• Luxembourg
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  • Luxembourg
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Luxembourg

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
You have undoubtedly heard and perhaps even visited Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, but what of the tiny country bordering France called Luxembourg? Some even have difficulties locating it on a map, but with glorious landscapes, dozens of unforgettable hiking trails, museums, old market towns and exceptional food, Luxembourg is one of Europe's most underrated destinations.

Travel guide

The regions

A handy fact to know when planning a trip to Luxembourg is that the country is divided in to five regions, each one offering their own unique sites. The first region is comprised of the capital, Luxembourg and its surroundings. The capital is one place you definitely do not wish to miss out on, located on a cliff and overlooking the valleys of both the Alzette and Petrusse rivers you should visit it for the sights alone. However if natural beauty is just not your cup of tea then you will be pleased to find out that numerous parts of the city are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Müllerthal

The second region is Müllerthal, aptly nicknamed "Little Switzerland" for its breathtaking views, wild unspoiled nature and opportunity for many unforgettable hikes. Third region is comprised of the Ardennes as well as numerous parks. The Moselle region is where the majority of the country's vineyards are located and so is a must visit for anyone who wants to taste authentic Luxembourg wine. The last region is the Terres Rouges, which is the industrial and mining part of the country, the region offers a landscape dotted with mines some of which are centuries old and available to discover.

Echternach

Located in the Müllerthal region Echternach is the not only one of the liveliest city's of Luxembourg it is also the oldest. The city houses one of the country's most important religious buildings, the basilica of the Abbey of Echternach, which is the burial site of the country's patron saint. The annual Whit Tuesday celebration in honour of the patron saint is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the region. Due to its location in "Little Switzerland" Echternach is a perfect base if you are planning on exploring this naturally stunning region.

Vianden

Found in the Ardennes region Vianden is the quintessential romantic medieval village. With its picture perfect fairy-tale like Beaufort castle, which is located in the Our River valley surrounded by thick forests, it is no wonder that Vianden is one of the country's most visited cities. Once you have explored the ancient streets and Gothic churches to your heart's content, and be warned it will take a while to truly see everything, be sure to visit the house of Victor Hugo who lived in Vianden after being exiled from France.

Refined cuisine

If you consider food amongst one of your passions then a trip to Luxembourg will not be a disappointment. Especially if you are fond extremely refined cuisine recognized at an international level, and by that we of course mean the celebrated Michelin Star system. In fact perhaps one of the most important things you should know about Luxembourg is that it holds the world record of Michelin star restaurants per capita. What that means is if you are lucky enough to find yourself on holiday in Luxembourg at any given moment you are just a few hundred meters away from a truly superb meal.

Our Editorial team's advice

To properly understand modern day Luxembourg, as with any country, you should be at least vaguely acquainted with certain key features of its history. Firstly for all its picturesque beauty and romantic castles Luxembourg's history has been punctuated by armed conflict. Luxembourg's violent passed is closely linked to its perfect strategic position within Western Europe. Secondly Luxembourg is not only a Grand Duchy, but it's also the only Grand Duchy in the world, while this might seem as a trivial fact for someone planning to visit the country for only a few days it does give a better understanding of the general atmosphere you will encounter in Luxembourg.

While Luxembourg might be one of the smallest countries in Europe it also holds the impressive title of the third richest country in the entire world. This is predominantly thanks to its strategic position, highly successful steel, finance and technology industries. While its success has made Luxembourg a country with one of the highest standards of living it has also led to at times daunting prices, so when travelling in Luxembourg be prepared to spend more than you would in the neighbouring states.

To facilitate your movement throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg we recommend you obtain the Luxembourg Card, which is available at tourist information offices, public transport offices as well as certain major hotels. The travel card is valid for between one and three days, it full access to the country public transport network which in turn gives you the opportunity to visit more than 55 sites.

Another useful item to purchase is the Muséeskaart which is valid three days and provides access to the most important museums of Luxembourg. It can be purchased at the Casino Luxembourg, the History Museum, the Villa Vauban, the National Museum of History and Art, the National History Museum, as well as city tourist offices. You should also acquaint yourself with the schedule of the country's many festivals that take place during the tourist season. The festivals to watch out for are the Printemps Musical which takes place between March and May and the Carnival of Cultures which you will be able to enjoy from July until September. The festivals add even more flavour to the country's already enchanting atmosphere and so if you have the opportunity be sure to enjoy them.

pros

  • +Relatively easy access from England
  • +Great cultural heritage: films, museums, theatre, architecture, monuments, festivals...
  • +An eco-touristic destination.

cons

  • -Weather conditions are often frustrating.
  • -Not appropriate for young children who might get bored in Luxembourg City.

Traditions

While social customs in Luxembourg are not too different from ones in France they do gravitate closer to German ones. So when meeting someone restrain yourself from giving the customary two kisses on the cheeks, instead a firm handshake is the norm here.

Rules are very important in Luxembourg, especially on the road, which means, if you are driving, never go on a red light. The same goes for pedestrians, crossing the street is only acceptable at designated zebra crossings. As you will see streets in Luxembourg are extremely clean so please do not litter.

Food

If you are tired of sampling the phenomenal Michelin star food and want a more authentic meal you will not be disappointed, Luxembourg cuisine is, while very rich and simple, delicious. Local dishes are inspired by the Lorraine region as well as German and Belgian traditions.

Rustic and tasty, its national dish is pig's neck served with marsh beans. Oesling's smoked ham, prepared under a beech or oak wood fire, is simply divine. Beer lovers will enjoy the Gambrinus Battin, known to be finer and hoppier than other beers. For something stronger try Buff which is a bitter brandy invented in 1860.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Luxembourg . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Luxembourg . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Luxembourg .

Souvenirs

Most of your shopping will be gastronomic. You will find Oesling ham, sausage, pudding at Norbert Berg in Luxemburg-City. The best place for dried beans is at Kaempff-Kohler. You will find superb crockery at the Villeroy and Boch store in the earthenware shop, in the Rollingergrund street. The market of the Guillaume-II square is specialised in farm products. Shops open from 8.00am to 12.00pm and from 2.00pm to 6.00pm on weekdays. More and more stay open during lunch. They close on Sunday and Monday morning.