Last Updated on January 1, 2023
Luxembourg is a small country in Europe which is squished between Belgium, Germany and France. Is one day enough for Luxembourg City though? Yes, I would say so. I arrived on a Saturday at 1pm and then left Sunday afternoon and thought a Luxembourg day trip was a great place for a weekend city break. Public transport is completely FREE in Luxembourg and the international airport is just a short 20 minute bus ride away.
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2 Days In Luxembourg Itinerary
🛏Duration: Saturday & Sunday (1 night)
📅Month of travel: November
Day 1 in Luxembourg City (Saturday)
There are a couple of buses that leave from Luxembourg International Airport (LUX). Route 6 and 29 both depart every 20 – 30 minutes. Our hotel was on route 29 so this is the one that we tended to use. It passes the south side of the old town, whereas route 6 goes around the north side. The airport buses run every 10 – 30 minutes from 4.46am until 23.48pm (5.18am on a Sunday).
We got off at ‘Verlorenkost, Al Molkerei’ and then walked across the La Passerelle bridge into the ‘upper town’ area. This is the area at the top of the valley and has all sorts of shops, cafes, restaurants and palaces.
It’s surrounded by a large park area (Parcs de la Pétrusse) and as you look over the edge of the bridge, you’ll see the Skatepark Péitruss in the valley below.
Chemin de la Corniche
A popular thing to do in Luxembourg City is to walk along the Chemin de la Corniche. This is a ‘scenic corridor’ along the top of the 17th century ramparts. It is said to be ‘the most beautiful balcony in Europe’! It overlooks the Grund (the Old Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Alzette Valley and River.
Pont du château
The Pont du Château is a two storey red sandstone brick bridge, originally built in 1735. However it was completely restored in 1992/93. It connects the upper town to the Casemates du Bock/Bock Promontory.
Casemates du Bock
The casemates are a series of underground tunnels built in 1644 built through the city ramparts and fortress. 17km remained with the Bock and Pétrusse casemates being open to the public. Unfortunately the Bock Casemates are closed during the winter season, however the Pétrusse casemates remain open (near the Place de la Constitution).
Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal
From the Pont du Château bridge, we took one of the paths leading down to the Pfaffenthal district and headed towards the Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal. This is a 71m high glass elevator which connects Pfaffenthal to Pescatore park in the Ville Haute (old town) district.
Like the rest of the public transport in Luxembourg, the elevator is completely free to ride. It runs from 5.45am until 1am. It leads to a glass floor-to-ceiling- observation deck which even has a glass floor. However the glass isn’t completely clear, so it’s doesn’t have quite the same effect! It’s a popular place for people to get photos overlooking the Alzette Valley. (The red bridge in the opposite direction is the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge).
Ville Haute (Upper Old Town)
As mentioned above, the Upper Old Town is mostly home to cafes, restaurants and all the types of shops you’d find in a city. You will even find all the major designer brands such as Gucci, Christian Louboutin and Dior.
The site of the Palais Grand-Ducal was once the site of Luxembourg’s town hall in 1418. This was destroyed in an explosion in 1554 and was rebuilt. It is now the official residence of the Grand Ducal family. It has guards standing outside that march in front of it.
☕️Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn
Opposite the Grand Ducal Palace is the Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn. This is a chocolate shop that can be a little chaotic but for good reason! On the two upper floors they have a cafe. On a Saturday in November it was completely packed out. One of their most popular items is their huge range of Hot Chocolate Spoons.
After choosing a flavour they serve you a mug of hot milk. For 5.75Є you get a Chocospoon with whipped cream and a giant marshmallow. I had a Lavender spoon and my sister has a chocolate Latte Macchiato spoon.
They also have huge slices of homemade cakes, which you go back downstairs to choose from a counter. In hindsight we should have just chosen one slice to share between us. If you’ve ever seen the Matilda movie, we had a Bruce Bogtrotter moment, we really struggled to finish them! The slices are approximately 6Є each. The cakes change throughout the day but we had a slice of Tiramisu and Black Forest Gateau.
On the southern side of the upper town fortification is the Pétrusse Casemates. On top of the Beck Bastion is the Place de la Constitution. Here you’ll find a garden terrace and the Monument of Remembrance which commemorates those who lost their lives in the First World War. During the winter, this area is one of the locations of the Winter Lights Festival and Christmas Market.
You’ll see views across the Parcs de la Pétrusse and the Pont Adolphe Bridge. When the bridge was constructed in 1900 it had the biggest stone arch in the world. Across the road is the ‘Cathédrale Notre-Dame‘ cathedral which dates back to the 17th century.
Day 2 in Luxembourg City (Sunday)
Unlike London, Luxembourg is a typical European city where things still close on a Sunday. We really struggled to find anywhere that was open for breakfast, let alone at a time earlier than 11am. Gruppetto is open from 8am on a Sunday and we loved it. (Although my sister thought I was taking her into a bike shop but they do food too)!
Thankfully because we arrived early, they were able to seat us, because from 9am they were fully booked with reservations. (Reservations can be made online). Along with coffees and hot drinks, their breakfast menu mainly consists of variations of eggs and pancakes. I had a fresh chai latte, served with a strainer and biscuit and scrambled eggs on homemade bread/toast. It was SO GOOD!
Another table had ordered the pancakes with egg and bacon and I was jealous, they looked amazing. If I had seen them, I probably would have ordered that! There were lots of healthy and organic options too.
