In the weeks leading up to our move abroad, I had this vague image in my mind of what our weekends away would look like. In my imagination, we’d book £10 RyanAir flights on a whim to some random location we’d always dreamed of seeing, but never thought we’d actually visit. We’d spend just the weekend, exploring as much as we could before heading home on a short flight, arriving back to our flat in time for dinner. In my mind, these trips involved the stereotypical European features – stone streets, royalty, lots of walking, history, cheese, wine, and, of course, the ability to get anywhere quickly on public transport (you get used to that quickly when you move abroad!).
Our visit to Luxembourg was exactly this trip. And I loved it.
Just 55 minutes by plane from London, it was easy and cheap to get to. In fact, it was faster to get from Stansted to Luxembourg City than it was to get from my flat to Stanstead! Ha!
Once we arrived in Luxembourg City, it was an easy bus trip to the city center. Two routes will take you there, the 16 and 29. Bus tickets are just €2 for 2 hours. You can buy them at tills near the bus stops, so try to have some Euros on you. though the one outside the airport does accept credit cards. The buses run regularly, so unless you are in a hurry, it is much cheaper to take the bus into the City Center than a taxi.
We arrived at our (awesome) AirBnb about forty minutes or so after we landed. Our host Andre greeted us and showed us around his flat, which was right on Place Guillaume II. It was adorable! He recommended that if we were looking for a snack and a glass of wine after our late flight, we should check out vinoteca. We dropped off our stuff and headed out.
Wine in a cave with a delicious cheeseboard? Check. I tried a Luxembourgish red that was delicious and the fromage we tried was so good. Highly recommend this spot!
The next morning, we woke up to discover a farmer’s market setting up right outside. Perfect. We grabbed some supplies for breakfast and Andrew, the ultimate breakfast chef, whipped up a delicious meal to fuel the day’s adventures.
We started at the Tourism office, just outside on the Place Guillaume II. The man there gave us some maps the city has created of two different walking routes that will take you by the major sights all throughout the city. Both take about two hours each, and are totally doable in a day if you’re a walker. We had read about these walks and were excited to head out!
Unfortunately, the rain had other plans for us. We could barely take any pictures it was coming down so hard and our shoes started filling up with water! It was cold, so we sought shelter in a museum.
We first tried the Luxembourg City History Museum, but they were undergoing renovations and only had an exhibit about football. The man at the desk recommended we try the Musée national d’histoire et d’art Luxembourg (MNHA) instead. I’m so glad he did! It was free and fascinating. Built into the rock and stone of the city itself, it was so interesting to learn about the history of the area with a backdrop that fused nature with manmade, the ancient with modern. And it was dry!
Had we not been soaking wet the whole time we toured, we would have stayed longer. Pro tip: the signs throughout the museum do not have English translations on them. You can find cards with English explaining the various exhibits in the main hallway/staircase thing. The bathrooms also do not have hand dryers with which to warm and dry oneself, haha, just paper towels.
Wet and cold, it was time to seek some warmth… in the form of hot chocolate! I had read about the Chocolate House in my research, so we headed there for some hot cocoa and lunch.
Yes, such a touristy thing to do, but it was delicious! The setting was also really neat, the Chocolate House is located in an old medieval building opposite the palace, with beautiful arches and twirling staircase well-preserved. And seriously, the hot chocolate is so good.
An added bonus about the Chocolate House: it is right across from the Palais Grand-Ducal!
After our food break, we headed back to our Airbnb to dry off (and started watching the Amadeus DVD in our Airbnb [insert his laugh here]). The rain let up a bit in that time, so we set out again to walk along the river and take in the beauty of the city. Luckily, we were able to stay somewhat dry this time!
Even in the rain, the city was so beautiful. It was like stepping into a medieval fairytale! Pictures do not do it justice – you just don’t get the same depth of view.
We unfortunately booked our trip before realizing that the Bock Casemates were closed for the winter. I would recommend visiting while they are open – they look so incredibly cool from the outside!
There are so many walls and vistas from above and below to look at the city. Our walking guide pamphlet got completely ruined in the rain, so we didn’t really know what we were looking at while we wandered, but it was so beautiful and peaceful we didn’t mind!
With better weather, we could have covered more ground, but we still had a wonderful day. We stopped at Scott’s Pub to warm up with a gluhwine on our wanderings, which I would recommend – it is adorable! I would also recommend making dinner reservations! We figured we’d wander into a spot, but had trouble finding somewhere that wasn’t completely booked up.
You can do Luxembourg City in a day, and if you visit for a weekend you should fit in a trip to beautiful Vianden Castle!
Even with the rain, our weekend city break to Luxembourg was fabulous. I highly, highly recommend!