Luxembourg is a tiny landlocked country lodged between France, Belgium and Germany and according to Wikitravel is one of the three richest countries in the world! This would explain the relatively high prices for meals and accommodation as well as the excellent road infrastructure we experienced as we drove through this affluent country.
As part of our European road trip to Prague we had two nights and one full day to spend in the City of Luxembourg. We were staying in a hotel on the outskirts of the city centre so rather than trying to negotiate busy city roads and find a parking space we left the car at the hotel and paid 2 euros each for bus tickets. These can be brought on the bus or from a ticket machine. After a short 10 minute bus journey, upon arrival we obtained a map from the tourist information office and set about exploring…
(The swings in the photo above are a temporary artistic cultural feature. They were designed and installed by an artist called Max Mertens to “evoke nostalgia”).
Luxembourg City has a dramatic craggy mini canyon slicing through its centre, which for a city we found to be quite unique and unusual. The valley is filled literally to the brim with all manner of trees and shrubs and greenery of all shades. The scattered buildings poke out above and around the trees.
We walked down the steps of the perimeter cliffs and into the valley which felt eerily quiet and almost surreal with the hustle and bustle of city life continuing above us! There were not many people around, just us and a handful of tourists and joggers.
From the valley of the Petrusse Park we climbed the steps back up to the south side of the city where we walked across the Viaduc Passerelle, a huge road and pedestrian viaduct linking the two main parts of Luxembourg City. This gave impressive views across the city.
The old quarters and fortifications of Luxembourg have been listed by UNESCO. The grand historic city walls and original fortress date back to the 10th century.
These are an extensive series of tunnels, caves and galleries weaving through the underground world and the old walls of Luxembourg city. They were first constructed in 1644 by the Spanish and over the years were extended as further tunnels were carved out. During the two world wars the Casemates were used as shelters to protect 35,000 people.
Today the Casemates are one of the main tourist attractions of Luxembourg where tourists are permitted to wander through a section of the tunnels and admire the views of Luxembourg from the many look out points. The entry fee was 4 euros each and you get to walk through the tunnels and caves.
There are not many signs to point you in any particular direction and it does feel somewhat maze-like! After a while and after several views of different city angles you start to feel that you have probably seen enough (and then you need to find the exit…)
With the steep steps and in some places dark and narrow tunnels some people may find the Casemates slightly claustrophobic (although they were nowhere near as claustrophobic as the Cu Chi tunnels we visited in Vietnam!).
We enjoyed visiting the Casemates and suggest they are well worth a visit to draw you into some of the history of the city. This is something children seemed to enjoy too!
The Grund is picturesque and with its many bars and restaurants is a popular nightlife area of Luxembourg. The Grund can be found in the valley below the city centre.
Notre Dame Cathedral is located in the city centre and with its Gothic architecture is a popular tourist attraction.
We didn’t go inside the cathedral (the only one in Luxembourg) but it is said to be quite magnificent.
Small and compact Luxembourg City is a good weekend city break destination. While we only visited for one day, there is a great deal more to do both in the city and its surrounding areas. Maybe because we are having something of a whirlwind world tour this year we haven’t had the time to research every destination as fully as we might usually do so there is a whole heap of things we might have missed in Luxembourg!
As mentioned in other posts, we have found when you do more research and preparation and have greater knowledge and understanding of your travel destinations, you are better able to maximise the experience and do more of what you enjoy doing.
But while we prefer to have a general plan we never chain ourselves to it… Indeed if something different or more interesting or something to add more value to our experiences becomes apparent we are flexible enough to re-evaluate and change direction!
Travelling this year has opened our eyes to so many new and future travel opportunities. As with many other destinations our short visit to Luxembourg has switched on more thought lightbulbs with the vague idea of dim and distant rolling Luxembourg countryside trekking breaks starting to form… Hey, its only a short trip across the Eurotunnel for us Brits!