Luxembourg Holiday Planning Guide
One of the three richest countries in the world, Luxembourg also celebrates its wealth of natural and historical sites. Landlocked by Belgium, France, and Germany, this nation represents a blend of cultures, which are evident as you explore the nation's villages, outdoor attractions, and capital. If you prefer city living during your Luxembourg holiday, discover Luxembourg City's World Heritage-listed old town. This small nation's rolling countryside is equally charming, offering castles and plenty of opportunity for recreation and leisure. Go for a bike ride, hike the country's mountainous region, or spend time at renowned vineyards.
Places to Visit in Luxembourg
Regions of LuxembourgLuxembourg District
: This district offers plenty of Luxembourg vacation ideas with its abundance of outdoor attractions, including parks, forested areas, and vineyards, as well as the nation's capital, a World Heritage Site due to its 16th-century military architecture. Getting around the district is easy and hassle-free thanks to its compact size and convenient transportation system.Diekirch District
: Set in the hilly northern region, Diekirch District makes a great place to escape the city. The quaint hillside villages are worth exploring for their culture, or vacation in larger towns to experience the district's well-known monuments, historical castles, and popular museums, including the National Museum of Military History.
Cities in LuxembourgLuxembourg City
: While Luxembourg City is popularly known for its historical old town with World Heritage Site status, it also houses a wealth of attractions to add to your Luxembourg itinerary. Tour everything from underground passageways and Roman remnants to museums, cathedrals, memorials, and the Grand Ducal Palace.Vianden
: Known for its beautiful position in the Our valley, Vianden centers around a single cobbled street stretching from the River Our to the famous palace gates of its white castle. The small town with stunning scenery is also frequented by nature lovers looking to camp in and explore the hilly countryside.
Things to Do in Luxembourg
Popular Luxembourg Tourist AttractionsCasemates du Bock
: Part of a World Heritage Site, Casemates du Bock once played a key role in a network of defensive underground passages by storing military supplies, and also provided shelter for nearly 40,000 locals during World War II.Chateau de Vianden
: As one of the largest fortified castles west of the Rhine, this 10th-century château and its beautiful Romanesque-style chapel rank among the top places to visit in Luxembourg.Luxembourg American Cemetery Memorial
: This cemetery contains the graves of 5,076 American service members, most of whom died during the Battle of the Bulge, as well as the final resting place of General George S. Patton Jr. Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale Notre Dame)
: The only cathedral in the city, this 17th-century Roman Catholic establishment features dramatic Gothic architecture and a cemetery with National Monument status.Palace of the Grand Dukes (Palais Grand-Ducal)
: This palace first served as the city hall of Luxembourg from 1572 to 1795, but now stands as the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.Le Chemin de la Corniche
: Dubbed Europe's most beautiful balcony, this 17th-century Luxembourg attraction runs along the city ramparts and offers a great view of the Valley of the Alzette.Viaduc (Passerelle)
: Running from the south of Luxembourg City into the city center, this viaduct carries traffic across the Petrusse Valley and is built with 24 towering archways. MUDAM Luxembourg (Musee d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean)
: Dedicated to contemporary art, this museum's permanent collection displays works by some 100 artists, including Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman, Julian Schnabel, Thomas Struth, and Daniel Buren.Vianden Chairlift
: This scenic ride offers visitors a chairlift climb in the Grand Duchy with fantastic views over the Our valley.Petrusse Casemates
: Dating back to 1644, Petrusse Casemates is a sprawling underground network that opens onto the Pétrusse Valley. Originally built to improve the plateau's defences on the southern flank, today it offers educational tours.
<Planning a Luxembourg Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Luxembourg with Kids
While traveling with children, it can be stressful to plan ways to keep the young ones entertained while still enjoying yourself, too. Luxembourg, however, offers an abundance of opportunities to please the whole family. Head to the countryside to immerse yourself in the culture of small villages, where kids can try the local sweets, or enlist a tour guide to take you hiking among the hills, where you can also fish and go horseback riding. Water attractions are hard to find in this landlocked country, but check out Centre Aquatique Krounebierg if you want to make a splash. The complex boasts various kinds of swimming pools, slides, and a spa area for adults. If an urban Luxembourg holiday is more to your family's tastes, Luxembourg City
offers a handful of interactive museums and cycling tours.
