Luxembourg (city)

View from the 'Grund' up to the Old Town

The city of Luxembourg is the capital of the namesake country, and with a population just short of 100,000 it is by far the smallest country capital of the European Union. Very different in character from the bustling metropoles of the continent, Luxembourg is defined by its mountainous location and spectacular elevations afforded by the deep and narrow valley of the rivers Alzette and Petrusse it was built upon. The city has historically been an inconquerable fortress, which led it to be nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the North".

Luxembourg may not feature on most tourists' bucket lists, but it sees a very generous share of incoming visitors every year for a city of that size. This is due to its importance in the European financial sector, with many banks and institutions having their headquarters or subsidiaries there. Moreover, as one of the founding members of the European Union, Luxembourg hosts a number of EU institutions. Finally, Luxembourg has favourable taxation regulations for international holding companies, so that many multinationals locate their European seats there. This all makes the small city have a very upscale and business feel, and the tourist industry there is geared towards the business traveller.

Understand

Luxembourg is officially divided into 24 districts. Some of those of interest to tourists:

Get in

Getting into the country of Luxembourg basically means getting into the City of Luxembourg, as all major connections to Luxembourg terminate there. Do follow the advice given in our guide to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

By plane

Findel Airport is modern and efficient

Findel Airport

The Cargolux fleet of 747 jumbo jet freighters dominate all other aircraft at Findel

Luxembourg is served by the Findel Airport in Sandweiler, a municipality just northeast of the city. Compared to other major airports serving European capitals, it has quite limited connections - there are no long-haul flights scheduled to Findel, and the European network only encompasses several other capitals and destinations, meaning that flying in from many European airports requires a transfer on your way.

The airport is dominated by the country's flag carrier, Luxair, who operate a network of connections to selected other European capitals, some German cities and holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. This is complemented by some of the Star Alliance European members flying singular connections to Findel from their hubs (Luxair is not a Star Alliance member, but is partially owned by the Alliance's founding partner Lufthansa and shares its frequent flyer programme with them). Oneworld is represented by British Airways flying in from London Heathrow Airport, while SkyTeam's presence is limited to KLM Cityhopper's connection to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Two low-fare carriers serve Findel - easyJet from London Gatwick, Milan Malpensa and Lisbon, and Vueling from Barcelona. On top of that, a small regional airline called Hahn Air flies from Findel to Dusseldorf Airport (and NOT Hahn as the name might suggest).

Interestingly, while passenger traffic is limited to regional jets and private aviation, Luxembourg Findel Airport is a major cargo hub thanks to the prominence of the cargo airline Cargolux with its base there. Both Cargolux and other major international players in the cargo market fly in huge intercontinental jets in and out of Findel daily.

Getting to the city from Findel Airport

There are regular buses to the city center (line 29 and 16, about 15 minutes), the train station (line 29, 16 and 114, 15-25 minutes), and Kirchberg, the European district (line 16, 10 minutes). Buses to the city center and train station run at least every 10 minutes (15 minutes on Sunday).

The bus stop is on an island across the street on the left as you exit the airport.

Tickets cost 2 euro and are available at a kiosk (cash or card), or from the driver (cash only). A 4 euro ticket is also available which is valid for the entire day.

Other airports

An alternative to flying in directly to Luxembourg, which may be costly and time-consuming from some locations in Europe, is taking a low-fare flight with the likes of Ryanair or WizzAir to either Charleroi in Belgium or Hahn in Germany, and taking a direct coach transfer to Luxembourg from there.

Luxembourg's train station in its current form dates from 1907-1913

By train

The Gare seen from the platforms' side

The imposing neobaroque Gare Lëtzebuerg adored with a clock tower and huge windows is Luxembourg's main train station. It is relatively well served by connections from neighbouring countries.


Get around

View of Grund overlooked by Old Town
Central Luxembourg at dusk
Hotel de ville

See

Ville-Haute

Grand Ducal Palace
Cathedrale de Notre Dame
Plateau St.Esprit
Casino Luxembourg at Boulevard Roosevelt
Grund, with Neumunster Abbey in the front

Grund

Avenue de Gasperi in Kirchberg

Kirchberg

Modern architecture in Kirchberg
MUDAM
Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial

Gare

On the outskirts

Do

Buy

For information, guidance and ideas, head over to the websites of the UCVL (Luxembourg City Trade Association) and Goodidea.lu.

High-street shopping

Markets

Shopping centres

Eat

Home to a surprisingly high number of Michelin star establishments, the city houses many fine eateries. Luxembourg also has a very large population of Italians that came to the country in the late 19th century so Pizzerias in Luxembourg are always very reliable and frequent. For something cheap and quick the Place d'Armes is the best bet.

Convent of St Zita

Drink

Luxembourg is a decent place to have a drink. Due to the amount of ex-pats who live in Luxembourg there are a wide variety of establishments in addition to the Luxembourgish bars. Pubs in Luxembourg tend to be a traditional affair, although more modern bars, and English or Irish themed pubs have also become the norm. Luxembourg is a low-key capital city and is generally not the best place for big nights out, although during the months of warmer weather it can have its moments. English themed pubs

The seat of Banque et caisse d'épargne de l'Etat at Place de Metz

Sleep

For a city of that size, Luxembourg has a hotel room supply that is more than ample, thanks to the large amount of business travellers visiting the city. Therefore, the industry is geared mostly towards them and consists largely of mid- to high-standard business hotels.

Budget

The Grand Hotel Alfa is one of the oldest hotels in Luxembourg

Mid-range

Splurge

Respect

Try to show respect for the local language and make some effort to say a word or two of it even if it's just the standard greeting "Moien". In restaurants and high-end service establishments the personnel is generally expected to serve you in French, so if you speak French, do use it.

Stay safe

Luxembourg is a safer environment than most other European capital cities, and it would be rare to encounter any physical threat. Nevertheless, care is required in and around the train station area (especially late at night), which contains a handful of seedy clubs and prostitutes.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.