Heading somewhere new can be overwhelming, especially if you are limited with time. With living and entertaining visitors in this charming city and luscious countryside for past two years, I have come up with the ultimate 48 hours guide that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the expectations and tickles interest in returning again…
Luxembourg is one of the richest countries in the world with €4300 average net salary in 2017.
The countries population is small and very cosmopolitan consisting of 160 different nationalities living on 2586km2 (that is almost double size of the city Rome).
Three official languages: French, German and Lëtzebuergesch are often spoken simultaneously, but fear not, since almost everybody speaks excellent English as well.
WHEN to visit?
Hotel Place d’ Armes
18 Place d’Armes, L-1136 Luxembourg
Location, location, location is what is important when you are choosing your place to stay and Hotel Le Place d’Armes does the part. A five star oasis in the middle of the city will charm you with decor and spoil you with comfort. If you are staying here during the Christmas holidays, you will be overwhelmed with atmosphere, since the Christmas market is right under your window.
BRUNCH at Cafe de Paris.
16 Place d’Armes, L-1136 Luxembourg
If you were not hungry, just stepping out and taking stroll around the Hotel will awake the appetite. By now terraces are filled with the working crowd stepping out for the lunch break. The smell of vinaigrette lingering in the air will draw your attention to the sleek plates heaped with salads and the finest cuts of thinly sliced pink meats or charred rich cheese. My favorite spot is the city’s landmark which happens to be right under your feet…Cafe de Paris. They happen to serve the most delicious coffee in the neighborhood, so make sure to have it.
SHOP at Swimming Pool/Smets
13 Avenue de la Porte-Neuve, 2227 Luxembourg
Try to observe Luxembourgish woman in the streets. You will spot them quite easily. Their style is flawless and laid back at the same time. Simply cut dresses with designer shoes and investment bags…and if you would like to replicate this touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’, you are surrounded with beautifully curated designer boutiques and brand shops. My favorite is Swimming pool and SMETS (Isabel Marant, YSL, Joseph, Frame, Givenchy, Balmain, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik…and many many more housed under one roof)
Everything about this city is perfect… from it’s cozy streets, market squares, lavish landmarks and historical buildings, to the bottle green parks and the size itself. Big enough to have multiple museums, theaters, Michelin star restaurants, but still compact to make it feel friendly and contained….however, if you are running against the clock, than on point discovery can make all the difference in the world.
I like to begin with the Grund. You can take the elevator at St. Esprit and descend to this unique landmark immediately, but instead I prefer walking through small charming streets and let it unveil it self gradually.
From your hotel take the first street left passing the iconic French tearoom Laduree and head until the end of Rue de Capucins. The street is filled with shops and frequented pubs.
For the moment divert from your route and on the crossing follow a little street Rue du Nord and Palais de Justice for a spectacular view and lavish buildings incredibly resembling Venetian houses, minus the canals.
After you have taken in the view- return to the crossing and continue along the Rue Marche-Aux-Herbes and Aux-Poissons. You will be passing at the back of the Royal palace, but leave the visit for the next day as guided tours are possible during summer months, but you have to check for the scheduling.
Walking down the street Rue Large it will start dawning on you that Luxembourg city is built on a rock which was a big advantage in the past ensuring the city’s safety with kilometers of underground canals. They are part of UNESCO heritage, but being claustrophobic, I have to admit never having to visit them…
Rows of pastel houses and the river Alzette will lead you to the Grund distinct. Best described as a small village below the city’s busy streets. I can not think of a site more happily and uniquely situated. The meandering river is reflecting historical buildings, embankments and cheerful coffees. Plenty opportunity to snap amazing photos. I have visited here so often, yet each time I end up taking dozen of pictures. They never seem to do justice to the scene.
From here you can take the elevator to return back to the city follow the Rue St-Quirin to embark on the tranquil park incredibly resembling a petite version of the Central Park. The first time I came here I was walking for an hour amazed that something like this can exist smack in the middle of a European Capital city.
At one point Pont Adolphe will be in front of you and to the right a series of stairs taking you immediately to the city center — to be exact the Monument of remembrance or better known as The Golden lady. Have you continued walking underneath the recently restored Pont Adolphe, you could explore one of the most desirable residential areas — Merl and Bel Air.
Beautiful houses with custom doors and perfectly landscaped tiny gardens always get me. There is not one I wouldn’t like to live in or garden I wouldn’t like to snuggle up in and enjoy cup of coffee and a book. However, an expensive life style has reflected on the property values with them being among the most expensive in the Europe. In Luxembourg city, these figures are over €1.000,000 for a small run down house and about €610,000 for an apartment.
Anyway, from the Golden Lady monument cross the street and visit magnificent the Notre Dame Cathedral and cool down next to the fountain.
HAPPY HOUR time
8 Rue Chimay, 1333 Luxembourg
Plenty of choice! My favorite -Cathy Goedert. Here they serve their house made pastries with the slogan ‘Baked in Luxembourg’ and if you are peckish, beautifully put cheese plates. The beverage choice is up to you!
The Zen coffee, Caffessino or Urban bar would be great options as well.
Go back to your hotel and relax for a moment before a night out.
DINE @Restaurant Le Sud
8 Rives de Clausen, 1123 Lëtzebuerg
Make sure to have a reservation before arriving. This is a fine dining experience. It has an amazing panoramic view of the city, hence you will have to take a cab to get there, but the food and city lights make up for it plus after dinner you can stop for a night cap at one of the city’s popular hipster spots. Place to see and be seen!
