Europe's Secret Getaway: Luxembourg

Europe's Secret Getaway: Luxembourg

A teeny tiny country the size of Yorkshire in a peculiar, land- locked location smack bang in the middle of not one, not two, but 3 different nations. Add that to the fact it's capital city is smaller than Bristol and it's most famous attraction is the EU and you would have every right to be confused.

So were most of the people when I told them my weekend plans were "going to Luxembourg". Not exactly top of the list when it comes to European city breaks. In fact, it's probably not even on the list considering most people haven't even heard of the place let alone know where it is.

But you know I'd NEVER pass up an opportunity to visit a foreign city in a new country - especially when flights were basically free at £38 RETURN! (And my love- hate relationship with Ryan Air continues) . So I joined a couple of friends for a long weekend break in the mysterious city.
I should point out that we did actually have some reason to our madness - we were visiting Claire who had been working there for a few months - for the EU nonetheless!

Now , normally I'm a plan it to a T kind of person when it comes to holidays. Don't get me wrong I'm all for spontaneity but when it comes to maximising sightseeing and avoiding the tourist traps - these things need organisation. But seeing as Claire had promised to be our guide I did absolutely nothing, not even googling what the place looked like.

Little did we know we were about to discover just how much of a best kept secret Luxembourg was.

But first - it was time to take a trip back out of the country.

A Day Trip to Trier (Germany)

A strange thing to do on a first day but our friend and guide, Claire was at work for the day so we thought we would make the most of Luxembourg's proximity to so many different countries and take a little day trip to Deutschland. I also really just wanted to experience the novelty of hopping on a train again and being in a different country in an hour.

It was one of the best things about my year abroad and being in Vienna - Europe was just a couple of hours away by train *sigh.

The town we picked (about the only research I did) was Trier - one of the oldest towns in Germany with lots of Roman history. There's not a great deal to do there and does feel a bit old- person -y even for a traditional little Deutschstadt but it was sufficiently cute and German and the perfect size for a few hours of slightly-too-warm sightseeing.

But we escaped the heat with Eis and the air-conditioned Lindt shop (that gives free tasters!), rounded off with a deliciously cheap wine (€2!) from the nearby vineyards. Oh and pretzeln - I was determined not to leave without having bad one of them!

Every German box ticked (the girls also got Bratwurst and I even managed to practise the little German I remember from my degree) we headed back to Luxembourg to meet Claire for some dinner.

And that is when we got the first glimpse of just how much of a hidden gem this city is.

Built on two levels, the old town where we were headed lies in the shadow of a striking cliff face.
All the way up there is where the "new town" is located but despite the division they are both equally Fairy Tale-esque with turreted buildings and cobbled streets, spoilt only by the crazy amount of building works going on in the city - seriously they couldn't just dig up one part at a time could they!

Ignoring that - this place was a real-life Disneyland.

Dinner in the Old Town: BOSSO

Cute bridges, pretty rivers and as the evening settled in, fairy-lights that cast a magical glow over the Old Town as we headed to Bosso for our dinner.

Now, one thing I should probably mention - Luxembourg is known for being a tax haven which means things like eating out can get expensive. But that's where having a local around helps.
Bosso was very reasonable, with a huge range of hearty, German and French - themed dishes from omelettes to Spätzle, to steak and salads

I opted for the traditional Flambé (or Flammkuchen auf Deutsch) at €9.90. Kind of like a pizza but thin and crispy and topped with sour cream, onions and bacon (lardons). A throwback to my year abroad when I visited Strasbourg - the region where they are originally from.

They have a lovely little courtyard too. I don't know about you, but eating outside just gives me that holiday feeling. Probably because it's hardly ever warm enough in the UK , even in Summer!

And boy was it HOT in Luxembourg.

A Lazy Saturday in Luxembourg: Picnics, Views & Chocolate Cake

The next day was another 30 degree scorcher as we headed in for a leisurely day of sight-seeing. And I mean leisurely! Not leaving the house till waaay after midday we hopped on a bus (all free on Saturdays - just another tick for the city) to a nearby park for an afternoon of picnicking and catching up.

It was nice just lazing about in the sun, learning about life in Luxembourg and discussing the state of the world (and how bloody expensive London is!).

We did eventually haul ourselves up and went in search of views like this:

After a couple of hours, we were satisfied we had seen all the New Town had to offer (I told you it was a small city!) and seeing as it was still incredibly hot there was only one thing to do.

Seek shelter inside at the famous Chocolate House opposite the Palace.

A tad apprehensive of it's potential to be a tacky tourist hotspot - there was no reason to worry.
Luxembourg is thankfully very tourist trap free and of tourists for that matter! (Another reason to visit in my opinion!) Obviously too hot for their signature drink a hot chocolate) some of us attempted to order an iced-coffee with interesting results...

A PINT of coffee plus the ice later I was buzzing.  I'm used to strong coffee but this was another level. But you can't have coffee without cake, especially when they look THIS good.

^I'm so glad we only ordered the 2 between us!

High on caffeine and sugar, we headed back to our AirBnb to relax and nap because lazing around all day, eating really takes it out of you! AND it was very very hot ok?

Budget Dining

Thankfully we were also staying in for dinner - pre planned as part of our budget balancing.
And thanks to us somehow finding an amazing, huuuge Airbnb last minute, it was just asking for us to host a dinner party.

We kept it simple but satisfying with pasta bolognese paired with some sparkling wine from none other than the EU parliament themselves!

^Yes - that's a thing for some reason!

Old Town River Walks & Sunday Brunchin'

Sunday started in much the same way as Saturday - slow and lazy but as all good Sundays should be! (Also may or may not have had something to do with that EU wine). Once we got moving we mostly did our own thing in the morning. Having not explored much of the Old Town yet, I decided to see what other hidden treasures were waiting to be discovered.

And it did not disappoint. Following the river down, I seemed to have stumbled into a real life fairy-tale brook.

I could have happily stayed there for hours, miles away from the real world but it was time for Brunch! Zipping up to the New Town in the "lift in the cliff" (seriously impressed this was a thing and was free!) we headed to Table Du Pain, which Claire assured us did a mean brunch.


Part restaurant, part artisan bakery, I could've bought so many things in addition to my brunch.
And the menu was impressive! There were so many options and set menus with multiple brunchy things it took a VERY long time choose. In the end as always - it was the pancakes that swayed me- and the eggs and the bread and the ham that also came with it! Take that London ha.

Unfortunately I was so excited that I forgot to take any pictures! So these Instagram ones will have to do! It was more or less the same.


Then it was time to say Goodbye to one member of the group who was sensible and not getting a ridiculously late flight back to London.

EU & Modern Art

On the plus side me and Jess who stayed got to see the main EU buildings - parliament,translation and the European Bank - yes that is also a thing - which was pretty cool. We also got cultural and paid a visit to the Modern Art museum (also free) alongside some Tony Cragg sculptures (a fairly well-known British artist-at least I think) and saw a rather disturbing exhibition with videos of pale - faced women in woods and abandoned subways - but there you go that's modern art for you !

There was just enough time for a quick Portuguese stop -off and snack for the plane (the Portuguese makes up a surprising 16.1% of the population!) before we took our flight from quite possibly Europe's most hilariously small airport. The security was quite literally 2 meters after we walked through the makeshift "gate" to departures.

But they say good things come in small packages and Luxembourg has everything you might want for a city break.

✅Not Full of Tourists
✅Small enough for a weekend trip
✅Just the right amount of interesting
✅Summer sun (and heat)
✅Good Brunch

It might possibly be Europe's most underrated city and one to definitely add to the list.

Thanks for being our guide Claire!


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