This was our first holiday together, a long weekend in Luxembourg in September. The capital of Luxembourg is Luxembourg City, which isn’t very big at all (the country itself is roughly the size of London), however it sits on many levels.
We flew directly into Luxembourg airport from London Gatwick, which took us just over an hour, and then caught the number 16 bus into the city centre. The buses in Luxembourg are really efficient – they are on time, frequent, and very inexpensive (since visiting, the country has said to make all public transport free as of March 2020!). The city itself can easily be walked around, however if you plan to travel further afield, buses and trains are the way to go.
Our life saver for the whole journey was an app called mobiliteit.lu! You put in your end destination, and it tells you the exact route to walk and bus to get, as well as current timings. Every time we left the apartment, we had the app on the go, guiding us around the country.
People from Luxembourg speak predominantly Luxembourgish, German and French (but everyone we spoke to seemed to speak English as well!)
What to do
The Balcony Of Europe – Right in the middle of the city is ‘The Balcony Of Europe’ or Le Chemin de la Corniche. Going to be honest with you, Scott and I were a little underwhelmed as it doesn’t quite live up to it’s grand name, however the ‘balcony’ is a nice little walk right in the centre that overlooks some of the older parts of the city.
Eat Snails – Okay, snails may not be for everyone, but we love them! As Luxembourg is right next to France, a lot of restaurants adopt the same food palette, so there are loads of yummy places to sit and enjoy the local cuisine!
Visit Vianden – Vianden was a really beautiful little town in the North of the country, where you can really see the German influence through it’s architecture. It takes just over an hour and a half via public transport (a train to Ettelbruck and then a bus onto Vianden). There is a pretty river running through, and a few cafes and pubs, however the main attraction is the ski lift up to the castle in the hills above. The ski lift provides such a lovely view over the town (however if you’re scared of heights, don’t go with somebody like Scott who rocks the seat the whole way up…). At one point, you end up travelling over people’s gardens and across main roads too, which is quite weird. At the top, there are a few nature trails around the hills including one to go into the castle, or you can just chill out in the restaurant/café right next to the ski lift with a drink and overlook the beauty below.
See the Chocolate House – The chocolate house is an amazing shop and restaurant which sells loads of types of chocolate, as well as serves some really yummy lunchtime food. One of their specialities is their hot chocolates – solid blocks of chocolate (in loads of different flavours) which you stir into mugs of hot milk to create your own yummy drinks. The Chocolate House is situated just across from the Grand Ducal Palace, which means that if you time it well, you can watch the changing of the guard from the window above whilst sipping on your apfelstrudel hot chocolate.
Wine Tasting overlooking Germany – We happened to be in Luxembourg for Scott’s birthday, and one of the things he wanted to tick off his bucket list was wine tasting. We managed to find a vineyard/wine cellar online and called them up to book a slot early that afternoon. We got a bus over to the town called Grevenmacher where Bernard-Massard is. I wouldn’t really call it a ‘wine tasting’ but we were given a complimentary glass whilst waiting for our tour of the wine cellar, and then another for them running late… Then, three glasses included in the price. We got chatting to the Montenegrin bar lady who gave us 2 free glasses of another liquor to try. Oh, and when they found out it was Scott’s birthday, they gave us a little goodie bag with a mini bottle of bubbly in. Basically, they were all VERY generous and we ended up spending the day sat on the balcony, getting very drunk on endless amounts of wine, whilst looking out over the German hills across the river. I can in no way guarantee you will have this same experience if you were to go here but it’s quite interesting to learn about the different grapes and soils in Luxembourg, and a good place to take a trip if you like wine. The price was no more than about 15 Euro per person, and in our eyes, definitely worth it!
There’s a bridge across the road from the wine place that takes you into Germany. If you get to the centre of the bridge and put one foot either side of the paving slabs, you are literally in two countries at once!
Visit an American War Memorial – Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial is located very close to the airport, just outside of the city. The bus takes you quite close, however we had about half an hour of walking to do down some tracks to get there (in the torrential rain, however that’s what you get for it being September). This may be because there were a lot of roadworks and closures going on whilst we were there. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers, you’ll feel a real connection with it, as it’s the location for the graves of both Penkala and Muck, who sadly died in the Battle of Bastogne in the Second World War.
Where to eat
We had a couple of really lovely meals whilst in Luxembourg. One of the places that we ate at twice, was a place called Brasserie La Lorraine. The first time we went, we had some amazing steak and duck, as well as snails, whilst live music played from the square. Whilst we were there, we saw another table eating a seafood platter and we knew we had to come back – it looked incredible! The next night we came back and had the platter, which – if I’m honest, was too much for both of us, and near the end we managed to convince ourselves that we had seafood poisoning from the sheer quantity that we ate – however if that’s what you like (seafood, not being poisoned), then this is probably the best place to come! It had oysters, crab, sea snails, shrimp, lobster and clams. One of the other places that we ate at was Restaurant Savory, where Scott ate horse for the first time to tick off his bucket list, but they also have some nice ‘normal’ meals as well!
We did enjoy our weekend away in Luxembourg, and if you’re looking for a short break in Europe with a quick flight where you can enjoy some nice food and wine, Luxembourg may be the place. We wouldn’t recommend staying more than 3/4 days however as there isn’t a massive amount to do, but a nice place for us to begin our shot glass collection.