There’s not many countries which you can cover in 24 hours. Yet, oddly enough Luxemburg exists and doesn’t need much more time than that to see all the sites. Earlier this month, I found some fabulously cheap flights on Escape Houston (subscribe to their emails ASAP if you haven’t already), and used Luxemburg as a stepping stone into Europe for my ultimate destination of Paris.
With some fabulous insider knowledge from my friend (@wanderluxtraveler) who’s been living there for three years, I spent a lovely weekend in the lap of Luxemburg city before hopping on my train to France. Here’s how I spent my weekend and what I recommend!
Morning: Tour the Old City
Staying at a humble Best Western (yay for free breakfast) near the train station, each day we made a 15 min walk into the city center. The weather in mid-October was absolutely lovely when I went (although this isn’t necessarily the norm) and I barely needed a jacket during the day time. Inside the Old City, you can grab a light breakfast at any number of boulangeries (bakeries) including Paul, Oberweis (nice place to walk through to see all of the desserts), Fischer, or Cathy Goedert. Have fun saying the word croissant with a French accent.
P.S. When planning a trip, I like to save all the places I might want to go into Google Maps, so whenever I get hungry, I have a bunch of vetted suggestions readily on hand! Read more about how I plan a trip in 2 hours or less here!
If you like churches, be sure to pop into the Notre Dame Cathedral (not to be confused with the one in Paris). You can also stop and see the Golden Lady which has lovely views over the valley. If you go in the autumn, expect some amazing fall colors! Place D’Arms is the main plaza with plenty of restaurants with patios. We stopped by Place Guillaume as well and went shopping in the outdoor flea market–I bought a lovely vintage purse for €10! The market is open until 1pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Grand Rue is the main shopping street filled with all your typical mall stores.
My favorite part of this side of town is “the most beautiful balcony in Europe” which is found by the Chemin de la Corniche. Views for days! I was very surprised to see how Luxemburg was laid out. Built around a series valleys, the city is very well integrated with nature and filled with surprising cliffs and steep hills.
blocks hills away is Casemates du Bock which is a system of caves dating back to the 1600s that you can explore and get lost (literally) in. It costs €6 and is super cool! We spent about an hour weaving our way through the underground and peaking out through the fort crevices catching views of the valley.
Afternoon: Eats & Treats
For lunch, we grabbed a bite at Sandwich du Charles, which is slightly American-y but fabulously delicious. Side note: I found many of the meals in Luxemburg come with salads, but I was unimpressed with all of them–they’re typically overdressed Ceasar salads. We spent one afternoon learning about Luxemburg history in the National Museum of History and Art. Entrance and audio guides are free. You can see a great collection of coins, art, and furniture. The museum also it has a hip café with an excellent array of snacks and healthy bites.
If you want something more decadent, I highly recommend the Chocolate House! It’s located next to the Grand Ducal Palace. And while you can’t go into the palace–I think the Duke (yes, they have a Duke) actually lives there, you can sit outside the café and appreciate the palace guards marching around. Select a hot chocolate from a menu of 50 different kinds. You’ll be served a glass of warm milk and a hunk of chocolate that gets melted inside it. I got the latte macchiato with almond milk. Delish.
There’s a few tours that you can take through the city including a 2pm City Promenade walking tour (€12) and a 3pm Wenzel walk (€15). There’s also a Hop on Hop Off bus tour that goes around the city and the Petrusse Expresse train to tour the older parts of Luxembourg (€20 both, €10 train, €14 bus). We were planning on doing one of those, but ended up just riding the #19 city bus around instead (it’s free on Saturdays) to see the sites in a very relaxed manner.
Evening: Dinner & Drinks
Wandering around Grund, one of the low neighborhoods in Luxemburg, was one of my favorite parts of the trip! A big park runs through the valley which you can stroll through for hours. You can access the Grund neighborhood near the Chemin de la Cornice. It’s very picturesque which lots of old cobblestone streets, rivers, bridges, and fantastic views of the city above. I had dinner one night at Bosso, which is a cozy, authentic restaurant. The menu had a lot of great French and German options, but I ended up selecting a flammekueche which is basically like a flat bread pizza. I also ate at Oscar’s Diner which is a burger place on the same street, which offered a fantastic homemade veggie burger. Scott’s Pub is on the corner too. Its food apparently isn’t that great, but the drinks would be worth it for the views of the river and hillside.
Because I apparently can’t get away from the Oktoberfest scene, I found myself after dinner at the Rives de Clausen neighborhood at Brauerei Big Beer Company. I enjoyed my fair share of half liter steins while others enjoyed German plates like half chickens and pork knuckles. Late September to mid-October they have “Oktoberfest” and a wild DJ was on stage playing a variety of pop songs and the classic “Ein Prosit.”
The Rives de Clausen neighborhood is a solid strip of bars and clubs that gets poppin around 9:30pm. Places to go include Urban and Rock Box.
Other things to note:
- Maps can be confusing because there’s the lower valley and the higher valley and streets may look like they intersect but they don’t
- Most people speak flawless English (#Europe); in school the children learn French, English, German and Luxemburgish — so basically everyone in town is a walking Rosetta Stone
- Buses are free on Saturdays!
- If you want free water in Europe, you specifically have to ask for tap water. Otherwise, you’ll be brought bottled water and charged for it.
- Typically if you’re eating at a casual café, you can sit wherever in the restaurant and the server will come to you. When you want the bill, you have to intentionally flag the servers down because otherwise they won’t bother you. If you’re in a rush, you can take the bill and pay directly with the cashier.
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