From a free transport system to the longest wine list in the world, there is every reason to visit the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Here's 10 things you probably didn't know about the country...
At just 82 km long and 57 km wide, you could walk across the Grand Duchy in a day. You’d expect its modest 2,586 km2 to be densely populated, yet Luxembourg is covered in swathes of forest, expansive upland meadows and scattered settlements. From the capital, the many castles, museums, festivals, quality hiking trails and historic riverside towns and villages are within easy reach.
No wonder, Luxembourg is the perfect short-stay destination. But with its rich tapestry of cultural and natural heritage, think about setting aside a couple of days.
Eislek claims some of Luxembourg’s most stunning castles, including Clervaux and Vianden.
Mullerthal is a place of dense forest, deep ravines and bizarre rock formations.
The steep-sided vineyards of the Moselle valley are home to Luxembourg’s finest wines.
An otherworldly landscape of abandoned industry and thrilling regeneration.
Hike and bike through its idyllic countryside. Don’t miss the Valley of the Seven Castles.
In this vibrant multicultural country, almost half the population is foreign. No wonder Luxembourgers are gifted linguists. Many of them are tri-lingual, speaking Luxembourgish, French and German. The country is a dream destination for budding linguists. English is widely spoken too, making for easy communication.
With a daily influx of commuters from Belgium, France and Germany - along with a substantial Portuguese population - it’s not surprising that Luxembourg is a cultural melting pot. The Grand Duchy is happy to borrow from the best of other countries. Expect superb French cuisine, Mediterranean cool and the finest German and French architectural traditions that have extended across the centuries from medieval castles to 20th Century mansions.
Luxembourg is the first country in the world to offer free transport. Step off the plane at Luxembourg airport and jump onto a bus without spending a cent - departures for the city centre and railway station are every 10-15 minutes.
And with a modern, integrated transport system, getting around the city has never been easier. Hop on the T1 tram Kirchberg and Luxexpo, stopping off at some of the city’s most popular venues and attractions along the way. Frequent buses fan out across the city and into the suburbs too.
Luxembourg trains are modern, comfortable and well-connected. From the capital, ride the train through the Alzette Valley to the Ardennes in the north in just over an hour. Enjoy city views from a series of lofty viaducts, then relax as the train snakes through a countryside of hill-top castles and forest.
Prefer the convenience and privacy of a car? Petrol is cheaper in Luxembourg than in neighbouring European countries and there are no highway tolls.
The LuxembourgCard is much more than a city pass, it provides free access to some of the best attractions throughout the Grand Duchy. The individual and family cards for one, two or three days are excellent value, giving access to more than sixty museums and attractions throughout the country.
Want to explore the best of Luxembourg’s stunning castles? Free with your card. Fascinated by war and transport museums or industrial history? Look no further. Want to be active? The card provides free access to numerous bicycle rental centres and swimming pools. Go early to make the most of your day. Most attractions close at 6pm.
There’s arguably no better place to practise shinrin-yoku, the art of forest bathing, than in Luxembourg. With 20% of Luxembourg City covered in trees, it’s not difficult to find a relaxing, restorative spot just a short distance from busy streets.
And across the entire country, a third of the Grand Duchy is covered in woodland. Head for Mullerthal, Luxembourg’s little Switzerland, and enjoy the deep-cut ravines and strange rock formations lost in trees. Explore the ancient forests of the Ardennes, where moss and lichen spreads across branches and undergrowth, giving the woodlands an otherworldly feel. Listen out for woodpeckers, the song of finches and tits and watch out for the tree-creeper. Keep an eagle-eye open for a glimpse of wild boar or deer as you walk Luxembourg’s quality marked trails and through nature reserves.
Despite its diminutive size, Luxembourg is a country of contrasts. Away from the capital’s vibrant main streets, there’s a quiet hinterland of parks, forests and riverside paths. Amble through the green lung of Luxembourg and explore quiet backstreets. Find a tucked-away micro-brewery or side-street café and relax with a drink.
