The city of Luxembourg is the capital of the namesake country, and with a population just above 100,000 it is the second smallest national capital of the European Union, after Malta's Valletta. Very different in character from the bustling metropoles of the continent, Luxembourg is defined by its mountainous location and spectacular elevations afforded by the deep and narrow valley of the rivers Alzette and Petrusse it was built upon. The city has historically been an inconquerable fortress, which led it to be nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the North".
Luxembourg may not feature on most tourists' bucket lists, but it sees a very generous share of incoming visitors every year for a city of that size. This is due to its importance in the European financial sector, with many banks and institutions having their headquarters or subsidiaries there. Moreover, as one of the founding members of the European Union, Luxembourg hosts a number of EU institutions. Finally, Luxembourg has favourable taxation regulations for international holding companies, so that many multinationals locate their European seats there. This all makes the small city have a very upscale and business feel, and the tourist industry there is geared towards the business traveller.
- Ville Haute ("High City") - the medieval town core. Home to cafés, restaurants, and high street shops.
- Grund (Ville Basse) ("Low City") - situated in the gorge that cuts across the city and the most picturesque area.
- Gare ("Station") - the location of the train station, a 15-min walk south of Ville Haute and home to many restaurants and cafés.
- Kirchberg - a modern district across the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge in the north east of the City. The cityside eastern area of Kirchberg is home to many European Union institutions including the European Court of Justice, European Court of Auditors, parts of the European Commission, the Secretariat of the European Parliament and the European Investment Bank. The western end of the Kirchberg plateau is home to Luxembourg's thriving international financial services district. The Mudam modern art museum, the Philharmonie and the Dräi Eechelen fortress are near the Place de l'Europe beside the impressive EU institutions buildings.
- Hollerich - a formerly independent commune which was a prominent industrial site within Luxembourg. The remains of the industrial heritage are still to be seen around it.
Findel AirportCompared to other major airports serving European capitals, it has quite limited connections - there are no long-haul flights scheduled to Findel, and the European network only encompasses several other capitals and destinations, meaning that flying in even from major European airports may require a transfer on your way.
The airport is dominated by the country's flag carrier, Luxair, which operates a network of connections to selected other European capitals, some German cities and holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. This is complemented by some of the Star Alliance European members flying singular connections to Findel from their hubs. Luxair is not a Star Alliance member, but was partially owned by the Alliance's founding partner Lufthansa and shares its frequent flyer programme with them. Oneworld and Skyteam offer few connections to Luxembourg, but there is growing traffic from some regional and low-fare airlines.
Interestingly, while its passenger traffic is limited, Findel Airport is the base and a major hub for cargo airline Cargolux. Cargolux and other major international cargo airlines fly in huge intercontinental jets in and out of Findel daily.
Getting to the city from Findel AirportThere are regular buses to the city center (bus 16, about 15 minutes), the train station (bus 16 and 29, about 20 minutes), and Kirchberg, the European district (bus 16, 10 minutes). Buses to the city center and train station run at least every 10 minutes (15 minutes on Sunday). Bus number 16 runs to the front of the station (Stop: Gare Centrale), and bus number 29 runs to the rear of the station (Stop: Gare Rocade). The bus stop is on an island across the street on the left as you exit the airport. Tickets cost €2 and are available at a kiosk (cash or card), from the driver (cash only), or via the CFL/Mobiliteit.lu App. These tickets are valid for 2 hours on any bus, train or tram in the country. A €4 ticket is also available which is valid on the same for the entire day.
The Luxembourg City tram is expected to be extended to the airport some time in the early 2020s
Other airportsAn alternative to flying into Luxembourg, which may be costly and time-consuming from some locations in Europe, is taking a low-fare flight with the likes of Ryanair or WizzAir to either Charleroi in Belgium or Hahn in Germany, and taking a direct coach transfer to Luxembourg from there.
