Last year brought with it a real variety of trips – from wandering the snowy landscape of Iceland to spending a relaxing May bank holiday in Prague, and from a sunny break in Kefalonia to a spontaneous weekend in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg?! When I told my friends my plans, they either laughed or looked completely blank.
Admittedly it’s probably not top of most people’s travel bucket lists – and a lot of people I know who have been there drove through it on the way to Switzerland or Austria. But when Monarch’s collapse took mine and my housemate’s planned autumn trip to Lisbon with it, we were left with limited affordable options for flights for our chosen dates.
Up stepped Luxembourg – a place we had heard of, but knew precious little about. But despite being one of the world’s smallest countries, it was nonetheless a new country for us to explore! And boy was it worth it!
1. It’s beautiful
We were stunned at how photogenic Luxembourg City was. With its quaint cobbled streets, historic buildings, and views straight out of a fairytale, this picturesque city is full of charm. And visiting in October only added to the beauty of this place – the paths around the city and the Alzette river were lined with gorgeous autumnal colour!
2. There’s plenty to see
The main thing people ask me about visiting Luxembourg is “what is there to do?” With Luxembourg, it’s more about what there is to see, rather than things to do. There’s plenty of stunning views and architecture to take in: the Casemates du Bock, Place de la Constitution and the Notre-Dame Cathedral to name a few!
With roots stretching back to the year 961, there’s also plenty of Luxembourg history to immerse yourself in! The best starting point is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Casemates du Bock. These ruins and underground passages are the remains of the Castle of Lucilinburhuc, which was built in 963; kick-starting the development of the town which was later to become Luxembourg.
3. It’s relaxed
The downside of many city breaks is that you often find yourself trying to escape the crowds. Not the case with Luxembourg City! This charming city definitely benefits from not being a big tourist destination; there are very few camera-wielding crowds to contend with. This is also a great reason to visit Luxembourg as soon as possible – with cheap flights and views which are an Instagrammer’s dream, this beautiful place is unlikely to stay “secret” for long!
4. It’s super cheap to fly to…
Flying very last minute from Birmingham in October cost us less than £100 each! And a quick online search for February 2018 brings up return flights for under £50 from London. Can’t argue with that!
5. …and it won’t break the bank when you’re there!
Because it’s not an obvious “touristy” destination, a lot of Luxembourg attractions offer free entry. The Pfaffenthal Lift offers stunning panoramic views across the city – and it’s completely free! This draws comparisons with the Mönchsberg Lift in Salzburg, for example; which costs the best part of 4 Euros.
And best of all – the buses from the airport were free at a weekend! In fact, the majority of our spending money went towards food and drink (and chocolate- see point 8!) – and even those were very reasonable for a capital city.
6. You don’t need to take any annual leave
Because Luxembourg City is so small, you really can see the whole city in a weekend – meaning you can save up that precious annual leave for trips further afield! Obviously if you want to explore more of the country as a whole, you could take a few more days’ holiday. Which leads us nicely to the next point…
7. Fairytale castles are a short drive away
There are several stunning castles dotted across Luxembourg, including Vianden Castle, Bourscheid Castle and Brandenbourg Castle. Vianden Castle in particular looks like it’s leapt straight out of a Disney film. And with the drive from Luxembourg City being under an hour, why not add it to your itinerary?
8. The food!
And last and certainly not least (!!), the food is amazing! Being nestled between France, Germany and Belgium has had a very positive effect on Luxembourg’s culinary offerings. The most popular Luxembourgish dish is smoked neck of pork, but there are a number of tasty dishes to sample. We ate at a wonderful restaurant near the Place d’Armes, called Brasserie du Cercle.
And we can’t mention Luxembourg food without mentioning the amazing Chocolate House! Opposite the Grand Ducal Palace, this chocolately paradise is a must-visit if you have a sweet tooth.
Small but perfectly formed!
So next time you’re thinking of taking a spontaneous European weekend away, then why not consider Luxembourg? With cheap flights, fabulous food, and jaw-dropping views, this charming town is a real gem. We loved the relaxed nature of the city – encapsulated by our Sunday afternoon there: walking along the Alzette river from Pfaffenthal to the centre and then sitting by the river with a Diekirch beer (or two!) We’re just sorry we didn’t visit sooner!
wanderingrach, January 2018
All photos are my own unless otherwise stated.
- Reading about the history of Luxembourg: http://www.luxembourg.public.lu/en/le-grand-duche-se-presente/histoire/index.html
- Flights we took: Birmingham to Luxembourg City return with Flybe, 7-8 October 2017, £95.10pp
- Other cheap flights referenced: London Stansted to Luxembourg City return with Ryanair, 17-19 February 2017, £43.64pp (correct at time of writing – 11 January 2018)