Why Luxembourg is the Best Tourist Destination in 2023?
Everyone has heard of Luxembourg but, quite surprisingly, not a lot of people can say that they have travelled there. Luxembourg, the tiny European country and the only Grand Duchy in the world, appears to be often overlooked by tourists in favour of its neighbours — Germany, France and Belgium.
However, this tiny but vibrant nation has a lot to offer to its visitors: from sightseeing in the beautiful Luxembourg City and surrounding picturesque villages to its very own cuisine, rich history, art and exciting nightlife.
After a thorough research, which included a taster visit to Luxembourg, we’ve come with a number of reasons of why Luxembourg is the best tourist destination in 2023, all of which you can find here.
1. History and Culture
Despite the small size of the country, Luxembourg posses a rich and striking history. It first became an independent entity in 963, when Siegfried, count de Ardennes, exchanged his lands for a small but strategically placed Roman castle lying along the Alzette River. This castle became the cradle of Luxembourg, whose name is itself derived from that of the castle, Lucilinburhuc (“Little Fortress”).
The history of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg dates back to 1815. The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had conquered much of Europe but his disastrous campaign against Russia in 1812 foreshadowed the end of his rule. It was against this backdrop that in 1814 the great powers of Europe met in Vienna to discuss the political reorganisation of the continent.
During this period Luxembourg became a Grand Duchy, in personal union with the king of the Netherlands, while also joining the German Confederation, which deployed a Prussian garrison to guard its fortress. A new country was born.
The history and culture of Luxembourg, being an integral part of European and now global history and culture due to the country’s current international banking affairs, is as interesting as histories of big countries like the USA or Russia and there is no better way of learning it than by visiting the many museums of Luxembourg. The country is a real paradise for museum-lovers — it has around 60 cultural institutions.
Some of them, such as the Luxembourg City History Museum contain both permanent and temporary exhibits, which shed light on the history of this land through thousands of years, while others like the Villa Vauban, a historic mansion located in one Luxembourg City’s public parks, exhibits only paintings from 18-th and 19-th Century acquired from private collectors around the world. Additionally the city has its own contemporary art gallery, situated in a tunnel in Luxembourg City, with a self-explanatory name Galerie d’Art Contemporain Am Tunnel.
Besides art and history museums, curious guests are invited to visit the Tramway Museum, which tells the story the city’s main method of public transportation — the city trams and the Luxembourgish Aviation Museum. Museum that are located outside of Luxembourg City but are also worth visiting are the Museum of Caricature located in the town of Vianden and the
National Museum of the Resistance, located in the centre of Esch-sur-Alzette south-east of Luxembourg City.
It is also worth notting that visiting museums in Luxembourg, unlike its other European neighbours, is quite chip — tickets usually don’t go over 8 euros per person with children under 18 often being allowed in for free.
Being quite an old city Luxembourg gives a sense of a unique personalised style, which is evident from its elegant European architecture. The houses around the city are often older than 500 years but due to the hard work of the local authorities continue to look almost new. Since Luxembourg is a walkable city, visitors are advised to have a walk around to get a better look of the city’s beauties.
One of the most interesting sightseeing attractions of the city is the Barrio Grund — Luxembourg City’s oldest quarter. As far back as the 14th century, there is mention of a hospice operating in this area. It was located in the building that now houses the National Museum of Natural History. This predecessor of the city’s modern-day hospices cared for the elderly, the infirm, and orphans.
The old quarters are considered by the City of Luxembourg as protected areas. In addition, many buildings are classified as national monuments or listed in the supplementary inventory of historic monuments. Although the area covering the Barrio Grund is not too big, its authentically medieval streets and old little houses makes walking around it an unforgettable experience.
Another must-see is Le Chemin de la Corniche, also known as Europe’s most beautiful balcony.
We record walking along this charming promenade to savour the breathtaking views of Barrio Grund and the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in the gorge below.
The most recognisable feature of Luxembourg City is the Passerelle — the city’s old, arched bridge, constructed between 1859 and 1861. Because of its stunning, but uneven landscape along the Pétrusse Valley and two rivers, Luxembourg City features many bridges, complete with panoramic amazing views of the very green city.
The city has a long-standing history of being the centre of pilgrimage and Christianity. The local Notre Dame Cathedral, which simultaneously combines Renaissance and Baroque styles of architecture, was constructed between 1613 and 1621. Housing detailed stained-glass windows, intricate religious paintings and sculptures, and impressive pillars decorated in arabesque designs, this cathedral is a nice sight to see.
