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Blick auf das Abtei Neumünster, Bild: BAHDANOVICH ALENA / shutterstock

Luxembourg – A small country in a big way

Grand Duchy with many tasks and special features

With an area of only 2,586 km², Luxembourg is a small country in this respect. Nevertheless, it has great and diverse things to offer:

  • The Grand Duke is multicultural, with almost 50 percent of the approximately 600,000 inhabitants being foreigners. Three languages are spoken: Luxembourgish (Letzebuergisch) as the national language and German, French and Luxembourgish as the official language.
  • Luxembourg has three direct neighbours: Germany, France and Belgium. Together with its neighbour Belgium and the Netherlands, it forms the Benelux countries.
  • It is a member of NATO, the UN, as well as the EU, the European Union. The capital of the same name is the venue for the Council of the EU
  • Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC)
  • Luxembourg City is home to several important European institutions: the administrative headquarters of the EU, the seat of the European Court of Auditors, the European Court of Justice and the European Investment Bank.
  • The international agreement for the abolition of stationary border controls in the area of the participating states, the so-called “Schengen Agreement”, was signed in the town of Schengen.

Cultural heritage, traditions and natural beauties

Luxembourg, Philharmonie
The Philharmonie Luxembourg, Image: Reinhard Tiburzy / shutterstock

Our neighbouring country of Luxembourg is full of sights. Numerous historical places, museums, castles, ruins or monuments bear witness to a rich past, tradition and beauty. It is not for nothing that UNESCO has elevated many places to World Heritage status. The capital itself is particularly worth seeing.

The landscape of Luxembourg is very varied. In particular, there are the rather rugged Luxembourg Ardennes, the famous Mullerthal with its bizarre rock formations or the vineyards in the Moselle Valley.

Industry, agriculture and trade played a major role in the country’s past. Numerous industrial museums still tell of it today. These include the Slate Mining Museum in Haut-Martelange or the Industrial and Railway Park in Differdange/Pétange.

Last but not least, there are numerous traditional and interesting festivals that attract numerous visitors from all over the world in various towns every year. An example would be the jumping procession in Echternach.

Luxembourg City, a capital with charm

Luxembourg, Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes
The Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes, Image: nito / shutterstock

One of the most important sights of the Grand Duchy is without question the capital. It has twice received the “European Capital of Culture” award and the old town has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Luxembourg City is culturally and historically an unmistakably impressive city where multicultural life pulsates.

A stunning location

Luxembourg is a city with many faces: on the one hand, gigantic, modern buildings and luxurious shops dominate, and on the other hand, the well-preserved remains of the medieval fortifications are enthroned high above as the city’s landmark. Deep gorges are formed by the rivers Alzette and Pétrusse, which seem to encircle the city. An extremely beautiful panorama of this can be obtained from the view from the ramparts down into the valley.

Dive into the underworld

Luxembourg
Image: S-F / shutterstock

If you are in the Luxembourg capital, you can’t help but marvel at the fortress known as the “Gibraltar of the North”. You should definitely venture into the “underworld” there. A visit to the gigantic casemates is a must for every visitor. In the Bock casemates, which were used for defence from the 17th century onwards, the visitor enters the caves and passages carved into the rock and experiences a journey through time par excellence. A prison, a dungeon and the city’s birthplace, the archaeological crypt, as well as some fantastic views “outside” offer a breathtaking experience for the whole family.

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If you want to soak up a lot of city history, you can entrust yourself to the approximately 5.5 km long “Wenceslas Trail”, a circular route that has casemates, defensive walls and citadels as cornerstones.

Detour into a fairytale world

The Mullerthal, also known as “Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland”, is a breathtaking landscape that you can expect to encounter elves and gnomes at any time when you cross it. Almost like in a fairytale forest…

Luxembourg, Mullerthal
The Mullerthal, Image: Sabino Parente / shutterstock

But what is special about the Mullerthal? Quite simply: it is an ideal hiking area with gigantic rock formations that leave a lot of room for the imagination, with romantic streams, beautiful small villages with castle ruins such as Larochette or Beaufort, impressive panoramas of the valley of the Sûre and, of course, the landmark of the region, the Schiessentümpel, where water forms a fairytale situation.

Hiking is not only the miller’s delight…

In the Mullerthal, several longer and shorter hiking trails are well signposted. The most famous is the Mullerthal Trail, a hiking route of 112 km consisting of three routes. The tours can also be done independently of each other and, of course, expanded. The starting point of the hike can also be chosen individually. A large red M is pointing the way.
No matter where and how, you will definitely go to some spectacular natural sites such as the Schiessentümpel or the Wolfsschlucht. Truly gigantic rock formations await hikers at almost every corner. But also the castle of Beaufort and Echternach with its lake and excavation site are on the list of the Mullerthal Trail. Once again an experience for the whole family!

