It was early hours in the morning when I arrived in Luxembourg City. 2.15 AM to be precise. I hadn’t booked a hostel, as I figured I could sleep on the 6-hour bus ride and then just wait in the hostel lobby until morning. But alas, I didn’t catch one minute of sleep on the bus, so I was absolutely knackered when I made it to the hostel at 3 AM. I decided to book a room and get some hours of rest, despite the expensive Western European price.
The next morning, I got up at 8.30 AM, ready for a day of sightseeing in Luxembourg City. Luxembourg City is the capital of Luxembourg (or officially “the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg”), a tiny country located in between France, Germany and Belgium. Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, and also one of the least-populous countries with a population of only 580,000, of which almost 50 % are not Luxembourgers. Luxembourg is also the world’s only remaining grand duchy, as it’s headed by a Grand Duke. The country has one of the world’s highest GDP per capita and is considered one of the safest and best countries to live in, and it’s also very safe to travel in as a solo female!
For some reason, I hadn’t set foot in Luxembourg before this trip. I’ve been to all the surrounding countries, but just like most other travellers, I’ve overlooked Luxembourg, until now. I had two full days to explore the country, the first of which I spent in the capital.
My hostel was located right next to the old fortifications of the city, which were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, due to their exceptional preservation. They were established by the Franks during the Medieval period, and afterwards, the city of Luxembourg developed around it.
I walked along the walls and down countless steps to the forests and river below the fortifications. This bit of nature in the middle of the city is very unique, as it truly felt like I was in the middle of a big national park! This was definitely my favourite spot in Luxembourg City.
On the banks of the river is Neumünster Abbey, which is a cultural centre that hosts concerts, exhibitions, and seminars. This abbey was built by monks in 1606, after an old Benedictine abbey had been demolished in 1542. After the French Revolution in the late 18th century, the abbey served as a police station and prison, and in 1815 it was used as barracks for the Prussians after Napoleon’s defeat. In 1867, it became a prison again, until 1997, when it was turned into the cultural centre that it still is today.
Luxembourg City’s most impressive religious building is without a doubt the Notre-Dame Cathedral.This Roman Catholic Cathedral was built in 1613 in late Gothic style.
It’s not as famous as the Notre Dame in Paris, but it certainly gives it a run for its money, if you ask me! The exterior is nice, but the interior is simply outstanding! There are stained glass windows everywhere, lighting up the church in all colours of the rainbow. These pictures below really doesn’t do it justice!
In immediate walking distance from the church is the newest attraction in Luxembourg City, the Luxembourger Wort or the Skyliner, which is the world’s highest mobile lookout tower.
It costs 7 euros for a 10-minute trip to the top of the 81 meter high tower, where one can get a 360° view of the entire city and surroundings. I scraped just enough coins together to do the trip, and it was definitely worth it! I only wish that it had been sunny weather instead of the rain and thunderstorms that I experienced that day 😉
When I got back down to earth again, I walked into the center of the city. Here, the streets are narrow, some with cobbled streets, and the houses have colourful flowers in hanging baskets and cats in the windows. The squares are full of life and atmosphere, and the shopping streets were so inviting that they took all of my money (ooooops!).
The last sight that I saw that day was the Grand Ducal Palace, built in the 16th century. This is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and where he performs most of his official duties as head of the country.
I got back to the hostel at about 5 PM. It was early, but I was exhausted after the short night, and Luxembourg City really isn’t very big. It’s a beautiful city and I could’ve spent longer wandering about the streets, and especially exploring its many parks.
It’s one of the least visited capitals of Europe, but I really don’t understand why. While I truly enjoyed my time in Amsterdam, a city like Luxembourg City with fortifications and countless parks is much more appealing to me.
So next time you’re planning a city holiday in Europe, just consider Luxembourg instead of the more popular destinations, will ya? 😉