As such a small country, you might be surprised that there are enough activities to fill a Luxembourg itinerary, but you couldn’t be more wrong! It is the 28th smallest country in the world, but with a beautiful capital city, one day in Luxembourg is the perfect amount of time for a city break or as a short day trip from Brussels or other nearby cities.
Luxembourg City is relatively small, although it’s built around the Alzette River, providing the city with steep hills and plenty of lush green areas to explore – not to mention the stunning vistas.
If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Luxembourg, a day trip from Brussels would be perfect to get a feel for the city and enjoy the stunning architecture and landscape.
You can visit some of Luxembourg’s free museums, wander through the parks and take the free lift to have incredible views over the city in one day in Luxembourg while also keeping the costs down.
However, if you’d like to get out into nature and hike through the lovely forests of northern Luxembourg, you can extend your Luxembourg itinerary to two or three days to make the most of your trip to the tiny nation.
If you’re planning a Luxembourg day trip from Brussels, you can easily arrive in the centre of the capital by train in just under three hours from Bruxelles-Luxembourg train station with Belgian railways, with one stop in Arlon. You can view train schedules here.
Enjoy the countryside and listen to some Stromae or Francis of Delirium for a taste of Belgian or Luxembourgish music on your journey.
Buses take a similar amount of time to arrive in Luxembourg, with journeys taking at least 2 hours 30 minutes, but not taking you into the centre of Luxembourg. You can, however, easily take a free bus into the city to start your one day in Luxembourg City. You can view bus schedules here.
The quickest way to reach Luxembourg from Brussels, however, is by car. There are many car rental options in the centre of Brussels right in front of the Brussel-Zuid/Midi train station. From there it’s just two hours on the E411 and E25 to Luxembourg City; it is also a Schengen area member so you won’t experience much of a border. You can view car rental options here.
When you arrive in Luxembourg, you can find many car parks around the city, such as Parking Glacis, which also has spaces for electric cars and bicycles, and is open 24 hours a day.
It’s one of the cheaper car parks in the city too. Just be wary that there is a market there on Sundays so there will be limited parking then.
One of the most exciting things about Luxembourg when you’re there, especially if you didn’t bring your car, is that the public transport is free!
Buses regularly pass through the coach station where you’ll arrive and take you for free into the city centre, in comfortable seats with wifi and charging points. This makes it easy to take in all of the attractions in Luxembourg.
The buses and trams are easy to use and have regular schedules, although you won’t need them much, and bus drivers are friendly and helpful in English, French, German and Luxembourgish!
Luxembourgers actually only make up 30% of the residents of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, so you can rest assured you’ll encounter many polyglots and don’t have to struggle through learning Luxembourgish, although a “Gudde Moien” wouldn’t go amiss.
Arriving by car, bus or train on your Luxembourg day trip from Brussels, you can easily reach the city centre walking or with free public transport to start exploring the sparkling city streets, perfect panoramic views and fantastic fortifications – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can also take a walking tour if you prefer to explore with a guide.
Chemin de la Corniche
If you’ve arrived in Luxembourg by train or bus, you can start your Luxembourg itinerary walking over the beautiful 19th-century viaduct La Passerelle. This huge structure seems over the top when you see how small the river is, however, it gives you incredible opening views of the city of Luxembourg on either side of the valley.
Within the valley, looking particularly spectacular when it’s lit up at night, is a large skate park; if you have time, you should definitely bring your board here and try out the amazing maze of bowls under the backdrop of the old ramparts and magnificent viaduct.
Crossing La Passerelle and turning right at the city’s courthouse, Cabinet d’instruction de Luxembourg, you’ll arrive at your first stop: the Chemin de la Corniche.
This pretty pathway leads you along the Alzette valley on top of the 17th-century ramparts, built by the Spanish and French, and gives you a wonderful panorama over Luxembourg City with its lush green trees, shiny grey tiled-roofs, and the spires and turrets that makes Luxembourg’s architecture so iconic.
Across the valley, you can see the intriguing Église Saint-Jean-du-Grund and Neumünster Abbey cultural centre that now occupies the church buildings for concerts and other performances.
Follow the route taking in the glorious views until you reach the second stop of your day in Luxembourg.
Rocher du Bock
At the end of the Chemin de la Corniche, you come across an enormous rock leading down to the bottom of the valley with the remnants of an old castle; the Rocher du Bock.
The construction of this castle actually marks the founding of Luxembourg, as Siegfried I of the Ardennes built his castle, Lucilinburhuc (which evolved into Luxembourg), on the rocky cliff in 963.
Although Luxembourg only became an independent state in 1890 after the death of the heirless Dutch King and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, William III. The castle is an important place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the history of Luxembourg.
With the Alzette River on three sides of the castle, and the additional engineering work of the Italians, Spanish, French, Belgians, Austrians, Prussians and Dutch, it proved effective in warding away intruders, which led to Luxembourg gaining the nickname the “Gibraltar of the North” owing to both places’ excellent fortifications.
Below the fortress that remains on top of the rock, there are tunnels and a crypt, known as the Casemates de Bock, that were dug out by Austrians in the 18th century.
The tunnels are temporarily closed, however, usually in summer months you can spend 45 minutes wandering around the tunnels marvelling at history within and the landscape outside the holes from 10 am to 5 pm every day of the week.
You can still enjoy the wonderful views from around and on top of the Rocher du Bock, which still has parts relatively intact despite the decree for Luxembourg’s fortifications to be destroyed in the 1860s.
