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How To Spend One Day in Luxembourg City

View looking over the valley to Old Town Luxembourg

Last updated on May 21st, 2024 at 10:33 am

Are you looking for a European city break destination? Do you like wide boulevards, small, windy old town streets, a palace and free public  transportation?? Well, look no further than one day in Luxembourg City!

One day I hear you ask, is that even possible? Yes it is. Luxembourg City is around 51 square kilometres in size and although it’s spread over several levels it is certainly possible to visit the City and see much of what it has to offer in one day.

I’m going to set out all you need to know, how to get there and the things to do so you too can have a great day trip to Luxembourg.

Is Luxembourg Worth Visiting?

Yes, it certainly is! A Luxembourg day trip will be enough time to see the key sites, however if you want to spend longer and visit the surrounding areas then consider a weekend in Luxembourg.

I spent a weekend in Luxembourg in May 2022 and have no idea why it took me so long visit!

A Bit of Luxembourg’s History

Luxembourg is the capital city of The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Founded in 963 when Count Siegfried of Ardennes acquired the rocky promontory from St Maxims Abbey in Germany, Luxembourg is landlocked and surrounded by France to the south, Belgium to the west and north and Germany to the east.

Luxembourg has been fought over by The Netherlands, Germany and France but finally gained independence in 1815. It has a population of around 650,000 and there are three official languages – Luxembourgish, French and German.

Today Luxembourg is well known for its role in the banking/investment industry, as one of 4 institutional seats of the European Union and home of the Court of Justice of the European Union. As such, it’s a great mix of the old and the new.

Getting to Luxembourg

Direct flights to Luxembourg are available from most major UK and European airports. Flight times will vary of course depending on where you are flying from, but from the UK you’re looking at around 1.5 hours.

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Train links from Germany, France and Belgium are also available – the journey from Paris to Luxembourg for example taking a little over 2 hours.

Travel by bus is also an option, with longer distance bus routes available.

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Currency

As a member of the European Union, Luxembourg has adopted and uses the Euro (€).

Getting to/from the Airport

Once you have arrived in Luxembourg your best bet is to use Luxembourg’s free public transport (that’s right, it’s free!) to get from the airport to the central train station by bus. Check the official Airport site for bus timetables. The journey time isn’t very long as the airport is only about 6km from the city center.

Taxis are also available from the airport, although with public transport being free and, in my experience, very efficient, you may prefer not to use them.

Where to Stay in Luxembourg City

Luxembourg, like most European cities, has a variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from hostels through to 5-star hotels. As I was spending a weekend in Luxembourg, I wanted somewhere reasonably priced, in a good location and with breakfast included.

I chose the Hotel Empire which was conveniently situation across from the Central Station and took all of about a minute to reach after getting off the bus from the airport. It is located outside of the Old Town, but it was an enjoyable walk along wide boulevards to get there. Alternatively, I could jump on the tram that stopped outside the hotel and avoid the need to walk at all!

There are many hotels in the Central Station area and they are well served with cafes, bakeries, restaurants, shops and green spaces. Check Booking.com, tripadvisor.com and expedia.com for accommodation options that may suit you.

Luxembourg Card

Once you have settled on your Luxembourg itinerary, you may want to consider purchasing a Luxembourg Card. The card entitles you to free or discounted admission to more than 90 places of interest in the country.

You can learn more here.

Things to Do in Luxembourg City

A day trip to Luxembourg City will involve a fair bit of walking, so grab your comfortable shoes and add these into your Luxembourg itinerary:

1. Join a Walking Tour

When I have limited time is a city, I like to join a walking or a bus tour so I can be sure of getting to the main sights. In Luxembourg I joined a free walking tour. These tours are popular in many cities and are tips based, meaning you pay what you think the tour was worth. I joined a tour offered by TwentyTour and found it very informative and enjoyable.

2. Wander Along the Corniche

The corniche is said to be the most beautiful balcony in Europe and with its gorgeous views over the lower town of Grund and the Neimenster cultural centre it’s easy to see why.

