A tiny country squished between the borders of France, Belgium and Germany, Luxembourg is easy to overlook. It’s not necessarily a bucket list destination and it doesn’t get much press, but those who never glimpse its breathtaking countryside and medieval fortresses are certainly missing out.
There are many aspects of Luxembourg City, the country’s capital, which make it attractive to family travelers. The city is easy to get around by car, foot and bike. Many residents speak English with ease. The food is delicious. The history is abundant. It’s not too crowded and there’s not so much to do that you feel overwhelmed with a toddler or child in tow.
The Old City
Luxembourg’s Old City is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site, and for good reason. The area of the city is charmingly beautiful and the bock casemates form a labyrinth of underground and cave-like tunnels that leave eager young explorers talking for days. The casemates date back to the 1500s, when Luxembourg was one of the most fortified sites in medieval Europe, known as “the Gibraltar of the North.” The military fortifications were home to hundreds of soldiers and livestock and operated as a miniature city, with cooks, butchers, blacksmiths and more. Now, you can explore the rock-hewn structure for just a few euro. Be sure to catch glimpses of the outside as well, though (it’s hard to miss, regardless), both during the day and at night. While sunlight hours provide an unprecedented view of the mammoth structure, the nighttime scenery is just as nice, as the ramparts light up with colored hues.
In the center of the city, Grand-Rue forms a shopping corridor, with many high-end names rubbing elbows with local shops and recognizable brands such as Sephora and Lush. Side streets branch off into even more shopping, whether you’re looking for Louis Vuitton, H&M, Laduree, wine shops, cafes or jewelers.
One of Luxembourg City’s best treats, most likely much to the delight of younger traveling companions, is chocolate. One of the most popular options is Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn, where you can sit in a medieval home munching on chocolates, cake, coffee, Champagne and a number of other decadent menu items, all with a great view of the Palais Grand-Ducal, or the residence of Luxembourg’s Grand Duke, just across the street.
Another restaurant that affords great views during your walk to and from is Brasserie Bosso, a cozy restaurant in Old City, right off the Alzette River. You’re treated to not only great views of the waterfront, casemates and medieval town, but hearty comfort food served in huge portions at a good price.
Arts and Sciences
Squeeze in a few educational opportunities during your Luxembourg itinerary. One top choice is the National Museum of History and Art (Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art), with its exhibits on arts, archaeology and precious metals. Another is the Orchestre Philharmonique Luxembourg, where the program includes more than 100 concerts aimed at young attendees each season, performed in four different languages.