Luxembourg City: our Fantastic Family Adventure
Our fantastic adventure in Luxembourg was so unexpected and completely unplanned. Usually, those are the ones that come out the best in the end!
Prepare to embark on this incredible journey with your family in the captivating Grand Duchy of Luxembourg! This little gem is rich in history, breathtaking landscapes, and modern attractions in such a small territory; it is truly unique! We drove our campervan there and spent all our time in the capital, but we still had a great feel for this delightful country.
Let’s dive into the heart of Luxembourg City but first, let me share with you some interesting facts.
Fun Facts about Luxembourg
- Language: Luxembourg is like a linguistic melting pot! They speak Luxembourgish, French, and German officially, and guess what? English is a breeze for them too. So no worries about lost-in-translation moments!
- Party in June: June 23rd is Luxembourg’s National Day! It’s the Grand Duke’s birthday, and the country lights up with celebrations, fireworks, and parades! Maybe it is something you might not want to miss!
- UNESCO: Despite being tiny, Luxembourg boasts some serious UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Old Quarters and Fortifications of Luxembourg City. You’re walking on history, which makes it even more special!
- Money: Luxembourg is known as “Europe’s Financial Hub” that attracts businesses, investors, and financial institutions from around the world. Its stability, favorable business environment, and diverse financial services have positioned it as a critical player in the European economic landscape. Did you know that its minimum wage is the highest in Europe? It might be worth looking into it!
- Buses are free: to limit the use of cars, public transportation is free in the whole country, including trains, trams, and buses. While visiting Luxembourg, getting around is simple and affordable.
Let the exploration begin in Luxembourg City
We didn’t go on a set tour or have a preplanned idea of what we would do; I looked up a few intriguing spots to see around town, but without routing out instead, we simply wandered and then realized where we were.
Let’s dive into Luxembourg City – a place that feels like stepping into a fairytale storybook.
We started our adventure in the charming Old Town. Cobblestone streets, medieval buildings, it’s like walking back in time! We wandered around without a set goal; we just wanted to stumble upon famous sites and be surprised. The kids loved it, and we found some adorable cafes to stop and take a break.
One, in particular, was recommended to us because of the interesting hot chocolate they made: the Chocolate House of Luxembourg. Here all you have to do is pick your chocolate flavor, which is an actual piece of chocolate on a stick with various options, for example, nuts, candy, spices, and so on. Then you let it melt in the hot milk, including the best homemade marshmallow I have ever tried! A fun and exquisite experience, especially if you add a slice of cake to the mix!
Right in front of this cafe is the Grand Ducal Palace, also known as the Palais Grand-Ducal, which is an iconic landmark and an essential symbol of Luxembourg’s monarchy and cultural heritage. It serves as the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and is a significant historical and political site in the heart of Luxembourg City. It was constructed in the 16th century as a city hall for the local authorities. Over the years, it underwent various renovations and expansions. During the summer, guided tours of the palace are offered to visitors.
One of the highlights of visiting the Palace is witnessing the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The Grand Ducal Guard, dressed in traditional uniforms, performs the ceremony with military precision. This event is open to the public and takes place on specific days during the summer months. Unfortunately, we were not there at the right time, but we saw the guards marching and switching with each other. Still interesting to see!
A view over Luxembourg City
We saw the view over Luxembourg City at Le Chemin de la Corniche, also known as the “Most Beautiful Balcony in Europe”. This scenic promenade offers stunning views of the city’s old fortifications and the river below. From there, you can see the Casemates du Bock, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These are a series of underground fortifications and tunnels that played a significant role in Luxembourg’s history. Casemates du Bock dates back to ancient times when the site was a natural fortification formed by a rocky promontory surrounded by deep valleys. Over the centuries, the location was strategically fortified to protect Luxembourg City from invasions. During the Middle Ages, the Counts of Luxembourg built a fortress atop the rocky plateau, creating a formidable defensive stronghold. Over time, the fortress was expanded and reinforced by successive rulers. Today, the Casemates du Bock are open to the public, and visitors can explore the tunnels and chambers, gaining insights into the city’s military past. Unfortunately, we were unable to go because all the dates were booked. This might be an activity to book in advance if of interest to you.