Gare Lëtzebuergthe country's main railway station, adorned with a clock tower and huge windows is Luxembourg's main train station.It is relatively well served by connections from neighbouring countries. The railway station can be reached by most local buses. The city centre is within walking distance (around 1.5 km). The train station has a restaurant and a large newsagents, as well as a left luggage office (flat fee of €5 per bag) on platform 1. The train station is immediately adjacent to the long distance bus station as well.
- The domestic train operator CFL has EuroCity-class trains going to Paris and Brussels
- CFL connects Gare Lëtzebuerg with pretty much every other station within the country of Luxembourg
- The Belgian SNCB/NMSB also has trains connecting Luxembourg with Bruxelles-Midi. Some trains continue to Strasbourg in France and Basel in Switzerland
- Deutsche Bahn operates the IC35 Ostfriesland from Luxembourg through Koblenz, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Münster
- Additionally, Deutsche Bahn's regional services operate the DeLux Express from Luxembourg to Trier
- The French SNCF operates a high-speed TGV train from Gare de l'Est in Paris to Luxembourg. There is also a slower Intercite connection via Nancy all the way south to Nice
- TER Lorraine line 1 goes from Nancy via Metz and Thionville to Luxembourg
- The Swiss SBB operates several long distance trains from stations in Switzerland such as Zurich, Geneve, Chur and Interlaken to Brussels that stop in Luxembourg on their way
On footDue to the city's small size and beautiful scenery, by foot is also the best way to appreciate it. In a few hours (or dividing your trip in two days) you can get to know the whole historical city on foot.
Luxembourg city has quite significant height differences. To overcome these, there are two lifts (free access); the most useful for tourists between Grund and Plateau du St. Esprit in the high city, and another one between Parc Pescatore and Pfaffenthal. In addition, there's a funicular between Pfaffenthal and Kirchberg.
By busBuses serve all districts. They run frequently (usually every 10-15 minutes during weekdays, less often on Saturdays and especially Sundays). The most useful bus stops for tourists are Gare Centrale at the train station and Hamilius in the city centre. Almost all buses include the section between Gare Centrale and Hamilius in their routes, leading to a bus on this section about every 2 minutes.
There are two types of tickets. One ("Kurzzaitbiljee") is valid for 2 hours and costs €2. The other is a day ticket (valid until 04:00 the next day) and costs €4. During their validity, the tickets can be used in all buses and trains in the country. Travel is free on Saturdays.
By bicycleThe city operates a self-service bike scheme and the stations can be found in various locations around the city centre. You first need to get a pass which can be obtained from one of the terminals at the bike stations. A 7-day pass costs €1 and gives you every first 30 min for free. Each additional hour costs €1 for a maximum total of €5 for 24 hr. For more information check the Ville de Luxembourg (VDL) website.
By tramThe tramway operates a single line, which is to be extended to the rail station in early 2020 and to the airport in 2021. The tram is fully fare integrated with buses and trains and a tram ticket costs the same as a bus ticket.
Ville-HauteThe pedestrianized old town. This is where the greatest concentration of (rather expensive) shops as well as bars and restaurants are to be found. Specific sights are few but all around town you can spot details that remind you of Luxembourg's historical value.
The BockThe rock on which the first castle stood, founded in 963 by Sigefroy (Sigfried). It is tied to a number of other remains of the old fortifications. Among others, the famous fortress builder Vauban built much in the city.
phone: +352 222809A network of underground fortifications, built in the 18th century. The fortifications and environs are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eglise St. MichelThis church took on its present form in 1688, but was probably built in the early 14th century. It was restored during 2003 and 2004.
National Museum of History and ArtA very diverse museum, organized around the four departments of archaeology, coins and medals, decorative art, and fine art.
Grand Ducal PalaceFully restored during the 1990s. It also houses the Luxembourgish Parliament the Chamber of Deputies. The palace is open for a period of 6 weeks over July and August whilst the Grand Duke and his family are away on their holidays. Guided tours last for about 1 hr, are inexpensive, and are available in various languages, including English. Tickets are available from the tourist office in Place de Guillaume II.
