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24 hours in Luxembourg City
24 hours in Luxembourg City is all you need to get a really great sense of this beautiful place. Of course, if you have more time to spend here that’s great, but it’s just not necessary. Luxembourg City is a very small city, so it’s easy to get around and to see a lot in a short space of time.
Luxembourg City is a city that is blessed with a good economy. Everything is in pristine condition, with a clear strategy of continual restoration being deployed. There are plenty of specialty stores to make it a destination for shopping. For foodies, there is a a plethora of gourmet food stores, chocolate stores, cafes, restaurants and pubs.
Our first stop was at the Tourist Office on William Square, where we picked up some good maps which highlight the key areas to visit. I highly recommend one called “City Promenade”, which clearly identifies the names and locations of all the special places to visit. There are also other guides that are available for a small fee.
Here’s what I saw on my visit to Luxembourg City. A great sample, but it is by no means an exhaustive list. Apart from using public transport to and from the city, we walked everywhere, such is the proximity of the majority of the places of interest.
City Promenade Walk
The great thing about this is that you can be your own guide. The brochure gives a basic level of detail on all the key attractions. In addition, you could research in your own guide books, or consult Google! If this isn’t your style, then you can purchase tickets for €12 (children €6) and go on a 2 hour guided tour.
Things to do in Luxembourg City
- Town Hall – located in Place Guillame II and site of a former Franciscan convent
- Equestrian Statue of William II
- Palace of the Grand Dukes – This Palace has been the subject of many architectural changes since it was built in 1572. The last restoration was in 1992-1995. It was occupied by the Nazis during WWII and suffered significant internal damage. It is the Palace of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who uses the Palace for all official functions. We also had an amazing chocolate experience across from the Palace. You can read about the best hot chocolate experience in Luxembourg here.
- Chamber of Deputies – This is the parliament of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. 60 deputies are elected for a five year term. The Chamber is immediately adjacent to the Palace.
- Cercle Cité – This is an administrative building with several festival halls, located on Place d’Armes. We chose to have lunch on the square, right beside Cercle Cité at a restaurant aptly named, Brasserie du Cercle.
- Place d’Armes – Initially an area where military troops paraded, it is now a key pedestrian area in the city. Surrounded by restaurants, cafes and gourmet food stores, it is a lively hub of activity. In addition, the summer months also bring concerts to the square, who perform on the stage in the centre.
- Constitution Square – I remember parking our Kombi here in 1997 but there would be absolutely no way you could park a motorhome in here. Having said that, someone did try and got themselves a little stuck. So, feeling their pain, I volunteered my services to help them back up without hitting their motorhome (or anyone else’s vehicles!) This square sits right on the edge of the city wall and offers incredible views over the Adolphe Bridge and the Pétrusse Valley. The Gëlle Fra (or Golden Lady) statue takes pride of place in the middle and offers a constant reminder of the wars that Luxembourg were forced to take part in, despite their wishes for neutrality. This statue commemorates those people from Luxembourg who were casualties of WWI. During WWII, when the Germans occupied Luxembourg, they destroyed parts of this statue and the “Golden Lady” disappeared. She was eventually found, decades later, hidden under a sporting stadium.
- Cathedral to the Blessed Virgin (Cathedralé Notre-Dame)
- Corniche – Affectionately known as “the most beautiful balcony in Europe. This location high up on the wall offers amazing views and is a must for any new visitor to this city.
- Bock Promontory – The Bock offers a natural line of defence for the city of Luxembourg. It was connected to the old town by the Pont du Chateau bridge.
- Pétrusse Valley – this is the natural divide between the Upper Town and the Bourbon Plateau.
- Viaduct (Passerelle) – A wonderful old viaduct with 24 arches, now used as a means of transporting vehicles.
- Fishmarket – This one tricked us a little as we were expecting a fresh seafood market. Instead, we got some beautiful old buildings in what is known as the historical centre of the Old Town. Today, it is the home of many restaurants.
I had not seen casemates before, so I was particularly interested in having a look at these. There are other casemates in Luxembourg City but I would suggest if you only have a little time make sure you see at least one. The Petrusse Casemates were closed when we were here.
UNESCO world heritage protected, these casemates are effectively how Luxembourg City has protected itself for centuries. Built as fortresses, they contain a labyrinth of underground tunnels used by the military when necessary, and as shelters for civilians during the two world wars.
Some Bock Casemate facts:
- Built: 1745
- Surface area: 1,100 m2
- Main casemate: 110m long, 7m wide
- Views possible through the loopholes over Grund (lower town) and valley
- Could accommodate 1,200 soldiers and 50 cannons
- Former prison offers views over the beautiful Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge (links Luxembourg to the Kirchberg plateau)
- Visualise the bedroom, antechamber and office of a former Austrian military commander
- If you have the nerve for the narrow spiral staircase, it will take you into a passage which passes beneath the street. Beware though – it can get really busy on this staircase, with no room for a dedicated up and down route.
The Bock Casemates are open from 1 March to 31 October, from 10am until 5pm. Entrance for adults costs €4, children 4-12 are €2. The entrance can be found at Montée de Clausen.
Inside the casemates
Views from the casemates
Despite the fact that we had walked quite some distance this morning, we still had more exploring to do after our lunch. With the more formal exploratory walk concluded, we decided to venture down into the Pétrusse Valley. Underneath the Adolphe Bridge is a winding path that leads you down to the bottom of the valley. It’s quite a way down there (and harder to get back up if you have mobility issues). I also wouldn’t volunteer to go walking by yourself at night through this area.
Once on the ground, we meandered along the paths, kicking up the autumnal leaves with our feet. The walls and the Pétrusse Valley were really all I could properly remember of our last trip in 1997 to this beautiful city, so we were taking our time to breathe it all in.
As I am sure you can now appreciate from the photos and the places we visited, there is plenty to do here in a day. Luxembourg City is a beautiful town and it’s well worth the stop, especially because you can do so without having to spend large amounts of time here. It’s an easy city to get around, the people are lovely, and with three languages spoken, communication issues are significantly reduced.