Head down to the riverside from one of the pathways from the Rocher du Bock to see the statue of Melusina – the legendary wife of Sigfried, who founded the city.
The story goes that upon their marriage, Melusina told her husband to give her complete privacy for one whole day a week, however, after months of curiosity, Siegfried peeped on her while she was bathing, only to find that she had a fish’s tail. Noticing his attention, she then fled into the Alzette River, with some people alleging to have seen her in the hundreds of years since.
You might not get to see the real mermaid, but there’s a curious 3D-printed statue next to the river that’s worth a look.
25 to 30 minutes away from the Rocher du Bock, either by walking, tram or bus, you’ll arrive at the amazing Thüngen Fort.
With all forts in the city destroyed after the 1867 Treaty of London, only three round towers and the foundation walls remained of the fortress until it was partially rebuilt according to its old aesthetic in the 1990s to accommodate Luxembourg’s Museum of Modern Art in one area.
Most of the fort today houses the Musée Dräi Eechelen, which means the Three Acorns Museum, as each of the remaining towers has an acorn on its roof.
The museum has a permanent exhibition showcasing the fortress throughout the centuries, from its original construction in 1732 by the Baron of Thüngen, with more than 600 artefacts and documents including historic photographs of the fortress before and after it was razed.
Outside, you can also see the remains of the defensive moat that protected the fortress walls and was only penetrable via a 169-metre tunnel from the nearby Fort Obergrünewald, which you can see on your way to stop four on your Luxembourg itinerary.
Over the river from Fort Obergrünewald, is one of Luxembourg’s top tourist attractions: the Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal. Depending on which way you’re coming from, you can take the lift up or down the 71-metre structure to take in the stunning views over the valley, and below, thanks to the glass floor and walls of the lift.
It doesn’t take long to ride, but it’s free, so you can save yourself another steep climb up the slopes and stairs leading from the valley floor to the city streets – and you can take bikes in it if you’re seeing the city on two wheels.
From the top of the lift, you can spend the rest of your afternoon in Luxembourg City wandering the main city streets of the Ville Haute district.
Away from the beautiful valley and historic monuments lies the wonderful centre of Luxembourg, with beautiful architecture and design from the buildings themselves to the bins and lampposts.
Whether it shows the wealth of the country or the culture of the locals, you’ll notice the streets are almost perfectly clean which adds to the magical feel of certain corners and buildings, like the Palais Grand-Ducal. This stately palace does open for guided tours in the Summer, but for the rest of the year, you can simply take in the intricately carved stone façade with gold-decorated balconies.
Head a couple of hundred metres East to the fish market; a former central square between two Roman roads where farmers and fishermen would come to sell their produce, this square is now a delightful area with the National Museum and bars and restaurants.
A short walk back to the centre is Place Guillaume II, known locally as Knuedler due to the knots on the belts of the Franciscan monks who lived in the area. It was destroyed and rebuilt by the French, part of which makes the city unique as it shows influences from many different cultures and historic periods. Now in the square, you can find the town hall as well as a large market every Wednesday and Saturday.
Place d’Armes is another beautiful square nearby, and around both squares, you’ll be able to find something wonderful to eat. Although most of the activities on the Luxembourg itinerary were free, when you pay for food and drink or accommodation in the country, you do notice that Luxembourg is quite expensive.
There are options, however, if you want to spend what you’ve saved on, for example, a delicious three-course set menu for €30-40 in Le Rabelais, or save a little more but still eat well in Chiggeri, with a large menu and main dishes costing €20-30.
If you’re not as worried about trying the local cuisine or you’re interested in finding craft beer in Luxembourg, try Urban for a cheaper and more international menu, and a huge collection of draft craft beers and cocktails.
Walk back to the train station via Pont Adolphe for a different perspective of the city and more stunning panoramas before taking your train back to Brussels, or just to take in a last glimpse of the city before you reach the end of one day in Luxembourg.
One day in Luxembourg is perfect to see most of the city and enjoy the urban wildness of the capital’s parks. But if you want to learn more about the millennia-long history of the small but strategically placed nation, you’ll need to spend at least 2 to 3 days.
Over 2 days in Luxembourg, you can take your time seeing the city’s sights and explore more of the galleries and museums, many of which do permit free entrance to the permanent exhibitions.
But to truly enjoy the landscape of the small country, you’ve got to rent a car and spend 3 days in Luxembourg, driving to Mullerthal for some wonderful hikes and walks around the waterfalls hidden in the woods, or Echternach for the Gorges du Loup hike around the caverns.
Where to Stay in Luxembourg
Hotel Empire – This 3-star hotel located in the heart of Luxembourg’s old town is a great place for mid-range visitors to stay. They have an array of lovely rooms to choose from along with a great breakfast available each morning. Click here to check availability
Hotel Le Place d’Armes – Those looking for a luxury stay will love this opulent 5-star hotel in the centre of Luxembourg City. They offer a range of elegant rooms, plenty of plush amenities and a location perfect for exploring all the city has to offer. Click here to check availability
Youth Hostel Luxembourg – If you plan to visit Luxembourg on a budget, then this hostel is a good option. They have countless dorms available (most of them ensuite) and a location just outside the historic old town. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Luxembourg hotels!
While Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world, various cultures have influenced its culture and made use of its fortifications, leaving Luxembourg city a wondrous place to spend a day trip from Brussels or a city break.
Are you planning a trip to Luxembourg? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!