Travel Guide: Luxembourg City
This is the second of many Guides for this website (see my first, about beautiful Barcelona, here)! I hope you find it as useful as I do. Before every one of my trips, I spend hours and hours researching and planning everything, and instead of just throwing everything away when I’m finished, I figured that this information might come in handy for others interested in visiting these places. Below, I will not only share pictures and personal experiences, but also include names of restaurants, hotels, museums, etc. that I researched and that might be of use for those coming to visit. If you have anything that you’d recommend visiting not listed here, please let me know in the comments! I will also link to informational websites that describe each site further.
So, without further ado…
- Where is it located? Luxembourg is a small country in Europe, bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. The City of Luxembourg is in the southern, central half.
- What language do they speak? The official languages in Luxembourg are Luxembourgish (a Fraconion language similar to German and Dutch), French and German. If you know a bit of French or German, you’ll get along just fine. If you only know English, not to worry – many people also speak English. For some useful phrases in Luxembourgish, go here. If you’re looking to improve your language skills, visit my article on the best methods to learn!
- What currency do they use? The euro.
- Interesting Facts about Luxembourg:
- Per capita, it is the 2nd richest country in the world (that’s why everything is so expensive!).
- A large portion of the country is covered by forests, and it is the least populated country in all of Europe.
- People in Luxembourg rank #5 in the world for their calorie intake (3,680 calories).
Depending on where you’re coming from, it might be better to arrive to Luxembourg City by plane or by train/bus. We were coming from Barcelona city, so a plane was our best option. My favorite site for evaluating the various transportation options is Rome 2 Rio. You type in your starting point and destination, and it shows all of your options, including a price range and how long it would take you for each.
I don’t know how we did it, but we found really cheap flights to Luxembourg during Spring Break (we paid €45 one way). If we had left on any other day, the prices shot up to over €200… insane! You really have to do your research if you want to include Luxembourg on your itinerary if you don’t want to pay a fortune. I recommend checking daily on Sky Scanner, the prices vary all of the time. You can even request notifications for if the prices drop. Generally speaking, prices are lowest on Tuesdays, but this isn’t always the case. I’ve used Sky Scanner for the last 4 years on all of my flights, it is a fantastic way to compare many airlines quickly!
Transportation from Airport
- Cheapest: By Bus
- Lines 117, 16, and 29 go to the city center every 10-15 minutes. They also go the the train station. One ticket is 2 euros. (information as of 3/18, to check on the official website go here)
- By Taxi
- Taxi drivers in Luxembourg have personal freedom in choosing their prices, and a chart should be posted on the back window. They are also allowed to set flat rates, which you can negotiate with the driver (but they’re not required to accept). For more information, go here.
- By Car
- You can rent a car from level -1 at the airport. For a list of the rental companies and their contact information, go here.
We arrived to Luxembourg City at around noon, and it was a rainy day. The rain normally wouldn’t bother me too much, but it was also EXTREMELY windy… it was almost pointless to use an umbrella because it kept either flying away or getting blown upside down. In fact, all of my friends had to throw away their umbrellas at the end of the day because they were ruined. But, no matter… we weren’t the type of people to let a little rain and wind ruin our day!
In my research, I read that it was pretty easy to catch a bus from the airport and take it straight into the city. In front of the bus stop is a machine where you can buy tickets, and a short term ticket costs €2. We bought our tickets only to find out that buses were free on Sundays. Keep that in mind for your trip!
There is only one hostel in Luxembourg City, and it’s actually a pretty nice one: Luxembourg Youth Hostel. It is HUGE, and looks more like a hotel than a hostel on the outside. It was very clean, and we only paid about €25 for the night. Plus breakfast was included! Can you get better than that? Yes, you can! We paid to have a 6 bed dorm, and there were 4 of us. I emailed the hostel asking if we could be placed in the same room, and to our surprise they upgraded us to a 4 bed room so we could have our privacy. The staff were also extremely friendly. I highly recommend it!
