Although it’s a neighboring country, I’d only been to Luxembourg once before and that was years ago, so when the Tourism Board of Luxembourg invited me to spend the weekend there, I happily agreed. Especially since we’d spend time in Luxembourg City.
Last time I was there it rained all day and so we barely got to see half of what the city has to offer. This time I made sure to take note of everything I saw so that I could share a bunch of cool things to do in Luxembourg City with you. And here you go!
12 fun things to do in Luxembourg City
1. Grand Ducal Palace
The Grand Ducal Palace is still being used by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg as his residency. It’s also his “office”, as it’s where he performs most of his duties as a head of state. The Palace opens its doors to visitors daily from mid-July until the beginning of September, but the only way to see it is with a guided tour.
2. Statue of William II
William II of Orange-Nassau ruled Luxembourg from 1840 to 1849. He gave the country its first parliamentary constitution. You can find the statue on Place Guillaume II, the square also named after William II. What’s interesting about it is that it wasn’t made by one sculptor, but by two: Antonin Mercié made the figure of William II while Victor Peter made the figure of the horse.
3. City hall
On Place Guillaume II, you can also find another sight: the hôtel de ville or city hall. This neoclassical building was only completed in 1838. Before that, there was a monastery at the Place Guillaume II and city hall was actually housed in what is now the Grand Ducal Palace.
But this only until 1795, when the French invaded and a central government was established from the palace. So there was actually no official city hall for over three decades as the headquarters of the city just kept being moved around during that time.
4. Lunch and sweets at the Chocolate House
The Chocolate House is located right by the Grand Ducal Palace on rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, but you won’t pay any attention to that when you see the menu. It’s unbelievable how many kinds of chocolate dishes and especially drinks you can get here. And the regular lunch isn’t too bad either. I had a lovely quiche which was just the right size to leave me some space for a dessert afterward.
The Chocolate House is also famous for its cakes so we all had a slice for dessert. The portions were huge, my slice of tiramisu cake was almost as big as my hand!
I’m not the only one who loved the Chocolate house, Jen of Luxe Adventure Traveler mentions it too in her post about food and wine in Luxembourg!
5. The parliament
The parliament of Luxembourg is not only attached to the Grand Ducal Palace but also to a building on the other side of the street by a very modern-looking glass bridge (sorry, it’s not very visible in my photo). It’s typical for Luxembourg City that whenever something new needs to be built or a building needs to be expanded, they try to incorporate modern elements.
6. Gëlle Fra Memorial
This golden lady on Constitution Square was placed there for the first time in 1923 to commemorate the Luxembourgers who died in World War I. In 1940, she was taken down by the Nazis and it took until 1984 to get her fully restored and back in her spot. She now symbolizes the freedom for and the resistance by the Luxembourgish people.
7. The Bock casemates
The Bock Rock was acquired by Siegfried, count of the Ardennes, in 963 from the Saint Maximin Abbey in Trier. Today, you can find an archeological crypt and the Bock casemates inside this rock. The first casemates were constructed by the Spaniards in the 17th century as an underground defense system and later enlarged by the French. But they were also used in the World Wars by the Luxembourgers who came here to hide from the bombs.
Together with the historical Old Town of Luxembourg City and the Pétrusse casemates, the Bock casemates are UNESCO World Heritage.
8. Chemin de la Corniche
The Chemin de la Corniche offers some of Luxembourg City’s best viewpoint. It runs on the old ramparts, built by the Spanish and the French at the same time they constructed the casemates, from the Bock Rock to the Holy Ghost Citadel. The path follows the Alzette Valley and is car-free.
It’s worth walking it twice: once during the day, to get clear views, and once at night, to see the lights of the city. There’s a reason why the Chemin de la Corniche is called “the most beautiful balcony of Europe”!
9. Birthplace of Luxembourg
You can find this sign on your way to the entrance of the casemates. While it’s cool to stand in the spot where Luxembourg City originated, it’s better to look around you as the view there is amazing.
10. Statue of the Grand Duchess Charlotte
Grand Duchess Charlotte ruled Luxembourg from 1919 until 1964 and was very popular doing so. She gained part of her popularity by working hard to rebuild the country after World War II. She helped grow tourism and it’s also thanks to her that several Europen Institutions based themselves in Luxembourg. During her reign, Luxemburg became the country with the best living standard in Europe.
You can find Charlotte’s statue on Place Clairefontaine and learn more about her in a short biography by Brittanica.
11. Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin
What struck me about the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin, also known as the Nôtre Dame Cathedral, is that it’s not an alone-standing building. One entrance is located in a very normal looking street, where in between other houses. The main entrance is located on a small square, but even on that side, the cathedral is attached to another building. In the crypt of the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin lie the remains of the deceased members of the Grand Ducal family. It’s one of the most important places of worship in Luxembourg.
12. Mudam – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean
The building is a design by the Sino-American architect Leoh Ming Pei and is shaped in such a way that it “fits” the walls of the old Fort Thüngen. The Mudam looks at trends within all modern art disciplines both nationally and internationally. It’s a place of reflection, but you can just as well relax there after you visit (at the Mudam Cafe) or shop for souvenirs (at the Mudam Boutique).
Practical information on Luxembourg City
How to get there
Luxembourg City has an airport located only a 10-minute drive away from the city center. At the edge of the city center, there’s also the train station. I traveled to Luxembourg by train, as there are direct trains from Brussels and from Liège in Belgium. Lastly, you can of course also drive there. you won’t need your car in Luxembourg City, but it might come in handy if you decide to explore the rest of the country.
Where to stay in Luxembourg city
On my trips to Luxembourg city, I’ve stayed in two different hotels.
The Novotel Luxembourg Kirchberg
The first time, I stayed at the Novotel Luxembourg Kirchberg in the European business district, close to the Mudam but a 40-minute walk from the old city center. We had a large room equipped with everything we needed.
The Park Inn by Radisson Luxembourg City
On my second trip to Luxembourg city, I stayed at the Park Inn by Radisson. My room was big, personnel was very friendly and in the morning there was a nice breakfast buffet. The Park Inn is only a 10-minute walk from the historical center and I can highly recommend staying here.
I was invited to Luxembourg City by the Tourism Board of Luxemburg. As always, I only write what I think. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you book a stay through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.