Luxembourg City

 View of the Adolphe Bridge and Place de la Constitution from the Cathedrale Notre Dame

View of the Adolphe Bridge and Place de la Constitution from the Cathedrale Notre Dame

 

Several months ago, I booked an error fare ticket from Luxembourg to Zanzibar in business class. It was a great deal, but as is always the case with error fares, it came with the risk that the ticket would not be honored be the airline, Ethiopian in this case. One of the first things anyone will tell you about error fares is to wait until the fare has been honored and the ticket issued by the actual airline in question to make any additional plans. Naturally, I threw caution to the wind, and when I spotted a cheap award flight back to the US from Luxembourg, I booked it, not wanting to risk losing it.

Twenty four hours later I was disappointed to learn that Ethiopian was not going to honor the fare. I was shit out of luck for Zanzibar. The situation I found myself in could’ve easily been avoided by simply waiting until the ticket had been confirmed by Ethiopian to book the award flight home, but what can I say, I was little impatient. Thanks to this poor planning, I had a ticket home from Luxembourg to use. I was able to instead spend a few days exploring Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels, and of course Luxembourg City.

While the trip was certainly a relative success, and each of the cities I was able to visit were quite pleasant, Luxembourg was a bit of an unknown to me going in, but exceeded every expectation. Both the airport and the city itself are relatively small, so navigating flights and public transportation is extremely easy. Although there are a variety of bus lines that can transport you to any area of the city for 2 euros, I only utilized the line going to and from the airport. Using the busses was extremely easy, and getting from the city center to the airport, or vice versa, only takes 15 or 20 minutes.

Luxembourg is bringing back their tram system, which would also allow for easy navigation to and from the airport, but as of my 2017 visit, these were still under construction. When I googled the route from the city center to the airport and back, it seemed to indicate that the tram system was up and running, but this is definitely not the case. Regardless, the bus system is very easy to use, and I can’t think of any reason to deviate from it.

Wandering around the city on foot is extremely pleasant, and I’d highly recommend doing this, as long as you are prepared for plenty of hills. It is relatively compact, and I didn’t feel like I missed anything in the city itself having only stayed there one day.

The city is filled with old buildings and picturesque architecture. The Cathedrale Notre-Dame is definitely worth a visit and can be accessed free of charge without any kind of tour or guide. The Palais Grand-Ducal is also interesting to see, but is unsuspecting and could almost be missed due to many of the buildings in the area blending in with its historic and regal architectural style. The armed guards out front, though are a dead giveaway. The Passerelle and Adolphe Bridges offer great views of the valley, but are pretty hard to miss if you are anywhere near the city center. The city also features numerous plazas and gardens – Place de la Constitution, and Place Guillaume in particular, although there was a fair amount of construction in and around these spots during the summer when I was there.

One of the other interesting sites of the city is the Casemates du Bock, a series of fortifications, tunnels and underground passages built into the hillside dating back to the 17th century that have served various purposes over the years. Although there was plenty of informative literature on display giving a great deal of background on the site, I’m not sure I would opt for the unguided admission again due to the lack of obvious route to follow. I almost never prefer to pay for a guided tour, but at only 12 euros, rather than the 6 for the unguided option, it might be worth it since I wasted some of my time trying to figure out where to go, or if there was more to see that I had missed.

In the alternative, the Luxembourg tourist website does offer an extremely useful brochure in English that includes a map. Had I had this prior to my visit, I probably could’ve made better use of my unguided time. It’s also possible that this same information is available somewhere on site, I just didn’t happen to see it in my wanderings.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, as Luxembourg City also is host to a number of museums and other historic sites, but even spending a day seeing these sites was enough to exceed my expectations. I suspect Luxembourg may be more of a known quantity for Europeans, but as an American, I had no idea what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised that my error fare impatience didn’t result in more of a debacle.