Luxembourg: Off the beaten track
Few could say that Luxembourg is top of their list for a long weekend away, but after spending four days there I couldn’t recommend it more. Nestled between France, Germany and Belgium, Luxembourg hardly stands out on the map. In fact, it wasn’t even visible on my scratch-away map, much to my disappointment. Whilst it might not be as big as its neighbours, this makes it perfect for easy access day trips from the capital, similarly called Luxembourg City.
About a 45 minute train and bus journey away from the capital is the 11th century castle of Vianden. Set high above the town with its imposing Gothic architecture, it could easily be the current dwellings of Dracula. Getting around is blissfully easy with tourist offices throughout the country selling the Luxembourg card, which at only 13 euros a day for all attractions, museums and travel, makes things cheap and simple.
The capital itself is a mishmash of old and new. As a founding member of the EU and many other European organisations, the capital is awash with impressive modern buildings and offices. However, Luxembourg’s true charm lies deep in its valley in the middle of the city. Known as the Ville Basse (lower town) the fairytale-like streets are home to charming cottages, churches built into the rock and lovable pubs that serve cheap pints of the local beer Diekirch. The local people are very hospitable and do their own walking tours twice a week around the capital, pointing out places to see off the beaten track, not just what’s in the guide books.
A particular highlight was the Bock Casemates, a natural underground fortification used in 17th century. This UNESCO World Heritage sight, made up of subterranean tunnels provides some really beautiful views over the city. For keen historians, about a half an hour bus ride away in the area of Hamm is the American WW ll cemetery, listed as the top thing to do on Trip Advisor. Another asset for those who want to brush up on their language skills is that as well as the official language Luxembourgish, everyone speaks fluent French and German.
Importantly, the local food did not disappoint. On our last night we found a terrific restaurant in the bustling square of Place D’ Armes offering local dishes. Consisting mainly of giant pies, cheese filled crêpes and smoked meats, the names of which I couldn’t pronounce, but were all the same delicious. Whilst the trip was a bit pricey at times, those looking for a city full to the brim of culture and Instagram opportunities should look no further than Luxembourg.
Featured image from alex.isblogging.com.