Luxembourg is fairy-tale stuff…complete with the happy ending. The story of this land’s tumultuous history beguiles with its counts and dynasties, wars and victories, fortresses and promontories. Only the dragon is missing. It's no surprise that Luxembourgers are a proud people whose national motto, Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin (‘We want to remain what we are’), sums up their independent spirit. The population of 469,000 is predominantly rural based – the only centres of any size are the capital, Luxembourg City, followed by Esch-sur-Alzette.
Though too small for its full name to fit on most European maps, pint-sized Luxembourg (2586 sq km, or 82km long and 57km wide) is wonderfully diverse. Lush highlands and valleys in the northern Ardennes merge effortlessly with the Müllerthal’s ancient forested landscape to the east, where the vibrant town of Echternach makes an enjoyable base. The impossibly picturesque and ridiculously romantic (not to mention tourist-flooded) Vianden is just a short trip north from Luxembourg City; in the southeast snakes the Moselle Valley with its steep vineyards and riverside hamlets. In between all this are rolling farmlands dotted with pristine, pastel-toned houses and medieval hilltop castles.
Luxembourg’s cuisine is French and German based. The national dish is judd mat gaardebounen – slabs of smoked pork served in a thick cream-based sauce with chunks of potato and broad beans. Other specialities include ferkelsrippchen (grilled spareribs), liewekniddelen mat sauerkraut (liver meatballs with sauerkraut) and kachkeis (a cooked cheese). Beers to sink include Bofferding, Diekirch, Mousel and Simon Pils, after which comes a host of local fruity white and sparkling wines. From 2008 you can enjoy all this in an untainted environment, thanks to recent legislation banning smoking in restaurants and, during dining hours, in cafés.
European Capital of Culture in 2007, Luxembourg's moment in the spotlight has arrived.
Best places to stay in Luxembourg
Belgium & Luxembourg travel guide
Fabulously historic and bursting with cuttingedge art, yet never really showy, these little countries are full of big surprises, whether you’re ducking for oranges at a surreal Belgian carnival or finding glorious castles among Luxembourg’s forested hills.
Ten hidden gems of Europe
There’s no place like Paris, Barcelona or Rome - but Europe has untouched corners that match the big hitters on beauty and charm, and with far fewer tourists. Take the road less travelled with these ten hidden gems of Europe. 1.
Belgium & Luxembourg - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Belgium & Luxembourg starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus in-depth info on Belgian beer.
Belgium and Luxembourg: travel books to read before you go
Few foreigners have taken up the challenge of penning travel tales about Belgium…and only one man has tackled Luxembourg. Still, what’s on offer is well worth reading. This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Belgium & Luxembourg guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.
Belgium & Luxembourg - Luxembourg (Chapter)
Which European nation, just 84km long, rates among the world’s three richest countries? Remarkably the answer is Luxembourg. But don’t leave Luxembourg to the bankers and Eurocrats. The capital has a fairy-tale quality to its Unesco-listed historic core, and the countryside has rolling part-forested hills with a string of beguiling villages. All in all, this little country has plenty of surprises.
Luxembourg Day Trip from Brussels: Two Countries in One Day
If you have just one day to spare, take a full-day tour from Brussels to explore Luxembourg and the picturesque Meuse Valley. With your professional guide, journey through the Belgian countryside to Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Visit Luxembourg, the capital of the small country, for highlights.
Destination at a glance: Luxembourg
Luxembourg is one of those wonderful little European countries that can easily be undressed from head to toe in a week – many a traveller's dream.
Western Europe - Belgium & Luxembourg (Chapter)
Stereotypes of comic books, chips and sublime chocolates are just the start in eccentric little Belgium: its self-deprecating people have quietly spent centuries producing some of Europe’s finest art and architecture.