Le Chemin de la CornichePedestrian promenade along the rim of the Alzette gorge, described as Europe's most beautiful balcony.
Luxembourg City MuseumMuseum about the history of the City of Luxembourg. The entire 1,000-year history is covered, though there is more emphasis on the social and economic history of the period after Luxembourg emerged as a fully independent state in the 19th and 20th centuries. Text displays are all in English, in addition to French and German.
Cathedrale de Notre DameBuilt between 1613 and 1618 by Jesuits and was elevated to the status of cathedral in 1870. Nearby is the Gëlle Fra: literally 'Golden Lady'. This is a golden figure of a woman holding a wreath, a symbol of victory. It was taken down by the Nazis during occupation but stands today as a memorial to those who gave their lives in World War II.
Pétrusse CasematesConstructed by the Spanish in 17th century. They are not as large as the Bock Casements.
Hotel de Ville
Place GuillaumePlace Guillaume (also known in Luxembourgish as the "Knuedler") is the venue for a market every Wednesday and Saturday. It is also the site of an equestrian statue of William II of the Netherlands and Luxembourg and the neo-classical Town Hall which is fronted by two bronze lions.
Place d'ArmesIn summer months the Place d'Armes is filled with tables and chairs from the surrounding cafes and at the centre of the square is the bandstand around which various concert seasons are based.
Casino LuxemburgContemporary art forum with changing exhibitions.
Ville Basse and Grund
GrundThe Alzette, thought it is very small now, because the sandstone of the area is very soft, it dug out a huge valley. This is called the Ville Basse and is a spectacular area particularly the Grund (Statgrond) which is well worth the time to take a stroll around. The old fortress surrounded this valley. The Venceslas walk (named after Venceslas, Czech king and count of Luxembourg who built much of the fortresses around) leads along the fortresses, protecting the city on one side (and now forming one of the most spectacular "balconies", the Corniche) and the fortress of the Raam plateau on the other.
Neumünster AbbeyNow a cultural and encounter center with a nice church and the old St. John's hospital.
National Museum of Natural HistorySplendid expositions on minerals, animals, evolution, etc. There is a temporary exposition on animals by night (until August 4, 2019)
The Kirchberg areaThis area houses a number of banks and most of the European institutions in Luxembourg (Parliament, Court of Justice, Court of Auditors, European Investment Bank and some of the Commission's Directorate Generals). A number of buildings were built by celebrated architects like Richard Meyer, Dominique Perrault and Gottfried Benn. Some modern sculptures also appear between the buildings. Most of the European Institutions hold annual open days. Many of the banks, EU institutions and other offices open their doors to the public once a year to allow access to their extensive art collections.
address: 3, Park Dräi EechelenDesigned by I.M. Pei of "Louvre Pyramid" fame, this museum showcases Luxembourgish artists and changing international exhibitions. The nonlinear (and rather confusing) building is half the fun, and on a quiet weekday afternoon in the off season you'll pretty much have the place to yourself.
Musée Dräi EechelenMuseum about the history of the Luxembourg Fortress inside an 18th century fort.
address: 1, Place de Metz
address: 16, rue Ste ZitheArt exhibitions inside by Luxembourg's savings bank.
On the outskirts
World War II Luxembourg American Cemetery and MemorialIn the eastern section of Luxembourg City, just south of the airport. Open daily except for December 25 and January 1; 09:00-17:00. The cemetery is the final resting place for 5,076 American military dead, most lost during the Battle of the Bulge. It is also the final resting place for General George Patton. A monument is inscribed with the names of 371 Americans whose remains were never found or identified. Two large stone pylons with operations maps made of inlaid granite describe the achievements of American armed forces in the region during World War II.
Cemetery for German soldiers at Sandweilerphone: +352 35 50 07address: L-5280 SandweilerA World War II cemetery in Sandweiler, in southern Luxembourg. It contains the graves of 10,913 German servicemen from the Battle of the Bulge in winter 1944 and spring 1945. It is 1.5 km from the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. Devoted to the fallen German soldiers from one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. A touching memorial.
