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Luxembourg

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Travel Guide Europe Luxembourg

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Introduction

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110805 Echternach1

© All Rights Reserved RobandEve

Pea-sized it may be, but Luxembourg's size belies its importance in European history. Luxembourg City originated as a fortress in 963 AD; so the nation was birthed. At one time, Luxembourg City was considered the second strongest fortress in Europe. More recently, Luxembourg has taken the lead in international politics by being one of six states to establish the European Union.

Modern-day Luxembourg is an exemplary nation-state, boasting low levels of unemployment and superb standards of living for its 400,000-plus citizens. For visitors, too, Luxembourg packs a delightful punch, especially considering its size. The Ardennes, complete with castles and river valleys, and marking the site of the Battle of the Bulge, is one of Luxembourg's more popular attractions. So is the region commonly referred to as Little Switzerland, where opportunities for cycling, hiking and rock climbing are equally successful at drawing the crowds.

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Brief History

For a small country Luxembourg has had a turbulent history. The Grand Duches of Luxembourg was many occupied by the big neighbours: France and Germany. The country has its origines in 963 when Duke Suegfried traded the abbey in Trier for the castle of Lucilinburhuc and its surroundings. From time to time if fell under the control of foreign rulers, like France, Prussia, the Netherlands, Spain and the Habsburg Empire. After the occupacion by Napoleon, the country of Luxembourg was formed in 1815, with the Dutch king Willem I, becoming the Grand duke of Luxembourg. The Duches lost parts of what is now nothern France, and parts of the Eifel region in Germany. After the independence of Belgium it also lost, what is now the Belgian province of Luxembourg, reducing Luxembourg to its present size. The union with the Netherlands was desolved in 1890 with the dead of Willem III, and Luxembourg got its own Grand duke.

At the end of the 19th century the economy of Luxembourg got a huge boost, and it became a big steel manufacturer. In the first part of the 20th century Luxembourgs was involved in two world wars, when it was invaded by Germany. After World War II, Luxembourg was one of the original six countries to found, what would become the European Union. It also was one of the five members of the EU to sign the treaty to allow free passage of persons and trade between members. This treaty was signed in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg. in 1999 it also became part of the eurozone, replacing the Frank, with the euro in 2002.

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Geography

Luxembourg shares international borders with Germany, France and Belgium. The border between Luxembourg and Germany is formed by three rivers: the Moselle, the Sauer, and the Our. Other major rivers are the Alzette, the Attert, the Clerve, and the Wiltz. The valleys of the mid-Sauer and Attert form the border between the Gutland and the Oesling.
Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe; the country is about 2,586 square kilometres big, and measures 82 kilometres long and 57 kilometres wide. It lies between latitudes 49° and 51° N, and longitudes 5° and 7° E. To the east, Luxembourg borders the German Bundesländer of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, and, to the south, it borders the French région of Lorraine. The Grand Duchy borders the Belgian Walloon Region. The northern third of the country is known as the 'Oesling', and forms part of the Ardennes. It is dominated by hills and low mountains, including the Kneiff near Wilwerdange, which is the highest point, at 560 metres (1,837 ft). The region is sparsely populated, with only one town (Wiltz) with a population of more than four thousand people. The southern two-thirds of the country is called the "Gutland", and is more densely populated than the Oesling. It is also more diverse, and can be divided into five geographic sub-regions. The Luxembourg plateau, in south-central Luxembourg, is a large, flat, sandstone formation, and the site of the city of Luxembourg. Little Switzerland, in the east of Luxembourg, has craggy terrain and thick forests. The Moselle valley is the lowest-lying region, running along the southeastern border. The Red Lands, in the far south and southwest, are Luxembourg's industrial heartland and home to many of Luxembourg's largest towns.

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Regions

Luxembourg is divided into three administrative districts:

  • Diekirch
  • Grevenmacher
  • Luxembourg

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Cities

  • Luxembourg, the country's capital.
  • Clervaux
  • Echternach
  • Ettelbruck
  • Esch-sur-Alzette
  • Diekirch
  • Differdange

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Sights and Activities

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral, located in the capital of Luxembourg, is a magnificent Cathedral. The Jesuits placed the first cornerstone in 1613, which began the construction of this cathedral. The church is a good example of late Gothic architecture. Interestingly there are also many Renaissance elements and decorations. This is a great sight to visit while in the capital.

Fort Thüngen

Fort Thüngen is an historic fortification located in the capital. The fort was dismantled after the 1867 Treaty of London, which ordered the destruction of most of the capitals many fortifications. In the 1990s the fort was reconstructed as part of the new modern art museum the Mudam.

The Grand Ducal Palace

The Grand Ducal Palace was originally built in 1572 and was used as a town hall. During the 18th century it was expanded twice to become the French government building. In 1817 the palace became the residence of the Governor. Then in 1890 it was reserved for use only by the Grand Duke and his family. The palace was heavily damaged during the Second World War and was restored in the 1960s. Today it is the current residence of the Grand Duke and is a great building to see from the outside.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Mudam (Musée d'art moderne Grand-Duc Jean) - Houses works of art by pre-eminent modern artists from around the world.
  • Kneiff - Explore the rolling green hills of this pretty area in the Northern part of the country.

