The opulently titled Grand Duchy of Luxembourg might sound like a somewhat dated throwback to the medieval era, but actually, this small slice of European land is one of the most progressive and well-off nations in Europe.
The small country isn’t particularly well known, because sandwiched between France, Germany, and Belgium, they prefer to keep a low profile. But despite that, they attract a consistent stream of visitors looking to experience an authentic and unique part of Europe, who are happy to keep it to themselves too.
Looking at a map you will instantly notice that Luxembourg, as cliche as it sounds, is at the crossroads of western Europe. Over the centuries it’s seen not only traders and travelers pass through, but armies and war too.
The country has been shaped and defined by its larger neighbors, particularly Germany and France, but rather than giving in to one they’ve taken the best of each culture to create their own distinct Luxembourgian way of life.
This at first seems like a simple mishmash of languages, food, and architecture, but really, it is something very special indeed.
You might think that such a small place deserves just a pit stop or a layover, but if you take the time to truly explore Luxembourg you will be rewarded with an elegant city, beautiful landscapes and a place that’s confusingly like everywhere else in western Europe, but like nowhere else at the same time.
And as you’ll learn later in this article, there are lots of things to do in Luxembourg to keep you busy.
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Luxembourg Planning Guide
(Click to skip ahead to section)
- Things to do in Luxembourg
- Where is Luxembourg located?
- How to Get to Luxembourg
- Best Time to Visit
- Language in Luxembourg
- Places to Stay (with our top recommendations)
15 Best Things to do in Luxembourg
There’s much to see in Luxembourg, in terms of culture, history, and nature, and although you will most likely find yourself based in Luxembourg City, make sure you head out to the countryside to see a different side to the nation that will be missed in the capital.
HOT TIP: Before you start your sightseeing in Luxembourg City, grab yourself a ticket on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour. This tour is affordable and takes you to all of the top sights in the city. You can come and go from the bus as you please for the duration of your pass validity and it’s a great way to get acquainted with the city.
Quick Guide: Things to do in Luxembourg
- Visit the Place Guillaume II
- Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral
- Tour the Grand Ducal Palace
- Explore the Corniche
- Have a Hotchocspoon at the Chocolate House
- Get Lost in the Casemates
- Wander the Halls of the Modern Art Museum
- See the European Court
- Take a City Walking Tour
- Larochette Castle
- Go Hiking
- Get into Nature in Echternacht
- Step Back in Time at Vianden
- Explore Beaufort Castle
1. Visit the Place Guillaume II
Start your journey to Luxembourg in the center of Luxembourg City, by visiting the Place Guillaume II. This is the city’s most famous square, a centerpiece for the country that will help you get your bearing before you head off into the winding, medieval alleyways.
It is a square that is always lively and interesting. You’ll find this on everyone’s things to do in Luxembourg list. There’s usually some sort of local or tourist display occurring here making it a worthwhile stop.
The many statues and grand buildings will give a sense of the style of the Duchy you are about to explore.
2. Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral
Not to be missed is a stop at the incredible Notre-Dame Cathedral. This architectural wonder is the only cathedral in Luxembourg. The cathedral features a mixture of Late Gothic and Renaissance architecture.
Being over 400 years old, the cathedral is famous for its stained glass and sculpted alabaster choir. The crypt beneath the church is the resting place to some of the royal family, dating back to the 1300s.
It is one of the most historic places to see in Luxembourg City, so don’t miss it.
3. Tour the Grand Ducal Palace
Luxembourg is the last Grand Duchy in the world. That means the country is technically run by the Grand Duke, a monarch who has nominal power these days. The Grand Ducal Palace is the official residence of the Duke, and it’s an elegant affair to see.
You can’t get inside but you can see the elaborate changing of the guard’s ceremony throughout the day. However, during the summer months, there are special tours offered that allow you to visit the elaborate interior.
This was one of the highlights of our visit to Luxembourg, so I highly recommend planning your visit between mid-June and mid-September to take advantage of this offering.
Tickets can be purchased from the tourist information center in town.
4. Explore the Corniche
The heart of Luxembourg is the historic, medieval city center. Winding alleys and old streets form a maze of houses, restaurants, and bars mixed in with charming shops and the odd museum.
