History of Luxembourg:
Luxembourg gained independence from the Netherlands in 1839, which also saw the territory of the country cut nearly in half as the Belgian Revolution of 1830-1839 ended with half the land being ceded to Belgium. In return, Luxembourg was granted more autonomy and reaffirmed its neutrality status.
The country was overrun in both world wars, and annexed into the German Rich in 1940, an annexation that was overturned when the Allies won WWII. Luxembourg was liberated in 1944 and a government in exile that had been helping the allies during the war was reinstated. Luxembourg is no longer neutral, and has joined the UN, NATO and was a founding member of the EU.
Long a rural area, Luxembourg is often said to have limited culture in terms of non-folk/agricultural events. Despite this, Luxembourg has won the Capital of Culture award twice since 1995. There are multiple museums in the capital, and cathedrals and churches in the countryside that are extremely artistic and beautiful. The forests are clean, cleared and enjoyable and in the 2010 World Expo in China, Luxembourg drew from this for their ‘Forest and Fortress’ themed pavilion.
Top Destinations in Luxembourg:
In such a small country, the top sights are easy to list. Luxembourg City, the Ardennes forest and the two major cities of Dudelange and Differdange. It is quite easy to drive though the entire country in a matter of hours, a beautiful and scenic drive through farm land and small towns.
Transportation in Luxembourg:
We drove through the country and found the roads unbelievably clean and well-built. The road network is vast and links Luxembourg to all of the neighboring countries very efficiently. You’ll also find a capital airport, trains to major capitals nearby and trams in Luxembourg city. Unless you have a car, transportation in the countryside is difficult, especially if you want to savor the beautiful in-between hamlets and towns between major cities.
Money in Luxembourg:
It is an expensive place to visit, but the people are more than willing to make it worth the cost. Lodging is expensive, as is the food, fuel and sites. Nevertheless, the countryside is rich and fertile and camping is a possibility and highly recommended. You’ll find cheaper food options that make it affordable on your budget, and if you rent a car elsewhere in Europe and drive into Luxembourg you might be able to see a great deal without breaking the bank.
Food in Luxembourg:
Like most of Europe, the food is diverse. You’ll find German, French and Belgian foods are available, as well as some Italian fare. We found the food delicious, but nothing stood out as uniquely ‘Luxembourgian’ to us.
Interaction with residents: Medium
Despite the country’s tiny size, the people of Luxembourg have large hearts. We were confronted multiple times by helpful and happy locals eager to give us directions, drive out of their way to help us, or even translate for us. We met several people who were fluent in three or more languages, and who were aware of the great fortune they had of being born in such a lovely country.
Suggestions for Traveling in Luxembourg:
We suggest camping, finding smaller restaurants that may be cheaper, and interacting with locals as much as possible to find the best sites in each town. Older locals can point you towards war monuments or important areas of the Ardennes while younger folks are more likely to speak English.
Recommendation level: 8
We really love Luxembourg. It is a tiny country and you could probably see it in a few days, but we would love to spend several months really getting to know the country. In 2010 on the Mongol Rally, Luxembourg was ranked on our team as the number one place we’d want to return to. On the downside, it is expensive and living there short-term would cost a small fortune.
Visas for Luxembourg:
Americans, Canadians and members of the EU do not need visas. Check with the consulate in your home country if you are not a member of these countries.
Our Route in Luxembourg:
We arrived in Luxembourg via Belgium, and drove south through the country to Mirsh and then Luxembourg city before cutting east and heading into Germany. We drove through the countryside, the Ardennes and several small but beautiful towns.