Want to explore one of the smallest countries in the world and learn about the best things to do in Luxembourg City? This post will cover the top attractions and must see places for a visit to Luxembourg, one of the most underrated destinations in Europe! This charming country will have you never bored – there are wonderful views throughout, great food, and many historical sights to see. In fact, the old town of Luxembourg City has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage Site for a very good reason!
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Some interesting facts about Luxembourg:
- It is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of GDP per capita due to a large private banking scene and the huge amount of people working in neighboring countries such as France, Germany, or Belgium.
- Public transportation became FREE in 2020 – Luxembourg is the first country in the world to do this.
- There are 3 official languages in Luxembourg including French, German, and Luxembourgish.
- The food is a mixture of French and German. Some traditional food to try includes gromper keeschelche (potato pancakes), quetsche tort (plum tart), and Bouneschlupp (a soup made with green beans, potatoes, and bacon).
How long do you need in Luxembourg?
I spent 2 nights in Luxembourg – it’s a small country so it can easily be done as a day trip from neighboring countries like Germany, France, or Belgium. On the first day, I explored Luxembourg City, and the second day I visited Vianden Castle. Personally, I felt this was a good amount of time but if you like to travel slowly then Luxembourg is full of fun things to do if you want to spend longer there.
Top things to do in Luxembourg City
1. Admire the view at Chemin de la Corniche
Possibly the best thing to do in Luxembourg City is to admire the view at Chemin de la Corniche. The Chemin de la Corniche, also known as “the most beautiful balcony of Europe,” is the corner you see all the postcard-perfect pictures of Luxembourg! The walkway is built onto the side of a steep mountain and offers panoramic views of the Grund and the Alzette Valley.
2. Ride the Glass Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal
The coolest thing I did was ride this glass Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal. I loved the view soaring 71 meters high into the air. It was one of the most unique things to do in Luxembourg City. This elevator brings an easy way for you to get down and explore the old city of Luxembourg. Once you take the exciting glass elevator down you can stroll the quaint and charming streets all around. Also, the great thing is that this view is completely free too!
🕒 Opening Hours: The elevator is open daily from 5.45 in the morning until 1 am at night.
📍Address: 2, Rue du Pont 2344 Luxembourg
3. Stroll the beautiful streets in the Old Quarter
As mentioned, there are so many beautiful streets in the Old Quarter so just spend time wandering the labyrinth of roads! This is the perfect place to see the bridges that span over the river as well as see the former fortress of the original city walls of Luxembourg. Another thing to do in Luxembourg City is to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral which was built in the 16th century and boasts gorgeous interiors.
4. Visit the Bock Casemates
Possibly the top attraction to a visit to Luxembourg is the Bock Casemates. These underground tunnels were built as a defense system. They were used as a bomb shelter for 35,000 people during World War. It was started by the Spanish in 1644 and extended in the 1680s by Vauban, a French engineer.
Today, you can visit the inside by paying an entry fee of €6. There are 23 kilometers of tunnels at a height of 40 meters. You will be able to see the slots within the walls that were meant to protect and give a window of clearance for artillery guns to shoot against invaders. There is also a well that supplied fresh water which is housed 47 meters deep from the ground. The casements helped resist the 7-month siege by the French Republic in the late 17th century. The walls remained unbreached through the attack.
🕒 Opening Hours: Mid February to March and October to early November from 10 am-5.30 pm; April to September from 10 am-8:30 pm
🎟️ Entry: Adults €6, Child €3
📍Address: 10 Mnt de Clausen, 1343 Luxembourg
5. Have one of the best hot chocolates in the world with views of the Grand Ducal Palace
One of the best things to do in Luxembourg City is to visit the Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn. Just grab a seat outside so you can be front seat to the Grand Ducal Palace. This might possibly be one of the best hot chocolates in the world and with an interesting flair. You can order and go inside the venue to select a Hotchocspoon – basically different flavored chocolate in the form of a spoon. You’re then given a cup of hot milk to dip it in and you can watch the chocolate melt. If lucky, you will be able to drink it while watching the guards walk at the Grand Ducal Palace. This palace was built in 1772 and is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
6. Visit the town of Vianden to see the fairytale Castle!
Take a slight detour from Luxembourg City and head to the prettiest fairytale castle in Vianden, one of the best places to visit in Luxembourg. Dating back to the 11th century, Vianden Castle is one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine. It was built on the foundations of a Roman fort and a Carolingian refuge. The castle was the seat of influential Vianden counts until the 15th century. Under King William I of Holland, the castle was sold around 1820 making it fall apart to ruins until it was restored by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 1977. Today the castle can be visited by paying €8 leaving you to admire the mixture of ancient and modern architecture.
The interiors of the Castle look like the pictures below. You will find several beautiful rooms including an Archeologische crypte, the Arms Hall, you will see the dining and kitchen halls and at the end of the tour, don’t miss the wine cellar! My favorite room was the one on the left below where you can see many beautiful arches overlooking a nice view. It makes for a nice instagrammable photo, especially under good lighting!
How to get to Vianden Castle
The easiest way to arrive would be by car. You can rent a car and get there in only 45 minutes from Luxembourg City. You should book your rental through Discover Cars as it shows you the lowest price across various rental companies.
If you don’t want to drive, you can get there by taking a tour! There are many options including a tour that will take you there and you can explore (linked here) as well as a multi-castle tour that takes you not only to Vianden but also Beaufort and Echternach, which is the oldest city in Luxembourg (link to the Hop On Hop Off Castles Tour).
