One of the most memorable, albeit shortest, weekend getaways for me was our weekend in Luxembourg.
We flew in early Saturday morning from London and out Sunday night and managed to see it all. I would however suggest giving yourself 2 nights in the city as there are plenty of restaurants to warrant 2 meals in the country.
That Capital, Luxembourg City, itself is small but full of life. You can literally walk the entire city in half a day, but it may take longer given all the beautiful scenery you have to stop and take photos of.
Day 1 – Have breakfast or lunch in the Place D’Armes, a major square in the historical centre of town full of cafes with terraces and packed with locals. It provides for great for people watching with a magnificent backdrop. Or for a delicious traditional yet heavy lunch go to Wäistuff Restaurant also in the old town. It is known for one of the countries signature dishes, kniddelen, which consists of gnocchi-like dumplings with your choice of meaty sauces.
Walk around and see the sites, Chemin de la Corniche, Citadel of the Holy Spirit, Porte des Trois Tour, Bock Casemates, Palace of the Grand Dukes, Notre Dame Cathedral, The Monument de la Solidarite Nationale. However, the lush beauty and architecture of this city are the main attractions. On Wednesdays and Sundays a market is held in Place Guillaume II Square where you can pick up handmade crafts and souvenires.
Head down to the “Grund”, a barrio or neighbourhood, down in the gorge beside the old town, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Numerous cafes with terraces line the river so make yourself at home for a bit and enjoy the beautiful scenery with over afternoon refreshment.
Dinner and nightlife suggestions are below.
Day 2 – Hop in your rental car and embark on a 45-minute drive north of the city to Vianden, home to Vianden Castle. Entering this town makes you feel like you have stepped back into time and a simpler world. Park wherever you can, stroll through the city streets and fall in love with this quaint little town. The hike up the road to the castle is not too daunting and the castle itself is beautiful. They have an audio tour option available so you will learn some history and know what exactly you are looking at. Then just sit at one of the cafes along the river and take it all in!
In the summer months there is a chairlift operating from the banks of the river taking you high above the castle for a spectacular view of the city.
When to go:
In the warmer months as this country is so lush and green.
Where to Stay:
Le Place D’Armes – This hotel has the prefect location right in the historic centre of town. As part of the Relais & Chateaux group this is a luxurious boutique style hotel oozing with old world charm and elegance.
Sofitel Le Grand Ducal – Despite being part of the Sofitel chain this hotel acts as a stylish contemporary boutique hotel just on the edge of the historic centre of town.
Albert Premier Luxembourg – This is a small boutique hotel on the outskirts of downtown, about a 10minute walk into the core. It used to be part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, however for some reason is no longer. The rooms were
La Pipistrelle – A luxury B&B located in the Grund. Located in an historical building but modernly designed on the inside.
Where to eat:
Mosconi – This is a 2 Michelin star restaurant right in the heart of the Grund, which makes it s great spot for dinner as you can venture around the busy neighborhood after.
Le Bouquet Garni – A bit more of a destination spot as it is in the upper old town and not surrounded by the cities hottest nightlife spots. When we went it was a 1 Michelin star restaurant offering amazing food in a very romantic atmosphere.
Café des Artistes – Located in the heart of the “Grund”, this is a tiny candlelit bohemian piano bar. On the weekends this place is packed, and for every right reason, so try to go a bit early or just be ready to squeeze in if the owner will let you. It is a very romantic place but also full of locals just out for a great night.
If you are into Karaoke, Oscar’s is your place – This place is packed on the weekends so expect to wait in line to sing
Scott’s Pub – Apparently one of the rowdier places in town and has a small riverbank terrace – I can’t vouch for this place from personal experience unfortunately
The Rives de Clausen area is just down the river east of the Grund. This area, built on the industrial site of the former breweries Mousel and Clasuen, is now the place to be in town as it’s lined with a variety of restaurants and bars.