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Luxembourg is one of Europe’s smallest countries. Despite its prime location between Belgium, Germany, and France, it sometimes gets overlooked in favor of its bigger neighbors. But people who make that mistake—myself included, until now—miss out on the beauty, culture, and fun things to do in Luxembourg City and beyond.
Luxembourg City is a fascinating city of contrasts. It is ancient and contemporary, local and global. The physical city even exists on two different levels—the upper part of the city on the ancient Bock rocky promontory and the lower part in the Alzette River gorge. Its layout gives it perhaps the most dramatic landscape of any European capital. In addition to its lush surroundings, the city offers unique history and culture influenced by its neighboring countries and their citizens who still flood in for work every weekday, doubling the its population.
Luxembourg City is compact and highly walkable, making it easy to cover a lot of area quickly. It’s the perfect destination for a weekend trip from almost anywhere in Europe. Here’s a look at some of the fun things to do in Luxembourg City that I enjoyed during my time there.
- Things to do in Luxembourg City
- Visit the Grund
- See Casemates du Bock
- Visit a museum
- Go wine tasting along the Moselle River
- Take a walking tour
- Have a taste of France
- Visit the Golden Lady
- Attend a festival or outdoor event
- Tour the Grand Duchal Palace
- Take a break at a cafe
- Visit Notre-Dame Cathedral
- See the view from Chemin de la Corniche
- Relax in Place Guillaume II
- Try Luxembourgish food
- Explore by bike
- Visit the Christmas markets
- Where to Eat
- Where to Stay
- How to Get Here
Things to do in Luxembourg City
Visit the Grund
The lower part of the city—the Grund—has a distinctly different atmosphere from the modern city above. Along the banks of the Alzette River, the Grund is at the base of the former fortress surrounding the city. This charming area feels more like a quiet European village than part of the busy capital.
The relaxed pace of the Grund doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do there. On the contrary—it’s one of the main areas for nightlife in the city. You can café hop, shop, or check out some of the finest restaurants. Neumunster Abbey, one of the oldest buildings in the Grund, also hosts many concerts, exhibits, lectures, and other cultural events throughout the year.
The Grund is easy to reach by walking downhill from the city center or you can take the elevator.
See Casemates du Bock
Casemates du Bock is one of the most historical Luxembourg City attractions and an important part of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built into the rock beneath the city’s ancient castle, this series of passages and fortifications contributed to Luxembourg’s defense over centuries of invasions. They included not only artillery slots and soldiers’ barracks but also served as workshops, bakeries, and even a bomb shelter during World War II. Although the castle is now in ruins, visitors can tour a section of the cool 10-mile-long honeycomb of tunnels. The views from the Casemates over the valley are also pretty spectacular.
Interested in Luxembourg? See more places worth visiting around the country.
Visit a museum
For a relatively small city, Luxembourg City has lots of high quality museums. At the Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM), you can see three floors filled with contemporary art by the likes of Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol (my personal favorite). The Luxembourg City History Museum provides a deep dive into the cultural, political, and architectural history of the city and country. The National Museum of History and Art (NMHA) combines aspects of both subjects from Neolithic to modern times. All three museums are great options any day but especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Go wine tasting along the Moselle River
Just over a half-hour by car or bus from downtown is the Moselle River valley where 16 million bottles of wine are produced every year. There’s lots of sparkling wine and other familiar varietals like Riesling and Chardonnay.
Many of the wineries in the Moselle River valley welcome visitors and offer tastings and tours where you can learn about the wine industry and history in Luxembourg and try some varietals you may not have had before. Two of my favorite experiences were visiting the 100-year-old caves where the wine is aged at Caves St Martin and enjoying a glass on the terrace overlooking the river at Bernard Massard.
Take a walking tour
This is a small country with a complex history and unique culture. Who better to explain it than a local? Stop by the tourism office to join one of the dozens of Luxembourg sightseeing tours offered.
Whether you want to know about the UNESCO sites, a specialized architecture tour, or even a look at the city by Segway, there are lots of options. I chose a city tour with a great overview of the history and the major sites and learned plenty of interesting things I wouldn’t have discovered on my own.
Have a taste of France
There is lots of international influence in Luxembourg, which takes a lot of different forms. One of the tastiest forms is the renowned French bakery Laduree, which has a location in the city center.
Famous for its macarons, Laduree also has a wide variety of pastries plus coffee, hot chocolate, and more. It’s a lovely place to stop for an afternoon nibble, or you can take away some of their treats.
Visit the Golden Lady
Soaring above Constitution Square, the Golden Lady (also known as Gëlle Fra or the Monument of Remembrance) is a symbol of the freedom and resistance of the Luxembourgish people and one of the country’s most famous landmarks.
She was initially erected in 1923 in honor of those who fought in World War I, but after being dismantled by the Nazis and later restored, her purposed was broadened. She is now a moving memorial to Luxembourgers who fought in both World Wars and Korea. Just behind her, don’t miss the sweeping views of the valley and Pont Adolphe.
Attend a festival or outdoor event
The city is a great place for festivals and outdoor events. Throughout the year, you can find fun things going on nearly every weekend covering a variety of interests.