Tramways and Bus MuseumThe Museum is next door to the AVL bus depot in Hollerich
Schueberfoueraddress: GlacisHeld every year in 2 weeks during end of August and early September, this huge and historic funfair attracts enormous crowds. As well as the many stomach churning rides there are numerous places to eat and drink to your heart's content. An important date in the social calendar of young Luxembourgers.
National HolidayWhile not the birthday of the current Grand Duke (or any preceding for that matter), June 23 is the country's national day. All-night street parties, fireworks and parades are enjoyed by seemingly the entire population of the country on the evening preceding the holiday.
Philharmonie LuxembourgClassical concerts.
Grand Théâtre de LuxembourgMajor venue for drama, opera and ballet.
Swing Dance LuxembourgSocial dance on Mondays. During the summer it is outdoors in various locations; at other times it is at Scott’s Pub in Grund.
Cityshopping Info Pointaddress: Place D'ArmesLuxembourg takes promoting shopping in the city very seriously to the point that the Luxembourg City Trade Association and the authorities opened an information point in the very centre to provide guidance and suggestions regarding all your possible shopping needs and interests.
address: Rue Beaumont 20Pascaline Smets operates the family-owned business of multiple high-end boutiques throughout Luxembourg, offering the best fashion brands. Whatever doesn't sell by the end of the season, however, ends up at her luxury outlet in rue Beaumont, where you can fetch a bargain with your favourite label.
address: rue du Fossé 27A family business operating for over a century, the Ernster bookstore grew to be a five-storey paradise for bookworms with a wide selection of books in many languages, as well as a special section for children. Apart from the main store, you can find Ernster in the Belle Etoile shopping centre and in several other locations throughout the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Monthly Market in GlacisEvery month in the expansive Glacis square in Limpertsberg a market takes place, which is a mixture of a flea market, a farmer's market and some local arts & crafts. Browse and enjoy the best Luxembourg has to offer if you are in the city for the date.
Weekly Market in BonnevoieBonnevoie hosts a weekly market every Wednesday in front of the parish church
Market in Place de Parisaddress: Place de ParisThe district of Gare holds markets in Place de Paris twice a week.
Market in Place Guillaume IIPlace Guillaume II plays host to a market twice a week.
lët’z go localThe organisation with the jocular name seeks to promote local Luxembourgish produce of all kinds, be it food, drinks, fashion, design or even leisure services. They organize markets multiple times every year in varying locations in Luxembourg to showcase the offer of their members.
address: Rue Alphonse Weicker 5A fairly unremarkable yet large shopping gallery, anchored by a bi-level Auchan hypermarket, the only store of the French chain in the country.
La Fontainephone: +352 494076address: 25, place de ParisOne of a number of affordable bistros clustered around place de Paris, conveniently located halfway between the station and the old city. The quadrilingual menus run the gamut from pizza and mussels to Luxembourgish classics like judd mat gaardebounen (smoked pork neck with broad beans), and there are daily specials for around €8.
Taj Mahalphone: +352 40 59 41address: 2, rue de StrasbourgBy anyone's standards, a fantastic curry house serving rich and delicious Indian food. Very friendly staff too. Well worth making the short trip from the centre to this restaurant located near the station.
phone: +352 470198address: 46, Montée de ClausenGreat local plates on the site of the former Mousel brewery. Wash down huge portions of pork knee and broad beans with tankards of Mousel lager.
Le Palais D'Asieaddress: 47, avenue de la LibertéDon kimonos and marvel at the skill of the chefs as they prepare Japanese and Chinese style cuisine before your very eyes including ceiling-high flames and an "egg show". As entertaining as it is tasty. Arrive hungry as the portions are generous.
phone: +352 26 29 69 70address: 17 Rue de BonnevoieVegetarian and organic food in small lunch restaurant. Excellent pies, soups, salads and cakes. The tables are small with little space between them, so you get a chance to say hello to your neighbors. No alcohol served, Free WiFi.
