international affairs, thanks to its status as one of the founding members of the European Union. Luxembourg City, the heart of the country, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs. Beyond the capital, the rolling hills of the Ardennes provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, while the Moselle valley is the center of Luxembourg’s wine country. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or gastronomy, Luxembourg’s rich tapestry awaits your discovery.

Top Cities in Luxembourg

Luxembourg City: As the capital, this city is a must-see for its UNESCO-listed Old Quarter, its dramatic gorges and fortifications, as well as its cosmopolitan feel and European institutions. The ancient fortifications, including the Bock and the casemates, tell tales of Europe’s past, while the modern city is a hub of banking and European politics.

Esch-sur-Alzette: This city is Luxembourg’s second largest and acts as the hub for the country’s southwest. It boasts vibrant cultural scenes, such as theaters and concert halls, as well as industrial history that can be explored in its museums and transformed industrial sites. The ‘Rockhal’ is a premier venue for international music acts and cultural events.

Echternach: The oldest town in Luxembourg, known for its international music festival and the Echternach Dancing Procession, a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Its abbey and the surrounding Mullerthal region, often called ‘Little Switzerland’, provide breathtaking landscapes and hiking opportunities.

Diekirch: Famous for its national museum of military history, Diekirch offers insight into the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. It is also home to a reputable beer, ensuring those interested in ale also have a reason to visit.

Vianden: Nestled in the Ardennes Mountains, Vianden is home to a stunning restored medieval castle that dominates the town and offers panoramic views. The picturesque town is also renowned for its chairlift, which provides an aerial vista of the surrounding hills and the Our River.

Historical Attractions

Luxembourg’s history is carved into its landscapes and buildings. Luxembourg City’s Old Quarter is a tapestry of historical wonders, including the grand Ducal Palace, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and numerous museums such as the National Museum of History and Art. The city’s fortifications and old quarters have been recognized by UNESCO for their outstanding universal value.

Aside from the capital, the Castle of Vianden is a splendid historical site dating back to the 11th century. Clervaux Castle in the north of the country not only offers history but also houses the famous ‘Family of Man’ photographic exhibition. Furthermore, the small town of Echternach boasts a Benedictine Abbey that was founded in the 7th century and continues to be an iconic religious site.

Nature and Parks

Despite its diminutive size, Luxembourg is abundant with natural parks and reserves. The Mullerthal Region, also referred to as ‘Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland’, enchants with its hilly landscapes, forests, and rock formations, making it a perfect spot for hiking and outdoor activities. The region has well-marked trails for all levels of hikers and nature enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, the Upper Sûre Natural Park is a water enthusiast’s dream, with the Upper Sûre Lake at its heart. The area is ideal for swimming, sailing, diving, and even fishing. For those looking for tranquility, the nature reserves of the Moselle Valley provide serene landscapes with vineyards and unique biodiversity worth exploring.

Luxembourgish Cuisine

Luxembourg’s cuisine reflects its geographical position and its mix of Latin and Germanic cultures. Local specialties include ‘Judd mat Gaardebounen’, which is smoked pork collar with broad beans, and ‘Gromperekichelcher’, crispy potato fritters often enjoyed during local festivals. The influence of the neighboring countries is also evident in popular dishes such as ‘Wiener Schnitzel’ and ‘Quiche Lorraine’.

Luxembourg is also celebrated for its wine and spirits, particularly from the Moselle Valley which is renowned for its crisp white wines and the national aperitif, ‘Crémant de Luxembourg’, a sparkling wine. The local beer scene is on the rise too, with a variety of traditional and craft breweries dotted across the country. Food and drink are integral to Luxembourgish culture and are something every visitor should indulge in to experience the country fully.

Outdoor Activities

Those looking to blend adventure with their travel will find Luxembourg’s varied terrain a paradise. Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy over 600 kilometers of cycle paths through cities and countryside. For water sports aficionados, the rivers Sûre and Moselle offer kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and even water-skiing opportunities.