The Neimenster cultural centre was built in 1606 and began life as a Benedictine Abbey, however today, it is a concert and festival venue. The Grund district, located deep in the valley and surrounded by the Alzette River, is home to many restaurants and bars and is a lovely area to wander around or to have a meal.

3. Visit the Bock Promontory

Luxembourg was founded on this site. Foundation stones from early fortified settlements are located here.

Also nearby are the nearby Bock Casemates, underground defense works built in the 1700s. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, unfortunately, the Bock Casemates were not open during my one day in Luxembourg. They have, however, now reopened to visitors 7 days a week from 9.45am to 5pm (final admission). These opening hours are subject to change however so do check the official Visit Luxembourg site for up to date visitor information.

Current ticket prices are:

  • €8 for adults
  • €6.50 for students and Seniors
  • €4 for children aged 4-12
  • free for the under 4s

The Bock Casemates are closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

4. Visit Saint Michael’s Church

St Michael’s is a catholic church and stands on the oldest religious site in the City. The first church was built on the site in 987 and served as the castle chapel for the Count of Luxembourg.

The church was destroyed several times during its history with the current church dating from 1688, although it underwent various renovations in the 1960s, 1980s and in 2003-2004.

5. Explore Notre Dame Cathedral

Another beautiful site, Notre Dame Cathedral was originally a Jesuit church with its cornerstone having been laid in 1613.

As with other religious sites, the cathedral has undergone restoration and enlargement during its history, including the addition of 2 of its 3 towers in the 1930s. I love the handles on the huge doors at the entrance to the Cathedral!

6. Meander through the Medieval Streets

One of the best things about Europe is its age and therefore wherever you go, you’re bound to find some winding, old streets to explore. Luxembourg City is no different. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the old town, also known as Ville Haute, has plenty of old buildings and narrow streets that will make you feel that you have stepped back in time.

7. Visit the Grand Ducal Palace

The Grand Ducal Palace (also known as the Palais grand-ducal) is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and dominates the centre of the Old Town.

The site of the Palace was once home to Luxembourg’s town hall but it was destroyed in the mid-1500s and rebuilt 20 years later.

Guided tours are available for a short period over the summer months. The 2024 dates are yet to be released however. Tickets are priced at €15 for adults (13 years and older) and €7.50 for children (4-12 years old).

I managed to catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony which was more down to good luck than good management!

8. Walk Across the Adolphe Bridge

A double decked arch bridge spanning the Petrusse River, the Adolphe Bridge was built between 1900 and 1903 and connects the newer parts of the City with the old. It affords lovely views toward both the Old Town and the wider Avenue De La Liberte and is a great spot for taking photos of the Petrusse valley.

9. Ride the Panoramic Elevator of Pfaffenthal

You must ride the elevator during your one day in Luxembourg! It is such a standout example of modernity set amongst a medieval City. The elevator, which connects Pescatore Park located in the City to the Pfaffenthal area at the bottom of the Alzette valley, rises up to 71m and gives panoramic views over the surrounding area.

It’s free to ride and there’s a glass floor for those with the stomach to look down! The elevator opens at 5.45am and closes at 1am. The elevator will close on the first Monday of each month for maintenance.

Final Thoughts

As soon as my weekend in Luxembourg came to an end, I wondered why it had taken me so long to visit! Luxembourg City is a very walkable and interesting place, which, when you combine with the free and efficient public transportation system, lovely food, plentiful bakeries and good coffee make it an ideal city break destination. Its small size also means that it’s entirely feasible to plan and treat your visit as a perfect day trip.

I hope my list of things to see and do in Luxembourg will help you refine your own day trip itinerary and enjoy exploring Luxembourg as much as I did.

If you are planning a day trip out of Luxembourg City then read my guide on How to Visit Vianden Castle and if you are looking for any general assistance in planning a visit to Luxembourg then do check out my Resources page.

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Disclaimer – Information correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting

Disclosure – This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you book something using them, I will earn a small commission but you will not pay anything extra. Thank you for supporting my blog.

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