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Luxembourg Travel Guide

Updated on February 4, 2013
Luxembourg Railway Station
Luxembourg Railway Station

Luxembourg owes its existence to a combination of luck and diplomacy that saved the country from merging with the surrounding nations. You would be tempted to think that such a small country, with its name overlapping the territory’s borders – even on a big map – is simple, but that isn’t the case. The inhabitants originate from cultures so diverse that even now they try to disentangle after the German tribes defeated the Roman Rhine Defenses in the year 406.

The great Dukedom of Luxembourg consists of two distinctive regions, which have a landscape of a great beauty. The northern woodsy region of Ardeni is part of a chain of hill impregnated with narrow rivers, like Our and Sure. South of Ardeni there are the rich territories of the farms in Bon Pays, a plateau impregnated with narrow valley and the MoselleRiver, with famous vineyards on its banks. The both regions are dotted with scenic villages, castles and holiday houses.

The capital city of Luxembourg-Ville is divided between the historical center, which shelters the fortress towers and cobblestone streets, and the modern area of Plateau du Kirchberg, a famous international financial center. Other important settlements are Echternach and Vianden. You can visit all the country’s attractions in one day trips from the capital city or from the nearby city of Trier.

Luxembourg Palace
Luxembourg Palace

Luxembourg's Tourist Attractions

  • Discover the lovely historical center of the capital city Luxembourg-Ville. Visit the fortress towers and the winding cobblestone streets. Visit the underground tunnels, called casemate and travel by train through the valley of Petrusse.

  • Watch the guards’ changing ceremony at the Grand Ducal Palais, the official residence of the great duke. Other attractions in Luxembourg-Ville include Place Guillame (also called Knuedler) and the market that takes place here twice a week and the Notre Dame cathedral from the 17th century.
  • Enrich you culture in the countless galleries and museums in the capital city. Attractions include the NaturalHistoryNationalMuseum, National Museum of History and Art and the LuxembourgCityMuseum.
  • The modern district Plateau du Kirchberg is a flourishing financial center, with many European institutions and the greatest cinematographic complex and mall in Luxembourg.
  • Towards the east, in the city of Echternbach, you can see religious dancing processions, which take place every year, on the Pentecostal Whit Sunday. The Benedictine monastery from the 17th century now shelters a museum. Also visit the St. Willibrord Basilica and the 15th city hall.
  • In Vianden admire the magnificent castle which was built between the 9th and 14th centuries. The castle offers a panoramic view of the city, having an altitude of 450 meters. You can reach this place with the cableway. You can also visit a nearby castle, in Bourscheid.
  • In the medieval city of Clervaux you can visit the castle from the 12th century, which now houses governmental and tourist offices, a small museum about the Ardeni offense in 1944-1945 and a collection of artistic documentary photographs, the Man’s Family, by Edward Steichen.
  • Wander through the region of Mullerthal, the small Switzerland in Luxembourg – thick forests, crystal clear springs and spectacular sandstone formations, which form one of the most popular area for hiking. The main resorts are Beaufort and Larochette, both having a castle on the hilltop.
  • Explore the beauty and the peacefulness in the region of Ardeni, named Eisleck by the locals. The area consists of woodsy plateaus, verdant hills and valleys. Head towards the small city of Esch-sur-Sure, a famous resort surrounded by the river Sure.
  • Try some water sports – in the Sure National Park the country’s drinkable water reservoir is located and a dam that creates a beautiful lake.

  • Take a tour for wine tasting in the south-east. The MoselleRiver flows through the country’s main win-growing region. There are also organized cruises on the river.

    Indulge yourself with thermal treatments and other relaxation facilities in the resort-city of Mondorf-les-Bains.

  • Visit the small city of Schengen, where the Moselle river marks the meeting place between Luxembourg, France and Germany, a place that became famous after the signing of the Schengen Treaty here in 1995.

Luxembourg's Cuisine

The Luxembourg cuisine combines the essence of Germany with the French-Belgian refinement. The trout, the pike and the crabs are excellently prepared; so are the cookies. The restaurants are very similar with the ones in other regions of Europe. The Moselle wines resemble the ones from the Rhine, but they are drier than the French wines, which are fruity. Another specialty is the beer, a true national industry.

The traditional dishes are “carre de porc afume” (smoked pork with beans or cabbage), “cochon de lait en gelee” (baby pig in gelatin), “jambon d’Ardennes” (the famous Ardeni smoked ham) and “omelet sufle with kirsch”, a kind of cherry brandy.

Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame Cathedral

Luxembourg's History

Luxembourg was part of Carol the Great’s empire, and in 963 it became an independent state, when Siegfried, the Ardeni Count, became the Lucilinburhuc (The Small Forest) sovereign. In 1060, Conrad, one of Siegfried’s descendants, assumed the title of Luxembourg Count. From the 15th century to the 18th century, Spain, France and Austria, ruled over the dukedom, one by one. The Vienna Congress in 1815 converted Luxembourg in a great dukedom and gave it to the Dutch king, William the First. In 1839, the London Treaty gave the western part of the country to Belgium. The eastern part remained a part of Netherlands and a member of the German Confederation. It became an autonomous territory in 1848 and a neutral territory due to the London Conference in 1867. The German troops occupied the dukedom during both world wars, and it was freed by the Allied troops in 1944.

Luxembourg joined NATO in 1949, the Benelux Economical Union in 1948 and the European Community in 1957. In 1961, prince Jean, the great Charlotte Duchess‘s son and inheritor, became the state’s ruler, in his mother’s name. She abdicated in 1964 and her son became the great duke. The parliament approved the Maastricht Agreement, anticipating the economical unity of the European Union, in July 1992.

What You Should Know

The customs and the conduct rules are similar to those in the western countries. Try to show respect for the language by learning some words. Avoid saying that the Luxembourgish is a German dialect. The local hour is GMT+1.

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