As the second richest country in the world, Luxembourg is often pigeonholed as a place of business, a tiny enclave in Europe for the wealthy elite.
But those who cling tightly to this belief and skip the country altogether miss out on the real riches that lie hidden between the borders of one of Western Europe’s most wonderfully surprising countries.
The UNESCO-listed old town of Luxembourg City is an alluring mix of cobbled lanes and hidden nooks that cascade down the steep valley walls to the mirrorlike curves of the Alzette River. But, pretty as the historic town may be, it is beyond the confines of the city where the magic of Luxembourg really shines.
Hitting the countryside, life slips effortlessly into a slower pace amidst rolling hills and meandering roads cloaked in lush spring foliage. Medieval castles punctuate the skyline above snaking rivers, hiking trails crisscross the wilderness through craggy rock spires and fairytale forests, absurdly pretty towns hide a myriad of trendy bars and lavish restaurants and, veering eastward, a cold glass of cremant on the vine-laden banks of the Moselle makes a fine way to end the day.
These are our favourite things to do in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg’s Mullerthal Region, or Little Switzerland as it’s more fondly referred to, is a delightful jumble of verdant forests, knobbly rock formations, mossy trails and pretty medieval towns that lie hidden amongst the greenery.
Surprisingly, however, it remains one of the country’s best kept secrets.
Experienced hikers can tackle all 112 km of the challenging Mullerthal Trail which weaves between the forests, fields and villages and allows you to experience every inch of the region, while those simply looking for a memorable day hike need not look far either. You’ll find a number of shorter hiking trails leaving from the many countryside villages.
For those short on time, the hour-long C2 loop near Consdorf gives a good taster of the region leading down a leafy dirt track before weaving uphill through the natural rock tunnels that pepper the forest. The mossy bridge that arcs across the Schiessentümpel Waterfall nearby also makes a pretty stop in the Mullerthal.
This region is partial to the elements though and severe storms have a habit of taking certain trails out of action so it’s best to check at the local visitor centre for hiking recommendations when you arrive.
Tucked away in the historic Château de Clervaux in the north of Luxembourg, the long-standing and utterly moving Family of Man photography exhibition is not what you may expect to find in this lush pocket of countryside, but it may very well be one of the highlights of your visit and is certainly a unique thing to do in Luxembourg.
Curated by Edward Steichen for the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1955, the collection then went on a world tour, before settling in its new home in Luxembourg and being recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Drawing from an extensive portfolio of photographers and presented devoid of captions and context, the exhibit explores the intense experience of the human condition through birth, joy, pain, sorrow, companionship and death, and despite being over half a century old, its raw scrutiny of life and emotion gives this deeply affecting and sometimes uncomfortably confronting collection a timeless appeal.
If you love photography and art, the truly beautiful Family of Man exhibit is an essential place to visit in Luxembourg.
Cost | €6 including multimedia guide or free with the Luxembourg Card
Opening Hours | Wednesday to Sunday between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Closed January and February.
Getting There | Clervaux is easily reached by car or direct train in just over an hour from Luxembourg City.
Tiny Luxembourg may be slightly overshadowed by the world famous champagne country to its west and the much-loved vineyards of nearby Germany, but its certainly no stranger to a glass of bubbly.
With a short stretch of the border running along the Moselle, Luxembourg also benefits from the cooler climate and fertile soils of this lush wine-growing region.
Grevenmacher, Remich and Schengen are the main villages for wineries, but you can also wind your way along the banks of the Moselle to enjoy the views and stop at the many vineyards along the way.
Bernard Massard is a renowned producer with a winery located on the fringe of Grevenmacher right beside the river.
Opening Hours | 9:30 a.m to 6 p.m. from April to October.
Prices | Tour and tastings from €6
Or check here for an extensive list of wineries in the region.
At the end of a meandering leafy road in the heart of the Mullerthal Region lies Luxembourg’s oldest and certainly one of its prettiest towns, Echternach.
With a lovely open square of pastel facades, a vibrant boulevard hung with vines and dozens of characterful, old-timey restaurants, Echternach makes a wonderful place to break for lunch as you crisscross the countryside, or to use as a base to explore the wider Mullerthal Region.
As a town dating back to the 10th century and famed for its abbeys, there are also plenty of historic sites to tick off during your visit including the Abbey of Echternach, the adjoined Basilica of Saint Willibrord and the Orangery, a converted school which boasts a pleasant flower-trimmed garden.
For those just passing through, the old town is compact enough to wander leisurely on foot and, refreshingly, is a pedestrian-only zone. A large parking area lies on the outskirts of the historic centre and you’ll pass by most of these noteworthy sights on your way to the Place du Marche.