Beyond the city, a delightfully rural Luxembourg awaits you. It’s perfect for slowing down and reconnecting with nature. Picnic beneath a tree in an ancient woodland, explore the labyrinth of chasms and rocky tors and potter through medieval castles. Listen out for the sounds of nature. Breathe in the scent of a wildflower meadow. Taste the wines and local produce of the Moselle valley and the wider region. Feel the coolness of water on the Grand Duchy’s waterways. Ramble along one of the many Leading Quality trails and chill out at a health spa. Hire a bicycle (the Luxembourg Card covers several bicycle rental centres) and enjoy off-road cycle trails in tranquil countryside. Take a boat trip on the Moselle, and watch the world float by.
Best of all, stop completely, and lose yourself in the beauty of a Luxembourg landscape.
Despite a population of under 5,000, Schengen is one of the most recognisable names in Europe. The historic Schengen Agreement was signed here in 1985, the Benelux countries agreeing to extend their open borders to include France and Germany, later including most of Europe. Join a guided tour of Schengen’s European Museum and admire the Monument of the Schengen Agreement, the Column of Nations and a section of the Berlin Wall.
But there is much more to Schengen than the famous agreement. The ribbon settlement, lining the banks of the Moselle, its mild river valley striped with vineyards, is justifiably proud of its wines. Join the Hunnefeier Festival in October, celebrating the grape harvest, and sample local foods, wines and crémants. Enjoy market stalls, street entertainment and music, then hike the Schengen Grenzenlos – Borderless Schengen – through the wine-growing region of Luxembourg and France, with sweeping views over the steep-sided vineyards to Lorraine.
Luxembourg’s restaurants are known for their extensive wine lists, carefully paired with exquisite dishes in the Grand Duchy’s finest restaurants. Chiggeri, however, has a wine list that even the best Luxembourger restaurateurs can only dream of. The restaurant, located in the heart of the capital, is officially home to the world’s longest and finest wine list and made the Guiness Book of Records in 2008 with an astonishing 1,746 varieties of wine. From then, Chiggeri’s wine cellar has gone from strength to strength, being awarded ‘Best Wine List’ as recently as 2017.
Expect high quality wines sourced from France, Germany and further afield – and, of course, from Luxembourg itself. The Moselle vineyards produce some of the best wines in the Grand Duchy, including crisp whites and the much-loved Crémant de Luxembourg sparkling wine. Walk through sunny vineyards, tour a winery, enjoy a wine-tasting session and relax on a riverside restaurant terrace with a glass (or two) of the Moselle’s finest labels.
With nine Michelin-star restaurants, diminutive Luxembourg punches well above its weight, many of them found in the heart of the city or in close-by settlements. Here are six of them...
Le Clairefontaine: Sourcing the finest ingredients from around the world: Scottish salmon; Dublin Bay prawns and French caviar.
La Cristallerie: Fresh ingredients, seasonal and direct from the market, La Cristallerie creates subtle dishes bursting with flavour.
Mosconi: Overlooking the Alzette River in the old town, the restaurant serves classic Italian food with a contemporary twist.
La Distillerie, Bourglinster: Combine the fairy-tale atmosphere of a medieval castle with all the tantalising flavours of the earth and sea.
Lea Linster: Enjoy exquisite food in the idyllic surroundings of the Frisange countryside.
Ma langue sourit, Oetrange: It’s all in the restaurant’s name - ‘my tongue is smiling’.
It’s official - Luxembourg is one of the safest countries to live in or visit in the world. With an exceptionally low crime rate, well-maintained roads and footpaths, safe public transport, excellent health care and high food hygiene standards, the Grand Duchy offers a stress-free stay. Come for a visit and see for yourself.
Main picture: Kevin Fernandes
Sign up today for free and be the first to get notified of new articles, new competitions, new events and more!