It is one of the smallest countries of the Old Continent, and also one of the least known. However, in its barely 80 kilometers from end to end, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg treasures many wonders: towns perched on hills, enchanted valleys, more than a hundred castles, delicious wines and a capital declared a World Heritage Site.
Places to visit in Luxembourg
On Roosevelt Boulevard, in the heart of the capital, today the wind waves the Luxembourg flag, but many other banners and colors have passed through here, including the Spanish Cross of Burgundy. It is what it is to be a strategic territory in the heart of Europe. As a result of these historical vicissitudes, today the Grand Duchy is concentrated in just 2,600 km2, has three official languages and is among the three countries with the highest GDP per capita in the world. Many know it only for its role in the European Union and its wealth, but more and more are discovering this country that is small in surface area but full of charm.
To explore the surprises it holds, you have to start with its capital. Located in the south of the country, and embraced by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers, the old town of Luxembourg City rises in a spectacular location, a rocky promontory bordered by the gorge of its rivers, which create a beautiful and gigantic natural moat. It can be seen perfectly during a pleasant walk along the Camino de la Corniche, a route that, like a balcony – one of the most beautiful in Europe – meanders along the old city walls and allows you to enjoy views of the slum of the Grund. Dotted with lush gardens, this was once a working-class district, but today it’s filled with stylish cafes, art galleries and pastel-hued cottages. Back in the upper town, there is another essential visit: the Bock and Pétrusse casemates, former military defenses of the city, partly built during the time of Spanish rule.
We now head north, to the Luxembourg Ardennes, a region of beautiful landscapes, full of wooded hills and postcard towns. The A7 motorway leads, in just 50 minutes, to Esch-sur-Sûre, a picturesque little town that nestles on the banks of the river that gives it its name. It is worth strolling through its cobbled streets and ascending to the ruins of the old castle. Just one kilometer to the west of there is the Upper Sûre lake, which is part of the natural park of the same name. It is the ideal place for swimming, water skiing or even scuba diving. The waters of the lake, which zigzag through the valley, are also highly appreciated by lovers of canoeing.
We continue north to Clervaux, 30 minutes away by road, to visit the permanent photographic exhibition Family of Man, praised by Unesco, in its castle. Half an hour away is the town of Vianden. There are two unavoidable events here: its imposing castle, whose image seems to be taken from a story, and the chairlift, which, in addition to bringing us closer to the fortress, allows us to enjoy incomparable views.
If the landscapes of the Ardennes are a natural spectacle, the views of the Mullerthal region, in the east of the country, are even more captivating. It is advisable to start the tour of this part of the duchy in Echternach, the oldest town in Luxembourg. It preserves a remarkable heritage, such as its 7th century Benedictine abbey or a Roman villa, the largest north of the Alps. For nature lovers, the Mullerthal route starts here, a 112-kilometre path that runs through the beautiful landscapes of the region, full of geological formations, waterfalls and forests that have earned it the nickname of “Little Switzerland”.
Further south, the Moselle, which acts as a natural border with Germany, attracts lovers of kayaking routes -you can also sail on a cruise-, but above all it waters the vineyards that cover the west bank of the river. The towns of Remich and Grevenmacher are the best places to taste the wines of several wineries (Caves St Martin, Bernard Massard…), in which they explain the secrets of their most precious jewel: crémant, a delicate sparkling wine of fame international.
Visit Esch-sur-alzette. In 2022, the second most populous city in the Grand Duchy holds the title of European Capital of Culture (esch2022.lu), and has a busy schedule of cultural acts and events. Among others, the REMIX Festival stands out, which will bring together different artists –with special attention to local music–, but will also offer dance shows, performances, design workshops and an electronic music festival: NightSongs.
Best time to go to Luxembourg
Any time of the year is a good time to visit Luxembourg, but summer, with mild temperatures, allows you to better enjoy its many natural environments. Autumn is also a good time, to delight in the colors of the lush forests and valleys, for example, in the Ardennes and on the Mullerthal route. Another date of interest is the second weekend of September, when the town of Grevenmacher celebrates its Fête du Raisin et du Vin (Wine Festival).
Information about Luxembourg cuisine
The capital of the country is the place with the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants per person in the world, so it is easy to get an idea of the quality of its gastronomic offer. There is a lot of influence from French cuisine, but you can also taste typical dishes, such as riesling chicken, blutwurst (black sausages) or fresh fish from the Moselle river. APOTECA (apoteca.lu) is fashionable in the capital, with a menu of international cuisine and a cocktail bar where you can extend the night. At LE BOUQUET GARNI (lebouquetgarni.lu), with a Michelin star, they are committed to French cuisine. In Vianden, VEINER STUFF (veistuff.lu) serves traditional food with seasonal produce.