travel: 2 days in luxembourg

Friday, October 12, 2018

Introducing a new blog section - travel. A lot of thought has gone into this new area on the blog: I'm not a travel writer and my goal isn't to drop everything and travel the world to blog (but ohemgee that would be amazing). What this section IS is about inexpensive shortcuts to doing it all, and inspiration that will keep you focused on a well-lived life. That should include travel and growing as you see more of the world (even if that means the town over). And no one does inexpensive travel with shortcuts like this lady! Enjoy the first post.

Today, I'm sharing a recent trip to a little known country with a language all its own, but worth a stop if you are nearby. Luxembourg was the last stop of a recent trip that included Ireland and Amsterdam, and really an afterthought as I was mapping it out. Ultimately, I'm thrilled that we made it to this site and packed everything into less than 48 hours.

When I travel, I go hard - a few days here, a few days there, the quickest way to get everywhere, light packing, no downtime! I can be an intense travel buddy - just ask my bestie - but with a short amount of time and a big world to see, we have a lot of ground to cover.

Luxembourg City can be a half day trip from Amsterdam, but a close trip from Germany, Belgium and France if you're near the tiny country. I love traveling to old shit and Luxembourg City is a fortified medieval old town with all of the old shit charm that I strive to find on my travels.

We traveled in August and the weather was just perfect (but seeing pictures of this town with a fresh layer of snow can also convince me to travel in the winter). Our choice to travel this time of year wasn't a well calculated decision, but instead based on our availability and eagerness to see a new country.

Train Station
Centrally located, the Gare Centrale Luxembourg is a great option for getting from one country to the next. You can easily take TGV from Paris and there are plenty of local and regional trains that connect to Luxembourg City. We walked from the train station to our hotel. If you're staying in the City Centre, it's also a great long walk (unless you're packing heavy).

We left Luxembourg through the airport (LUX) and it was 1) close to our hotel, 2) a quick trip anywhere from the City Centre and 3) a tiny new airport that felt like you were flying private. A cab will easily take you between the airport and the City Centre.

We stayed in a hotel between the train station and Old Town, which was centrally located. But looking back now, I would recommend staying closer to old town if you're thinking of staying out late. Here are recommendations:
  • Hotel Le Place d'Armes
  • Guillaume Suites
  • French Café Hotel
  • Hotel Simoncini
Day 1
Grab a map from your hotel or tourist office. We found a great resource in the City Centre near Town Hall that had free maps as well as a great book with background on the historical attractions. Walking was our best way to get around since the town is small, but there were tourist trains/buses offering rides around the area.

Start in the Grund, a small area in the historic district that has all of the charm you want to see in a European town. If possible, walk down the Wenzel Circular Walk (one of the best views in the city) to the Grund. Cross bridges and get lost between the cobbled walk ways and brightly colored flowers. If you need assistance between the upper and lower areas, there is an elevator that connects the plateau du Saint-Esprit to the Grund area.

(Fun fact: for the first time since the 1990s, I saw Esprit stores. I'm not even sure if they exist in the states, but this San Francisco-founded company is now headquartered in Germany which explains why they pop up in this small country.)

Make your way to Neumünster Abbey and walk around the public parks. This area, and the building in general, has history that dates back to the 16th century, including its old quarters and fortifications which are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Continue your path to the Wenceslas Wall, Bock Promontory and the Bock Casemates. Take your time to walk the area, see the Spanish Turrets and take a lot of pictures - the views are spectacular.

Head to the Fish Market, the historical center of Old Town, and definitely stop to eat and drink in small shops. Saint Michaels Church is in the center between the Bock Promontory and the start of the City Centre. We stopped into local book stores, gawked at the Grand Ducal Palace, and had the biggest piece of cake (actually, two pieces) ever!

Day 2
A lot of the small city can be captured on the first day, but walk a little slower today to catch the Petrusse Valley to catch views of the Passerelle bridge on one side and the Adolphe Bridge on the other. You'll find the most fascinating attraction stop in this area - the Quirin Chapel. Originally a heathen shrine, it later became a Christian sanctuary. You can easily walk up to the chapel (built into caves) and see inside.

If you climb your way back up to the City Centre, see the Gëlle Fra memorial on Constitution Square and then enjoy window shopping in the pedestrian district. See if you can identify some of the historic public art. The Place d'Armes is the ideal spot to have lunch or dinner while people watching.

Spend the rest of your time walking the district, sitting on old steps, grabbing a drink and checking out the local goods in the shops.

  • Scott's Pub: an outdoor seating area in the heart of the Grund
  • Grand Café by RedBeef: have dinner at night on the square to people watch
  • Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn: stop in for a slice of cake
  • Beim Renert: enjoy lunch during the farmers market and directly across from the town hall

Activities & Things to See

Have you been to Luxembourg City and the surrounding areas? Leave your recommended sites, eats, stays and activities to share with others! We'd love to make this a sharing community!

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