The hostel is right down the hill from the main road that takes you into the city center. It is a little bit of a hike to get back up, but not too bad. The views as you cross the bridge are also incredible. Unfortunately, there was a lot of construction going on… one entire bridge was covered in ugly steel and tarps. And there were cranes everywhere. But it was still unbelievably beautiful, even in the rain.
There are also various hotel and Airbnb options. For advice on what type of accommodation to choose, read my article on How to NOT Spend Your Life Savings on Travel Accommodations.
Things to See
- Casemates du Bock – old passageways carved into the mountainside, all around the city
- Saint Michael’s Church – Gothic style church with lovely stained glass windows
- Palais Grand Ducal – 16th century palace where the Grand Duke lives. Guided tours available only in July and August
- Place d’Armes – a lovely square where friends meet up, surrounded by restaurants and shops
- Place Guillaume II – square with an open market on Sundays
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame – a gorgeous cathedral built in the 1600’s
- Place de la Constitution – square with an iconic statue and impressive views over the valley
- Chemin de la Corniche – known as “Europe’s most beautiful balcony,” incredible viewpoint
- Grund – lower level of the city, with lots of restaurants and pubs. Beautiful area to walk around
- Fort Thüngen – fortress built in the 1700’s, on the outskirts of the city center
- Philhamonie Luxembourg – a lovely concert hall, guided tours are available
Top Rated Restaurants
- Le Friquet’s – traditional, local dishes (1, rue Sigefroi, L-2536 Luxembourg)
- Go Ten Bar & Café (10 r. du Marché-aux-Herbes)
- Chiggeri Restaurant Resto-Café (5 A r. du Curé)
- Restaurant Mousel’s Cantine Sàrl (46 mtée de Clausen)
Coffee / Bars
- Kaale Kaffi Shop – cozy, adorable coffee shop with incredible coffee and pastries (9 Rue de la Boucherie)
- Kathy’s – €5 -12, Coffee, Sandwiches, Tea Room, Bagels (9 Rue de Strasbourg, near train station)
- The Tube Bar (8 r. Sigefroi)
- Urban Bar & Restaurant (2 Rue de la Boucherie)
- Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA) – Museum displaying the art and history of Luxembourg city
- Lëtzebuerg City Museum – showcases the last 1000 years of history of Luxembourg City
- Mudam Museum – contemporary art museum
As you cross the bridge into the main city center, you will pass by the Casemates du Bock, which are basically old passageways carved into the mountainside. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to explore all of them, but you will find them throughout the city and they are highly recommended to see.
One of the first things we came across was Saint Michael’s Church, which was unfortunately under construction on the outside. I’d recommend having a peek inside, I really loved the unique stained glass.
We were starving after all of that travelling (woke up at 4am and got to the hostel around 2pm), so we started out immediately trying to find a place to eat. One of the first restaurants we came across was a lovely French cafe called Le Friquet’s. We arrived pretty late, so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. They were advertising their plate of the day, which appeared to be chicken. We were all going to order it when luckily the waitress warned us that it was basically stuffed chicken intestines… I’m all down for trying new foods, but I’m really glad we figured that out in time!
In the end, we decided on a specialty called Bouchée à la reine, which I highly recommend! It is basically a stuffed pastry covered in a delicious creamy sauce, we were all very impressed. It cost €18.50, but it was honestly one of the best meals that I’ve ever had and was enough food to keep us full for the entire evening.
One thing that Luxembourg is infamous for is that it is an extremely expensive city. In fact, it is the richest country in Europe! In all of my research, I read that you couldn’t really expect to eat cheaply in Luxembourg… and I’d have to back up this consensus. The receptionist at our hostel even told us that we wouldn’t be able to find a meal cheaper than €15, and that it would be at McDonald’s. If you’re planning to come here, keep this in mind! Also, be careful about ordering water at restaurants… we ended up paying €7 for a bottle of water that gave each of us each a small glass’ worth… Might as well have bought wine.
