Lost in Luxembourg
After few years of exploring Europe, I realised I had missed out on the smallest country of Europe, peacefully tucked in between France, Belgium and Germany. Unfortunately, I had only two days to explore their capital city, also called, Luxembourg, but would've loved to visit the neighbouring cities if I had more time.
I reached Luxembourg’s main bus station at 4 am, SUPER tired. While I was well aware my check in time is at 9 am later that day, we still decided to head to the hotel to at least put our luggage away. Taking a cab seemed like a better option at that hour and luckily it cost us €10 (considering our hotel was in the heart of old Luxembourg we wouldn’t have been paying for other transportation costs there) hence, lets do it!
Since we were staying at Le Place De Arme’s Hotel (their suites are drool worthyyyy), all the tourist attractions were within the walking distance. This honestly had to be one of the most luxurious hotels I had ever stayed in. It was an experience in itself.
Best part was there were plenty of restaurants, cafes and tourist shops within that sqaure! Waking up at 9 am the same day, we made our way to a nearby restaurant for breakfast, but actually ended up at McDonalds (which, by the way was the cheapestttt one I have had in Europe) One meal cost us around €5 YAAY!. Oh and the best part about Luxembourg was the free water supply for everyone! I never once bought water because everyone used to fill up there water bottles from there.
Check out some of the hotel photos below:
Later, I had planned to head towards the Grand Ducal Palace. It was around 10 minutes walk from the hotel. There were young city tour guides standing at every other corner ready to help you with all the tourist info you needed! I personally thought that was extremely helpful and such a great idea since I couldn't really find the entrance to the Palace. If you get a map of the area you’ll get a better understanding of where you need to head over. Anway, so it turned out, you can only enter as a part of a group AND the group tours were sold out for the day! So make sure if you're planning on entering the palace you get the tickets a day before or online (oh and photography isn't allowed within the palace) . Tickets cost €12 each and the tour lasts for about 50-60 minutes. Tours take place only in July-August twice a day: 1 pm and 5 pm.
On my way there, I also spotted the quirky little fountain known as the Hammelsmarsch, which itself is famous too! This interesting sculpture has musicians play a march that was used to lead sheep to the annual funfair. Back in the day the sheep served as prizes at the fair. (Sheep is Hammel in Luxemburgian, hence the name). It was known to a be a custom of Luxembourg. The accordion player is a the self portrait of the sculptor himself, Will Lofy.
Anyway, so my first plan had failed badly, and while I was wondering what to do next, I spotted the famous Chocolate Shop of Luxembourg! I had heard a lot about it, plus since I didn't plan a lot that day I decided to check out the cafe. They had THE most scrumptious chocolates and cakes! The variety will leave you spoiled for choice! Not a big fan of trying out new flavours I chose the classic chocolate cake which was shared amongst my husband and I. It was SO SO good. €5 per slice wasn't too bad either. I am an avid believer in not spending a lot of my budget on food, but if it has something to do with desserts I am always up for it. I mean, WHO isn’t?!
Next up, where to get the gorgeous iconic Luxembourg views from? We made our way to Chemin De La Corniche! Its a street promenade open for everyone and it offers beautiful panoramic views of the Grund. We did get lost on our way there, but it was only around 10 mins aways from the Palace. The map really helps so make sure you have one. It is also known as the “most beautiful balcony of Europe!” So don't forget to take a walk there! Plus its free. You can also walk downhill to the river for a different set of views.
Since I mentioned Grund, it happens to be one of the oldest part of the city (quite well preserved) and is located in the lower fortified part of town. Basically, the iconic views of Luxembourg are of the Grund. It follows the flow of the Pétrusse river, which joins the Alzette, overlooking the Alzette valley. It is not too tricky to find with good signage, this walkway is remarkable. Great to walk the whole area & just soak in the atmosphere & view peacefully. A must-experience if you are in this city even for a short stay.