Passage Du Palais
In one of the oldest parts of the city is the Passage du Palais. Yes European cities seem to shut down on Sundays but early in the morning is one of my favourite times to wander around and explore! The streets are deserted and it’s the perfect time to take photos with no one in them!
The Passage du Palais is literally just a passageway between the buildings but it’s really cool. It looks like a little windy, under cover, brick/cobble stoned street. There are mostly just entrances to restaurants, which of course are closed on a Sunday morning.
Unfortunately the only downside, is that it did seem to be used as a public toilet. It did smell quite bad and the floor was ‘wet’ everywhere, so watch where you are stepping.
Grund (old quarter)
The Grund (Old Quarter) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 14th century. The 5.5km Wenzel Walk is a self guided walk around the Grund district, which takes in all the historical sites. There are information boards along the route but we found that they weren’t in English, so we needed to use Google Translate to be able to read them.
There are a couple of options to get down to the Grund. It can be a tough walk, especially coming back up again. Other than walking through the Pfaffenthal district and taking the Panoramic Elevator of the Pfaffenthal, you’ll also find the ‘Ascenseur Elevator Plateau St. Esprit Grund’.
The Ascenseur Elevator Plateau St. Esprit Grund is a typical fully enclosed lift. In the upper town, it can be found in the courtyard area of the Palais de Justice Luxembourg (and the Superior Court of Justice). In the Grund, it can be accessed via a tunnel opposite the Pont du Grund bridge.
Pont du Grund
If you want a great photo, the Pont du Grund bridge is a good place to go. In one direction there are some timber-framed looking buildings overlooking the Alzette River. In the other direction it looks up towards the Chemin de la Corniche.
Walking through the Grund you’ll see the Neumünster Abbey. This was once an abbey, a hospital and was even a prison at one point, but it’s now a cultural and conference centre. It isn’t part of the the Wenzel Walk, but there is a path that goes alongside the river, which is quite a nice detour.
Pont du Stierchen & Wenzel wall
The Pont du Stierchen bridge is an arched brick footbridge which connects the Grund with the Wenzel Wall. The Wenzel Wall heads back up towards the upper town. It was originally built as an extra defence for the Plateau du Rham and those that lived in the valley.
🚂Petrusse Express & VR Tour
A unique tour to take is the Petrusse Express city train tour. For the most part it follows the Wenzel Walk through the lower town. The Petrusse Express has enclosed carriages with an audio guide. Everyone is given a set of earbuds (included in the ticket cost) which are plugged into a control panel in front of each seat. There are 8 languages available (mostly European).
It passes the Rives de Clausen area which is a popular nightlife spot with bars and restaurants and the Plateau du Rham. In all honesty, I wasn’t overly impressed with the tour, it shakes a lot driving over cobblestones, it’s hard to take photos and I don’t remember a huge amount of the audio tour!
We did the VR section of the tour and this was pretty cool! For the last 15 minutes you wear a VR headset (note – there are only 4 languages on offer for this part). The regular tour goes through the Pfaffenthal district, which we had already seen when doing the elevator, so when wearing the headset, you won’t be able to see this in real time.
It took a while for the driver to get the headsets to sync up, but once they work it transports you back to 1867. Instead of the train, it looks like you are sat on the back of a horse and cart. The time travel tour works on geolocation, so the streets where the train currently is, are the streets in the video, but the surroundings are what it would have looked like in the 1800s. 1867 was the year when the fortifications were dismantled, so it was a major time in Luxembourg’s history.
The video is 360-degree, if you turn your head you can look around you as if you are actually there. 15 minutes was enough for me as I did start to feel a bit sick by the end…with the vibrations of the train and a screen being an inch from your eyes, it can be a bit of a sensory overload! I’m glad I did the Petrusse Express tour though, purely for the VR experience. The full tour took an hour altogether.
After the train tour we wandered back through the Upper Town and made our way back to the airport for our afternoon flight.
Luxembourg In One Day
This Luxembourg itinerary could easily be made into a Luxembourg day trip. Keep in mind that there are quite a few places in Luxembourg that do not open on a Sunday, or when they do, the opening hours are shorter. If I was going to have 1 day in Luxembourg I would do it in this order (all of these are ‘open’ on Sundays):
- Grupetto for breakfast
- Passage du Palais
- Wenzel Wall/Walk
- Grund district
- Elevator up to Upper Town
- Chemin de la Corniche
- Petrusse Express VR Tour
- Walk through Pfaffenthal to the Panoramic Elevator
- Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn for late afternoon lunch
- Walk around the Upper Town and ‘Pétrusse Casemates’ area overlooking the park/valley
Where To Stay In Luxembourg City
Ibis Luxembourg Aeroport
As I booked a last minute weekend break, we struggled to find available hotels for a reasonable price. We ended up staying at the Ibis Luxembourg Airport and it was perfect for us.
It is within walking distance from the airport, but it also has the route 29 bus stop into the city right outside the hotel. As the buses are free and it only took around 15 minutes to get to the Verlorenkost, Al Molkerei stop, it was a great option to save a bit of money.
The hotel was fine, quiet, warm and clean with free WiFi and a gym. As well as a restaurant they also have a 24hr snack menu, which you order from the bar during opening hours or with reception once the bar closes. They also offer breakfast, however as we only had 2 days in Luxembourg we wanted to eat in a cafe in the city instead.
Another option is the Ibis Budget Luxembourg Aeroport which is in the same location but right next door.