I hope this doesn’t offend anyone from Luxembourg, but on the travel itinerary, it’s usually an add on, an extra pit stop when you’ve got some time to play with on the German, French or Belgian border. Maybe you’re on a European train excursion and one of the stops just happen to be in Luxembourg city… this has been my experience when talking to people who’ve visited this little country. The only other people I’ve talked with, who had been to Luxembourg on purpose, was for business… and Luxembourg is a business/banking hub!
I do have to come out and be honest though, this isn’t a blog post about how I knew it was going to be amazing so I stayed for a week and lived like a local. On the contrary, I arrived in Luxembourg the same way most people do… on a whim with extra time.
We were staying in Germany on business, so we had a rental car and a few extra days of leave to blow. I wanted to go explore Belgium as it was close by, but I’d already missed an opportunity to go to Lichtenstein, and I wasn’t about to do the same for Luxembourg!
So for about 6 hours, I had the opportunity to pass through this little place… little but wonderful place. Here is what I would recommend you do when visiting Luxembourg for a day:
Explore the alley ways
You can truly get lost in Luxembourg’s rabbit warren of streets, but they’re so pretty that you really won’t mind. We found some parking right downtown (driving is a little tight – make sure you’re in a small little European car) and we wandered out from there. Truth be told, the city is very walkable… in fact, if you don’t have any knee/foot problems, you should be able to walk around the entire city. One thing I noticed about Luxembourg is the gorgeous architecture and the picture perfect doors! For some reason, I’ve always been a fan of artistic doorways, and Europe, in general, doesn’t disappoint! But Luxembourg (in my opinion), had some of the prettiest doors in Europe.
Go check out the river
If you’re in the city and head east, you’ll find the Azette river within 10 -15 min of walking. The cool thing about how the city was designed, is that it is built up along the banks of the Azette, therefore winding roads that make it down to the river bank provide a very picturesque cityscape. There are cute little shops and places to get ice-cream while you stroll along.
See the market
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Place Guillaume II (the town square) holds an open market where people sell jewelry, clothes, fresh produce, baked goods and a smorgasbord of trinkets. We actually picked up some really cool little pieces to add to our home décor. One of my favorite pieces was a pair of traditional wooden clogs. If you’re learning French, or you’re pretty good at it, this market is the best way to practice and bargain using your French language skills. In fact, I found that speaking French to the locals of Luxembourg City was actually a lot easier than speaking with those from France or Canada. For some reason, I found their French to be slowed down and much clearer than other native French speakers. This is why this market is an awesome place to interact with the locals if you’re interested in practicing your French (did I mention they’re also very patient!?). If you’re not a French speaker, no worries (neither is my husband) and he was able to communicate just fine in English… Gotta love the European education system!
Shop and get some chocolate
One of the cutest little streets we found for shopping was Rue Philippe II. I will warn you… shopping in Luxembourg will break your bank, but window shopping can be fun too, and this street provides! This is going to sound really stupid, but the first time I ever discovered Hermes was in Luxembourg… I saw a really cute purse in the window and thought… oh, I think I want to get that… little did I know this stunning accessory would put me back 15 thousand dollars! So obviously... I bought it!!!
Just kidding – I wish.
What won’t break your bank are the cafés, although still expensive (it’s Luxembourg City after all), you can get some delicious chocolaty treats and continue meandering through the city.
Visit some of the main attractions.
Luxembourg isn’t all just walking through alleyways trying not to go broke, it also has some pretty cool tourist attractions! Old Town can be quite stunning as the river winds its way through the town center, there’s a castle that you’ve got to at least take a picture of; Chateau de Vianden. Go inside Notre Dame Cathedral to see beautiful stain glass windows around the pulpit. Also… if you want a cool pic for Instagram, take a few shots around the “Philharmonic Luxembourg” – The city’s concert hall.
This country may not have the grandeur of its larger neighbors, but it’s still got a ton to offer. It’s hard for me to judge a place properly when I was only in it for 8 hours… that’s not long enough to judge an entire nation! Therefore, don’t take my word for it. Don’t just explore what I’ve mentioned… create your own adventure and explore out of the city, go on a hike in the countryside or even take a boat tour down the river Azette. This was a place I didn’t have enough time to truly soak in, so I’ve always planned on going back and properly giving this place the time and attention it deserves. Don’t be like me… give this country some proper loving!