10 Excellent ways to spend your time in Luxembourg City
Due to its humble size the country of Luxembourg is often overlooked as a European tourism destination, and so is its capital city by the same name. And that’s a shame, because Luxembourg has a lot to offer – as a country and as a capital. Back in December last year I had the chance to check it out for myself, and I was positively surprised about it all. A city of grand architecture, splendid views and a lively yet relaxed atmosphere.
There’s a lot to experience really. Much more than I had the time for in just a couple of days. Many more museums, historic attractions and picturesque suburbs waiting to be discovered on my next visit. But I did get to see a bunch of interesting buildings and places, so here’s a list with 10 ways you could spend your time, if you visit the city yourself… and you really should!
Check out the train station
Luxembourg Railway Station
I’m a big fan of old-style train stations, and Luxembourg City’s main station is definitely an attraction in itself. Mostly from the outside, with its baroque architecture and cobber topped clock tower – giving it a cathedral kind-of-look, but also on the inside where the ceiling is covered with street art looking paintings. Another unique feature is the colourful stained glass window showing the city’s silhouette above the train announcement screens. And easy one to check off if you arrive to the city by train.
Admire the Grand Ducal Palace
Luxembourg is the world’s only Grand Duchy and therefore it’s also the only place you’ll find a Grand Ducal Palace – one of the capital’s most impressive buildings with its beautifully kept sandstone facade. It’s the official residence of Grand Duke Henri, although he actually lives outside the capital, but this majestic palace is used for all representative matters. If you are curious it can be experienced inside on guided tours from mid-July to the end of August.
Visit the country’s only cathedral
Like Paris, Luxembourg City has its own Notre Dame cathedral, and although not as big as the one found in the French capital, it is definitely worth a closer look. It is roman catholic and the country’s only cathedral. It was built between 1613 and 1621, and later expanded in the 1930’ies – now offering a nice combination of baroque and renaissance architecture, as well as gothic-style features. Most unique are its beautifully decorated stone columns and its stained glass windows.
Go artsy near Kirschberg
MUDAM – Musee d’Art Modern Grand-Duc Jean
A must-visit for fans of art and architecture, MUDAM is a very unique feature in the cityscape of Luxembourg. A modern art museum that was opened in 2006, and located in a green area just outside the business district known as Kirchberg. Here it is nicely incorporated in the landscape design together with Musée Draï Eechelen (Three Acorns Museum) – and behind the futuristic facade it offers an interesting collection of paintings, sculptures and installations, providing hours of entertainment.
Hang out at the cultural abbey
Have you ever been to a jazz concert in an abbey? It’s possible here in Luxembourg, as well as enjoying a drink and a meal, at the cultural hub of Neimënster, set in the historic neighbourhood of Grund. The current building dates back to 1688, but the original abbey stood here many years before. The complex was extended in 1720 and was since used as a police station and a prison. From 2004 it has been receiving locals and visitors as a cultural centre and concert venue. A great place to stop by for a cup of coffee and to catch some jazzy tunes.
Cross the city’s landmark bridge
Luxembourg City doesn’t have an Eiffel Tower or a Big Ben, but this capital city still has some architectural and engineering highlights of its own. The most iconic being the Pont Adolphe arch bridge that was opened back in 1903. It stretches 153 meters across the Pétrusse valley with the river running 42 meters below. And it carries road traffic, trams and pedestrians from one part of the city to another. Despite being more than 100 years old, it’s still known as the “new bridge”, as an even older bridge is crossing the river nearby. Pont Adolphe was recently renovated and offers some excellent skyline views of the city.
Go shopping in the ‘Ville Haute’ quarter
The Ville Haute quarter in the historic heart of Luxembourg City is the place to go if you’re looking for a shopping spree. Here you’ll find a bunch of brand stores and big designers, as well as a nice range of local specialty shops, along the pedestrian shopping streets. It’s also a great place to feel the life of the city, and to hang out around its atmospheric squares.
Take a stroll down the avenue
Avenue de la Liberté
For more shopping and an architectural feast, keep walking after crossing Pont Adolphe and take in the beauty of Avenue de la Liberté – mentioned among some of the most attractive shopping streets in the world. A lovely avenue leading you from the bridge and down to the city’s main railway station, mentioned above. Among the highlights are the Bourbon Plateau near the bridge, and the magnificent facade of number 19.
Find quality souvenirs
Luxembourg’s capital isn’t full of those tacky souvenir shops, that you’ll find in many capitals across Europe. But you will be able to bring home some quality Luxembourgish memories if you stop by Luxembourg House near the Grand Ducal Palace. A shop offering everything from local crafts to gin and clothing, as well as toys and books on Luxembourg. Definitely the place to go for lux’ing it up.
Have a local beer in the suburbs
Rives de Clausen
Originally the home of an industrial site and the former Mousel brewery, Rives de Clausen has been turned into a nightlife neighbourhood of its own. An area with plenty of bars in which to hang out with the locals on busy weekends. The perfect place to try the city’s only locally brewed beer Clausel – being brewed in the former brewery’s facilities since 2007. Talk about fresh from the tap!
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