Things to Do in Luxembourg with Kids
If you are trying to pinpoint some things to do in Luxembourg with the kids, look up Parc Merveilleux
in Luxembourg District, east of Bettembourg. This amusement park boasts exotic animals, race cars, a miniature railway, adventure playgrounds, and more. Visit another attraction in nature at Animal Farm, based on the banks of the river Messancy, where you can observe and pet animals native to the region like deer, boar, goats, birds, and more. Inside Luxembourg City
, a sure stop on your Luxembourg itinerary, the kids will be delighted at the Tram and Bus Museum. View horse-drawn carriages, early tramway cars, and old-fashioned uniforms; young explorers can even board some of the models. On the other hand, if you're traveling to Vianden
, brave kids will enjoy the Vianden Chairlift
, offering great views over Our valley.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Luxembourg
Do take advantage of the wealth of outdoor Luxembourg vacation ideas, but keep in mind that wet weather is common--plan some rainy day activities, too. See if there are farms or workshops in the area, where you can escape the weather for plan B. For example, take cover in the Vitarium in Roost, a dairy producer with more than 40 interactive stations for kids to learn about the milk-to-product process. A more active indoor activity, albeit perhaps less interesting for adults, is Zigzag. Two high climbing towers with loads of obstacles will keep little ones busy for hours while adults can sample food from the onsite family restaurant. Be sure to ask about children's discounts at any historical or cultural sites you visit as most Luxembourg tourist attractions offer them. You can even inquire at your hotel for children's discounts. Some accommodations offer children's rooms in certain suite layouts.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Luxembourg
Cuisine of Luxembourg
Traditionally, Luxembourg cuisine combines hearty German courses with the elegant flair of French cooking. Due to the country's small size, the food does not differ much from region to region, but you will find recipes are handled differently based on their proximity to France, Belgium, or Germany. Taste classic dishes like "udd mat gaardebounen," (smoked pork served with a stew of broad beans and potatoes sautéed with bacon), or a dish that leans toward its French roots, "bouchée à la reine"--chicken and mushrooms in a béchamel sauce served in a puff pastry case. During your Luxembourg holiday, expect breakfast to be typically French-style, which means bread, fruit, and yogurt.
Shopping in Luxembourg
A shopping trip during your Luxembourg itinerary could mean browsing a four-story outlet mall, a quaint village produce market, and everything in between. Travelers looking for brand names can try Auchan Shopping Center in Luxembourg City
or Belval Plaza Shopping Center in Esch-sur-Alzette
. Hunt for vintage finds at the popular antique market at Place d'Armes
in the center of Luxembourg City, and if you are visiting around the holidays, do not miss the renowned Christmas Market that takes place here up to two weeks before Christmas.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Luxembourg
History of Luxembourg
The country's history can be traced back to Roman times, as is evident in the castles you can see during your Luxembourg vacation. Founded in 963, the small country was founded right at the crossroads of Western Europe and so was heavily fortified. (Visit one of the most famous castles in the lovely village of Vianden
.) You can still see some of the towers and the defensive wall around the capital, which boasts several World Heritage Sites due to its rich history, including the Palace of the Grand Dukes (Palais Grand-Ducal)
Rule over Luxembourg changed hands many times due to its strategic positioning. After the five-century reign of the powerful House of Luxembourg, the area fell under Burgundian rule, only to pass to Habsburg domain in 1477. After the Eighty Years' War, it became part of the Southern Netherlands in 1713. Revolutionary France took over the territory at the beginning of the 19th century, but the Treaty of Paris in 1815 saw it established as a Grand Duchy in personal union with The Netherlands. Its independence was finalized in 1867. The country played a part in both World Wars while the Germans occupied its lands. During World War II, the infamously bloody Battle of the Bulge took place in Luxembourg, and several historical war attractions commemorate the event, including Luxembourg American Cemetery Memorial
and Casemates du Bock
Despite Germany declaring the small country as a member of the Third Reich in 1942, the country’s Allied military forces liberated Luxembourg and civilian control was re-established. In 1945, Luxembourg became an official member of the United Nations. The nation continued to strengthen and in 1957 was one of six founding members of the European Economic Community, later to become the European Union.
Customs of Luxembourg
If there is any piece of etiquette to keep in mind on your Luxembourg trip, remember that punctuality is highly valued in this country. Lateness is frowned upon not only for professional situations but also for social activities and events, so keep an eye on your watch. When you meet locals, a brief handshake is an acceptable greeting, while kisses on the cheek are reserved only for very close friends.
Holidays & Festivals in Luxembourg
If you are lucky enough to take your Luxembourg holiday during June 23, look for fireworks and parades to celebrate the country's National Day. Several other colorful holidays and festivals also take place throughout the year, like St. Bartholomew's Day on August 24, when sheep are herded through the streets of Luxembourg City
. Head to the city of Wiltz in May to witness the Broom Parade, when locals celebrate the blossoming of a regional yellow plant.
Luxembourg Travel Tips
Climate of Luxembourg
The country's climate stays relatively comfortable year-round, so you can go on your Luxembourg tour without extreme heat or cold weather. Summertime is generally cool, and the typical traveler will be comfortable in a light sweater. While temperatures fall in winter, coldness is rarely severe. Rainfall is common, however, so be sure to take waterproof gear.
Transportation in Luxembourg
Due to the country's small size, getting anywhere from the capital is a breeze and usually takes under an hour to arrive. Those who are simply exploring Luxembourg City
can utilize taxis, buses, or even rented bicycles, but travelers looking to see Luxembourg tourist attractions outside the capital can purchase a bus/train combination ticket allowing them to visit all major cities.
Language of Luxembourg
Chatting with locals in Luxembourg may be difficult, as the country has three languages: German, French, and Letzebürgesch, a national dialect. If you can speak the national dialect, you can communicate with anyone, but German is regularly used as well. Many Luxembourgers also speak English in addition to their native languages.
Tipping in Luxembourg
A service charge of 15 percent is customarily added to any restaurant bill. Customers are not expected to add to the tip, but the gesture is welcome and appreciated.