Despite being somewhat hillier than other areas in the Low Countries and having many cobblestone streets, Luxembourg is relatively disabled-friendly, as befits one of the three official capitals of the European Union. It’s possible to travel by foot or wheelchair between key places, lifts are commonplace, and pedestrian crossings are equipped for the visually impaired.
If you are travelling on the national railway network as someone with reduced mobility, go to www.cfl.lu and search for 'Information for persons with reduced mobility (PRM)', where you can find out how to book assistance (at least one hour in advance) and search for accessibility at all stops and stations.
Nearly 75% of buses and trams are equipped with manual or electric ramps and have designated wheelchair areas with appropriate seat belts. Stop request buttons are accessible from seated positions, and some are equipped with Braille.
The National Disability Information and Meeting Centre publishes a number of detailed guides, including one for transport and mobility, but only in French and German. The European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT; www.accessibletourism.org) also has helpful resources and links.
Download Lonely Planet's free accessible travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Gentle haggling is acceptable at flea markets (not food markets); in all other instances you’re expected to pay the stated price.
Dangers & Annoyances
Crime rates in Luxembourg are very low compared with other European countries but there are still some areas where you should exercise caution.
- Stay alert for pickpockets around train stations and aboard buses.
- ATM skimming occasionally takes place; be sure to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.
The highly worthwhile Luxembourg Card (www.visitluxembourg.com; 1-/2-/3-day adult €13/20/28, family €28/48/68) gives free admission to 76 of the country’s top attractions, discounts on several others, plus unlimited use of public transport countrywide. Family tickets cover two adults and three children. You’ll save money if visiting more than two museums or castles a day. Purchase it online, from tourist offices, museums, campgrounds and hotels.
Emergency & Important Numbers
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Entry & Exit Formalities
For goods purchased outside the EU, the following duty-free allowances apply:
- tobacco 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of loose tobacco
- alcohol 1L of spirits (more than 22% alcohol by volume) or 2L light liquor (less than 22% abv); 4L of wine; 16L of beer
- perfume 50g of perfume and 0.25L of eau de toilette
It's forbidden to bring plant and animal material, including coral, from outside the EU.
Coming from within the EU, you can bring unlimited quantities for personal use. Nevertheless, expect to be asked questions if you are carrying more than: 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars or 1kg of loose tobacco; 10L of spirits, 20L of fortified wine or aperitif, 90L of wine, 110L of beer.
EU citizens can stay indefinitely; many other nationals can enter visa free for up to 90 days.
A valid passport or EU identity card is required to enter. Most Western nationals don’t need a tourist visa for stays of less than three months. South African, Indian and Chinese nationals, however, are among those who need a Schengen visa. For more information contact the nearest Luxembourg embassy or consulate, or check the websites www.gouvernement.lu or www.maee.gouvernement.lu.
- Greetings Men and women greet each other with a handshake; close friends exchange three skimmed kisses on the cheek (starting with the right cheek).
- Punctuality Being punctual, eg for a meeting, an appointment or a restaurant reservation, is expected.
- Conversation topics Even among friends, personal questions are not raised unless otherwise invited.
- Dress code Importance is placed upon personal presentation; dress up rather than down, particularly in Luxembourg City.
Free wi-fi is available at train stations, post offices, most cafes and bars, some restaurants and virtually all accommodation. Luxembourg City's free public wi-fi can be accessed at www.hotcity.lu.
Luxembourg's laws allow police to detain foreign nationals for up to 24 hours without charge.
If arrested, you have the following rights:
- to remain silent until a lawyer can advise you
- to be informed of accusations in a language you can understand (questions are usually in French or German)
- to use an interpreter
- to contact your embassy or consulate and one other person
The website www.barreau.lu lists lawyers who speak multiple languages. For more information, visit www.police.public.lu.
Cannabis is decriminalised in Luxembourg but fines range from €250 to €2500 if you're caught with any in your possession; all other drugs are illegal and subject to hefty prison sentences.
Attitudes are pretty laid-back in Luxembourg. The country legalised same-sex marriage in 2015, and prime minister Xavier Bettel soon took advantage to tie the knot himself.
The comprehensive website www.gay.lu has links to LGBT+ organisations, nightlife venues and events.
Credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are prevalent.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Hospitality staff receive living wages and a 15% service is included on restaurant bills.
- Restaurants No tipping necessary but many locals add 10% for exceptional service.
- Taxis Round up by 10%.
- Hotels A tip of €0.50 to €2.50 is common for door staff and porters.
- Bathrooms Where staffed, a tip of around €0.50 is appreciated.
Many museums and galleries close on Monday. Restaurants normally close one full day per week. Opening hours for shops, bars and cafes vary widely.
Banks 8.30am–4.30pm Monday to Friday, with an hour's break for lunch; some also open on Saturday morning
Bars to 1am Sunday to Thursday, to 3am Friday and Saturday
Post Offices 9am–5pm Monday to Friday, with an hour's break for lunch
Restaurants noon–2pm and 7pm–10pm
Shops 10am–5pm Monday to Saturday; some in Luxembourg City open on Sunday
Luxembourg's postal service is run by POST Luxembourg (www.post.lu). Its website lists post office locations and postal rates.