Nearby the restaurant is the Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA), which was on our list of things to see but we decided not to go in. I have heard very good things about it, though, so if you have the time and you enjoy museums, give it a try.
From there, we continued on towards the palace. On the way, we passed by a cute coffee shop… and caffeine was greatly appreciated after our long morning. It was probably one of the most delicious coffees I have ever tried, and also one of the most unique coffee shops which also sold vintage wares. It is called Kaale Kaffi, and is definitely worth the pick-me-up and caffeinated deliciousness.
The Palais Grand Ducal is very small, and not at all what you’d think of when you think of the richest country in the world. There weren’t gates around it, either… just one lonely looking guard keeping watch. If you go during the months of July or August, guided tours are available.
Nearby is the Place d’Armes, a large square where young people meet up. There are many restaurants and shops in this area, it’s a good place to waste some time and watch the world go by. There weren’t too many people there on the day we went due to the rain, but I imagine it’d be lovely on a sunny day. Nearby is another square called Place Guillaume II, which is worth checking out on a Sunday because there is an open market.
If you’re interested in museums, there is the Lëtzebuerg City Museum, which has great reviews on all of the travel websites. Apparently it is state-of-the-art and very interesting. Unfortunately, my friends and I preferred to walk around and explore rather than stay inside, so I can’t vouch for this.
Going south a little further, you hit the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (no, not the big one in Paris). Like most cathedrals, it is very beautiful… but the more you travel Europe, the more these cathedrals start to blur together. By the end of our trip, my friends and I were joking that we should start a blog just about churches because we visited so many. We ended up sitting inside for a bit as a safe haven from the wind and rain… which is exactly what a church is supposed to function as, isn’t it? A safe haven?
Nearby is the Place de la Constitution, a nice square with a tall monument in the middle topped with the statue of a girl in gold. It has lovely views of the valley and city across the way, but the wind made it really difficult for us to stop and admire it for longer.
If you continue down south a bit, you will find the Chemin de la Corniche, otherwise known as Europe’s Most Beautiful Balcony. And it lives up to it’s name. As you look around, you feel even more like you’re in the middle of a fairy tale. There’s just a charming atmosphere that emanates through the entire city, and being able to see these views from above is just marvelous (even in the rain!). It is very green here, and it’s easy just to sit there and admire the views for awhile. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, a lot of construction was going on during this time… so you can see cranes in the background of a lot of these pictures.
Nearby, there is an elevator that you can take to go down to the bottom level of the city, an area of the city called Grund. When you exit the elevator, you walk through a small tunnel showcasing local artists. Some of them were very interesting! Others were just… weird.
At the other end of the tunnel, there are a bunch of small streets, cafes, and a lovely river cutting through it all. Not much was open on a Sunday, but we did stop at a local cafe for a drink. It was an English bar built into the hillside, and the bartender was very nice. You can easily find it because it is the first place to the left when you exit the tunnel.
The Grund Neighbourhood is very beautiful and quaint, plus there’s a lot of places to pop in for a rest. Definitely worth the visit, but preferably on a nicer day!
After seeing all of that, and stopping in yet another church to shelter us, we decided to just head in whatever direction felt right to explore what was left of the small city. We ended up coming across these strange statues in the middle of town, and couldn’t help joining in on the fun.
We wandered around some more at night, but unfortunately all of the lights and rain didn’t allow my photos to show up correctly. But here’s an idea of what beauty you can expect from the gorgeous city come nightfall:
I had also planned a half day across the river in the more industrial part of town, but we never got around to seeing it because we thought we should head to Brussels in the morning. But, from my research, I hear these are pretty nice to see as well:
Have you visited Luxembourg before? What was your experience? Did you have better weather than us? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! Happy travels! 🙂
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