Note that in each of the sites listed below there are links that can further explain their histories and meanings.
For one-day visitors:
I would say that if you have one day only, focus on the historical center of the City of Luxembourg.
It would be interesting, of course, to read about the rich history of the Luxembourg City, a UNESCO heritage site, before coming, so that you understand its particularity. Click here to read more about the city’s origins.
I suggest starting the track at Place Guillaume II, not only because of the convenient Knuedler parking lot under it, but because you can find the Luxembourg City Tourist Office right there and they can provide you with a free map, help you with the city’s Wi-fi and give you other tips to help you have the best time. Place Guillaume II is a central square named after the former King of the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In Luxembourg, this place is better known as Knuedler.
1) From Place Guillaume II (Knuedler) walk one minute (66 meters) to the Grand Ducal Palace. Guided tours are available every day in the summer until September.
The Grand Ducal Palace is used for the exercise of the official functions of the Grand Duke. But his residence and the Grand Duchess’s is actually in the castle of Colmar-Berg, 25 km north.
2) Go around the palace, past the Église Saint-Michel and head to the beginning of the Chemin de la Corniche. And there you will find the best photo of the entire country. It does not matter how many times I have been there, every time I go I am struck by its beauty. By admiring the view from there, you will understand that the historic center sits on top of a huge rampart that served as a fortress for centuries. You can see the Neumünster Abbey, the Grund region below and the river Alzette. Click here to see a 360 degree view of the Chemin de la Corniche.
3) Follow the Chemin de la Corniche downhill to the Grund region … it’s a beautiful and calm walk downhill that will provide you with time and space to do lots of selfies with no one around to distract you from framing your best angle with the fairy tales scenery in the background. Down there in the Grund, walk towards the Alzette River little bridge to get this view below.
4) Find the elevator that takes people from Grund to the Cité Judiciaire (so you don’t have to walk all the way up!). There in the Judiciary City, there is another very beautiful view of the path you just walked and the lower part (Grund) from where you just came.
5) From there, walk 4 minutes to Cathédrale Notre-Dame, whose construction began in 1613.
6) Almost in front of the cathedral is the Place de la Constitution where sits one of the symbols of Luxembourg, a golden lady, the Gëlle Fra, symbol of the Luxembourgish resistance during the first and second wars. This square has a spectacular view to another lower part, the Pètrusse and the Adolphe Bridge.
7) Walk towards the Pont Adolphe, because under it, literally under it and suspended, there is a path for pedestrians and cyclists and the view from down there is spectacular.
8) From there, walk 500 meters (10 minutes) to the commercial center that lays mostly around the Grand Rue. I often tell visitors that I think of that as an open-air luxury mall, as all the big luxury brands are present with their impeccable widows and way fewer shoppers than you might be used to find in big cities. There are also more popular stores like H&M, Zara, Pull&Bear, and many cafés. You might be starving at this point and then Place D’Armes would be the food court of this open-air shopping center, with various gastronomic options from fast food to more elaborate options.
9) After resting for a while, there is one last gem, 850 meters from this square: the free Panoramic Elevator of Pfaffenthal. It is a panoramic lift that goes up and down 71 meters in a few seconds and that shows another angle of the upper city, this time overlooking the modern Kirchberg, the region of European institutions and many companies.
For two-day visitors:
If you are lucky enough to be able to stay another day in this beautiful country, I say without hesitation, do the itinerary above on the first day and drive to Vianden, passing through the spectacular region of Mullerthal, the small Luxembourgish Switzerland, on the second day. Can you do it without a car? Yes, of course, but you will need to study your public transportation route here. To get to Vianden by public transportation, reserve at least 1h30 each way, as you will need to take one train to Ettelbruck and then a bus to Vianden. To Mullerthal there is a 1h30 bus ride from the central train station.
Let’s say you could make it by car and set your GPS to Mullerthal … you will not regret it. The bridge of the photo below is right beside the road and about 500 meters ahead there is a free parking lot so you can pull over, get out with your camera and make beautiful photos. It is actually the perfect location for hiking, but you as a few days tourist will be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, at least, or even make a short trail from the parking lot to the bridge below.
And then head to Vianden. Vianden is spectacular!! For its Castle (and the views it provides us: from inside and outside), for the Victor Hugo museum, for the chair lift (closed in the winter) and for the happy atmosphere on the banks of the river in sunny days. From the chair lift you will have incredible views of the castle and the village of Vianden. This is the video we made from one of the chairs up there.
Another great thing about driving (or using the public transportation) to Vianden is that you will pass through several small villages which will give you an idea of how many Luxembourgers live: usually in big houses in small villages, far from the capital.
For three-day visitors
If you have even more time to get to know the country, I would suggest breaking the itinerary of the first day into two, doing everything more calmly, with more moments to sit at a cafe, rest and shop, including some time to enjoy a nice hot chocolate in the Chocolate House, literally opposite from the Grand Ducal Palace. I would also normally suggest getting to know the Bock Casemates, before going down the Chemin de la Corniche (however they are closed at the moment). Down there in the Grund, I would suggest walking towards the Neumunster Abbey, to see the bottom up view of the fortress you visited in the Casamates. Here is our article on the Casemates du Bock.
In addition, there are specific suggestions if you enjoy art and history. Here’s our article on the museums in the City of Luxembourg. But if you are into military history, more specifically World War II, there is much to visit. Please read our article on Military Museums in Luxembourg.
And if you’re crazy about supermarkets like me (I know, I know) there are two huge ones to visit and go bananas (and nuts) aboout their wine, yogurt and fruit sessions. Conveniently, both are in shopping centers and then if buying is your natural trend, you will be glad to visit it: Auchan in Kirchberg or Cloche d’Or and Cactus in the Belle Etoile. Both supermarket chains are huge and close a little later from the street shops.
Do you feel like seeing more modern architecture way different from Luxembourg city? Take a train from Gare Central to Belval Université (all public transport routes can be calculated here) and walk from Belval Université train station to the University of Luxembourg passing through the high furnaces of Belval. There are also good choices of restaurants in Belval and a shopping mall. If you’re more into wine, you could also spend your final day in the Moselle region tasting wine, riding bikes, walking among the vineyards and much more!
And voilà, here are my sightseeing itinerary suggestions.