Le Chemin de la Corniche is the best way to experience this historic section of the city. The extended walkway follows the contours of the city walls and fortifications, above the streets and houses of the old quarter, giving eye-opening views over the city and fresh air at the same time.
This is not a place you visit in an hour, you need to give yourself a solid half-day and if you can swing it, a full day would be better. This will allow you to really take the site in.
5. Have a Hotchocspoon at the Chocolate House
By far one of the best places we’ve dined in Europe, this little place in the city center offers some amazing chocolate creations. Traditional chocolate creations aside, this place is famous for its Hotchocspoon item.
Served with hot milk, they offer 20 flavors of chocolate on a spoon that is then stirred into your milk. It is hot chocolate with a twist and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having two!
6. Get Lost in the Casemates
Luxembourg is a land that has changed hands on many occasions through the centuries. Consequently, it’s a place that has at times been heavily defended.
The defensive center of the city is the huge Bock, which is literally an enormous piece of rock that stands in the historic part of Luxembourg City. It is a beautifully distinctive landmark in itself and is the site of the most heavily defended fortifications that were built here over the years.
Although much of it was dismantled in the 19th century, when Luxembourg gained its independence as a sort of neutral party on the borders of the great European powers, you can still experience the intricate network of underground ‘casemates’ that were dug out of the Bock.
7. Wander the Halls of the Modern Art Museum
For art lovers, You must also check out the Modern Art Museum in Luxembourg. Discover current artistic trends and the emergence of novel artistic practices through works in both national and international talent. Marvel at the design of this museum’s building.
Designed by Sino-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei to represent the dialogue between Luxembourg’s natural and historical identity.
8. See the European Court
Experience a newer, more modern part of Luxembourg by visiting the European Court of Justice in the capital. Luxembourg is an important member of the EU and hosts this important institution in Luxembourg City.
You can see the EU flag and member state flying proudly outside the front, and if you fancy, you can even arrange a quick tour of the inside if you book in advance.
9. Take a City Walking Tour
Luxembourg City is small but has a lot of complex history. That said, it is well worth your time to join one of the guided walking tours of the city. You will not only learn history but also hear some great stories of the city.
Tours are offered several times daily from the tourist information center in the main square. Be sure to get your tickets the minute you arrive in the city to ensure you can be accommodated in your required language.
Diekirch is found to the north of Luxembourg City in the countryside, and this small town played an important role during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
While it’s a quaint place to visit in itself, the real attraction is the Military Museum. It charts the battle and shows visitors the role Luxembourg has played in Europe through the centuries.
You’ll learn about the struggles and strife that is has undergone at the hands of the larger countries around it. This was a highlight of our visit, so we highly recommend a visit.
You can access Diekirch by bus or train easily and cheap from the city.
11. Larochette Castle
Located in another quintessential Luxembourg village is the Larochette Castle. Despite being a ruined castle, it’s worth heading into the site for the views over the city.
The entire town is surrounded by a heavily wooded area and sits on a river. Once finished with the views be sure to head to the city center to shop the local market and visit the medieval square.
12. Go Hiking
Most people do not think of Luxembourg when asked about the best places to hike in Europe, however, it has some of the best trails on the continent. We spent 2 days hiking in the Ardennes and the trails were spectacular.
Even better, we only met a handful of other hikers during our visit in early August. It’s a peaceful place to walk and enjoy nature. Read about our adventure: Hiking in Luxembourg from Kautenbach to Wiltz
13. Get into Nature in Echternacht
Echternacht is found right on the border with Germany, and it claims to be the oldest town in Luxembourg. It’s a historic place and an excellent place to spend the day, while the nearby countryside is full of greenery and waterfalls just waiting to be explored.
Explore the Mullerthal Trail, one of the top hiking trails in Europe, for an excellent hiking experience.
14. Step Back in Time at Vianden
Vianden is another charming, countryside town in Luxembourg. It’s found in absolutely beautiful surroundings, with green forests encircling the historic buildings and houses.