In the spring, there are fairs and festivals related to Easter and other religious holidays. The summer brings free concerts, street art festivals, outdoor movies, and wine events. Winter has light festivals, car shows, and more. No matter when you visit Luxembourg City, there are plenty of special things to see and do.
Tour the Grand Duchal Palace
The Grand Duchal Palace, which dates back to 1573, has a prominent place in the middle of the city. The magnificent palace with its balconies and small turrets is still used today as the city residence of the royal family and the Grand Duke. From mid-July through early September, it is open for guided tours. If you need a break after your visit, pop into the Chocolate House right next door for some of the best hot chocolate in the city.
Take a break at a cafe
Luxembourg City has a thriving cafe culture and happy hour atmosphere. During the day (and often well into the evening), you can enjoy coffee, snacks, and hanging out or working remotely at many cafes throughout the city.
Around 5:00pm, the environment changes when professionals fill the lively sidewalk cafes for drink specials and evening events like trivia and live music. Some enjoyable spots, like my favorite Kaale Kaffi, combine coffee and cocktails with a fun atmosphere filled with art and vintage furniture.
Visit Notre-Dame Cathedral
Notre-Dame Cathedral is the country’s only cathedral. A mixture of Late Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the cathedral is renowned for its stained glass and sculpted alabaster choir.
At over 400 years old, Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most historic places to see in Luxembourg City and its crypt is the resting place of some members of the royal family, with remains going as far back as the 1300s.
See the view from Chemin de la Corniche
Thanks to its layout above and below the rocky outcropping of the Bock, the city has some amazing views. If you like photography or just looking out over pretty scenery, the Chemin de la Corniche is a must visit. From what’s been called the most beautiful balcony in Europe, you get a great view of the Grund from above as well as ancient city fortifications and bridges.
Relax in Place Guillaume II
Place Guillaume II is a social center in the city. This lovely square named for Grand Duke William II (the French version of his name) features a statue of the Duke himself on horseback at the center. It’s ringed by restaurants with sidewalk cafes and hosts a twice-weekly market with flowers and fresh produce. In the summer, there are concerts, and it often hosts fairs and other special events. It’s a great place to spend some time people watching in the center of town.
Try Luxembourgish food
Perhaps the most unique thing about Luxembourg is just how international it is. There are many places (countries like Albania and Ecuador come to mind) where finding something other than traditional cuisine takes some work. But that’s not the case here.
Of course, you should try Luxembourg food because you’re in Luxembourg, after all. The cuisine has experienced a renaissance, so there are many places to indulge in excellent local dishes such as Friture de la Moselle (small fried fish from the Moselle River), Judd mat Gaardebounen (smoked pork neck with broad beans), or many other options. But if you’re looking to mix it up, a quick walk will take you past Nepalese cafes, Mexican restaurants, French patisseries, and more.
Explore by bike
Luxembourg City—and, indeed, the whole country—is an ideal place for exploring by bicycle. The Grand Duchy has a network of over 370 miles of cycle paths. In the City, there are 75 vel’oh kiosks where you can rent a bike to explore as long as you want. It’s an ideal way to see the sites and get some exercise at the same time.
Visit the Christmas markets
In December, the center of Luxembourg City feels like one giant Christmas market. In just five minutes from Place de la Constitution to Place d’Armes, you can visit three different festive areas.
The Christmas markets are a fun place to hang out. There are lots of things to eat like flammkuchen, tartiflette, sausages, and more, and plenty of drinks to help keep you warm. There’s also lots of shopping, rides, and great people watching. If you get really cold, you can park yourself right in front of the open fires.
The Luxembourg Christmas markets are some of our favorites we’ve visited in our travels across Europe. Because of Luxembourg’s location, the markets have French and Belgian influence, and they reminded us a lot of markets we’ve visited in Germany. Don’t miss them.
Where to Eat
Brasserie Guillaume–On Place Guillaume II, Brasserie Guillaume is one of the top seafood restaurants. It is known for its lobsters and shellfish but serves a wide variety of fresh seafood. In the summer, their patio offers great people watching in the square.
Brasserie du Cercle–In the city center, the restaurant serves Luxembourgish specialties alongside Italian cuisine and seafood. In the winter, their cozy chalet offers hearty dishes like raclette and tartiflette to warm you up.
Where to Stay
Hotel Simoncini – In the heart of downtown, Hotel Simoncini is the perfect home base for exploring the old town. It is comfortable, has a great breakfast, and is steps from the main attractions. (See reviews and check prices)
Park Inn – Steps from the central train station, the Park Inn by Radisson offers modern accommodations at a budget-friendly price. Visitors appreciate the comfortable beds and friendly service. (See reviews and check prices)
Hotel Le Royal – The 5-star Hotel Le Royal is one of the top hotels. With multiple restaurants, a spa, and a salon, this is the place if you’re looking for convenience and luxury. (See reviews and check prices)
How to Get Here
Air: Luxembourg’s airport is located about 15 minutes from the city center and is easily accessible by bus.
Train: Luxembourg isn’t far from many of the major cities in the surrounding countries. Via train, Luxembourg City is about 4.5 hours from Frankfurt, 4 hours from Brussels, and just 2-3 hours from Paris.
I was the guest of Visit Luxembourg. All opinions of the fun and engaging things to see and do are my own.