I’m not going to beat around the bush. Luxembourg City is tiny. So tiny that you can see it all in half a day, or a full day with a stop in a bar or two to eke out your time. So how did we fill our three full days in Luxembourg?
Arrival Day and Day One in Luxembourg City
Mr Fletche and I get our first taster of the public transport system straight off the plane, easily purchasing two short-trip €2 tickets from the machine outside and locating our bus stop. The No 29 bus takes us to within just a couple of minutes walk from our AirBnB on Rue des Trevires. It’s not long before we’re back out of the apartment when we realise we have forgot the vital travel adaptor and have several mobile devices that need charging. Rookie error. We trundle off to the local Monoprix, where we find one universal travel adaptor and plenty of other supplies. Including beer and bananas, which if you’ve read my Croatia blogs you’ll know are our staple holiday requirements. Dinner consists of a gin and tonic from Scott’s Pub and a ham and cheese sarnie in our apartment.
Day One – Exploring Luxembourg City. Once. Twice. And once more for good luck.
It’s a reasonably bright morning when we emerge from our apartment, although not particularly warm considering we are just one day away from July. Today has been earmarked as a day for exploring all that the capital has to offer. And already we are wondering how we are going to fill the next two and a half days. However, our day looks something like this:
Barrio Grund. We ascend the steep cobbled path of Montee de la Petrusse towards the Grund. . This borough of Luxembourg City is nestled alongside the Petrusse and Alzette river, at the base of Montee de Clausen. Cobbled streets, stone bridges and UNESCO listed buildings such as Abbaye de Neumunster make this a charming and pleasant place to walk. As long as you realise that that long steep walk down makes for a long steep walk back up*. There’s also an abundance of bars and restaurants, including the aforementioned Scott’s Pub.
(*Since coming home I have discovered that there is in fact an elevator down to (and more importantly, up from) this area. This may have made our trip somewhat more pleasant)
Les Rives de Clausen. It’s a pleasant walk along the riverside to les Rives de Clausen, location of the old Mousel brewery. Now it’s a nightlife hotspot, with bars, clubs and restaurants. Although it’s not really hopping at 10:30am on a Friday morning.
Place Guillaume II. We clamber up Montee de Clausen, out of the Luxembourg City gorge into the upper town. We pass Casemates du Bock (more on that later), the 10th century Église Saint-Michel, the Grand Ducal Palace – official residence of the Grand Duke et sa famille – and on to Place Guillaume II. Which is currently half a building site thanks to the construction of an underground car park. Luxembourg City is full of construction. It’s like Copenhagen all over again. Or the centre of Birmingham. Still, it’s a pleasant place to grab a quick al-fresco hot beverage from Kaempff-Kohler, which appears to be part coffee shop, part cafe, part deli and part patisserie.
Place D’Armes. A passageway from Place Guillaume II leads us to another square. This one is tree-lined, has a jazz band playing on a bandstand and is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. Two of which are the ubiquitous McDonalds and Pizza Hut. There are more people in this area, and the surrounding shopping streets then anywhere else we’ve seen in the city so far. We have lunch at the popular Downtown cafe on Rue Chimay; luckily we turn up just after the heaving lunchtime rush and are seated quite quickly despite initially being told there were no available tables.
Casemates du Bock: if you’re compiling a list of “things to do” in Luxembourg City then it’s safe to say that this UNESCO World Heritage site will be pretty near the top of that list. 17km of tunnels remain within the Bock promontory, all that’s left of Count Siegfrid’s fortified 10th century castle. The tunnels have been used as shelter during both world wars, and as stables, kitchens and a slaughterhouse, but now it’s mostly full of tourists pretending to fire cannons and cursing when a particularly narrow spiral staircase leads to another dead end. (6,00€ each, or 12,00€ for a guided tour)
Le Chemin De La Corniche: Once you’ve emerged from the cool, dark tunnels, you can take in the views across the Grund from the ramparts on this walkway which has been called “Europe’s most beautiful balcony” (although I think fans of Mönchsberg in Salzburg may beg to differ). This path will take you all the way back down to the lower parts of town…meaning another hike to clamber out.
Parcs de la Petrusse: After Friday night fish and chips at Oscars, we decide to walk across to town via Parcs de la Petrusse. It’s a beautiful walk through the lush green valley nestling against the bottom of the cliffs, from Passerelle Viaduct down to Adolphe Bridge. There a great skate park and outdoor gym if you’re into that sort of thing too. It’s only when we get to Adolphe Bridge that we realise that due to the construction work taking place on the bridge we can’t exit the park. We find ourselves retracing our steps before finally finding a staircase which will bring us out next to Place de la Constitution.
City Skyliner (summer 2017 only): Usually the Gëlle Fra monument is the star of Place de la Constitution, but this summer she is eclipsed by the giant mobile observation tower that is the City Skyliner. 81m tall and offering 360° views over the capital, it’s a seven minute journey into the sky. The tower is on it’s own European tour at the moment and leaves Luxembourg City on 6th August (7,00€ each)
You can retrace our steps using this map!
Want to know what we did with the rest of our time in Luxembourg? Click here for Part 2!
2018 Update: Did you know you can now download this city guide through the GPSmyCity app? Go here to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article in IOS and Android. And if you upgrade the article to the offline version, I get a couple of pence to help contribute towards my next travels!