Place Guillaume II
Saturday is farmer’s market day. Make sure to have breakfast in your hotel before heading out. A growling stomach and the overwhelming choice at your feet will make you leave with more than you need. Get some cheese and fresh pastries and fruits to make a picnic later that day. Lea Linster’s shop, which is stone throw away from the Royal palace, is a must stop to get her famous madeleines. The celebrity chef is a poster woman of Luxembourg and the first female chef to this day who won the Bocuse d’Or price. So, …well worth a visit.
With your concierge arrange to rent a car, if you didn’t arrive by one- better yet an old timer. There is nothing like touring the countryside in a classic.
ROUTE de VIN
Traveling about 20mins from the city, stunning Remich and idyllic villages around the river Moesel are usually my first stop. This ‘Nappa Valley’ of Luxembourg is maybe, one of the best known tourist attractions. The undisturbed hilly view of vineyards can be explored by car, bike or by 40 min boat tour. I would definitely advice taking the boat before driving through windy roads. Each option has a certain appeal and plenty possibility to stop and take panoramic photos, glance at dreamy homes and gardens or pick up a bottle or two from the winery directly. Limestone soil and the perfect ratio of sun and rain make the wonderful setting for growing Riesling, Pinot Noire, Pinot Blank, Chardonnay grape varieties and they take special pride in their wines, especially Riesling or my favorite Crémant. September is the month of wine, so a perfect opportunity to visit.
24 Rue du Château, 6310 Beaufort
The Little Switzerland region is home to the Château Beaufort. A medieval castle that Victor Hugo fell in love with during his exile in Luxembourg. Follow the hiking trail to capture this beautiful castle from the distance. It’s image will stick with you forever.
A while ago I read a wonderful book and the mention and capture of the hiking trails stuck with me. It’s heaven for enthusiasts.
“I couldn’t help comparing my experience now with an experience I’d had three or four years earlier in Luxembourg when I went hiking with my son for a magazine assignment. Luxembourg is a much more delightful place to hike than you might think. It has lots of woods but also castles and farms and steepled villages and winding river valleys– the whole, as it were, European package. The footpaths we followed spent a lot of time in the woods but also emerged at obliging intervals to take us along sunny back roads and over stiles and through farm fields and hamlets. We were always able at some point each day to call in at a bakery or post office, to hear the tinkle of shop bells and eavesdrop on conversations we couldn’t understand. Each night we slept in an inn and ate in a restaurant with other people. We experienced the whole of Luxembourg, not just its trees. It was wonderful, and it was wonderful because the whole charmingly diminutive package was seamlessly and effortlessly integrated.”
‘A walk in the woods’
LAC DE LA HAUTE-SURE
On a summer day cool down next to the lake de Haute-Sure…one of Luxembourgers favorite and an ideal spot to go for a picnic and actually make a whole day out if it as you can swim, canoe, dive, windsurf or sail on the seductive lake. For this time- spread you blanket and bring out the goodies, because by now you must be starving. Take in the views and plan the next visit as before the sun sets, which is around 9 p.m., you ought to head back to make it to the last stop before returning to the city.
8 Rue de la vallée, 7411 Ansembourg
It is my absolute favorite chateau! Many will argue that Vianden is more splendid, but I, actually, love seeing Vianden covered with winter frost as it becomes more magical with the winter touch, while Ansenbourg steals the spotlight during summer and fall months.
A baroque masterpiece surrounded with idyllic garden makes you feel like a character from Jane Austin’s novel while strolling around. Sit on one of the benches and watch the sun set on this splendor…
MAX + MORITZ
2-4 Avenue du Dix Septembre, 2550 Luxembourg
End the day on the high note by dining at Max and Moritz. This spot is little known to tourists, since it’s a little of the beaten tourist track, but it’s very popular local’s hangout. Homey atmosphere and plenty of options will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
32 Rue de l’Eau, 1449 Luxembourg
1 Rue de la Reine, 2418 Luxembourg
Before checking out stop by Royal Palace and Zakka store to SHOP for a fail-safe present: an Elephant Parade figurine. Namely, in 2013 an open air exposition made of hundredths uniquely designed and painted elephants took place in Luxembourg city. The message was – much needed public awareness and support of Asian elephant conservation. The exposition was a huge success and as a result you can see replicas all over the country decorating entry halls of private companies, banks, parks…just about anywhere… That is also an explanation in case you ask your self: ‘What is with them and elephants?’ Each figurine is an unique art object, painted by world class artists in a most inspiring and original way. When buying even a smallest 10cm figurine, you have made a donation for a wonderful cause.
Moutard de Luxembourg
National pride and pairs wonderfully with gooey runny cheese. You can buy it in any supermarket.
Charme & Création
4 r. du Marché-aux-Herbes, 1728 Luxembourg
For a gently touch up of your living space- amp full of interior design spaces to choose from. My dearest is on the way to Grund area and wait until you check it out!!
9 allee scheffer, 2520 Luxembourg
It had been around since 1340! It’s grand and children go mad about it. For the grown-ups plenty food and drink spots to sample.
Luxembourg night marathon
The13th edition of night marathon commences on May 27th at 7 p.m. will take place in 2018 as well, so if you are runner, make sure to register early as the number is limited to 16000 and there is ever growing interest for it!
Hakii Asian Bistrot
21 Boulevard Pierre Dupong, 1430 Luxembourg
Another neighborhood’s favorite spot. Retro ambiance and great food.
27 Rue Philippe II, 2340 Luxembourg
Juicy, medium rear burgers with home-made fries. Pure unadulterated joy!
For the fail-safe visit- install the app and make the most of your time when you head somewhere. I found it quite accurate!
Until next time,