LUXEMBOURG TRAVEL GUIDE

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Luxembourg is a small European country, surrounded by Belgium, France, and Germany. It’s mostly rural, with dense Ardennes forest and nature parks in the north, rocky gorges of the Mullerthal region in the east, and the Moselle river valley in the southeast. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is famed for its fortified medieval old town perched on sheer cliffs.

 

Where it lags behind in size, Luxembourg surely makes up in culture, art, and history. Packed with beautiful medieval castles and legendary vineyards, Luxembourg is not just a place with a pretty face: today it is an important element of the European Union, and home to the Court of Justice of the European Communities – Luxembourg is a nation with a distinct colour and variety of its own.

 

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LUXEMBOURG QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Luxembourg
  • Currency: euro (EUR)
  • Area: 2,586 km²
  • Population: 613 894 (2019)
  • Language: Lëtzebuergesch (national), German and French (administrative)
  • Religion: 87% Roman Catholic, remainder Protestants, Jews, and Muslims
  • Electricity: 230V, 50Hz (European plug)
 

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LUXEMBOURG PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 1 May, May Day
  • 23 June, National Day (Sovereign’s Birthday)*
  • 15 August, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 1 November, All Saints Day
  • 26 December, St. Stephen’s Day

*National Day (the Grand Duke’s Birthday) is transferred to a Monday if it falls on a Sunday.

Business openings and work schedules may be significantly affected by Christian holidays and festivals.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT LUXEMBOURG

For the most visited tourist spots, you will find peak season to coincide with the European summer. Although from mid-June things really gets a lot busier - with long days filled with festivals and sunny weather, summer can still be a good time to visit despite the crowds in some areas. During late spring and during fall you will find milder weather and thinner crowds with the weather still pleasant. (Just watch out for holiday long-weekends). The slower season starts as early as late October and the weather can be wet and cold.

 
 

SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN LUXEMBOURG

The snow sports season in Luxembourg is only 3 months long at best, from December to February. Snowfall can be unpredictable though, so best to check the actual predictions for the season before you go!

HIKING & CYCLING IN LUXEMBOURG

The best time for outdoor activities in Luxembourg is from May to September. Even the hottest months of July and August are very pleasant.

 
 

LUXEMBOURG TRAVEL COSTS

As one of the richest countries in the world by GDP per capita - currently around USD121k - compare to Switzerland at USD71k as an example - you might expect Luxembourg to be a wildly expensive place, but it really isn't.

 

Sure, it's not cheap by any means, but as a tourist, it's no worse than visiting cities like New York, London or Paris. In bars, drinks tended to cost $7-9.50 USD, while the main course in a decent restaurant was about €$18-24 USD - depending on what you ordered. Tourist attractions are reasonably priced too, with entry to Vianden Castle — one of the country's most recognizable sights — costing $8.30.

 

That said, Luxembourg is one of the MOST expensive European countries when it comes to food prices - the price of a shopping basket containing comparable food products and non-alcoholic drinks cost twice as much in the most expensive member state as it cost in the cheapest one according to a 2018 study. Luxembourg is situated in the top three, behind Denmark (130%) and at the same level as Austria, with prices 25% higher than the European average for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

 

Luxembourg's neighbours of Belgium, France, and Germany, are all significantly cheaper for the average shopping basket. However, if one examines the individual food categories in more detail, there are a few differences in ranking order. Luxembourg is one of the most expensive countries for bread, eggs, and milk, but this is not the case for meat products, tobacco, or alcohol. For the last two products, Luxembourg is cheaper than the European average.

 

LUXEMBOURG TRAVEL TIPS

  • The Luxembourg Card might be a worthwhile buy. The purchase of a 1 day (€13), 2 day (€20), or 3 (€28) day card gives you free admission to more than 60 museums and tourist attractions nationwide and discounts on some others. You’ll save money if visiting more than two museums or castles a day. Multi-day cards need not be used on consecutive days. 

