Luxembourg City is not the first destination that comes to mind when planning a trip to Europe. It sits in the shadows of cities like Paris, Rome, and London. But, after spending one day in Luxembourg City, I can reassure you that this little city packs a punch. It has something for every type of traveler, whether you like history, art, culture, or nature. Not only that, but Luxembourg City ranks as the world’s safest city.
So, if you’re looking for the best day trip from Germany, France, or Belgium, then look no further! I’ve put together the complete guide to spending one day in Luxembourg City to help you plan your next trip!
A Brief History of Luxembourg
Luxembourg City has an interesting past, and what some might call an identity crisis. The city itself is surrounded by the deep valleys of the Pétrusse and Alzette rivers, creating an invincible location. And, for this reason, many nations have tried to capture it. Over the course of its existence, Luxembourg has belonged to Spain, France, Austria, and many others.
Luxembourg City has also undergone several transformations. And, at one moment, it became a complete fortress. It remained a fortified city until 1867 when, at the Treaty of London, the city was declared neutral. It was, then, that the fortress was slowly dismantled. But, despite this treaty, Luxembourg faced many hardships during World Wars I and II.
Today, Luxembourg City is a symbol of peace and unity. It has 3 national languages: Luxembourgish, German, and French. And it’s one of the de facto capitals of the European Union.
The Best Things to See and Do in Luxembourg City in One Day
1. Visit Neumünster Abbey
Located in the Grund district is one of the most known buildings in Luxembourg City, Neumünster Abbey. Since the 15th century, the abbey has been destroyed and rebuilt twice. And, while it was built to be a church, it has served as a police station, prison, culture center, and public meeting place.
Today, Neumünster Abbey hosts concerts, exhibitions, and seminars. There are also several seating areas within its courtyard and garden. So, it’s a great place to take a break and relax.
2. Take the Panoramic Elevator of Pfaffenthal
Luxembourg City has 24 districts across two levels, Ville Haute (High City) and Ville Basse (Low City). And these two levels are linked by a series of zig-zagging streets. What might seem like a short distance on Google maps, is, in reality, quite long. Luckily there’s a solution: the Panoramic Elevator of Pfaffenthal! This glass elevator is not only free but also has some of the most stunning views over Luxembourg City. It is open throughout the day from 5:45 am to 1 am.
3. Explore the Parc des Trois Glands
The Parc des Trois Glands or Three Acres Park is in the Kirchberg district of Luxembourg City. Here’s where the past meets the present. Next to modern buildings, you will find forts from the Middle Ages. And its all connected by a series of short hiking trails.
Highlights include Fort Niedergrünewald, Fort Obergrünewald, Fort Thüngen, and the Museum of Modern Art Mudam.
4. Get Lost in Parcs de la Pétrusse
Buried in lower part of Luxembourg City is Parcs de la Pétrusse. In fact, it’s so well covered that I almost missed it! This hidden gem lies below the Adolphe Bridge, completely covered by the foliage. There are several stone staircases that lead down to the park on either side of the bridge.
Here you will find running paths, playgrounds, and picnic areas. It’s also one of the best spots to view the Adolphe Bridge! So, if you’re looking to take a break from the busy city, then this is the spot for you!
5. Dine-in at Brasserie Guillaume
If you love fish and want to add a little luxury to your trip, then Brasserie Guillaume is the place to go! While they have a variety of dishes, their specialty is seafood. It’s so fresh you have the impression Luxembourg City sits next to the ocean. Not only that, but the service is impeccable. Be sure to stop by early as tables fill up. If you want to guarantee a spot, then it’s best to make a reservation.
6. Explore The Grund
Located in the Ville Base, next to Neumünster Abbey, is Luxembourg City’s oldest and most picturesque district, The Grund. The neighborhood dates to the 14th century, adding a historic feel to a, now, modern area. Here cafes, bars, and restaurants line colorfully decorated streets. And, while it’s quiet during the day, the area comes alive at night. For the best finger food and beer head over to Scott’s Pub.
7. Admire Adolphe Bridge
Adolphe Bridge has, inadvertently, become one of Luxembourg City’s main tourist attractions. This double-decked arch bridge was built more than 100 years ago between 1900 and 1903. It links the largest districts in the Ville Haut and sits above the Parcs de la Pétrusse.
There are several places where you can view the bridge, but the best spots are from the Monument de Souvenir and Parcs de la Pétrusse.
8. Visit the Palais Grand-Ducal
Built during the Flemish Renaissance (16th century), the Palais Grand-Ducal used to be the city hall of Luxembourg City. Today, however, it’s the official residence of the Grand Duke.
Palais Grand-Ducal is without a doubt one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in Luxembourg City. Unfortunately, it is only open in the summer from July to August. Tickets for the guided tour can be bought at the Luxembourg City Tourist Office.
9. Visit Luxembourg City’s Notre Dame Cathedral
Interestingly, this is Luxembourg City’s only cathedral. It was built between 1613 and 1621 by the Jesuits. But, today, it serves as a Catholic church with the crypts housing deceased members of the grand-ducal family. Its most notable feature is its gothic architecture, which stands out when compared to the other buildings in the city.
10. Visit the Casemates du Bock
The Casemates du Bock are the most popular tourist attraction in Luxembourg City. This subterranean defense system was built in the 17th century and was extended twice. Upon completion, the tunnels extended for 23 kilometers below the city. It’s so impressive that Luxembourg won the title of “Gibraltar of the North.” And, while sections were dismantled in 1867, the majority of the tunnels still exist today. It was even named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
While the outer area is free to explore, if you want to go inside, you will need to buy a ticket. It cost 7€ for adults and 3.50€ for children. If you’re spending one day in Luxembourg City, this is a must-see.
11. Take the Vauban Circular Walk
The Vauban Circular Walk is a tour through Luxembourg City’s most significant historic sites. Over the course of 4.5 kilometers, you will see the Three Towers, Casemates du Bock, the Vauban Towers, etc. You can take a self-guided tour for free or join one of the many paid tours. The walk is so well-labeled that I would not recommend taking a paid tour. For your convenience, here is a complete, printable guide on the Vauban Circular Walk.
One Perfect Day in Luxembourg City
Luxembourg City is an excellent day trip from any of the neighboring countries. The most popular include Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg, and Frankfurt. And, while it has a reputation for being expensive, many of the tourist attractions are free. Public transportation is even free, as of 2020. So, if you are looking for a city that is rich in history and culture with a modern feel, then look no further! Use this guide to help plan your day in Luxembourg City.
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Hope you enjoyed my post about my one day in Luxembourg City and found it useful. Here are some of my other travel guides from Europe that you might find interesting.
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