6 Reasons Everyone Should Visit Luxembourg
Poor little Luxembourg! Almost too small to be seen on a map, so many Americans forget it’s there, or assume it’s part of one of its neighboring countries, Belgium, France or Germany. My family had the pleasure of calling this tiny Northern European country home for four years. And although it’s not the easiest place to visit, it is worth your time. There are so many things to do in Luxembourg with kids! Here are 6 reasons everyone should visit this country:
1. Easy Access to Other Destinations
Luxembourg is quite close to several Northern European destinations: two hours from Brussels, Belgium, 1-2 hours from the Frankfurt Hahn airport in Germany, and a two-hour ride on the fast train (TGV) from Paris. There are direct routes from Luxembourg City (the capital of Luxembourg) to all of those cities. An extra bonus is the scenery in between these major cities is beautiful: rolling hills and valleys, with villages scattered between farmland and forests.
2. The Bragging Rights
If you’re like me and have a little self-competition about the number of countries you’ve visited, then you should definitely work Luxembourg into your visit to Northern Europe. Even if you only visit the capital for a day, you will have visited one of Europe’s oldest cities (founded in 963). In addition, you will have also visited the only Grand Duchy in the world, i.e. the only country whose head of state is a Grand Duke.
3. The History
When a country’s founding goes back to the pre-hundreds, that’s old! Visitors of Luxembourg City (named an UNESCO World Heritage city in 1994) will notice that there are two parts of the city: the “old” part of the city down in the Pétrusse Valley near the Alzette river called The Grund, and the “new” part of the city considered Centre Ville, or the town center.
The tourist train gives visitors a guided tour of both parts, saving them a lot of stair-climbing. With audio guides available in multiple languages, it’s an easy way to see the main sights of the city and decide what you’d like to visit more closely. There is also a walking tour, the guides for which can be obtained at the Tourism Office on Place Guillaume in Luxembourg City, but I do not recommend it for strollers or families with small children as there are a lot of stairs and cobblestones.
4. The Castles (there are lots of them)
There are a number of historic and noteworthy buildings and monuments in Luxembourg City, including the Grand Duke’s palace, the Neumünster Abbey and the Bock Casemates. Outside of the city, visitors can tour the Valley of the Seven Castles via car. Some of those castles can only be viewed from the outside but are still worthy of a drive-by through Luxembourg’s beautiful countryside.
Two of my favorites include the castles in Vianden and in Beaufort which are accessible via car, train or bus. Both have been partially restored to represent a certain period in their histories and can be toured. Vianden Castle is a 40-minute drive from the capital, towards the north of the country. I also like the Beaufort Castle because it has two features not often found in castles these days: a dungeon AND a torture chamber — guaranteed to capture your kids’ imaginations!
5. The Museums
Luxembourg is a small country with a long, rich history, and there are quite a few museums dedicated to it. In the capital alone, there are four within easy walking distance from one another. Visitors can purchase a Luxembourg Card which offers admission into 70 of the country’s museums and tourist attractions AND unlimited use of the train and bus systems. One-day, two-day and three-day passes can be purchased for individuals or families and range in price from €13-70.
Ok, I know playgrounds may not be a reason to visit a country, but if you happen to be traveling with children, it certainly can’t hurt. Family is a central part of Luxembourg culture, and that is evident in the care and planning of their playgrounds — they are amazing! You don’t have to leave the capital to find one of our favorites, the Pirate Ship Park, which boasts a (you guessed it) climbable pirate ship, a two-story loopy slide, swings, water features in the summer, and a café.
Located in the capital on the cliffs above the Pétrusse Valley, DoubleTree by Hilton Luxembourg is very convenient to the city sights and the airport. Visitors arriving via train can take a bus or a taxi to the hotel.
If you have the time and opportunity, I hope you will consider visiting this beautiful, ancient city. Even if you can only spend one day in the capital, its historic buildings, cobblestone streets and European charm will captivate you.
You may also enjoy:
- Fun Things to Do in Europe: Christmas Markets
- Day Trip from Brussels to Bruges, Belgium
- Soaking it all up in the City of Love: 5 Ways to Recharge in Paris
- Read about all of our family vacations to Paris
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Erin is a native Floridian who has resided in Atlanta since 1995. Her husband Mike and she have two funny, smart, active girls and two cats.