Not Just for Bankers
When I told friends and colleagues that I was traveling to Luxembourg I got the same warning – it’s a work week city and shuts down on the weekend. In actuality? The city had tons of people in it, both tourists and locals. A lot of shops were closed on the Sunday but that’s not unusual in Europe. Saturday was hopping though and there were plenty of restaurants and shops open. I was spoiled for choices. So no, let’s dispel this myth that Luxembourg is a banker’s city that closes on the weekend. There’s still so much to see and do in the city on the weekend!
Day Trip to Vianden Castle
- From Central Luxembourg make your way (using buses, taxi or foot) to either Luxembourg Centrale Station or Mersch (a little further outside of town but many of the buses went there).
- Take the Train (RB/RE) to Ettlebruck.
- Take Bus 570 to Vianden Breck (4th Vianden stop)
- Walk up the hill towards the Castle and enjoy!
Reverse the route for the way back.
I could write an entire post about the Castle itself but I’ll try and keep it short and to the point:
- Originally built between 11th-14th Century through various stages by the Counts of Viaden.
- Castle went through a variety of expansions, which were beautifully depicted in a display at the castle.
- During the 1800s the Castle was sold to a merchant who dismantled it and sold it off piece by piece.
- The Grand Ducal family took ownership in the late 1800s and there it stayed until 1977, when it came under state ownership.
- At this point the Castle went through a major transformation with a lot of it being rebuilt (and even a lift being added).
Exploring Luxembourg City
On the Sunday of my weekend in Luxembourg I spent the day wandering around the City (and eating multiple pastries). The city itself was beautiful and I loved the valleys and various bridges – that’s probably where I spent much of the day.
I love a good viewing platform and thought I caught a glimpse of one not too far from my hotel – turns out it wasn’t a proper platform (though there was one there). It was actually a lift that connected the top of the valley to the lower part of the valley and was entirely free. I took 3 round trips because of how beautiful the view was.
There was also a beautiful walk beneath the Pont Adolphe (bridge) that had some beautiful views of the other side of the valley. I wandered through Old Town as well and had a few pastries while doing so (a gorgeous St Honore at a patisserie). It was sunny and gorgeous and while a lot of shops were closed there were still a lot of people about.
Over the weekend there was a “fete of music” in the square, so during each meal I was serenaded by a variety of local bands and choruses. It was a beautifully charming and smaller European city that was both quaint and sophisticated at the same time.
2 Day Itinerary in Luxembourg
How did I make the most of my time in Luxembourg City? Since I had been traveling a considerable amount for work just before this trip I had a bit of a lazier visit than I would have liked, but my itinerary went like this:
- Breakfast at a local Patisserie
- Day Trip to Viaden Castle
- Lunch in Viaden
- Return to Luxembourg City
- Explore Shops in Old Town
- Dinner in Place D’Armes at La Boucherrie
- Breakfast locally near hotel
- Boarded Hop on Hop off bus*
- Hopped Off at Cathedrale Notre Dame
- Visited the Gella Fra Monument
- Crossed the Pont Adolphe Bridge (going beneath the bridge)
- Explored the Parc municipal de Luxembourg
- Ate Lunch in Old Town
- Rode the Pfaffenthal Lift
- Explored the Pfaffenthal Neighborhood
*Regarding the Hop on Hop off Bus – it wasn’t worth it given how small Luxembourg City itself is and how convenient (and cheap) the local transport is. I normally am a big fan of these buses because they give you a great way to connect all the different neighborhoods and the commentary often is insightful. However, this one was pretty unnecessary for the visit. The only thing it did show me that I might not have otherwise scene was the modern half of town.