This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure about affiliate links here.
Luxembourg is the second smallest country in the EU – only Malta is smaller in size. Luxembourg City is the country’s capital.
In this post on Luxembourg attractions I will focus on what to see in the capital city rather than the wider country. The post also outlines travel essentials such as accommodation and transport.
Luxembourg City’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site so is an attraction in its own right. It is located on a hill overlooking the valleys of the Alzette and Petrusse rivers. Much of the architecture in the Old Town dates from the 18th century onwards giving the area an elegant Middle European feel like Austro-Hungarian Empire cities such as Prague, Salzburg and Novi Sad. I thoroughly enjoyed strolling through the area.
Chemins de la Corniche is a walkway along the walls on the east of the Old Town. The Old Town has three main squares: Place Guillaume II where the Tourist Office and flower market are located, Place de la Constitution that has fine views over the Petrusse Valley below, and Place d’Armes where many outdoor cafes are located.
CASEMATES DU BOCK
The area where the Old Town is located used to be a fortress. The Bock is the promontory where the city’s original castle was built. Casemates are areas in a fortress where guns are fired from. In Casemates du Bock (Casemates of Bock) tunnels were dug into Bock cliff to facilitate the defence of the city. Casemates du Bock were used as bomb shelters during World War II.
As Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy monarchy in the world, the Grand-Ducal (Grand Duke) is Luxembourg’s Head of State. Palais Grand-Ducal is his official residence and dates back to the 16th century. There are limited guided tours of the palace and its opulent interior.
Luxembourg’s Head of Government is the Prime Minister. The Luxembourg parliament building (Hôtel de la Chambre des Députés) is attached to the Palais Grand-Ducal.
For such a small city, Luxembourg City has quite a variety of museums.
Two museums house historical artefacts: Musee d’Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg (City Museum) and Musee National d’Histoire et d’Art. The latter has an extensive collection of European art work from the Middle Ages to contemporary works. Both of these museums are located in the Old Town.
Drai Eechelen museum in Kirchberg is located in an 18th century fort and is a military museum. Located beside Drai Eechelen is Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean or MUDAM for short. This museum specialises in all forms of modern art. The building that houses MUDAM is as much of an attraction as the exhibitions. The building was designed by celebrated architect I.M. Pei.
Villa Vauban is an elegant 19th century house and gardens complex west of the Old Town. It contains the Musee d’Art de la Ville de Luxembourg, a museum with a collection of European art from 17th century onwards.
A number of fine bridges connect the Old Town with the rest of the city. The most well-known is the stone arch Adolphe Bridge (Pont Adolphe) that spans the Petrusse River. Viaduct La Pasarelle, a few hundred metres east of Adolphe, also spans the Petrusse.
The Spoorbrug Bridge is an arched stone railway bridge that elevates the line over the Grund area and the River Alzette in the east of the city.
Also spanning the River Alzette is the Stierchen Bridge, a medieval footbridge linking the Old Town with the Grund area. In what is one of the most unusual Luxembourg attractions, the bridge is apparently haunted at night by the Stierches-geescht ghost. The ghoul appears when inebriated pedestrians are crossing.
GETTING TO LUXEMBOURG:
A founding member of the EU, Luxembourg is bordered by Germany to its east, Belgium to its north and west, and France to its south. Luxembourg is in the Schengen Zone and has the euro as its currency.
Luxembourg City is well connected to neighbouring countries by bus and train. Information and tickets for trains from Central Station (Gare Centrale) to Brussels (Bruxelles), Paris and to Trier in Germany can be obtained on the Trainline website. The train station is located approximately 1km south of the Old Town. For bus journeys check out the Flixbus website.
Luxembourg Airport is located north east of the city centre. Frankfurt Hahn Airport in Germany is approximately 1h 30 minutes’ drive from Luxembourg City.
GETTING AROUND LUXEMBOURG:
At once you get to Luxembourg, public transport is free throughout the country. For Luxembourg City, the Old Town and immediate surroundings are very walkable. There is also a tram line running from Central Station to the western side and onward to the northern side of the city.
Luxembourg is a centre of finance and EU administration which means hotels will be slightly cheaper on the weekends than weekdays. Even so, Luxembourg is still an expensive city to stay in relative to neighbouring countries. I could only afford to stay in Youth Hostel Luxembourg City. Although hostels are not my scene, I can recommend it for its good standard of accommodation.
Wages are higher in Luxembourg than neighbouring countries which means the price of goods in general will be more expensive.
I found Luxembourg City to be safe although the walk from the Old Town to the Youth Hostel wasn’t well lit so felt a little eerie at night.
Luxembourg is built on a hill with many cobbled streets. Bring comfortable shoes that will cope with this terrain.
A few of the streets are named after prominent US citizens (e.g. Avenue JF Kennedy, Boulevard Roosevelt).
French, German and Luxembourgish are the official languages. French seemed to be the predominant language in shops and cafes although the government of Luxembourg website states that English is widely spoken as well.
I found people to be courteous and helpful. However, I found the city a little on the quiet side when it came to socialising – I travelled solo. Perhaps this is to be expected in a city that sees a large amount of business travellers.