So, if you follow me on instagram (which everyone should tbh), you’ll know i spent a few days in Luxembourg last week. It’s not your typical place to go on holiday and it was met with a lot of ‘oh!’s when i told people. It’s a place i’ve wanted to visit for the longest time so when the flights came up cheap, i couldn’t resist.
We were in Luxembourg for around 48 hours, so everything you see listed below was done within that time span and we found it was more than enough time. We walked everywhere as well (which you may as well do since the city is so small) so we saw a lot of gorgeous side streets that aren’t top-rated tourist attractions.
If you don’t know, which a surprising amount of people don’t seem to know, Luxembourg is a very small European country in between France, Germany and Belgium. The old town is very medieval; with cobbled streets everywhere and old caves built into the cliff sides. It is beautiful.
Casemates du Bock
Speaking of cliff sides, the first thing you absolutely need to visit is Casemates du Bock. This is the only thing we paid to do whilst in Luxembourg, and for €7 each, i do think it’s worth it.
They are a vast network of underground caves and tunnels and are the only part remaining of Luxembourg’s military defence tactics. They date all the way back to 963, which is INSANE, and were ordered to be destroyed in 1867. They couldn’t remove the whole military defence system without destroying part of the city, so Casemates du Bock stayed.
I found it really spooky in the caves, but i do read a lot of scary stories online so i’m always convinced there’s a ghost lurking. The spookiness is accentuated by blue and purple spotlights, which don’t sound all that spooky but honestly, it was worse than darkness.
It was so easy to get lost. There’s no dead ends – everything leads back to another corridor that looks the same as everywhere else. With a few cannons dotted around, which Max loved, and the best views over the city, i think it’s definitely a must-see.
Notre-Dame Cathedral and Crypt
This was actually an accidental find. We weren’t out looking for it, we were just wandering and saw a big pretty building that people were going into. A sign outside said library, so that’s what i assumed it was.
It’s the only cathedral in Luxembourg, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Big tall ceilings and breathtaking stained glass windows – i’m not religious, but i felt something in there. It was Ascension Day when we were there as well, so the cathedral had a huge display up at the front and candles lit along the sides.
Opposite the door to the main hall of the cathedral, there is a door to the crypt. It’s definitely one of the spookiest places i’ve been into. More stained glass windows, but there was no light at all and it took my eyes a few minutes to adjust.
To the left of the entrance, right at the back, stands 2 lions guarding the resting place of the Grand-Ducal family. The memorial was still up for Grand Duke Jean, who passed away at the end of April.
The Grund is the lower area of Luxembourg; what you can see from above. It’s where the canals are, where the pretty streets are – it’s a little village within the city. A stark contrast from the main shopping and bar district just above.
It’s a pretty steep hill to get down, which is just as bad on the way up, but i think it was my favourite place that we stopped by. I love villages way more than cities, and whilst the cobbled streets have probably claimed many an ankle, i just love them.
We actually had lunch down in the Grund at a place called Scott’s Bar. They have outdoor seating right along one of the canals opposite some beautiful old cottages; it started raining when we sat out there, but we didn’t mind. It would’ve felt like a waste to sit inside.
Also in the Grund, there’s St John’s Church. The bells ring every hour, and in the big courtyard there are these weird yellow chair things. We ended up lounging out on them for a little while – for large plastic sculptures, they were deceptively comfortable.
The Upper Shelf
One of my favourite areas of Luxembourg was the entire upper shelf of the city. I don’t even know what else to call it because i don’t think it has a name, but it’s basically the top of a valley which contains the Grund, and walking around it gives you beautiful views of the city.
We ended up looking over the city from multiple angles, and each one is just as beautiful. On a nice day, you could sit on any one of the benches surrounding the Grund and just sit and look down at it.
It was also my favourite place to take photos and i have waaaay more than instagram ever needs to see. I love finding high up places with beautiful views of everywhere that we go, and so far i’ve managed that on nearly every trip i’ve been on.
The Grand-Ducal Palace
The Grand Ducal Palace is right in the middle of the trendiest part of Luxembourg – round one corner is a bunch of bars and shops, and round another is cobbled streets taking you down towards the Grund.
We couldn’t go into the palace as it’s shut at this time of year, but we saw the changing of the guard a few times. Similarly to Buckingham Palace, there’s guards that stand outside and march along the front of the building. They change one guard every 15 minutes or so, and it’s just interesting to watch their movements and how co-ordinated everything is.
The Chocolate House
The Chocolate House is a cafe directly opposite the Grand Ducal Palace and it is heaven. It’s filled with more chocolatey sweet treats than you could possibly imagine – there’s truffles, gift bags of various chocolate goodies, hot chocolate spoons and cakes.
It is manic though. I think it’s definitely a tourist hot-spot; if they don’t sit and eat, they pop in to buy a bag of chocolate. It is a lovely place to sit and have a coffee, we managed to grab a window seat after outside seating filled up and sat and watched the changing of the guard from there.
It is quite expensive, at €20 for two coffees, one slice of cake and a little bag of chocolate, but i think you’re paying for the location. Plus, the chocolate is actually really bloody good.
Place Guillaume II
Place Guillaume II is essentially the town square. It’s big and open, and had a lot of photos of the Grand-Ducal family dating back to the early 1900s when we went. It was interesting to learn a little more about Luxembourg’s Royal Family, and i loved seeing all the photos.
In Place Guillaume, you have a statue of Grand Duke William II on a horse, and the City Hall. City Hall is a beautiful building, and it was cool to see photos of the royal family on the balconies of the City Hall in the early 1900s.
A lot of markets and open air events are done at Place Guillaume II, but it was totally empty when we were there. It would’ve been cool to see it used for something though.
Things to know
- Supermarkets aren’t open past 8pm. We were planning to go to the supermarket on the way back from wandering in the evening, only to discover none of them were open. PANIC.
- The bus to and from the airport is insanely easy. Number 16 runs from the airport to the city centre and costs €2 per person. When looking for the bus stops to get back, i found it works if you look for similar numbers listed on the stop. So, bus number 16 will stop at the same stops as bus numbers 18 and 12.
- There’s plenty to do if you’re there for longer. There are a few gorgeous castles just a bus ride away so it’s definitely worth extending your trip by a few more days if you have the chance.
Although our trip was short, we managed to fit in absolutely everything that we wanted to see with time left to spare. It would’ve been cool to see some more castles, admittedly!
It’s not a place people think of when planning holidays, but RyanAir almost always have super cheap flights there and it’s perfect for a weekend trip.