Note that this travel guide is just a service I provide as a pastime, but as my profession (I am an academic in computing science!). Please contact an on/offline travel agent, and/or the nearest Luxembourg consulate (if there is none, ask at a Belgian or Dutch consulate), if you cannot find the desired information starting from this travel guide. But I will reply to "interesting" requests, especially that I have made some wonderful friends this way!
In 2012, I decided to stop maintaining this guide, but it still contains a lot of correct and useful information.
Happy traveling in Luxembourg,
The CIA World Factbook has lots of interesting facts about Luxembourg.
Rick Bronson's Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory has some addresses of tourism offices for Luxembourg.
Descendants of emigrants from Luxembourg to the USA can trace their ancestors and relatives via some excellent genealogy sites, such as Luxembourg on my Mind, Luxembourg Research, GeneLux, and Speltz Web.
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has excellent information about staying healthy in Western Europe, and hence in Luxembourg.
Michael C. Martin's Foreign Languages for Travelers has some basic lessons (with sounds!) for the traveler on the German language and French language, which are our second and third languages (all learned in school, not at home). English is also widely spoken.
Lonely Planet Publications also have:
I considerably pruned the following letters so as to keep them up-to-date, short, informative (and spell/grammar-checked). I also annotated them whenever I don't agree with other people, or have updates to what they wrote.
From: email@example.com (Miguel Cruz) Newsgroup: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Schengen Visas Date: April 1998 > can someone tell me what these visas are all about and how do you get one? > cost? do these visas really allow you to use the one visa for all EU > countries? surely there must be a catch of some sort? who is entitled to > these? If you are issued a visa by a country that has signed and implemented the Schengen Accord, it allows you to stay for 90 days into the entire open-border zone established by that treaty. This includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, France (when they're in the mood), Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. Denmark, Sweden and Finland have signed on and will start playing soon. [Editor: in late March 2001.] The UK has not and probably will not for a good long time. Not sure about Ireland. Norway and Iceland are fence-sitting [Editor: and are not part of the EU anyway]. If you don't normally need a visa for these countries (if, say, you're from Western Europe or North America) then this isn't very important to you unless you plan on spending more than 90 days in Europe. If you ordinarily need a visa for some but not all of these countries (Australians, for instance), then you only need to get a Schengen visa if you plan on going to one of those countries. --- From: Michael Voight (firstname.lastname@example.org) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: crossing Benelux region borders in car? Date: March 1998 > How difficult/time consuming is it to cross the borders between the > Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and France in a car (w/ US > passports)? The time it takes to cross the border depends on how fast your car will go. If driving from Belgium to Netherlands, slow to near the speed limit at the border :-) Of course with those gas prices in Europe, slower will be cheaper. If you're driving, no one will even see your passport. Make sure you rent from a reputable company as insurance and other issues are more strict than most of the US. Some places require fire extinguishers and I believe using the warning triangles are required throughout Europe. Get aquainted with the signage and usage of roundabouts.
From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Need suggestions on [...] Luxembourg Date: March 1994 > [...] will be going to [...] Luxembourg [...]. We plan to go by train > [...]. I've been told that getting around in Luxembourg is done better > with the buses, and I know about their various passes. Depends on where you go in Luxembourg: the entire north-south axis is well-served by trains, and this includes many major destinations. Otherwise, indeed, you must rely on buses. Careful, though: some places only run 2 buses a day in each direction: going there in the early morning, and coming back from there in the late afternoon. This is because of the centralized form of Luxembourg's economy: the capital city is its major hub, and many buses just run for commuters. Another point: going from one village to another one just 20km away might require an 80km ride, because you first need to get back to the capital. But all in all, you should have no problems getting around, and hitching is definitely no problem. Many overland buses are run by the railway company, so their pass might cover such bus-rides! > We also want to stay in one place for 3-4 days at a time, so two > different towns [...] in Luxembourg. What I would like is any > suggestions on not-to-be-missed castles and/or wineries and/or > anything else, especially [...] in Lux. In Luxembourg, you shouldn't miss the capital city. The other deservedly major tourist magnets are, in decreasing order: Echternach, Vianden (both on the German border), Clervaux, and Esch-sur-Sure (center-north), though none is on the Mosel, and only Clervaux is directly accessible by train. Other