Things to do in Luxembourg

Top Luxembourg sights

Explore pretty hilltop villages and an UNESCO-listed capital with these top Luxembourg sights. Luxembourg is one of Europe’s smallest sovereign states, stretching just 85km from tip to toe. Travellers usually oversee Luxembourg for one of the three countries surrounding it - Germany, France and Belgium - but this tiny country has loads of charm still worth exploring.

  1. Be charmed by Chemin de la Corniche
  2. Enjoy the views at Esch-sur-Sûre
  3. Explore compact Vianden
  4. Get arty in Clervaux
  5. Cruise through the Moselle Valley
  6. Go hiking from Echternach

There are pretty hilltop villages, over 130 castles, deep forested valleys and rivers ripe for canoeing. Add to this its proud culinary traditions, delicious home-produced Moselle Valley wines and a UNESCO-listed capital, and you’ll understand why Luxembourg is well worth a week of anyone’s time. The obvious place to start is Luxembourg City, although make time for the likes of Echternach and Remich, as well.

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1. Be charmed by Chemin de la Corniche

A sandstone castle was built on the Rocher du Bock in 963 AD, rising high above the River Alzette. Beneath the site of the castle is Casemates du Bock, a honeycomb of tunnels and galleries created in the 17th century. Today you can straddle both by strolling along the ramparts, the chemin de la Corniche, that once marked the eastern perimeter of the main fortress. Just for the amazing views alone, it makes it one of the best things to do in Luxembourg - “the balcony of Europe” as some call it, with sweeping views overlooking leafy treetops and grey rooftops down below and stacks of houses up above. Wherever you choose to stay during your Luxembourg holidays, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to unbeatable views, whether that’s in Chemin de la Corniche or beyond.

Best for: Some of the best views in Europe.

While you’re there: You can take a guided tour of the Bock Casemates.

2. Enjoy the views at Esch-sur-Sûre

The rolling, thickly forested hills north of Luxembourg City are known as the Luxembourg Ardennes, spreading across the border into France, Belgium and Germany. While you’re here, a visit to Esch-sur-Sure is in order; although there aren’t many sights to see in this hill-draped village, anyone will enjoy winding their way through the old cobbled streets, lined with pretty stone houses. It is almost surrounded with an oxbow loop in the river, as if it’s fighting for its own peninsula. Or, if you’re looking for high-top views, scramble around the hilltop ruins of its medieval chateau, and if you’re really feeling up to it, follow the walking trail off rue de Kaundorf for panoramic views.

Best for: Small towns with a whole lotta charm.

While you're there: The chateau has open access and is free all year round.

3. Explore compact Vianden

What to do in Luxembourg that takes in striking castles and moreish museums? Pocket-sized Vianden, tucked beneath the bulging forested hills of the Luxembourg Ardennes, should be a must-visit on any Luxembourg trip. It's ultra-easy to get around; the main Grand-rue street begins at the pint-sized bridge and sweeps 500m up a steep hill flanked by pastel-painted buildings before curling beneath the castle (chateau). While there are a couple of interesting museums and a 13th-century Gothic church to mooch around, the real piece de resistance is the picturesque Vianden castle, perched high above the town. With an impressive mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance features, you should explore the sprawling complex’s interiors with the likes of the Banqueting Hall, Byzantine Room, Upper Chapel and even a creepy-looking well - legend has it that a former count can be heard frantically playing dice to stop the devil dragging him off to hell. Delightful.

Best for: Striking sights with ghost stories.

While you're there: Access the castle at the top of Vianden’s main street; the easier alternative is to take the télésiège (chairlift), whose upper terminal is a 5–10min walk from the castle.

4. Get arty in Clervaux

Tiny Clervaux, northern Luxembourg's most interesting town, snuggles into a tight, forested loop of the River Clerve. If you’re looking for different things to do in Luxembourg that takes you away from the castles and museums, you can go halfway with the castle (chateau) here. Plonked on a hill in the heart of town, the main reason to visit the Clervaux Castle is for its The Family of Man photography exhibition. It’s one of Europe’s most famous and moving photographic exhibitions, debuted in New York, featuring a remarkable collection of 503 photographs to celebrate life, love and death around the world. The collection, compiled by Director of Photography at New York’s MoMA Edward Steichen, was left to his birth country in his will.

Best for: Seeing historic castles mixed with contemporary art.

While you're there: The castle has carefully restored its 12th-century west wing and impressive (if not eerie-sounding) “Witch Tower” in the main courtyard.

5. Cruise through the Moselle Valley

The small towns and villages east of Luxembourg City run as far as the Moselle River, whose gentle curves form the border with Germany. It’s prime wine-producing territory with a string of vineyards and riverside settlements (can we move there yet?); if you want to explore Luxembourg by water, then hop on a cruise boat along the Moselle River. From April to September, once daily in each direction, the cruise boat poodles along at a leisurely pace, stopping at most of the settlements along the way, including Remich, Stadtbredimus and Grevenmacher.

Best for: Striking sights with ghost stories.

While you're there: Access the castle at the top of Vianden’s main street; the easier alternative is to take the télésiège (chairlift), whose upper terminal is a 5–10min walk from the castle.

6. Go hiking from Echternach

Echternach is a lovely little town with day-long dancing processions (just one day a year, mind), a late-medieval Palais de Justice and a narrow stone bridge. In the surrounding wooded hills and valleys is some prime hiking territory; it is the heart of Luxembourg’s La Petite Suisse (‘Little Switzerland’), after all. It’s an excellent base for tackling the scenic 112km-long Mullerthal Trail. It’s usually split into three shorter routes: a 38km trail through open meadows and forest; a 37km trail that takes in the Wolfsschlucht (“Wolves Canyon”) and the striking Goldfralay and Goldkaul rock formations; and another 37km trail that encompasses Hallerbauch Valley, Larochette Castle and more rock formations. The trail is steep in places, but paths are well marked and suitable for children.

Best for: Exploring the great outdoors.

While you’re there: Trail maps can be ordered in advance.

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