I just visited the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, one of the smallest, yet very diverse countries in Europe, with a capital full of history, Unesco sites, spectacular viewpoints and buzzing neighborhoods, cafés and restaurants, that blew my mind!
This vibrant city seems to be underestimated by most and I honestly did not expect to find so much diversity on just 51 km2 either! Located in the south of Luxembourg, it lies at the heart of Western Europe, about 416 km from Amsterdam, 213 km from Brussels and 372 km from Paris.
With a history even dating back to the Roman times and central location, Luxembourg city has always been a place of strategic military significance. The first fortifications were built in the 10th century, officially founded in 963 around Luxembourg Castle, from where the city started to develop.
The historic city center is extra special due to its division into several layers by the city walls.
These 70 meter high cliffs look out on the lower city, lined by the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers and several historic bridges, making Luxembourg city very Instagram-mable and postcard perfect from several sides.
The fact that it’s also a very green city, with parks, forested areas, and several important historic and even Unesco sites, makes Luxembourg even more interesting, diverse and highly photogenic.
During a 4 day trip with 3 blogger friends end of July, I visited Luxembourg city and some other interesting spots around the country, about which I will share more in the next blog too.
In the first 2,5 days we were able to see much of what Luxembourg city has to offer and took hundreds of pics and videos, as always😊
I can’t wait to show you all my favourite Instagram-mable spots, foodie hotspots, viewpoints and fun things to do here, through several of my own and a few of @NappyC’s pictures, but first:
How to get to Luxembourg?
As it's just 400 km from the Netherlands and very centrally located in Europe, I highly recommend travelling there by car or train, if you live in Europe.
Because many sites are located close to each other it’s very convenient to have a car while there, so you can drive from the most amazing spot to the next, usually in just 10-20 minutes.
However, if you have to fly there, it’s quite easy as well. Because what makes Luxembourg extra special is that all public transport is FREE!
Luxembourg is the world’s first country to offer free nationwide public transport, which includes local, regional and nationwide trains, trams or buses, except first class in trains.
And the shuttle bus transfer from Luxembourg airport is totally free as well!
This makes it even easier to get around in the country or Luxembourg city, even though most sites in the city are just a short walk apart.
Where to stay in Luxembourg city?
There are plenty of great hotels and apartments to choose from. However, if you want to stay at a more Instagrammable hotspot. And like to park your car nearby, while staying in a more quiet area, still close to the main sites, then this is the perfect hotel for you too;)
We stayed for 2 nights at the newly opened Mama Shelter in the Kirchberg district. The business center of the city, with a more modern vibe.
Our hotel here was very fun and convenient, including a secured parking garage (€17 a day) right under the hotel.
Other unique features of Mama Shelter in Luxembourg:
The many areas for relaxing, playing pool, footie, videogames and an extensive rooftop bar, with DJ every night
Super creative interior and convenient design rooms, with everything you might need, such as great beds, with an excellent mattress, a fridge, safe and good shower
Delicious extensive breakfast
And 3 in-house restaurants, which are open to the public as well:
The main restaurant has a great outdoor terrace, open for lunch and dinner, with an excellent menu incl.some of the best home-made pizzas!
A rooftop restaurant with great cocktails and tapas, open from 5 pm
And a very cute boulangerie (closed in the weekends though)
From here it’s easy to take a bus to the city center. But you can also walk there in about 25 minutes, passing by some of the most Instagrammable spots of the city, that should not be missed!
Kirchberg is very different from the rest of the city, because of its many tall buildings with modern architecture, like the:
Officially known as the Grande-Duchesse Joséphine-Charlotte Concert Hall, located right across from our hotel. It immediately caught our attention with its impressive modern architecture with 823 white steel columns, arranged in several rows. It was opened in 2005 and now hosts up to 400 performances a year.
From here we walked on to the:
2. Modern Art Museum
Another unique building, just behind the Philharmonie, is the MUDAM. Built inside the remains of the reconstructed Fort Thüngen, the museum opened in 2006. It was designed by a renowned architect, which shows, as the building is stunning, both inside and out!
It has a very interesting modern art collection, with several themed exhibitions that constantly vary.
3. Fort Thüngen & Park Drai Echelen
Right behind the modern art museum, also located in the Park Draï Eechelen, is this imposing fort. Dating back from 1733, and formerly a key part of Luxembourg city's fortifications.
