Luxembourg is a tiny country sandwich between France, Germany, and Belgium. Its borders cover just over 2,500 km² which puts it at about 2x the size of New York City. After spending one day in Liechtenstein, a country slightly bigger than Vancouver, I figured 48 hours in Luxembourg would be plenty. Turns out I was so very wrong. Here’s why.
Day 1 – Luxembourg City
Perched on top of the Luxembourg Plateau, Luxembourg city is a gem. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could have spent 48 hours in Luxembourg City alone. For this trip, one day would have to do. I first walked from my Park Inn Hotel (which is conveniently located next to the bus and train station) across the viaduct to the old town. Normally this 15-minute stroll offers a scenic view of the Adolphe Bridge, however, it was under repair on my 48 hours in Luxembourg and thus covered in scaffolding. Strolling the old walls overlooking the Barrio Grund would have to do.
The Bock Casemates
Beneath these walls lay miles of caves that can be toured in the summer months. Once used for fortification, today the Bock Casemates are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses plenty of information on Luxembourg’s past…and about a million bats. During the winter months, the caves are closed as to not disturb these hibernating residents.
Luxembourg plays a big role in the European Union. From on top of the Bock Casemates you get a great view of the Kirchberg quarter, – Luxembourg’s EU HQ. This area is home to the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Court of Justice.
Luxembourg City’s old town is very compact and very walkable. If you tire or are looking to see a little more, the city has a wonderful bike share program that is free!
What a country.
Sticking with the free theme, during my 48 hours in Luxembourg the country was preparing for the upcoming EU presidency. To celebrate this, the city offered free Wi-Fi throughout town. This made finding a streetside café with French onion soup easy.
Post cafe stop I made my way to the Visit Luxembourg tourism office in the Place d’Armes. This central square is a popular spot for city held festivities and events. During my 48 hours in Luxembourg the Place d’Armes was set up to celebrate winter fun with plenty of eats, gluhwein, and a great outdoor skating rink:
I picked up a Luxembourg Card at the Visit Luxembourg office and headed out on an included walking tour of the city. This 2-hour stroll gave me an understanding of Luxenberg’s interesting past and prosperous future. Highlights included the Gëlle Fra Monument, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the High Authority of the European Coal and Steel Community –, today the nicest looking bank I’ve ever seen.
Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA)
After the tour I headed over to the Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA) before it closed. This museum of art, history, and science is one of the many museums with access included thanks to the Luxembourg Card. I had intended on visiting a couple different museums on my tour of the city but found myself intrigued by the massive MNHA. This only solidified the thought that 48 hours in Luxembourg isn’t enough.
We ended our first day in Luxembourg with a stroll through the busy Christmas market. Although I was visiting in the holiday season, Luxembourg holds several outdoor festival throughout the year. This includes the Luxembourg Film Festival, the All American Music Festival, and Summer in the City.
My winter visit meant Gluhwein and Spatzel.
Day 2 – The Rest
As I leafed through the included guide of my Luxembourg Card I started to realize how many cool things there are beyond Luxembourg city. With only 48 hours in Luxembourg to spend I could only pick one and chose the tiny town of Vianden in the north. Why Vianden? The Vianden Castle. Although Luxembourg is home to over 100 castles and large manor homes, the Vianden Castle dominates over its hometown like no other. So you can imagine my disappointment when I arrived late and wasn’t able to tour it before the castle closed for the day. Non-tardy visitors can tour this 11th-century castle between 10 AM and 4 PM and in the summer months, take a gondola ride up the adjacent hill for a view of it all. I chose to climb up the opposite side for a peek.
48 Hours in Luxembourg Just isn’t Enough
If I could do it again I would have spent 3 or more days as 48 hours in Luxembourg just isn’t enough. I would also rent a car. Although easy to navigate and included in the Luxembourg Card, transit between towns is time-consuming. My trip out to Vianden was an all day excursion. When I return I will visit their many unique museums, sample the local wine, and visit Schengen – home of the amazing Schengen Agreement. We could all learn a thing or two from a country that created borderless travel don’t you think?
48 hours in Luxembourg Good to Know
Luxemburg Card Cost: Starts at 13 €. See here for full details.
- free access to more than 70 museums and tourist attractions
- visitors’ booklet identifying the most attractive sites to visit
- train and buses on the national public transport network of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg can be used free of charge
Don’t Miss: Strolling the Luxembourg City walls and coffee (or onion soup) in a square.
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Although Visit Luxembourg sponsored my 48 Hours in Luxembourg,
the experience, opinions, and lack of time managment are my own.