Castles loom on cliffs above medieval cities in this mountainous country in the middle of Europe. Despite its small size, it has a rich economy and its own language.
Luxembourg, one of Europe’s smallest countries, is also one of its richest, due to a large banking industry. Its capital city features a glassy financial district and Mudam, a flashy modern art museum designed by I.M. Pei. Luxembourg’s older parts make it worth visiting: its cobblestoned old towns, hilltop medieval fortresses and natural landscape of mountains, farmland and river valleys are awe-inspiring.
Established in the 10th century, Luxembourg is filled with well-preserved medieval towns. Visit the country’s capital, Luxembourg City, with a beautiful antique center. The old town is strewn across dramatic cliffs with a river gorge running between them. Walk along Le Chemin de la Corniche, an elevated walkway lining the cliffs and looking out over the medieval structures.
Many of the city’s buildings are original structures, including the massive 16th-century Grand Ducal Palace. From the walkway, climb to the top of Montée de Clausen to find the Casemates du Bock, a network of 18th-century caves carved into the mountain.
Nothing is more Luxembourgish than mountaintop castles, which dot the section of the Ardennes Mountains running through the northern part of the country. One hiking path through the region’s Eisch Valley passes seven castles. The town of Vianden is located here as well; the sight of its centuries-old Vianden Castle on a hill illuminated at night is unforgettable.
The eastern part of the country levels out in vividly green farmland laid out along picturesque river valleys. Tour the Moselle Valley on Luxembourg’s German border to try one of its popular white wines. From there, head up the border to the small town of Echternach, which originated as an abbey in the year 698.
Reach Luxembourg by flying into the international airport outside Luxembourg City or arriving via train from a city in any of the surrounding countries. French and German are commonly spoken in the country. Listen carefully to hear some of Luxembourg’s very own Luxembourgish language.