While you're there, do make a visit to the Casemates Bock. These underground galleries cut into the Bock cliff, witness to the city's past as a fortress, are on Unesco's World Heritage List. The Casemates, which are totally unique, are the star tourist attraction in Luxembourg City. These are actually 23kms long underground tunnels, (now only 17kms) which used to house about fifty cannon, were dug by the Austrians in 1745/46. They had an area of 1,100 sq.m., and were capable of housing a garrison of 1,200 soldiers! You can visit it for €6 per person/ €3 (child). I decided to skip the tour, since I wasn't too interested in it, but just enjoyed the views from outside!
The rest of the day we decided to explore their local markets, got some yummy fruit and chilled out at the cafes. I could've easily squeezed in the other attractions within that day, but I decided to give us a break from the excessive walking in the HEAAAAT wave! (beware of summers there!!) Also stepped into one of their free museums, The National Museum of History and Art, close to Le Place De Arme’s Square to cool off in the air conditioning, but it was actually quite interesting!
Here’s a really cute old cafe we stumbled upon in the heart of old Luxembourg.
Oh and While I was there, some really cool artimation event was going on. This included street performers, artists, musicians who would come at a particular spot in the old part of Luxembourg and perform (Don’t know if this happens annually though) The city tourist guides had provided us with maps which had the timings, names of the artists and the spots on them. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them showcase their talents and thought it was a brilliant idea to showcase the local talent.
For the next day I had planned on waking up early and photograph the streets and squares. There were some lovely views bursting with colours! After my early morning photography session we decided to indulge ourselves in the scrumptious breakfast offered by Le Place D’Armes Hotel! The variety and quality was absolutely worth the price (€28 Buffet)
After literally stuffing ourselves with croissants and fresh juices, we made our way to The Adolphe Bridge viewpoint. The walk was actually pretty long, 25 mins I think, but doable! This special bridge has become an unofficial national symbol, representing Luxembourg's independence, and has become one of Luxembourg City's main tourist attractions for all the right reasons! I mean, those views! It is Also called New Bridge, it was erected between 1900 and 1903 during the rule of Grand Duke Adolphe. It got pretty famous because the bridge had the biggest stone arch in the world up to then.
After a quick photo session we walked to the Notre Dame Cathedral which is like 2 mins walk from the bridge viewpoint. I won’t say its pretty impressive, but while you're there you can make a quick visit.
After this visit, we decided to check out some local markets and stalls at the lovely Place Guillaume II, which is a town square with the equestrian statue of Grand Duke William II in the middle. Unfortunately, part of it was under construction so couldn't see the famous statue up close.
Whenever I am visiting a city, something I really look forward to, is exploring it’s old religious monuments. Luckily, this time I found a vibrant little Russian Orthodox church, St Peter and Paul’s Church, built in 1975. It is said to be the ONLY Russian Orthodox Church in Luxembourg. Sadly It was closed by the time I got there (around 4pm) and it was a long walk! So can’t say I’d recommend it, but you can have a look at it below! Its still pretty unique. Here is the address and postal code: 10 Rue Jean-Pierre Probst, 2352 Luxembourg.
Later on in the evening, we were free to roam around the streets of Old Luxembourg.
This is honestly my favourite part, when I am done checking out all the famous spots of a city and have the time and freedom to truly explore the place! We ended the day with some divine macaroons from Laduree and fruits tarts from Paul’s Patisserie! Much needed sugar in take while enjoying the streets of Luxembourg burst with colours and music thanks to Artimation!
Luxembourg transportation includes buses, trains and city trams. The same ticket is valid for all modes of transport and the same rates apply:
• €2 for a 'short-time' ticket (valid 2 hours);
• €4 for a 'day' ticket (valid on the day it is first used until 4 a.m. the following day);
• monthly passes complete the offer.
Where to Stay?
The best area to stay in Luxembourg City, is definitely the Old Town, or Upper Town. This is where you will find most of the historic and city attractions within 5-20 minutes on foot from the Luxembourg city hotels in this area. If you prefer to stay in luxury hotels in Luxembourg, the Old Town area has several to choose from such as Le Place D’Armes Hotel, a luxury 5 star boutique hotel and you can find plenty of budget options too including Air bnbs. The beauty of Luxembourg’s Old Town is that most streets are pedestrian-only, making walking around very easy. You won’t need a car, in fact, many streets are actually closed for cars.
Let me know in the comments below if you visited any of these places while staying in Luxembourg and how did you like them!?