Luxembourg is a tiny European country, but for what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in charm and character.
Nestled between Germany, France and Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is geographically dominated by its larger neighbours, but compensates for its lack of physical stature with a wealth of things to see and do.
From the vast forests, rivers and valleys of the Eisleck region in the north to the rolling fields and farmlands in the south of the country, Luxembourg has a timeless appeal more akin to a Brothers Grimm fairy tale than a modern and prosperous western nation.
Indeed, Luxembourg's wealth of quaint villages and pristine countryside, filled with relics of Luxembourg's troubled past make it a congenial and relaxing holiday destination for tourists.
Recommended In Luxembourg
The Petrusse Valley, with its spectacular fortifications; part natural rocks, part man-made walls, gun-ports and secret passageways carved from solid rock is among the highlights of a trip to Luxembourg, while visitors travelling with young children may also wish to consider the Parc Merveilleux, Luxembourg's most popular family amusement park. The park features a small zoo, mini-train and playground. Although the park is small compared to others in Europe, the activities on offer are sure to keep the kids entertained.
Visitors may also want to explore the Ardennes region, which plays host to the Upper Sure lake and the Our national park, with over 300 kilometres of foot and cycle paths cutting through the forests. Meanwhile during the summer, visitors to Insenborn can enjoy Kino um Séi or cinema by the lake and a regional farmer's market in Eschdorf.
But any visitor to Luxembourg will see the degree to which it is a nation borne of its history of invasion and conquest. Even today foreign influences have left an indelible mark on Luxembourg life and culture, making it a culturally, architecturally and demographically cosmopolitan nation.
But while there is much to see and do throughout the country, it is perhaps unsurprising that the capital, Luxembourg City dominates the life and landscape of Luxembourg.
Like the country as a whole, the architecture of Luxembourg City has been influenced by specific periods of occupation. The Art Nouveau buildings in the Bourbon area of the city are a direct response to external influences, while the ancient convent in the Grund suburb, once used as a prison, is now a venue for exhibitions and concerts.
Meanwhile, the grid-like structure of the Old City on the north side of the Pétrusse valley with its ancient narrow streets built around the old fish market offers visitors a feel of the medieval Luxembourg, and plays host to many of the city's main sights, including the national museum of history of art.
Here can also be found a place to relax and soak up the city atmosphere. The Place d'Armes, originally a military parade ground is the place to go, with an array of restaurants and open-air cafés. Take the opportunity to savour the splendid beers and fine wines of Luxembourg in its tranquil and sophisticated heart.
Also worth a visit is the stunning Chateau de Bourscheid, a 1000-year-old castle well located on a rocky cliff overlooking farmland and the Sure River. The chateau is known as one of the most beautiful in the country and has one of the best views.
Traditions And Culture
Luxembourg is traditionally deeply rural and folkloric country and it still retains many of its folk traditions.
This is best exemplified in the dancing procession of Echternach. The procession is an annual Roman Catholic affair which takes place every year in the eastern part of the country.
Cuisine in Luxembourg is rich and varied, having been influenced by the culinary traditions of neighbouring France and Germany over the years. Recent influences include Italian and Portuguese contributions.
Luxembourg is known for many delicacies and specialities such as pastries, Luxembourg Cheese, fresh fish from local rivers such as brown trout, pike, and crayfish, Ardennes ham smoked in saltpeter and game such as hare and wild boar.
Other native culinary delights include small plum tarts in September (Quetsch), smoked neck of pork with broad beans (Judd mat Gaardebounen), fried small river fish (such as bream, chub, gudgeon, roach and rudd) and calves' liver dumplings (quenelles).
As the sixth smallest country on earth it is unlikely that Luxembourg will ever assume the mantle of the world's most exciting nation. However, the grand duchy is a highly cosmopolitan, friendly and enjoyable destination, with a sedate pace of life that makes it ideal for a short break.
Weather In Luxembourg
Luxembourg has a climate that is not too dissimilar to the UK, if a little cooler. Summer days are usually mild, averaging between 22 and 24 degrees C (71 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit), while during the winter, daytime temperatures usually rest just above zero degrees C (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
Destination Checklist For Luxembourg
- Luxembourg has a population of around 545,000.
- The official currency used is the Euro.
- Luxembourgish, French and German are the official languages spoken.
- The country's international dialling code is +352.
- Luxembourg is just one hour ahead of GMT.