  • Luxembourg is the first country in the world to offer nationwide free public transport. You will no longer need a ticket to board any national bus, train, or tram. However, first-class train tickets and passes will remain valid. Free public transport ends at the border.

 

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF LUXEMBOURG

Ruled by its own monarchy, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is famed for its banks but visually it's mostly an undulating series of pretty wooded hills dotted with castle villages.

 

LUXEMBOURG CITY

If you thought that the Grand Duchy’s capital was nothing more than banks and EU offices, you’ll be delighted at discovering the attractive reality. The UNESCO-listed Old Town is one of Europe’s most scenic capitals, thanks largely to its unusual setting, draped across the deep gorges of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. It’s full of weird spaces, tunnels, and surprising nooks to explore with good museums and a great dining scene making this a top city to visit. As it's a business destination it’s worth visiting on a weekend when hotel prices drop and on-street parking is free.

  • The Old Town counterpoints some fine old buildings with modern museums and an offering of high-end restaurants.

  • The picturesque Grund area lies riverside, way below at the base of a dramatic fortified escarpment.

 

NORTHERN LUXEMBOURG

  • Popular as a weekend getaway, magical little Vianden is dominated by the vast slate-roofed Castle of Vianden. Constructed from the 11th to the 14th century on the foundations of a Roman fort and a Carolingian refuge it is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Europe.

  • Diekirch is home to Musée National d'Histoire Militaire, arguably the most comprehensive and visual of many museums commemorating 1944's devastating midwinter Battle of the Ardennes. Diekirch has twice-hourly trains to Luxembourg City via Ettelbrück. From here you can catch a bus to Bastogne (Belgium) for other major WWII sites and the excellent new Bastogne War Museum.

  • From Ettelbrück a bus gets you within 2km of isolated Château de Bourscheid, Luxembourg's most evocative medieval ruined castle. Trains run north towards Liège via pretty Clervaux which is home to a convincingly rebuilt castle that hosts the world-famous Family of Man photography exhibition

 

MOSELLE VALLEY

Surrounding the Moselle River's steeply rising banks are the vineyards that produce Luxembourg's balanced Rieslings, fruity rivaners, and excellent crémants (sparkling méthode traditionelle wines). A good way of visiting the wine route is renting a bicycle with Rentabike Miselerland, basic bikes are free if you have a Luxembourg Card. Pick-up at one of the numerous points and drop off at another: ensure to check closing times and take ID.

 

WHAT TO EAT IN LUXEMBOURG

Traditional Luxembourg cooking combines vast portion sizes that reflect German heartiness and large appetites, with flair and flamboyance that show more Franco-Belgian finesse.

 

Perhaps the most traditional of all Luxembourg meat dishes is Judd mat Gaardebounen, a smoked collar of pork with broad beans. The pork is soaked overnight, then boiled with vegetables and spices. Served in copious slices together with the beans and boiled potatoes, it is considered to be the national dish of Luxembourg. Hong am Rèisleck, similar to the French Coq au Riesling, consists of browned chicken pieces simmered in white wine with vegetables, spices, and mushrooms. Träipen (black pudding) with apple sauce, sausages with mashed potatoes, and horseradish.

 

Other specialties include:

  • Bouneschlupp - green bean soup.

  • Gromperekichelcher - A spiced potato pancake with chopped onions and parsley, then deep-fried.

  • Rieslingspaschtéit - A popular loaf-shaped meat pie prepared with Riesling wine and aspic, typically served in slices.

  • Quetschentaart - A plum tart; it, along with peach, cherry, and pear tarts is a typical dessert and can be found in any pastry shop or restaurant.

 

LGBTQ IN LUXEMBOURG

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people's rights in Luxembourg are the same as those of non-LGBT people. Partnerships, which grant many of the benefits of marriage, have been recognised since 2004. Same-sex marriage in Luxembourg has been legal since 1 January 2015.

 

Luxembourger society is noted as particularly tolerant of homosexuality and same-sex relationships and celebrate this with their annual Luxembourg Pride Week.

 
 

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