The first thing I discovered about Luxembourg is no one has ever heard of it. Whenever I was talking to people about where I was going on holiday the first question most people asked was ‘Where’s that?’. To answer that question, Luxembourg is a little country (50km wide by 100km long) in between Belgium, France and Germany. It was originally owned by the Netherlands which is why their flags are the same, except Luxembourg’s is lighter in colour. There are around 600,000 people living in Luxembourg and the vast majority of workers commute in from Belgium and Germany due to the lower tax rates in Luxembourg. At one point Luxembourg was entirely fortified by a single stronghold and remnants of these walls show the boundaries of old Luxembourg. (Although, to be honest, most of this I found out on a tour whilst I was there and my answer to the question when people asked was ‘It’s a little country near Germany’.)
I ran into a few problems due to the size of the country. When I was looking at places to stay I obviously looked at their distances to the city and the airport however I was looking at them from my scale of things. I opted for a place in a smaller village about a 20 minute drive from the city and a 30 minute drive from the airport. Now I’m used to doing a daily 50 minute commute from one side of London to the other, so to me this didn’t seem like that much. When I arrived into Luxembourg it was close to midnight (thanks to a 2 hour delay of my flight) which meant I had to get a taxi to my Airbnb. Don’t ever do this. My taxi ride took 26 minutes and cost 115€. Due to the size of the country their rates are per km and I was asking the guy to drive around 25km, which is more than a quarter of the length of the entire country! Taxi rates are also 10% higher after 10pm so even more expensive to travel at night. I would definitely recommend avoiding taxis if you don’t want to spend a lot of money getting from A to B.
Public transport on the other hand is phenomenal. For 4€ a day you can take an unlimited number of buses, trains and trams in the entire country! Also Luxembourg is fairly hilly but there are a number of elevators that take you from the bottom of the city to the top. One of these elevators has a viewing platform that’s a little freaky but gives you incredible views of the whole city.
One thing I did notice though was that no one ever showed their passes to get on any kind of transport but I imagine there is some kind of random check system so I’d obviously recommend still buying a pass just to be on the safe side. Although generally speaking I don’t think there is a great deal of crime in Luxembourg. The entire time I was there I don’t think I saw a single police car or officer. Also, as I mentioned, I arrived to my apartment after midnight and the lady who owned the place had simply propped open the door and left the key on the table so she could go to bed! Bikes were left unchained and most shops had half their wares outside on the street. People greet each other in the street and it’s a very lovely place.
There is, however, not an awful lot to do. Luxembourg was conquered multiple times in multiple world wars and as such there a few history museums. There’s also various art museums to take a look round. Other than that there’s not much else structured to see. There are plenty of ruins and various styles of architecture across the city for you to explore. I went on a 2 and a half hour bike tour and mulched about on my own for half a day and I feel like I saw pretty much all of what was on offer. It’s a beautiful country but really you don’t need more than one or two days there. It’s a good place to stop off and look around on your way somewhere else or for a short getaway like I had.
Have you been to Luxembourg before or even heard of it? Let us know in the comments what you thought about it!
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