Luxembourg is off the beaten track for both the tourist in search of Europe’s hot spots and the average holiday-maker. Nonetheless, Luxembourg is the perfect place to go on a short holiday. 4 days are not much but you can still escape the hectic of your 9 to 5 job and enjoy the laid back atmosphere in this small country hidden between Germany, Belgium and France. I was considering for a long time to travel around the country but in July I ended up with this long-weekend birthday present for me. Planning everything in advance is certainly something that I love doing, keeping a must-see list and a nice-to-see list of all the places we will visit, where we gonna stay, what we gonna do. In Luxembourg I think, I’ve manged to do both the lists!
Here’s what we did in only 4 days:
Vianden is a small town on the river Our with an impressive medieval castle perched on one of the hills. We used this first day to walk literally all streets up and down in the old town and to soak into the atmosphere of cobbled stones, hanging geraniums and charming cafés and restaurants along the way.
The town was established in the 13 c. and got its town rights in 1308. It used to be one of those fortified medieval towns. Nowadays, there are the remains of the ramparts which encircled the city, guarding it with its 24 towers and allowing visitors in only through one of the five city gates. Take the time to walk along the town walls.
We used Vianden as a base for our trip, travelling each day to a different location and coming back in the evening to enjoy a glass of pastis in one of the numerous cafés watching the passers-by or just holding the moment.
On this second day of our trip, being also my birthday, we headed to Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand Duchy. I knew Luxembourg City as one of the seats of the EU institutions, forming together with Brussels & Strasbourg the Eurocrats’ Walhalla.
Well, Luxembourg is much more than this. The Upper Town with its fortifications is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. There are place d’Armes with its numerous restaurants and cafés, place Guillaume II with the equestrian statue of the Dutch king William II and the town hall, and the Grand Ducal Palace with the adjacent Chamber of Deputies.
Walk down the Chemin de la Corniche and admire the fabulous views along its whole length.
Grund is the lower town, caught between the steep cliffs in the loop ofthe river Alzette. It has the charm of a small village in the countryside with the Neumünster Abbey and the St Jean du Grund church.
Luxembourg City is also famous for its underground casemates: the Pétrusse casemates and the Bock casements. The casemates are an intricate maze of rock tunnels, used for the defense of the city against invaders.
Luxembourg turned out to be a city with strict eating habits. If you want to just have a drink in the time between noon and 2 o’clock, you will be shown the door. This is the time when you HAVE to order lunch. Otherwise, you will miss your chance to have anything decent to eat all the way until the evening hours when dinner is served. If you want to have a snack after 3 pm, no café or bar will serve you anything. So, plan well in advance your lunch time.
The Castle of Vianden
Early in the morning on the 3rd day we headed to the castle of Vianden. I suggest that you take the chairlift which will take you up the hill and then walk to the castle. From the top of the hill you can enjoy one of those 360° breath-taking views down to the town, the river and the castle.
It took 300 years to build the castle between the 11th and 15th century. In 1820 the Dutch king William I sold it to a local merchant who dismantled it and sold it off in pieces. The locals got mad with Willem I and he had to buy again the castle and begun its restoration. The castle was finally restored to its glory in the 70-s when it became a property of the Government of Luxembourg.
In the afternoon we went to Echternach – the oldest town in Luxembourg, just at the border with Germany. It’s a lovely small town in the Müllerthal where you can walk around in a couple of hours and simply enjoy the old buildings and the atmosphere.
On our last day in Luxembourg, on the way home we stopped for a short visit in Clerveaux – another small charming city in the north of the country, dominated by its Abbey, the Church of Saint Cosma and Damian and the white castle.
If you are in Clerveaux, do not miss The Family of Man – a permanent photographic exhibition in the castle. It was curated by Edward Steichen for MoMA in NY in 1955 and consists of 503 pictures by 273 photographers from 68 countries. It is an absolutely stunning collection! I was totally taken away.
Find your way on the map
Here’s the map of Luxembourg with the cities pinned on. Luxembourg being a petite country offers perfect possibilities to stay at one place and discover the whole country in one day trips.
You liked my story and you want to pin it?