The fort can be visited as well, as it now houses the museum of national history, overlooking the city. From here you can follow the Vauban walk down the park, passing by 2 other historic towers and several remainders of the city walls, offering amazing views over the city.
Make sure to walk on all the way down to:
One of the oldest neighborhoods of the city in the lower part of Luxembourg's capital. Perfect to admire the views of Oberstadt, with its city walls that are Unesco listed and the beautiful parks surrounding it.
Although this area has a medieval feel, all houses here are from the 19th or 20th century. Built on the banks of the small Alzette River with a nightlife that is surprisingly vibrant, due to its many restaurants and cozy cafes!
Certainly a must visit on your city trip to Luxembourg! From here you can walk through the city parks to the:
5. Panoramic elevator
Also known as the Pfaffental lift, located right next to the Red Bridge. The elevator is free of charge and runs every few minutes to bring people to the higher level of the city.
During the ride up you can enjoy the views on both sides to the Pont Grande Duchesse Charlotte and the historic city center. And when you get to the top don't miss the glass viewing plateau for those Instagrammable shots!
This is the top part of Luxembourg, where the city originated. And the real center of Luxembourg city, with many attractions. Here you will find the stunning Grand Ducal Palace surrounded by beautiful shopping streets.
Several other museums and buzzing city squares, filled with cafés, restaurants and many historic buildings with French and German architectural influences.
7. Chemin de la Corniche
One of the best viewpoints in Oberstadt, in my opinion, and a spot of great historic significance!
From these high city walls and fortified towers, that guarded the crossing of two Roman roads ages ago, you can now overlook the valley of the city. With Grund, the Alzette river and several historic buildings all laid out in front of you:
Certainly called the most beautiful balcony of Europe for good reason, right?!
In the 17th century the first casemates were built in the ramparts of the city, now listed as Unesco World Heritage. Initially, Spain built 23 km of tunnels in 1644, which were subsequently expanded under French and Austrian rule in the next decades.
What remains now makes the world’s longest defense system with kilometers of underground passages, with 2 entry points. Unfortunately they were closed due to technical difficulties when we were there, but normally these should be a definite must visit! A tour of the casemates is made extra special with light shows and sound effects that bring the history of the fortified city back to life!
9. Pont Adolphe
This stone arch bridge from the early 20th century provides a lovely city view. Especially from the 2nd level, which is a unique cycling- and walk way spanned under the bridge. It looks out over the city, a small park and the picturesque Petrusse river, with views like this:
10. Luxembourg sightseeing tours
There are many tours that enable you to see even more of Luxembourg city, find all of them on: Luxembourg city-tours We found it hard to choose, but as real Dutchies were happy to do a cycling trip. After all, you can see so much more of this varied city in just a few hours by E-bike.
We had a private cycling tour with the lovely Marco of Sightseeing Luxembourg.
He was fun, patient, very knowledgeable and took us to all the Instagrammable and authentic photo hotspots! And easily showed us different interesting areas of the city, like the more remote Gare district.
A chic neighborhood with a lot of French influences. With the stately Avenue de la Liberte and several squares, like the Place de Paris, with its small Eiffel tower, several classy cafés and restaurants.
11. Foodie & cocktail hotspots
And because Luxembourg city is home to many students and expats the offering of restaurants is quite diverse, with vegan or vegetarian options as well. Most restaurants can be found in the districts Oberstadt, Grund and Gare.
It's nice to wander through the streets around the Grand Duke’s Palace to find quaint shops, nice cocktail bars and restaurants, some with great views too!
These are the ones we tested in Oberstadt, which I can highly recommend:
Pop Up Hertz
The Gudde Weather
This pop-up outdoor terrace is only open with (as the name states) good weather😊
But when it is and you are able to grab a spot, you will certainly enjoy the great vibe, delicious cocktails and stunning city views, towards the Chemin de la Corniche:
For more Luxembourg travel tips and tours you can also go to: Luxembourg City.com
And check out my next blog as well, for more photogenic and authentic sightseeing spots and things to do around Luxembourg country, coming up soon!
Love to hear what you think of Luxembourg city and the Instagram-mable, yet authentic hotspots we found in this surprisingly beautiful European city!
Do let me know here or find me on social media, for more daily Luxembourg video and picture inspiration.