Aime La Fourchetteaddress: Avenue Monterey 5Solid and good bistro food.
L'Etoile du Top Flooraddress: Boulevard d Avranches 40The restaurant atop the Sofitel Grand Ducal in Bonnevoie, led by chef Sebastien Perrot, affords one of the best views over Luxembourg along with the finest cuisine.
address: Rue de Clausen 1342A favourite watering hole of local English ex-pats. Good place for watching football and rugby.
Decibelphone: +352 27 36 53 35address: 42-44 Rue de HollerichA music bar in a courtyard alongside other bars and restaurants off the lively rue de Hollerich, an eclectic range of music can be heard here and Decibel has one of the widest range of Belgian beers in the city on tap and in bottles. It is run by Irish people so the Guinness is decent as well.
phone: +352 42 54 96address: 15 Val de HammThe Black Stuff is an Irish pub on the outskirts of the city that is popular with ex-pats and locals alike. In the winter the log fire makes the cosy back room a good option to enjoy a Guinness or a hot port, the terrace is popular in the summer. It is a popular place to watch Football and rugby and the best place in Luxembourg to watch televised Gaelic Football and Hurling.
Pygmalionaddress: Rue de la Tour Jacob 19Or the Pyg, an Irish pub and the best of the English, Scottish, Irish triumvirate in Clausen. Pub quizzes every other Monday.
CrossfireA Scandinavian pub off Ave. de la Liberté, small and friendly.
Scott'sNo. 4, Bisserwee (down in the Grund). A common place for a drink (or two).
address: Rue de la Boucherie 2A refreshingly modern bar that has a wide mix of clientèle. Although often overcrowded it is a great place to start a night out. Urban also has live music every Sunday evening and has sporting events shown on two massive plasma screens.
The TubeSubterranean, London Underground-themed bar. International young crowd and great tunes for various tastes. Gets extremely packed late on Fridays and Saturdays and overspills into the street during warmer months.
Vis-a-visphone: +352 46 03 26address: Rue Beaumont 2Hang out with the locals in this charming little Luxembourgish bar. Cheaper than a lot of other watering holes found in the city.
Café des ArtistesSmokey little Luxembourg piano bar illuminated by candlelight.
Melusinaaddress: Rue de la Tour Jacob 145Has a large main room with a balcony. It also has another couple of rooms at the back of the club which are worth a look.
MagnumIt's near the big parking lot (Glacis) just outside of the centre, but worth the walk there. No heels are too high and no skirts/shorts are too short here.
Coco Mangoaddress: Boulevard d'Avranches 40The bar of hotel Sofitel Grand Ducal enjoys some of the best views over the city. Pop in for a drink and enjoy!
Camping Bon AccueilIn Alzingen 4 km to the south of the city. 100 pitches. Adult €4, kid €2, pitch €5.
phone: +352 22 68 89 20address: 2, rue du Fort OlisyA nice clean hostel with a friendly atmosphere, 10 minutes on the bus from the city centre. €23.90 per bed in a shared dorm, discount with HI membership. Breakfast free, other meals €5-10.
address: 34, place de la GareAcross from central station. Small rooms, but cheap and a good location. July 2011 prices were €65 for single occupancy, €75 for double. Has indoor storage for bikes as well as an air compressor and tool kit. Breakfast included.
ibis Budget Luxembourg Airportaddress: Route de TrèvesThis is an older ibis Budget (blue rooms) next to the Findel Airport, which provides the most basic standards for some of the lowest rates in Luxembourg.