Perched above the town is one of the country’s most iconic castles too, which dates back as far as the 11th century AD. It’s how you would imagine a fairy tale, medieval castle to look and it’s beautiful.
During the summer this castles plays host to weekend medieval festivals and this is hands down one of the top things to do in Luxembourg, so do not miss it. Local people dress up in period costumes and remain in character around the castle.
Various stations give you a look into what life was like and offer interactive activities for all ages. Not to mention the castle is stunning and no part of it is off-limits.
15. Explore Beaufort Castle
If you are into ruined castles, like me, then take some time to see Beaufort Castle. Located on a plateau in the Mullerthal region of Luxembourg, this castle dates from the 12th century.
Where is Luxembourg?
You may be hard-pressed to locate Luxembourg on a map first time around, but look closer and you’ll find it’s hidden away in western Europe, landlocked and surrounded by much larger countries.
Luxembourg is just under 1000 square miles in area and has a population of only 600,000 people, but it’s the quiet seat of many European institutions, such as the EU High Court.
The nation’s capital is Luxembourg City, a city that traces its roots back hundreds of years, while in the countryside there are many charming small towns and villages waiting to be discovered.
Don’t Forget: Belgium & Luxembourg Travel Reference Map
How to Travel to Luxembourg
Luxembourg is easily reached internationally, and in particular from the bordering European nations. The gateway to the country is Luxembourg City, and you will find that the airport here has connections across Europe and further afield.
The airport itself is just a short bus or taxi ride away from Luxembourg City and it’s a comparatively easy and relaxed destination to fly into.
As the crossroads of Europe, Luxembourg is incredibly well-connected overland too. The country has open borders with France, Belgium, and Germany, and you won’t even need to flash a passport when crossing by road or rail.
The grand central station in Luxembourg City has high-speed connections to Paris, which is just an hour away, as well as to Metz, Strasbourg, and many other French cities.
Germany is just a short train ride away to the east, with Cologne and Stuttgart in easy reach, while to the north, Belgium’s major towns and major cities are all connected.
We use Eurail from Belgium to Luxembourg and it was way easy! Shop for your Eurail Pass
Traveling around the small country is easy too, with excellent, well-maintained roads and highways connecting Luxembourg City to the smaller towns – and of course across the borders too – and the easiest way to see the countryside is to rent a car, or bring your own.
If you don’t have that luxury though, there are plenty of local buses to get around on and you’ll find that everything is rather close together.
Want to visit Luxembourg from Brussels? Luxembourg Day Trip from Brussels: Two Countries in One Day
Best Time to Visit Luxembourg
Luxembourg is a year-round destination. It enjoys a temperate European climate, and while the summers might be hot, it’s never too hot. The winters can be cold, but you may enjoy the wonderful, snow-covered scenery if you travel here in the New Year.
Luxembourg City is busy all year round, but particularly so of course in the summer months of June and July, but you will find that outside of the main city, the countryside is quiet and peaceful for all of the years.
Related Article: When is the Best Time to Visit Europe
What Language Do They Speak in Luxembourg?
A first time visitor to Luxembourg may be easily confused by the language situation. Is it French, is it German? Is it something else? Luckily, in this well-educated nation, most people will be more than competent in English if you need help.
Currency in Luxembourg
Luxembourg is an integral part of the EU, and as such, they are also part of the Euro Zone, the single currency used by many European Union countries.
You may find prices seem inflated if you are arriving from a neighboring country – or anywhere else in the world, really-because although Luxembourg has one of the most developed economies in the world, it’s also one of the most expensive places to live.
Even traveling on a simple trip to Europe you should carry travel insurance. We use Allianz travel insurance and have since our first trip to Mexico in 2003. They’ve been there for us on our adventures – and many friends and readers – multiple times over!
If you want to book with Allianz Travel Insurance, simply use this link to get their travel insurance.
Places to Stay in Luxembourg
Looking for a great hotel for your long weekend in Luxembourg? We have put together the top hotels we recommend for your Luxembourg vacation. These hotels have some of the best locations in Luxembourg and are rated well be other travelers.
Luxury Hotels in Luxembourg:
Budget Hotels in Luxembourg:
Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.
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