The country is also a haven for rock climbers, with Berdorf being the premium climbing spot. For those who appreciate a leisurely round of golf, Luxembourg accommodates with beautifully positioned golf courses that offer a challenge along with stunning vistas. During the winter months, there’s even the option for cross-country skiing in the northern Ardennes region.

Festivals and Events

Luxembourgians love a celebration and the Grand Duchy’s calendar is dotted with festivals and events. The ‘Schueberfouer’ is a massive funfair held in Luxembourg City at the end of August that dates back to the Middle Ages. Celebrating the Grand Duke’s Official Birthday on June 23rd, ‘National Day’ sees parades, fireworks, and parties across the country.

Music is an important facet of the cultural scene with festivals like the ‘Rock um Knuedler’ and ‘Echternach International Music Festival’ drawing crowds every year. For the more traditionally inclined, the ‘Dancing Procession of Echternach’ takes place on Whit Tuesday and involves a hopping dance to honor Saint Willibrord, attracting pilgrims from all over the region.

Shopping and Fashion

Luxembourg’s shopping scene may not rival that of Paris or Milan, but it provides an intimate experience with a mixture of high-end boutiques, local crafts, and international brands. In Luxembourg City, the Grand Rue and adjacent streets are the main shopping hub, offering luxury brands and stylish boutiques. The city also hosts periodic street markets offering everything from antiques to artisanal products.

Beyond the capital, cities like Esch-sur-Alzette and Echternach provide their blend of small shops and boutiques, perfect for finding unique souvenirs or local fashion. Additionally, the concept of ‘slow shopping’ in eco-conscious stores is growing, aligning with the country’s sustainable initiatives.

Art and Culture

Luxembourg’s art scene is as diverse as its population. The country’s flagship museum, MUDAM (The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art), showcases cutting-edge contemporary art within an iconic building designed by I.M. Pei. For a deep dive into the past, The National Museum of History and Art in the capital offers archaeological treasures and fine arts in a beautiful setting and hosts regular international exhibitions.

The Philharmonie Luxembourg is another architectural gem, serving as a prime location for classical and contemporary music performances. Cultural enthusiasts can also explore the diverse array of art galleries scattered across the country, offering a look into the local and international art scenes.

Luxembourg for Families

Luxembourg is incredibly family-friendly, with numerous activities tailored for children of all ages. Parc Merveilleux, located in Bettembourg, is a fairytale theme park that combines playgrounds, animals and mythical creatures to make a perfect day out for the little ones. For something more educational, the National Museum of Natural History will stimulate curious minds with its interactive exhibitions.

Outdoor activities are also plenty, with numerous trails, cycle paths, and adventure parks making the most of Luxembourg’s natural environment. Be sure to visit the various castles around the country, such as Bourscheid and Beaufort, which often host medieval festivals and workshops appealing to children’s sense of adventure and imagination.

Practical Information

Luxembourg may be one of the smallest countries in Europe, but it’s well connected. The main airport is in Luxembourg City, and there are efficient train and bus services that run throughout the country and beyond. Rental cars are a popular option for those who wish to explore at their own pace. Luxembourg is also a safe country with high standards of living, which makes it a particularly stress-free destination for travelers.

The country has three official languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German, with a majority of the population fluent in English as well. It’s a factor that makes communication easy for international visitors. As for currency, Luxembourg uses the euro, and most places accept credit and debit cards. It’s also part of the Schengen Area, meaning travel to and from other EU countries is hassle-free.

Luxembourg offers a sustainable and luxurious travel experience with a rich cultural heritage, enchanting landscapes, and an alluring blend of old and modern Europe. Whether it’s exploring historic sites, immersing in the natural beauty, or indulging in the local cuisine, Luxembourg provides a captivating getaway. For those looking to stay in eco-friendly accommodations, ETIC Hotels offers a selection of properties committed to sustainability, to ensure your visit is not only enjoyable but also responsible. To book your eco-hotel in Luxembourg, visit https://etichotels.com/luxembourg and embark on a journey that cherishes both luxury and the environment.