Campanile Hotel Luxembourg Aéroportaddress: Route de Trèves 22The Luxembourg Airport Campanile offers the familiar basic comforts to motorized travellers.
ibis Hotel Luxembourg Aeroportaddress: Route de TrèvesAn old and worn "red-pillow" ibis beside the ibis Budget, offering marginally higher comfort at slightly higher rates.
ibis Styles Luxembourg Centre GareThe "green-pillow" ibis Styles is one of the hotels filling up almost the entire block in front of Luxembourg's train station (although the hotel does not face the station, but rather the narrow Rue Junck leading up to it). Everything in the hotel is on the small side, but breakfasts are always included in the room rates.
Grand Hotel Cravataddress: Boulevard Roosevelt 29Slightly worn but comfortable midrange hotel.
phone: +352 4084141address: 10, Rue d'Anvers, Gare
NH Luxembourgaddress: Route de Trèves 1Luxembourg's NH is an airport hotel, within walking distance of the Findel Airport terminal buildings (although walking through the traffic arrangement around the airport is not recommended). Its common spaces such as the gym, restaurant and conference rooms directly overlook the apron and runway. Otherwise, it is a fairly standard NH hotel.
Mercure Grand Hotel Alfaaddress: Place de la Gare 16The historic Grand Hotel Alfa, opposite Luxembourg's train station, now operates as a Mercure. The hotel is slightly dated on the inside, with historic common spaces preserved and room decor that will make you want to go to sleep quickly.
Novotel Luxembourg Centreaddress: Rue Du Laboratoire 35The Novotel is in Bonnevoie, next door to Sofitel Grand Ducal. Unfortunately, it faces away from the Alzette, so there is not much of a view, but the hotel is quite modern and follows the usual Novotel standard.
Suite Novotel Luxembourgaddress: Av. J.F. Kennedy 13Offers facilities appropriate for long-term stays of guests working for the many institutions in Kirchberg. Each room has a living space and a kitchenette. This is one of the new generation of Suite Novotels, appointed to evoke a modern, clean experience.
DoubleTree by Hilton Luxembourgaddress: Rue Jean Engling 12The DoubleTree is on a woody hill in Dommedagne, north of the city, in a quite remote location. There is a bus stop down the road, a bit of a walk away, though. The hotel is very nicely appointed, leaving nothing but a better location to be desired.
Novotel Luxembourg Kirchbergaddress: Rue du Fort Niedergruenewald 6The Novotel in Kirchberg is a low-rise one in an office park, surrounded by office buildings, as well as the Sofitel Europe and Suite Novotel. The hotel is pretty standard for a Novotel, yet there is not much in the way of family entertainment that Novotel prides itself for, not even a pool.
Park Inn by Radisson Luxembourg Cityaddress: Avenue de la Gare 45-47A modern Park Inn in the vicinity of the train station with one of the most consistent applications of the brand's basic colours scheme, down to the coffee cups.
Best Western Plus Grand Hotel Victor Hugoaddress: Avenue Victor Hugo 3-5A fairly characterless but solid hotel in the north of the city.
Sofitel Luxembourg EuropeAn Accor Hotels group luxury property in Plateau de Kirchberg, in the North European Quarter. Comfortable beds and a famous Italian restaurant.
phone: +352 442 4421address: 2a, Rue Albert Premier 1erElegant four-star hotel close to the old city and Central railway station. 42 rooms with en-suite bathrooms, restaurant, internet access, sauna, fitness room, garage, meeting facilities.
Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducaladdress: Boulevard D'avranches 40The other Sofitel is in the Bellevoie district, with a location affording brilliant vistas of the Alzette river Valley and the old town of Luxembourg. Of particular note in terms of views are the top-floor bar and restaurant. The hotel is appointed in a very modern theme, contrasting with the classic Sofitel Europe.
Melia Luxembourgaddress: Park Dräi Eechelen 1Beside the MUDAM in the Quartier Europeene Sud. It is an interesting work of modern architecture outside and inside.
phone: +35 222 75 70address: 6, rue Sainte Zithe
- phone: +352 22 98 64address: 5, Boulevard Joseph IIConsular services are only provided by appointment, which can be booked online via their website.
- phone: +352 46 01 23address: 22 Boulevard Emmanuel Servais