The Grund in Luxembourg City
The Grund is a picturesque and historic district in the lower part of Luxembourg City, nestled in a valley along the banks of the Alzette River. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and is known for its charming cobblestone streets, medieval architecture, and scenic views. How do you reach it? Of course by bus or on foot or best of all by elevator! Yes, a panoramic one is made of glass to admire the view as you go up and down. Of course, there is also a normal one on the opposite side, so you can get down on one side, walk through the neighborhood and go back up to the upper side of the city.
What was our mission while walking in the Grund? We wanted to find the statue of the Melusina, which we had spotted while looking out from the Chemin de la Corniche. Melusina has become a symbol of Luxembourg, representing the country’s folklore, history, and connection to its waterways. Her legend has been celebrated through various artistic expressions, including literature, art, and architecture.
What is the legend of Melusina: a nobleman named Count Siegfried, who founded Luxembourg City in the 10th century, fell in love with Melusina. She agreed to marry him under one condition – he must never see her when she bathes in a hidden spring on Saturdays. However, after many happy years together and starting a large family, curiosity got the better of him, and he secretly spied on her, discovering her true form. Heartbroken and betrayed, Melusina transformed into a half-woman, half-serpent, and vanished into the waters, becoming a water spirit cursed to roam the rivers and springs of Luxembourg forever.
Sculptures and fountains in Luxembourg City
We did walk past a few intriguing spots worth mentioning, although they might not be the most famous.
First of all, the Hämmelsmarsch Fountain (Mouton Fountain). The fountain features a group of bronze sheep being herded by a young shepherd boy. The sheep are depicted in various playful positions, adding a touch of delight to the fountain. The design captures the essence of Luxembourg’s rural heritage and the historical connection with sheep farming. It’s a delightful representation of the country’s culture and traditions and adds to the city’s unique charm.
The Gëlle Fra (Golden Lady) is impossible to miss; it is undoubtedly one of Luxembourg’s most famous and beloved statues. This monument is located on Constitution Square (Place de la Constitution), symbolizing Luxembourg’s resilience and freedom. It depicts a golden female figure holding a laurel wreath aloft, commemorating the fallen soldiers of World War I. It’s a somber and powerful representation of Luxembourg’s gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives in both World Wars.
Last but not least, as we walked through a little shopping area, we reached a little square, Place de la Constitution (Constitution Square), where we found “Les Saltimbanques”. This sculpture translates to “The Acrobats” or “The Street Performers.” The sculpture is a life-size bronze ensemble created by Luxembourgish artist Lucien Wercollier. It was installed in 1972 as part of the efforts to enhance the aesthetics and cultural ambiance of Constitution Square. The artwork portrays a group of playful and spirited acrobats frozen in dynamic poses that suggest motion and theatrical performance. Each figure captures the essence of street performers, reminding viewers of the joy and creativity of traditional circus acts and traveling entertainers. It is a celebration of the arts and the performing spirit. The lively acrobats represent the vibrant cultural scene in Luxembourg and the country’s appreciation for creativity and artistic expression. It serves as a reminder of the beauty found in the simplicity of street performances and the joy they bring to people of all ages.
Where did we stay?
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend hotels or Airbnbs for our time here in Luxembourg City. This stop was part of our campervan tour, so all I can genuinely recommend is the campsite where we parked for over five days, which was Camping Kockelscheuer.
What a fantastic place! The staff was amicable and helpful. The campsite is huge and offers so much, such as a large playground, mini golf, a little market, and a restaurant. The best part of it is that it is surrounded by nature. It sits on the limits of a park where you can go jogging, biking, or work at different workout stations. If you don’t have a camper like us, you can also spend the night in one of their wine barrels. Super fun right? What makes it even more convenient is that you don’t need to take your camper to town or your bike; the bus stop is close by, and it is free, so there is no stress, just fun exploring! It is a win-win for all!
With a heart full of memories and smiles, our family bid farewell to Luxembourg and Luxembourg City. We had no big expectations for our time here and were pleasantly surprised by all it offered! We wish we had more time to go around other parts of the country, but we are also grateful to have had a chance to spend special moments here. Now all I can wish you is happy travels, and remember, adventure is just around the corner!
Did you read our previous post? 5 years of fantastic full-time World Travel and some valuable lessons we learned through our new lifestyle.