Recently, Erin and I rented a car and drove to Luxembourg City. It was a new country for both of us, but to be honest, I expected the city to be like any other wealthy, multi-cultural European city – indistinguishable from some of the others (Basel comes to mind as an example). Fortunately, I was wrong.
We used this trip to try out couch surfing for the first time, and it worked out pretty well (and saved us some money!). But you can read Erin’s post about that.
While in Luxembourg City, we did a lot of walking – the areas of interest to tourists are pretty close together, and Erin and I prefer walking anyway; I think you get to know a place better that way. Here are a few highlights from the trip:
We were surprised to find that much of the city was built around valleys and gorges. I didn’t expect such unique scenery within a capital city (see first paragraph), but in fact, they are part of the reason for Luxembourg City’s location; the valleys offered protection as natural barriers to opposing armies. It really made for a scenic downtown unlike any other I’ve seen.
The casemates are ruins of the old fortress that made up the city. In order to protect the city and it’s inhabitants, castle- and fortress-type structures were built throughout many of the gorges. Additionally, the casemates include impressive viaducts. Today, they are used as bridges or simply remain as historic landmarks.
Overall, Luxembourg was more than I expected. The culture feels French, but there are definitely German and Dutch influences, and many people speak English as a common language (for example, in a sandwich shop, we struggled to order in French, so the girl behind the counter offered, “English, German, or Luxembourgish are also fine” like it was no big deal that people might order their food in up to four languages). I highly recommend it as an overnight side trip for visitors to this part of Europe because of its unique feel and scenery.
Have you ever been to Luxembourg City? What did you think of its unique cityscape?