ones that are, are less splendid, but still worth it: Diekirch, Ettelbrueck, or any village along the railway line north of Ettelbrueck. The Mosel is pretty unspectacular in Luxembourg (unlike certain spots along the German Mosel, such as Bernkastel!), and at worst I would settle down in Remich, because otherwise you'll die of boredom (unless you want plain village-life?). I recommend you make Echternach your second locale in Luxembourg. > Also, we would like any recommendations for inexpensive but good > bed-and-breakfast/Gasthaus/pension type places. For that matter, how > do you recommend going about making reservations, or will we need such > in May (ie, could we just decide a town when we get there, get off the > train, and be fairly certain to find a place to stay?) We are not > interested in youth hostels, nor do we want to spend the whole day of > the day hunting down a place to stay; if it's better to get > reservations now, I guess I'd rather do that. I can't help you with addresses, as I have relatives all over my country. But I'd say that May is very early season, so you should have no difficulty w/o reservations. I don't have a festival calendar here, but double-check with one (if you can find one; ask the Luxembourg Tourism Bureau in New York) because otherwise you might run into trouble in certain places on certain days. > Finally, any comments on how easy/hard it is to see the good stuff > along the Mosel relying only on train, bus, bike, and walking... It should be very easy, especially if you like biking! Many railway stations rent out bikes. Walking is a national pastime in both Germany and Luxembourg, and cycling is one in Luxembourg. --- From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Luxembourg Date: March 1994 >> Another point: going from one village to another one just 20km away >> might require an 80km ride, because you first need to get > > but this may be bike-able, yes? Sure. I firmly recommend to anybody who is in decent shape and wants to spend more than 4 days in Luxembourg, to discover it by bike. Cycling is a national pastime, drivers are experienced, and there are really superb traffic-free bicycle trails (pamphlet + map available everywhere). > Hitching is not illegal? Would you advise renting a car (we really > don't want to, but if we have to...) Hitching is not illegal. Renting a car will set you back about $40 a day for the smallest economy car, and is probably not really necessary for your plans and travel-style. > Echternach, Whit Tuesday, the hop-dance for St. Willibrord! I've read > about it, and a friend from Germany says I shouldn't miss it! Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous surroundings. > Do you know of any good wineries or Luxembourger wines? There are pamphlets at any tourist office, so pick one up as you get there. Almost any village along the Mosel has a winery, or a co-op winery, and none really stands out, except maybe the one at Wormeldange (f), which produces our finest Riesling. Note that Luxembourger wines are completely different in taste, but not in names, from their German Mosel counterparts: ours are less sweet, more like the Alsacy [sp?] wines from France. > Any good castles besides the one in Vianden? The restoration of the Vianden fortress is a huge success, and cuts my breath away whenever I go there (because I remember the times before). Most fortresses and castles are being restored in these days, and I especially like Brandenb[o]urg (f,g), Clervaux (f), which has a superb exhibit with models of most castles, and Robert Steichen's "The Family of Man" (a Luxembourger B&W photographer who made his career in the USA), Esch-sur-Sure (f) (not finished), Stolzemb[o]urg (f,g) (?), and most of the ones in the "Valley of Seven Castles" (along the Eisch river). --- From: email@example.com (Jordan Stump) Newsgroup: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Airport to Train/Luxembourg Date: September 1995 > Does anyone know how difficult/easy it is to get from the airport in > Luxembourg to the train station? It's very easy: there will be a bus just outside the terminal which will take you directly to the downtown train station. It's cheap, as I remember (although I can't remember how much), and fast (maybe twenty minutes to half an hour?). One warning: it would be a shame to leave such a beautiful city as Luxembourg as soon as you get off the plane! It would be well worth it to spend a night there and take the train the next day if at all possible. --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Pete and Marty Riley) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Luxembourg-First Trip Date: February 1998 > My wife and I are hoping to go to Luxembourg this summer and would like > some advice on a nice hotel in Luxembourg city and things to see. [...] Luxembourg [...] we've spent part of several days in that city. A very pleasant small city. There's pleny to see just wandering around, but we particularly enjoyed the main square, the nearby US national military cemetary where Gen. Patton is buried, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The city is perched on top of a small, narrow ravine, the bottom of which has become a very pleasant park. Luxembourg National Day is celebrated on June 23, so you might want to take that into account when planning your arrival. We had flown in that day for the start of a choir tour, and I remember that things were pretty lively. On the other hand, it might be pretty neat to experience all the festival activities and firework displays.
