This characterful capital may only cover a small area of the hilly landscape, but it’s a big enough city to be full of surprises.
With world-class museums sitting alongside fine dining destinations and scenic viewpoints.
Arriving at Luxembourg Airport
Fly into Luxembourg from London City Airport and you'll land just moments from the financial and historic centres of the city. The views get dramatic as you come in to land as you should be able to see the gorges of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers carving up the landscape. Keep an eye out, too, for the glimmers of glass and steel that represent modern Luxembourg, a centre of finance and the home of several European institutions.
The airport is just east of the city centre and offers easy access to the capital’s key areas. Buses run regularly from outside the arrivals area and stop in the heart of the city, although it’s even quicker to hop in one of the taxis waiting outside for door-to-door service.
If you’re planning on staying in Luxembourg for a longer spell, or you want to explore outside the city, then consider hiring a car. Book a car in advance with London City Airport and head into the country.
Make the most of your limited time in Luxembourg by wandering along the Chemin de la Corniche, a scenic walkway that follows the contours of the Alzette River. It’s built on the back of old battlements that will eventually lead you to the Bock Casemates. These tunnels weave into the cliff-sides of the city, dug out of the rocks in the 17th and 18th centuries as fortifications. Wander around them to learn about stories from the city’s history.
If you’re visiting in summer, make sure you visit the Ducal Palace. This impressive, vast building is still the home of Luxembourg’s dukes and duchesses, but in peak season you can take tours around its storied halls. Take photos of its elegant exterior, which has intricate patterns carved into the stone, before heading inside to see its opulent halls.
If you have time, explore the Luxembourg City History Museum, a multimedia attraction over six levels, with a glass lift taking you between the different floors. It’s an engaging way to grapple with the city’s complex history, with multilingual exhibits chronicling different eras from the 10th century onwards.
Spend your evening in one of the local bars or restaurants. The town centre and the Kirchberg neighbourhood are both packed with dining options, offering both regional staples and international cuisine. Try the national dish, judd mat gaardebounen (a pork and bean stew), to eat like a local. Make sure you accompany your meal with some excellent Luxembourgish wine (hard to get outside the country).
Two days in Luxembourg City gives you the opportunity to see two sides of the capital. Experience the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, over an exciting weekend spent exploring the city. Start in the old town, with its winding pathways, numerous levels and historic fortifications. The underground tunnels of the Bock Casemates are just one of the numerous attractions to discover in the historic centre.
After wandering around the historic centre to get a sense of its character, choose one of its many museums to explore. The National Museum of History and Art is a particular highlight, combining ancient Neolithic history, the Napoleonic era and fine art from masters such as Picasso and Joseph Kutter.
End your day in the Old Town with a trip to the Abbaye de Neumünster. This converted religious building is now a thriving artistic and cultural events venue. Browse the exhibition spaces or watch a concert and then head into the surrounding neighbourhood, Grund, for a drink in one of the many pubs here.
Day two is all about modern Luxembourg. Take a lift up to the Kirchberg plateau, where an array of stylish modern buildings brings you back to the 21st century. Stroll around this modern quarter, home of the European Courts of Justice, the European Investment Bank and more. The raised vantage point of the neighbourhood gives you excellent views of the old town.
Kirchberg is the home of MUDAM, the modern art gallery designed by I.M. Pei. The airy exhibition spaces help make the work of numerous contemporary artists even more engaging. This neighbourhood also houses major exposition centres and a campus of the University of Luxembourg.
Spend your evening in the Philharmonie Luxembourg, a beautifully designed, eye-shaped concert hall that hosts orchestral performances throughout the year. The Philharmonie also puts on a wide range of events for children, too, making this a family-friendly destination as well as world-class venue. Alternatively, Kirchberg also has as a casino and cinemas for your evening’s entertainment.
Luxembourg is such a pleasingly compact country (it takes about an hour to drive from top to bottom) that you can explore many of its regions in the space of just a week. Fly into Luxembourg City Airport, then do a loop of the Grand Duchy. It may be a small state, but in seven days you’ll see castles, vineyards, rivers and fairy-tale cities, all piled into this one beautiful nation.
Start by heading southeast into the Moselle Valley, which runs along the border with Germany. The landscape is dominated by the Moselle River, which meanders through hills and woodlands, with vineyards lining its banks. Explore the region in a day from the seat of a canoe, paddling along the currents, or by taking a tour of the wine region. Enjoy a glass of crisp white wine, with common varietals including Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Auxerrois.
From Moselle, head north into Mullerthal. You can take your pick between exploring a historic town or remaining in the picturesque countryside. Echternach, the regional capital, wears its history proudly, hosting traditional parades, including the unmissable dancing procession, and fascinating sights. If exploring ancient abbeys and villas doesn’t appeal, join the epic Mullerthal Trail for gorgeous hikes into remote, tranquil valleys.
Days three and four
Carve out plenty of time to explore the Oesling region of Luxembourg, in the Ardennes in the north of the country. You’ll need more than one day just to visit its numerous castles, which lie scattered across the fertile landscapes. Vianden Castle was reconstructed in the 20th century to maintain its storybook appearance, while Clervaux Castle hosts three separate fascinating museums. Take a tour of Bourscheid Castle, a 10th-century marvel with expansive views of the Oesling's stunning valleys. If you have time, make sure you go for a walk through one of the region’s nature parks.
Head south from Ardennes, back towards the capital, but stop in Guttland. This region above the city prides itself on slow tourism, meaning that it’s okay to pause from sightseeing and simply relax, snacking on locally produced cheeses or finding a family-run pub in a quiet village. If you do get the tourism itch, you can visit creameries and castles in the friendly towns of the region.
Days six and seven
End your trip with two days in lively Luxembourg City. First-time visitors to the city won’t want to miss some of the big-hitting sights, such as the Ducal Palace or the historic fortifications known as the Bock Casemates. Look beyond those famous spots, however, to discover a wealth of other museums and architectural wonders. The Bank Museum looks at the history of money, the Villa Vauban hosts a collection of Dutch artworks and Merl Park invites you to simply relax beneath the shade of its trees.
Take your pick of these attractions and make time to simply walk around the city, letting your curiosity take you down cobbled streets and into unusual museums. End your trip to this glorious Grand Duchy with a night at a stylish, modern bar, drinking a local wine with views of the Old Town lit up at night.