Luxembourg may be unpopular as a tourist destination, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing worth visiting in this pint-sized country. In fact, Luxembourg boasts many lush green hillsides and charming old towns. Its dense green forests and world-class natural parks also make this landlocked country an ideal destination for a hiking or camping trip. At the heart of this unspoilt natural beauty lies Luxembourg City, the country’s bustling and lively capital.
I visited Luxembourg City on a day trip from Frankfurt. After a three-hour drive on the autobahn, I arrived there feeling rather queasy and light-headed. The only way I could take my mind off the nausea was to keep myself occupied by taking photos of every little detail – well, almost.
Here’s quick guide for visiting some of the city’s main attractions in just a few hours or a day.
Luxembourg City is a thriving hub of culture and trade. High-rise office buildings skirt the city, contrasting harmoniously with the imposing spires of 16th-century buildings in the historic centre. Traffic going into the city can be pretty chaotic, but the Old Town is largely made up of pedestrian streets lined with shops and cafes.
You don’t really need a map to get around Luxembourg City, even if you’ve only got a day to explore the place. Most of the city’s historic buildings are found right at the centre, so they’re hard to miss. The Grand Ducal Palace
is one of the main attractions in the city. Built in the 16th century, this magnificent palace is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and the place where he carries out his official duties as the head of state of the Grand Duchy.
Another place worth visiting is the Notre-Dame Cathedral
, which houses the huge sarcophagus of John I of Bohemia. This imposing Gothic structure is also the only cathedral in Luxembourg.
Once you’ve explored the Old Town and had tea at one of the quaint coffee shops in the cobbled lanes, head to the historic Grund quarter of Luxembourg City. This picturesque place is like a village within the city. Located below the city on the banks of the Alzette River, the old quarter of Grund dates back to the 10th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stone fortification walls that were built around the first settlement are still visible.
Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Grund gets its charm from the pastel-coloured houses bordering the Alzette. This quiet area has a population of just around 800 people, and can only be accessed on foot.
You’ll be surprised to learn that this sleepy neighbourhood also boasts a lively nightlife scene. Grund’s cobbled streets are home to a couple of pubs and clubs, a cultural centre and a one-star Michelin restaurant.
One of the most iconic views of Luxembourg City can be found right at the heart of Grund, on a small arched bridge crossing over the winding river.
As you come out of the valley town of Grund, cross over to The Petrusse Valley Park, which lies at the foot of an area known as the Bourbon Plateau. Several historic sites can be found in the park. These include St. Quiren’s Chapel (which is built into the rock), the majestic Pont Adolphe Bridge, and the remains of an old sluice.
A steep set of stairs lead up to the Ville Haute quarter of central Luxembourg City. The first thing you see once you get to the top is the Monument of Remembrance in Constitution Square. Known as the Gëlle Fra, this war memorial is dedicated to the Luxembourgers who served in the armed forces of the Allied Powers during both World Wars and the Korean War.
Constitution Square overlooks the Bourbon Plateau, where an impressive clock tower soars above the trees of the valley park. Built in 1909, the clock tower originally served as a hotel. Nowadays, it is the headquarters of Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Eta.
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