By Public Transport
It is possible to also get to Vianden Castle by public transport. I didn’t rent a car so I took this route. It was a little trickier because you need to take both a bus and a train as well as time it correctly to avoid waiting too long for the bus. However, it wasn’t too bad and in my opinion, it was worth the trek!
I was able to find directions on Rome2Rio which is great for finding out how to get to hard to get to places. This is the link for the specific directions to Vianden Castle from Luxembourg City.
You will want to take the train from Luxembourg City to Ettelbruck, Gare which takes 25 minutes. From Ettelbruck, you will wait for the bus (be sure to check schedules ahead). The bus only leaves only about once an hour (at least when I visited in March). I did check out the town of Ettelbruck while I waited for the bus – there wasn’t too much to it but it was a nice walk to see a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Luxembourg! You can take the 570, 571, or 842 bus. Once you get on the bus the journey is another 26 minutes. From there you can walk up to the castle in about 15 minutes. The whole journey takes about an hour and a half.
🕒 Opening Hours: Check the official site to ensure no changes in opening hours. It typically is open daily at 10am and closes between 4 to 5pm depending on the month.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €8, Child €2.50. Buy skip-the-line tickets online here
📍Address: W6P3+23 Vianden, Luxembourg
7. Try the mixture of German & French cuisine for dinner
Luxembourg is bordering to France, Germany, and Belgium so you will find a nice mix of cuisine here. In this small country, you will also find the most Michelin star restaurants per capita! There is a strong meat-eating culture in Luxembourg. Luxembourg also has a wine region in the Moselle Valley which borders Germany. The food also isn’t the cheapest here if you’re looking to budget it is always still possible but as Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world you can also expect higher prices when dining here.
The most traditional food to try includes:
- Gromper keeschelche (potato pancakes)
- Quetsche tort (plum tart)
- Bouneschlupp (a soup made with green beans, potatoes, and bacon)
- Bouchée à la Reine (a filled puff pastry)
- Äppelklatzen (fruit pastry dessert)
Some of the best restaurants in Luxembourg City include:
- Les Copains d’Abord
- Restaurant Clairefontaine
- Le Plëss
- Urban Bar
- Restaurant Amelys
- La Cristallerie
- Le Sud
Where to stay in Luxembourg City
Note: I was kindly hosted by Le Royal Hotel, but all opinions are my own.
I stayed at the Le Royal Hotel when I visited Luxembourg City. This was a wonderful 5 star stay in the heart of Luxembourg City. It only took a few minutes to walk to most of the main attractions. Be sure to check out the Piano Bar to enjoy a nice cocktail over live music in the evenings every weekend. You don’t have to be a guest to visit either.
Each morning breakfast was included – there was a buffet to choose from a large selection of items as well as order special dishes like eggs or avocado on toast.
The rooms were super cozy and on the premier floor, the rooms have a private terrace overlooking a park. There were bathrobes and slippers so you could get pretty comfortable.
The facilities also feature a wellness center including a sauna, pool, and beauty center where you can get massages, manicures, or even facials.
While I was there, I had dinner at Restaurant Amelys and it was pretty upscale and had great food. I tried the duck and the truffle mashed potatoes!
How to get to Luxembourg City
Luxembourg City has its own local airport making it super easy to get to especially if traveling from one of the direct connections to Luxembourg. If you fly into Luxembourg Airport you can take bus 16 or 29 and reach the city center in only 20 minutes. Also, the bus, as well as all other public transport in Luxembourg, is completely FREE! Yes, that’s right free!
If you decide to take the train into Luxembourg City, it is also quite simple to get to the center. You can take the free tram straight in – it only takes about 10 minutes if you hop on the T1 and ride 3 stops to Hamilius.
Many people also get to Luxembourg from nearby Brussels. It takes about 4 hours by train. However, it is quicker to drive or to book a tour like this. The tour covers the transportation for you and you don’t have to worry about what to do there since you have a guide!
Best Day trips from Luxembourg
Since Luxembourg is so close to neighboring countries you can easily do many day trips. I love discovering off-the-beaten-path places so those will definitely be included here.
Dinant is a charming town in Belgium. Although it’s the 5th most visited city in the country, it’s not a place I had previously heard of or knew to come til now. It’s the hometown of Adolphe Sax the inventor of the saxophone, so you’ll see this instrument throughout the town. It is located 1.5 hours by car and 3 hours by train because you must change twice at both Bertrix and Athus to get there.
⭐ This tour will actually take you to both Dinant & Luxembourg from Brussels
Both Nancy and Metz which I will speak about below are very close to Luxembourg. Metz is on the way to Nancy so you might as well see both! Metz is a 45 minute train journey and from Metz. The highlight of a visit to Metz is to see the beautiful Gothic Cathedral with its many stained glass windows.
Nancy is another 45 minutes away from Metz and in total it is 1.5 hours from Luxembourg. This town is a riverfront city known for baroque and art nouveau landmarks. The Grand Square is adorned with wrought-iron gates and fountains. This picturesque city is definitely worth adding to your travel list if you’re already going to Luxembourg!
Did you know this is the oldest German city! It is located in the Moselle wine region near the Luxembourg border. It was founded by the Romans and contains many Roman-style architecture including the Porta Nigra gate and the ruins of a Roman bath. You can there from Luxembourg City in only 45 minutes by train!