- New Year’s Day 1 January
- Easter Monday March/April
- Labour Day 1 May
- Ascension Day 39 days after Easter Sunday (always a Thursday)
- Whit Monday 50 days after Easter Sunday
- Luxembourg National Day (Grand Duke's Birthday) 23 June
- Assumption Day 15 August
- All Saints’ Day 1 November
- Christmas Day 25 December
- Boxing Day 26 December
Smoking in enclosed public places such as cafes, bars and hotel rooms has been banned since 2014, although many establishments have a designated smoking area and smoking is still prevalent on outdoor terraces.
Taxes & Refunds
Luxembourg's TVA (taxe sur la valeur ajoutée; value-added tax or VAT) is 17% on most goods and services, and is included in the stated price.
Non-EU residents can claim TVA back for a minimum €74 spend on a single purchase. You must first receive a form from the vendor, then get it stamped by Luxembourg's Administration des Douanes et Accises (Customs and Excise Office; www.do.etat.lu) or Global Blue (www.globalblue.com), both of which have desks at Luxembourg's airport. You'll also need to present your passport and receipts. Alternatively, you can submit the paperwork by mail within a three-year period.
- International country code +352
- International dial-out access code 00
Luxembourg doesn't use area codes; you always dial the full number.
There are no roaming charges within the EU. If you're travelling from outside the EU, the cheapest and most practical solution for making calls and using data is to purchase a local SIM card (available cheaply in Luxembourg) and pop it in your own phone. Check first with your home network to make sure your phone is unlocked.
Luxembourg is on Central European Time (GMT/UTC plus one hour). Clocks move forward one hour for daylight-saving time on the last Sunday in March, and revert again on the last Sunday in October. The 24-hour clock is used.
- Luxembourg has standard Western-style toilets.
- Take advantage of facilities at museums and other sights, which are invariably clean and well maintained.
- There are pay toilets at Luxembourg City's Gare Centrale, and free public toilets within the city centre.
- In rural areas, petrol stations often have toilets. Otherwise, you'll generally need to rely on cafes, which are typically reserved for paying customers (ask first and be prepared to make a small purchase such as a coffee).
Most towns and villages have their own tourist office, known as a maison du tourisme, office du tourisme or syndicat d’initiative in Luxembourg.
The country's official tourism website is Visit Luxembourg (www.visitluxembourg.com).
Travel with Children
Pint-sized Luxembourg is an extremely family-friendly destination, with short travel times, well-maintained pavements and elevators, and accessible public transport.
- Resources Family Guide is a remarkably detailed resource book for Luxembourg, suggesting around 700 activities, trips and contacts. It's published in English, French and German, and available online from Maison Moderne (www.livres.maisonmoderne.lu/familyguide).
- Sights Many attractions are free for those under 26 (or in some instances 21), which can make a big difference if you're planning to visit a number of museums. Otherwise, there are usually discounted children's tickets for those aged 12 years old or under.
- Accommodation Baby cots are available on request in many B&Bs, hotels and even some hostels, but it’s worth reserving ahead as they're often limited. Hotels don’t usually charge for toddlers, while many will provide an extra bed for children for around €15 (variable). A great idea for bigger families is to rent a self-catering gite for a week to use as a base.
- Dining Local families regularly take children to brasseries and restaurants. Many midrange restaurants and especially brasseries have a small selection of simpler dishes or smaller portions for children. A fair proportion of places across all categories have high chairs for youngsters, but it's worth calling ahead to check availability.
- Public transport Public transport is free countrywide for those aged 20 and younger.
- Car travel Children under 12 must sit in the back of a car, and children under 1.35m must travel in a child’s safety seat. Most car-rental firms have safety seats for hire if you book well ahead. Theoretically taxis should provide a seat if you book in advance.
- Baby care Baby-changing facilities are available at many museums, train stations, hotels and restaurants. Paraphernalia such as formula, bottles and nappies (diapers) is widely available.
Top Sights & Activities for Kids
Kid-friendly favourites include the following:
- Natur Musée Stuffed animals, preserved insects and life-size dinosaurs are among the displays at this Luxembourg City museum.
- Bock Casemates Adventurers can explore Luxembourg City's tunnels and fortifications.
- Outdoor Freizeit Older kids will enjoy canoeing, kayaking and rafting on the Sûre river.
- Parc d'Aventure Tree Climber Vianden Would-be Tarzans and Janes can zipline through the forest above Vianden.
- Château de Clervaux Scale models of Luxembourg castles intrigue at Clervaux' château.
- It's not easy for non-EU residents (and especially non-French, German or Luxembourgish speakers) to volunteer in Luxembourg. Check first with the Luxembourg embassy or consulate in your home country to find out whether volunteering affects your visa status.
- The website www.benevolat.lu occasionally has volunteering opportunities in Luxembourg.
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures Luxembourg uses the metric system. Decimals are indicated with commas, while thousands are separated with dots (full stops).
A high percentage of Luxembourg's workforce are cross-border workers ('les frontaliers'; www.lesfrontaliers.lu) who live in neighbouring countries.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can work freely in Luxembourg. Third-country nationals require an autorisation de séjour (stay permit) followed by a residence permit.
For more information, visit www.luxembourg.public.lu.