Luxembourg – You have to see it!

Luxembourg, European Court of Justice
The European Court of Justice, Image: nitpicker / shutterstock

In principle, the whole of Luxembourg is worth a trip, some destinations have already been mentioned. However, there are certain places that are simply a must. They either originate from the past or are recommended due to special natural beauties or events.

Castles in Luxembourg

Approximately in the middle of Luxembourg is the “Valley of the Seven Castles” – the Eisch Valley – with the 37 km long hiking trail of the same name, which leads past all seven castles and palaces in the region. The cornerstones of the hike are the Fockeschlass in Koerich and the castle in Mersch.
Directly on the border with Germany is the village of Vianden with the almost 1,000-year-old castle with manor house. This is said to have been built on the foundations of a Roman fort and a Carolingian refuge. After the restoration, both can now be visited

Villages

Luxembourg, Monument of Grand-Duchess Charlotte
Monument of Grand-Duchess Charlotte, Image: Valentin Ivantsov / shutterstock

Vianden or Veinen, located in the Ardennes and on the Our, has not only the castle but also the Sodality Chapel and the Trinitarian Church as sights to offer.

Clervaux, also known by its French name Clervaux, is located in the heart of Luxembourg’s Ardennes and, despite its small size, is a “great” place. Clervaux, for example, has a castle that houses three interesting visitor magnets: the War Museum, which provides information about the Battle of the Bulge, an exhibition with models of the country’s castles and palaces, as well as the famous UNESCO Memory of the World Heritage, the photo exhibition “The Family of Man” by Edward Steichen, which gave the city the nickname “City of Images”.

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In the border triangle of Germany, France and Luxembourg, the small but famous wine-growing village of Schengen on the Moselle can be found. Here, in 1985, the famous Schengen Agreement was signed on the “MS Princesse Marie-Astrid”, which set the milestone for the abolition of controls at the European borders of some countries. Interesting information can be found today in the “Europe Direct” and especially in the “Musée Européen Schengen”. In addition to the historic ship, the remains of a moated castle from the early Middle Ages, a church and a castle as well as the baroque castle garden are the historical sights of the city.

Luxembourg, Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle, Image: Sergey Novikov / shutterstock

Echternach an der Sauer is the oldest city in Luxembourg and a stone’s throw from Germany. The market square, towers and remains of the former city wall and the narrow, winding streets still bear witness to medieval charm today. Also worth mentioning are the “Denzëlt”, the former court of justice, the Peter and Paul church with its frescoes and the Romanesque basilica, whose crypt houses the tomb of Saint Willibrord. On the outskirts of the city is a leisure centre with a lake and the “Roman Villa”. Here the visitor will find excavations from the 1st to 5th centuries, an exhibition about the life of the “ancient” Romans and much more.
Once a small settlement of boatmen and fishermen, Remich on the Moselle has become a respected wine village to this day. The city’s landmark is the Bacchus Fountain. Surrounded by vineyards and forest, the Battle of Remich against the Vikings took place here in 882. Today it is much more peaceful, today only the tourists storm the place.

Other places worth mentioning are Ettelbruck, where beer is said to flow from a donkey fountain at certain times, and Diekirch with the National Museum of Military History and a Bee and Beer Museum. In the former mining town of Rumelange, you can now learn interesting facts about this industry in the mining museum and drive into the tunnels like the miners once did. Esch-sur-Sûre is particularly impressive. The remains of an old fortress are enthroned on a steeply sloping rockslide. The town itself is almost completely engulfed by the Sûre. In the immediate vicinity is the Sauer dam with lake and leisure facilities.

Luxembourg – festivals, celebrations & traditions

Luxembourg Christmas Market
The Christmas market in Luxembourg, Image: FamVeld / shutterstock

Probably the best-known and most spectacular traditional festival is the Echternach Hopping Procession, which takes place on the Tuesday after Pentecost. That’s when the participants jump from the former abbey to the basilica in the archipelago. The purpose is to honour Saint Willibrord, who set off from here to work as a missionary in northern Germany. The procession is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts numerous people from all over the world every year.

Not quite as spectacular, but also worth seeing are the annual medieval festival in Vianden and the nut market in October.

The carnival customs of various municipalities in Luxembourg are also interesting. For example, the carnival parade in Diekirch is one of the most worth seeing. In Remich, the carnival season ends by burning a straw doll on the Moselle bridge on Ash Wednesday. The flames are supposed to drive away the evil winter spirits.

In Wiltz, the Gënzefest, the Broom Festival, is accompanied by a colourful flower parade at Pentecost.