Luxembourg like a local
The wonderful thing about Luxembourg City is that it is a small capital in an exceptional UNESCO world heritage setting: an old fortress makes way for ancient walls, dramatic cliffs and a charming old town. Luxembourg City is blessed with the lush Pétrusse valley, full of greenery and a network of pathways where you can go to escape the urban buzz on the plateaus surrounding it, complete with playground, skatepark and minigolf. Explore freely as you pass under historic bridges, and choose any pathway you fancy to see which part of the city you’ll pop up in next.
Green city trips
The capital's setting makes for quite a contrast with the second city, Esch-sur-Alzette (nominated European Capital of Culture in 2022). Hop on a train at the main station and be at one of its three stations (Esch-sur-Alzette, Belval Université and Belval-Redange all on the CFL line 60) in just half an hour. Esch is surrounded by the most extraordinary terrain of rugged rocks and dense forests, all within the Red Rock region.
As well as their green spaces, what the cities have in common is their diverse cultural offering and cosmopolitan feel. The streets and squares of both the cities are alive with many cultures and nationalities. There are countless spots along cobbled streets, in lush parks or by the river, that invite you to put down your backpack and take a moment to slow down and savour.
Picnics and pleasures in the Grund
There are many favourite places in the green areas surrounding the Grund by the river Alzette to soak up some sunshine, have a picnic, play frisbee, read or just take a break to listen to your favourite podcast. Wander along ancient fortress walls and cobbled streets, and take a break at one of the quaint cafés and terraces along the river, in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
All paths to the Neimënster Abbey are incredibly picturesque. You can walk from the bridge along the river, past the urban apple orchard, and greet Melusina the mermaid on the way. Neimënster on the banks of the Alzette river is home to a stunning event venue within former monastery walls. In summer there are open air concerts down here with the impressive backdrop of the famous casemates. The Apéro Jazz followed by a lunch in the Grund make for an ideal Sunday
Be local at Bouneweger Stuff and Beim Renert
Bouneweger Stuff is a popular neighbourhood hangout frequented by a diverse crowd, local and international. Board games, a bowling alley and a large selection of local beers, wines and gins await visitors in an original environment decorated with old school chairs and desks. The Stuff serves vegetarian and organic dishes of the day at lunchtime and soups and paninis all day long. Organic brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday. You can find the café in Bonnevoie district, just across from the station (Gare) district. Fill up here before exploring the Rotondes cultural centre.
Back uptown is Beim Renert, a typical Luxembourg bistro right by the Luxembourg City Tourist Office on Place Guillaume II. Named after the fox in the 19th century fable written by Michel Rodange, Renert is a national epic. The fox decorates the bistro walls giving the place a cheeky feel and there is a large selection of high-quality spirits to keep you further entertained. You can dine on daily specials and local produce in a relaxed environment or enjoy evening snacks, from the typical “Bouneschlupp” (bean soup) to meatballs and salads, as well as local favourites "Kniddelen" or "Wäinzossis".
City park sunsets and arty Wednesdays
Popular among city dwellers, the Park Drai Eechelen plateau is a superb area to take a walk after a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (Mudam) or before a concert at the Philharmonie on the nearby Kirchberg plateau. Amidst exciting architecture, former fortress ruins and lots of greenery, people come here to marvel at the sunsets and the wonderful cityscape across the valley.
“Till Ten” offers the opportunity to spend a unique Wednesday evening at the Mudam with guided tours in English, dance, performances, music, shows or talks. Free tours of the current exhibition start at 19:00. Afterwards, it's time to relax, eat and drink in a stimulating and inspiring environment at the Mudam Café, designed by the French designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
Esch-sur-Alzette, in Luxembourg's south, is a city that keeps evolving. Originally a symbol of the iron and steel industry, it has gone on to reinvent itself with sustainable development at its core, and has many beautiful parks and forests.
Like the capital city and indeed much of the country, over many years, Esch-sur-Alzette’s international population has created a multicultural imprint. As well as having the longest shopping street in Luxembourg, Esch has a diverse cultural offering and has many new projects and activities sprouting up as part of its designation as European Capital of Culture 2022. For an evening of dining and cultural entertainment, head to the Kulturfabrik “culture factory” in a reconverted abattoir, where you’ll find a cinema, Ratelach bar and K116 brasserie.
To travel back in time to the region’s industrial past, don’t miss the Minett Park Fond-de-Gras. It is an open-air museum through the former mining area complete with steam train, hiking and biking trails and rustic dining at Bei der Giedel.
Fun and fantasy in the park
The Gaalgebierg Park is the city’s main park and a wonderful green oasis to recharge, complete with gardens, playground, campsite and multiple sports areas. It is situated just across from the Esch-sur-Alzette main station, adjoined to the Esch Youth Hostel. When temperatures are cold enough, you can enjoy ice skating on the natural ice rink.
Accommodation in the park veers from the 4-star comfort of The Seven hotel with panoramic views of the region, to the fun and fantasy of the Escher Baumhauser cosy treehouses. If you don’t plan to stay in the city’s greenery, at least afford yourself a rest at the treehouse café after climbing the Gaalgebierg hill and before heading to the Escher Déierepark animal park.
Get your Interrail Pass
Are you ready to see Europe in full colour? Whether you want to experience Luxembourg's Red Rock region, the greenery of the Grund or see the full spectrum of Europe, you can find the perfect Pass for your autumn trip.