Mini guide to Luxembourg
Luxembourg City skyline (Paul Ames/Associated Press)
From its Unesco-listed historic centre, Luxembourg City overlooks deep valleys and sheer-sided gorges, and effortlessly counterpoints historic palaces with state-of-the-art museums. Beyond the capital, castle villages, thick forests and Moselle vineyards make up the landscape of Europe’s last remaining Grand Duchy.
Luxembourg City’s pedestrian promenade, the Chemin de la Corniche, has been hailed as Europe’s most beautiful balcony. It winds along the 17th-century city ramparts to the Bock, the cliff-top site of Count Sigefroi’s once-mighty fort. Visible from the Bock are the fortifications of the Wenzelsmauer (Wencelas Wall).
Palace or fortified cathedral? At first, it’s hard to tell what towers so grandly above the town of Vianden, an hour from Luxembourg City. In fact, it’s a castle with striking white walls (00 352 83 41 08; castle-vianden. lu; 10am-4pm Nov-Feb, 10am- 6pm summer; £5.50).
Müllerthal’s intriguing corners are cut with mossy ravines and crystal-clear creeks. To reach them, you’ll need to begin your hike in Echternach where you’ll find a board detailing walking trails (from one to four hours) near the bus station.
Diekirch’s Musée National d’Histoire Militaire is full of WWII memorabilia and well-executed mannequin scenes, illustrating the battles fought (00 352 80 89 08; nat-military-museum.lu; 10 Rue Bamertal; 10am-6pm; £4.50).
The Moselle valley is one of Europe’s smallest wine regions. From Schengen to Wasserbillig, you’ll find villages and winery towns. Sample the region’s best wines at Caves Bernard-Massard (00 352 75 05 45; Bernardmassard. lu; 8 Rue du Pont, Grevenmacher; 9.30am-6pm Apr-Oct, closed Mon; £3.50).
Eat and drink
Nestled in the countryside of the Müllerthal, Beaufort’s Auberge Rustique has been an inn for over 200 years, and Victor Hugo is said to have visited. The wood-panelled dining room serves local trout and plenty of forest mushrooms in season (00 352 83 60 86; aubergerustique.lu; 55 Rue du Château, Beaufort; mains £7-£22).
Hôtel Heintz was once the brewery-inn of the Trinitarian monks. After a drink in the tiny garden, adjourn for a cheese fondue or some local Ardennes ham (00 352 83 4155; hotelheintz. lu; 55 Grand Rue, Vianden; dinner; mains £12-£18).
Eating at Echternach’s Hostellerie de la Basilique is an elegant experience. Dine on tenderly steamed buttered trout in the modern dining room or on Nordic salmon and scampi on the pretty brasserie terrace (00 352 72 94 83; hotel-basilique.lu; 7-8 Place du Marché, Echternach; mains £16-£25).
In a turreted building with a summer terrace, Chiggeri has a brasserie-café downstairs and restaurant upstairs (00 352 22 82 36; chiggeri.lu; 15 Rue du Nord, Luxembourg; lunch and dinner Tue-Sun; café mains £12-£18, restaurant mains £18-£30).
The patisserie at Wengé serves macaroons in 15 flavours, while the restaurant menu includes citrus-marinated scallops with crab, ginger and lemon-soya vinaigrette (00 352 26 20 10 58; 15 Rue Louvigny, Luxembourg; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat; mains £20-£25).
Sections of Echternach’s old city walls peak up amid the city’s suburban houses. Four of the Medieval Towers have been converted into accommodation, each sleeping four to six people. They are only available for week-long stays and are booked via the tourist office (echternachtourist. lu; from £380 per week).
The eight newly refitted rooms at Auberge Aal Veinen are remarkably modern, considering they’ve been seamlessly inserted into ancient wooden beamwork. Originally a blacksmith’s house, it is one of Vianden’s oldest structures and sits just beneath the magnificent castle (00 352 83 43 68; hotel-aal-veinen.lu; 114 Grand Rue, Vianden; from £70).
Hôtel-Restaurant Bamberg’s is a distinguished little hotel with a wood-panelled restaurant in the riverside hamlet of Ehnen. Situated in a 19th-century townhouse, the rooms are furnished in country style. The cosy restaurant serves locally sourced fish and wine (00 352 76 00 22; hotel-bamberg.lu; 131 Route du Vin, Ehnen; from £75).
The stark, white foyer of Hotel Simoncini is a modern-art gallery. The smart rooms with pale wooden floors are similarly minimalist although splashes of colour provided by cushions and contemporary artworks prevent them feeling cold (00 352 22 28 44; hotelsimoncini.lu; 6 Rue Notre Dame, Luxembourg; from £135).
Hôtel Parc Beaux-Arts comprises a trio of 18th-century houses containing 10 gorgeous suites. Each features original artworks by contemporary artists and period details such as stone fireplaces. Seek out the ‘secret’ lounge in the eaves (00 352 26 86 761; parcbeauxarts.lu; 1 Rue Sigefroi, Luxembourg; from £170).
Buses and trains run to Diekirch, Vianden and Moselle. Route maps are available at topographie.lu. The Luxembourg Card is valid for city and national transport and can be bought at Gare Centrale (£8.50 per day). Try Budget for car hire (from £35 per day; budget.fr).
Air France and British Airways fly from Gatwick (from £112; ba.com) while KLM flies from Manchester (from £150; klm.com). TGV trains connect Paris with Luxembourg (tgv-europe.com/en).