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Weather

Luxembourg has a mild climate with almost no extremes. Summers are relatively cool with average daytime temperatures around 20 °C, although temperatures of 35 °C are not impossible on some days. Winters, on the other hand, are mild, and temperatures below 0 °C during the day do not occur that often. Luxembourg doesn't have that much of snow, but still some more compared to for example the Netherlands or the west of Belgium.
The best months to travel around Luxembourg are probably May and June, when days are long and apart from occasional showers, rainfall is lowest. September is fairly good as well, although days are shorter. July and August can be good, if it weren't for the crowds on some places.

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Getting There

By Plane

Luxembourg-Findel International Airport (LUX) is located 6 kilometres outside of Luxembourg City. Luxair, the national airline flies to numerous European countries, including Barcelona, Berlin, Djerba, Dublin, Frankfurt, Fuerteventura, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Hamburg, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Lanzarote, Lisbon, London, Madeira, Madrid, Malaga, Marrakech, Milan, Monastir, Munich, Nice, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Porto, Prague, Rome, Saarbrucken, Split, Tenerife, Turin and Vienna. The also have some seasonal flights, mainly during the summer season from April to October to Agadir, Ajaccio, Almeria, Antalya, Bastia, Bodrum, Burgas, Cagliari, Catania, Chania, Corfu, Dakar, Dubrovnik, Faro, Jerez de la Frontera, Malta, Naples, Palermo, Paphos, Rhodes, Rimini, Tunis andVarna.

Other carriers frequenting the airport include KLM Cityhopper (Amsterdam), Swiss (Zürich), Iceland Express (Reykjavik), Scandinavian Airlines (Copenhagen), TAP Portugal (Lisbon and Porto) and British Airways (London).
A new terminal is currently under construction.

By Train

There are international train services to and from Luxembourg city. Destinations include Brussels (3 hours), Amsterdam (5 hours), Paris (4 hours) and Trier in Germany (40 minutes). Most services are hourly, except the trains to Paris (about 6 a day).

By Car

You can travel by car to Luxembourg easily along the following roads:

There are dozens of smaller border crossings from the three neighbouring countries though, which usually are quite scenic routes. Don't forget to fill up on fuel as Luxembourg has one of the lowest prices in this part of Europe.

By Bus

Eurolines has buses to several main cities in the west of Europe, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London. Note that trains are usually faster and more frequent, though generally more expensive, unless you have a Eurail pass or comparable.

By Boat

Allthough several rivers form the border with Luxembourg, there is no public transport bringing you into or out of the country.

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Getting Around

By Train

CFL is the national railway company. Trains travel north from Luxembourg City to Mersch, Ettelbrück, Wilwerwiltz and Clervaux. From Ettelbrück you can go to Diekirch as well. Other destinations include Wiltz and Kautenbach. Going south, you can go to Bettembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette. There is at least one train an hour to every city and in every direction.

By Car

Roads in Luxemburg are very good and major highways run towards Germany, Belgium and France. Petrol is among the cheapest in Western Europe, car rental prices are relatively high though. Rental cars are available at the international airport or in most major cities and towns. Traffic drives on the right and your national driver's licence or international driving permit will be sufficient.

By Bus

Comfortable and punctual bus travel is possible between all major cities and towns. Most lines have at least one hourly bus, but Sunday services are less frequent.

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Red Tape

If you are a European Union (EU) citizen, you may enter without any restriction as per your EU citizenship rights. If you are not an EU citizen, you will need to obtain a Schengen Visa. This visa is valid for any country in the Schengen zone.

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Money

See also: Money Matters

Luxembourg has adopted the Euro (ISO code: EUR, symbol: ) as its official currency. One Euro is divided into 100 cents, which is sometimes referred to as eurocents, especially when distinguishing them with the US cents.

Euro banknotes come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. The highest three denominations are rarely used in everyday transactions. All Euro banknotes have a common design for each denomination on both sides throughout the Eurozone.

The Euro coins are 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, €1 and €2. Some countries in the Eurozone have law which requires cash transactions to be rounded to the nearest 5 cents. All Euro coins have a common design on the denomination (value) side, while the opposite side may have a different image from one country to another. Although the image side may be different, all Euro coins remain legal tender throughout the Eurozone.

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Health

See also: Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Luxembourg.

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Safety

See also: Travel Safety

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

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Quick Facts

Luxembourg flag

Map of Luxembourg

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Local name
Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourgish), Luxembourg (French), Luxemburg (German)
Capital
Luxembourg
Government
Constitutional Monarchy
Nationality
Luxembourger
Population
454,000
Languages
Luxembourgish, German, French
Religions
Christianity (Catholic, Protestant), Judaism, Islam
Currency
Euro (EUR) €
Calling Code
+352
Time Zone
UTC+1
Summer (DST)
UTC+2

Contributors

as well as Herr Bert (10%), dr.pepper (5%), Peter (4%), Sam I Am (1%)

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This is version 32. Last edited at 7:08 on Aug 23, 12 by Utrecht. 38 articles link to this page.

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