Perched on the hilltop amidst a sea of green, a visit to Vianden Castle is one of the most popular things to do in Luxembourg, and for good reason.
For the best views, make a beeline to the chairlift on the far side of town (the only one in the Grand Duchy) and be whisked above the pastel jumble of the old town and soft curves of the Our River to the restaurant above. From here it’s a short walk to the castle if you wish to look inside.
For a different perspective, visit the viewpoint on Rue de Diekirch near the Hotel Belvedere.
Opening Hours | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. depending on the season.
Getting There | From Luxembourg City, Vianden is an hour’s drive or a 1.5-hour train ride with a transfer.
Price | €7 or free with the Luxembourg Card. Optional €2 for audioguide.
Chairlift | €5 or free with Luxembourg Card.
Luxembourg City is a place that simply oozes charm.
From the pretty stone streets and hip cafes, to the infinitely peaceful Grund and the edgy architecture of the modern quarter.
It’s a perfect place for a weekend break filled with good food, historical sights and hours of getting lost with camera in hand.
Don’t miss this guide on how to spend a wonderful day in Luxembourg City!
As one of Europe’s smallest countries, Luxembourg boasts a surprising amount of castles – over 100 to be precise.
Though Vianden Castle is widely regarded as the most beautiful, history lovers could very well spend days zigzagging the countryside in search of other picturesque medieval relics.
Other notable castles in Luxembourg include Beaufort, Larochette and Ansenberg which are all within an easy drive of each other.
An event to rival the likes of King’s Day in the Netherlands or Bastille Day in France, the day before Luxembourg’s National Day is when the historic old town erupts into a frenzy of glittering parades, live music that echoes from dozens of stages and free-flowing drinks that continue well into the wee hours, or if our morning explorations are anything to go by, well after sunrise as well.
The eve of the big day is marked by an 11 p.m. firework show, while the day itself – once the partying has died down and hangovers cured – is a family affair with a military parade that runs along the main street toward the station district.
If you’re planning to visit Luxembourg in the summer and keen on some good cheer and generally wild reverie, then this celebratory weekend is a good time to come.
Though you’ll find some charming accommodation options speckled through Luxembourg’s countryside, for a short stay, Luxembourg City is really the best place to use as a base.
Budget | For budget-minded travellers, Luxembourg City Youth Hostel is a great option and boasts spacious, modern rooms, an onsite restaurant, bicycle rental and a great location beside the river.
Mid-Range | For our long weekend in Luxembourg, we stayed at the pleasant Hotel Parc Belle Vue, situated on the fringe of the historic centre between the beautiful sprawling park and Peitruss Valley. Rooms are comfortable with views toward the Adolphe Bridge and lie within easy walking distance of the lovely Grund area and the historic centre as well as access to transport for travelling further afield.
Airbnb | For a more home-away-from-home experience, Airbnb is a great option and you’ll be glad to know Luxembourg has plenty of great apartments available right in the city.
Sign up here and receive up to $30 off when you make your first booking.
Using The Luxembourg Card | If you plan to travel through Luxembourg on public transport or are keen to tick off a number of museums and historic sites during your stay, then the Luxembourg Card is a fantastic way to save money. For just €13/€20/€28 per person for one/two/three days, you can travel on any public transport within the Grand Duchy and visit most attractions countrywide free of charge. For more information on what attractions are included, check here.
Public Transport | Within Luxembourg City, bus and tram travel is a breeze – especially with the Luxembourg Card as you don’t need to worry about payment – and runs to all noteworthy sites within the city, including around the historic centre, to Museumsmeile and toward the modern Kirchberg district. For heading into the countryside, trains are a much better option and leave regularly from the Central Station. For more remote countryside destinations, you’ll most likely need to change trains along the way.
Rental Car | Though travelling by public transport is exceedingly simple in Luxembourg, having a car at your disposal gives you an extra level of freedom, especially if you’re short on time. Just 15 minutes from the city centre, Luxembourg Airport has all the major rental agencies on offer, or you’ll find one office located downtown. Interrent, part of the Europcar Group, tends to have the most competitive rates. Search for the best deals on car rental here.
To And From Luxembourg Airport and the Central Train Station | Bus 16 runs every 10 minutes or so from in front of the airport terminal to the central train station via the historic centre. The trip takes between 15 and 30 minutes from the airport to the old town and a further 10 minutes to the station. Sunday services are less frequent so plan accordingly.
A big thanks to Visit Luxembourg for hosting us during our stay. As always, all opinions are our own.