I had the pleasure to add yet another country to my list of “conquests”. It’s one of those never in the top of travel bucket lists, and I wouldn’t usually think about visiting. This country is Luxembourg.
It’s a tiny piece of land in Europe, and yet one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but what stroke me was that 16% of its population in Portuguese. So I did feel I was in my own country, hearing to all these people speaking my mother tongue, see Portuguese banks all around, some restaurants and bites.
So, putting out simply, my friends and I were looking for a destination for the first May bank holiday. Found cheap flights to Luxembourg and none of us had been there. So, we thought, why not? It looks nice in the photos.
I’d say I was not expecting much from this country, and it served precisely my average expectations. First of all, Luxembourg has no true identity. Bordering with Belgium, France, and Germany, we hear both French and German (and, as I said Portuguese), and even their typical dishes seem a mix lost in some sort of translation. Not that I’ve tried anything to be honest. Restaurants were quite pricey as you can imagine. On Sunday everything was closed, so even if we did want to go dine out somewhere, it was just too much of an effort to find something “affordable” and “open”.
However, I was positively surprised with the prices of public transport. A daily ticket will cost you only €4, and you can go anywhere by bus in Luxembourg. As someone who lives in London, this was the same as being able to travel for free.
I had also chosen the cheapest hotel to stay in. My expectations were not high. For two nights we were paying approximately €100 each (triple room). Breakfast was amazing (which made it unnecessary to spend tremendous amounts of money in restaurants for lunch), the room was quite clean and spacious enough and the location was perfect, in front of a train station with multiple buses stops just across the road. Hotel Empire, if you want to look it up 🙂
The town itself it’s adorable, you’ll walk through tiny and very clean streets, finding traces of both French and German architecture. For me, the main attraction was the view from Chemin de la Corniche to the vale. However, Casemate du Block are the second strength of Luxembourg City. It’s formed by underground tunnels, built centuries ago to protect the city, known as the Gibraltar of the North. It’s worth a visit and I’d advise you to do so for three main reasons 1) it’s something unique to the city, you won’t find anywhere else, 2) considered UNESCO World Heritage and 3) you’ll be bored to death if you skip the only main attraction in the city.
Which takes me to my next point – as I said, the country is tiny, and the capital’s attractions exhaust very quickly. Great to stroll around, see the views, take the photographs, visit the casemates, the cathedral… but then, either you spend the rest of your time in restaurants or, there isn’t really much to do. We did visit two museums of art – MUDAM, Modern Art, which I did not like, having only as an exception an installation by Wim Delvoye, and Villa Vauban, exhibiting Dutch works from the XIX century – a lot more interesting, I must say.
So if you happen to be in the city for more than a day, take a bus (or car, whatever you have at your disposal) and go to the countryside. We visited Echternach, a small town almost in the border with Germany and then took a bus to Bergdorf and started to do some hiking on the best I thought Luxembourg had – forest trails.
The forest there is like something I had never seen. They have incredible natural rock formations, forming caves, and cliffs in the middle of the forest. It’s just a wonderful piece of natural art, something worth seeing, exploring – I liked how I had to overcome my claustrophobia, walking in between massive blocks of rock so closely together.
We ended our small nature adventure in the Mullerthal Waterfall – a picturesque scene, indeed. Don’t you think?
It’s amazing how much there is to explore in the Old Continent – so much history, Heritage and Nature. This is why I love Europe.
come fly with me