Luxembourg is a small country squeezed into a little corner of Europe where Belgium, Germany and France meet. Luxembourg is also the capital city of Luxembourg. We were originally booked for a six-day house sit in Mersch, a city about 30 minutes north of Luxembourg city, but when the homeowners had to cancel we had to rethink how we would visit this tiny, wealthy country (luxury car dealers seem to do very well here).
Staying in the city is really expensive but we didn’t want to pass it by just because our house sit didn’t work out. We decided on a shorter stay of three nights and found a lovely apartment about 30 minutes by bus from the central train station and 10 minutes or so from the main areas that we wanted to visit. Since all public transit in Luxembourg is free (you read that right), it was no problem for us to hop a bus (bus stop less than a block away) in and out of town.
Following a self-guided walking tour (see TripBits, below, for details), we spent a couple of days exploring Luxembourg city. Just getting started on our first day, we turned a corner to view a palace with its armed guards marching back and forth and swapping positions every few minutes (with all the stomping and gun slapping that typically accompanies this task). Before we had any time to figure out what we were seeing, we heard sirens and saw two police motorcycles barreling down the road. One of the riders turned and yelled at someone (I think it was a person walking her bike across the path behind them) and then a fancy black sedan (I don’t know cars) came around the corner and headed toward us, turning into the now-opened gate between the two guard shacks. I could see two people in the back seat but, of course, had no idea who they were. Then I noticed several people around us snapping photos. Guess they were important and I should have been paying more attention. Oh well.
Luxembourg city is built above and down in deep gorges. In one part of the city, where we were directed to visit Gëlle Fra, The Golden Lady monument, the view across and into the gorge was much more of a draw. In this area, the gorge was filled with beautiful gardens and park areas and crossed over by a beautiful bridge.
Walk in different directions, and the gorge hosts what seems like entire villages. They really are distinct neighbourhoods like Pfaffenthal, which you can drop down into by way of a free glass elevator, and Grund, which we got down to on narrow cobbled streets and over a little bridge.
Wandering the streets above the gorges is just as interesting as spending time down below. The views are wonderful, and there are plazas, cafes, and shops at every turn.
We didn’t have time to get out of Luxembourg city (there were a couple of driving tours we would have liked to do to see more of the country) but we are so happy that we spent the time that we did in this beautiful city.
- Accommodation: Our clean, quiet and modern one-bedroom AirBnB apartment had a nice grocery store nearby and a bus stop just around the corner.
- Train: Namur to Luxembourg. We only needed to pay for train service to the Luxembourg border as the rest of the trip into the city is free. €21.80 for an adult, €9.10 for a senior (65+).
- Getting around: We used a free app called izi.Travel and its Luxembourg City walking tour to guide us to many of the sights and provide narration. The tour is long (2 hours 40 minutes, 7.2 km) and we knew that our style of zig-zag to check out interesting spaces would probably double that, so we planned to cover roughly half of the tour on each of the two full days we had. That strategy worked well, and we left feeling that we had explored the city and seen everything that we wanted to. Warning: We didn’t count the number of times the narrator reminded us that high-heeled shoes weren’t appropriate for this tour, or referenced these shoes in another way, but it was a lot. It would have made a great drinking game (but then we wouldn’t have been able to finish the tour).