Additionally, the symbol of the country’s monarchy, Palais Grand Ducal, is worth stopping by when visiting the old quarters. The home and seat of the Grand Duke is one of Luxembourg’s most important historic buildings and is reminiscent of fairy tale castles. The Grand Duchy is the head of state for Luxembourg and they maintain their official residence here. Unfortunately, the Palais is only open to the public on select days of the year.
3. Food and Drink
Situated between Germany, France and Belgium, Luxembourg has a cuisine, which resembles, but not identical to many signature dishes of its neighbours. Due to its variety, the cuisine of Luxembourg would please even the most peaky eater. Besides, because of the large Portuguese diaspora that emerged in the country throughout the 20-th Century, Luxembourg has a number of amazing Portuguese restaurants.
When visiting Luxembourg in winter, the perfect dish to warm yourself is the bouneschlupp and gromperenzopp (green bean and potato soup) — a hearty soup of local vegetables topped with smoked bacon or spiced sausages
In the autumn, a delicious plum tart, quetschentaart is available in most bakeries. This is made from the ripened damsons harvested at the end of the summer, baked into a sweet pastry, and topped with sugar.
Gromperekichelcher is a version of potato pancake that is one of Luxembourg’s most beloved dishes. It is very popular at festivals and fairs across Luxembourg, such as local festivals and markets as well as National Day and Schueberfouer, a huge fun fair, and Christmas Markets.
The traditional Letzeburger Kniddlelen, a dumpling, is very popular. They are boiled with a creamy white sauce and smoked bacon (lardon). Kniddlelen are made with a combination of flour, eggs, and milk. Kniddelen are often served with a side of apple compote and goes well with a glass of white Luxembourg wine.
Judd mat Gaardebounen (Smoked Pork and Broad Beans) is a national dish made of Judd (smoked pork collar) and broad beans (special Luxembourg beans) in a creamy sauce. It can also be made with smoked pork or sliced ham. This specialty is traditionally prepared in early summer because then the broad beans are young, tender, and fresh. Despite the seeming simplicity of this dish, it is commonly served at Luxembourg’s most luxurious restaurants.
Friture de la Moselle (Fried Fish) is a traditional fried fish dish that comes from the wine-growing Moselle region of Luxembourg. It is a very popular dish and consists of various species of small freshwater fish that are battered and fried til golden and crisp.
Luxembourg also produces a sparking wine called Crémant, which is exclusive to this region of Europe. It is similar to champagne, but without the higher price tag, despite being produced in the same way. There are also other wines produced in the beautiful Moselle Valley. Luxembourg wine production is very niche, but well worth exploring. Besides this, Luxembourg is home to many breweries, which produce incredibly tasty and rich in flavour beers.
Luxembourg is a multicultural state, attracting people from various countries with its comfortable living environment, work opportunities and high wages (in fact, Luxembourgians on average have the highest salaries in the EU). It is no wonder that, despite its small size, the country has a vibrant and exciting night life.
The city and the surrounding towns have plenty of bars, clubs and other fun establishments, where young people get together on weekends. There are many bars designed specifically for young people that impress with its trendy vibe, as well as with the democratic prices.
High-earning professionals can also find many places that would be up to their standard — Luxembourg is filled with luxurious bars that offer high-end service comparable to the most esteemed places in London and Paris.
5. Sport and Nature
Finally, for those interested in getting more familiar with the more rural side of the country, Luxembourg offers plenty of hiking and cycling trails.
Routes such as the 112-kilometre Mullerthal Trail and the 106-kilometre, cross-border Escapardenne Eislek Trail, including the 52-kilometre Lee Trail, are well-signposted and packed with challenges. They lead through a wonderful variety of sometimes wild and unspoilt landscapes.
The Luxembourg Ardennes is a fascinating hiking area. In Éislek, as it is called in Luxembourgish, there are over 200 circular hiking trails through forests, past castles, over high plateaus and between rocks.
Many hiking tours offer perfect opportunities for combining outdoor experiences with a taste of Luxembourg’s unique culture. They take you through picturesque villages, to historical ruins and sightseeing highlights — and even across international borders.
With around 600 kilometres of cycling routes and 700 kilometres of mountain bike trails, Luxembourg is a paradise for cycle tourists. Cyclists can explore the capital city on two wheels, whizz through the vineyards on the banks of the Moselle, ride through mountain trails and tracks in the forest, rocky ravines and lush meadows of river valleys.
Cycling is an integral part of the country’s history. Luxembourg’s most famous heroes from the world of sport include a number of internationally successful racing cyclists. From Charly Gaul to the Schleck brothers, from the Tour de France to the Giro d’Italia – many cyclists pursued their passion for speed and endurance in the landscapes of Luxembourg.
Visiting Luxembourg is a great way to reconnect with nature and rediscover the simple pleasures of walking and cycling, while getting to know the country and its people.