From: email@example.com (Dave Crowson) To: the editor Subject: Re: LUXEMBOURG: An on-line compilation Date: November 1994 I lived in Luxembourg in 1990. I moved there to work at the European Parliament, which is situated on the Plateau Kirchberg (along with the European Commission and Court of Justice). To my knowledge, 10 years ago Luxembourg had about 10 different banking institutes, it currently has over 200+, making it one of the leading financial centres in the world. The night life is excellent in Lux, as there are a good mix of bars/restaurants/clubs that are run by Italians, English, Irish and Luxembourgers alike. The social life (amongst the English speakers) is generally to be found in bars such as "The White Rose", "The Pygmalion", and "Scott's Pub" in the Grund. The Grund is a valley that runs though the middle of Luxembourg city, making it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe (IMO:) Because Luxembourg is surrounded by Germany, France and Belgium it makes for a great base for exploring Europe. It is also the central meeting place in Europe for all travelers, especially in the summer. --- From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Information on Luxembourg Date: July 1995 "moien", (greeting in Luxembourgish) > I am planning an extended stay in Luxembourg City and am trying to > get as much information as possible. I can only recommend you exhaustively explore all the links I mention. > Any suggestions on where I might get suggestions on areas to live, > apartment rentals, estimates of cost of living, etc. would be greatly > appreciated. It's a very expensive city, because of the EU institutions (these guys make so much money that they drive the prices up all the time). Except for housing and maybe dining, though, it's probably however cheaper than most other Western European cities, because of the lower VAT (the gov't makes enough money on the tax paid by all these zillions of banks). The city is small, and has excellent bus service from anywhere to the center, so it doesn't really matter where you set up your base. I would however avoid the neighborhoods along the Alzette river, because with their mostly Mediterranean immigrant populations you probably wouldn't feel at home there (but it's not unsafe). Anywhere else will be fine and almost interchangeable. To cut down on rentals, try and find a place in the first communities outside the city. I haven't lived back home for over 12 years, so have no clue about rentals (and my parents own their house).
From: the editor To: firstname.lastname@example.org (S. Goldstien) Subject: Re: Luxembourg Caves? Date: April 1994 > I have heard there are caves in Luxembourg. Can someone give me more > details on where they are located, are they accessible to the general > public and can they be gotten to by public transportation. Thanks. I don't think any of our caves are very impressive (there's better stuff in neighboring Belgium), but here's what I remember: there are caves in the areas called: + "Mamer Layen", along the Mamer river, near Mersch (geographical center of the country); there are frequent trains from the capital to Mersch, and it's a nice walk from there; or just hitch from Mersch, everybody knows where the caves are and will drop you nearby; you can get maps of the area at the Mersch tourist office; [Editor's note: entry to these caves is now barred off, due to their collapse about a decade ago during a tornado.] + "Nommer Layen", near the village of Nommern (draw a line east of Mersch, past Larochette); quite similar stuff to the previous one; there are buses from the capital, or just hitch there from anywhere (it's a rural area and people are very friendly); + "Moellerdall" ("Muellerthal" in German, dubbed "Petite Suisse Luxembourgeoise" in French and "Little Switzerland" in English), the area constricted by Echternach (German border), Consdorf, Larochette, Beaufort, Grundhof. Spectacular hiking. Ask around in Berdorf where to look for caves. Buses from the capital to Echternach, and hitch a ride from there. As far as I remember, there are no access restrictions. Also check out the underground galleries of the Luxembourg-City fortress. And the wine caves in any village along the Mosel river... ;-) --- From: email@example.com (Geeta Karmark) Newsgroups: rec.travel Subject: Re: Luxembourg Caves? Date: April 1994 Yup there are caves in Luxembourg. The are called the Casemates. Don't ask me what that means. They have been hewn out of the rock face and could shelter an army as well as a bunch of cannons. I think they helped the Luxembourgeois defend the city a number of times. You can also take an elevator to the Grund (ground) where the rest of the "old city" is/was (we didn't go there because of time constraints). BTW they are right "in town" so they are easy to find and get to (if I remember correctly they are fairly close to a parking garage!). [Editor's note: "Casemate" is a French word synonymous with fort(ification) or bunker. Yes, they were part of the defense installations of the city (Luxembourg was, until 1867, the strongest European fortress after Gibraltar), and were used as bomb shelters during both World Wars. With the Cold War and nuclear disaster paranoia, they were prepped up as nuclear shelters. The "casemates" are all over, under the old town, but only two sub-systems are open for visits: on the "Bock" rock (near Siegfried's Castle) and on the xxx (oops, I don't remember ;-) (at the other end of the "Corniche").] Luxembourg is a delightful city, very fairy-tale like and lots of nice places to wander through -- for about a day. It is also the only country that actively commemorates (in my opinion) America's contribution to the liberation of Europe (by the Allied forces). I think the Battle of the Bulge was fought on Luxembourg soil, and you see tanks and other statues and reminders of the war in many small towns. [Editor's note: I don't know about Luxembourg being the "only" country actively commemorating the US contribution to the liberation of Europe. The vicious "Battle of the Bulge" ("Bataille des Ardennes") followed the "Rundstedt Offensive", i.e. the last stand of the Germans before retreating east of the Rhine, and was fought on Belgian, Luxembourger, and German soil.]
From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Cycling in Luxembourg Date: March 1990 [but still accurate] Taking a bike on the train is inexpensive: ~US$1.20 gets your bike all over the country, provided you board the bike yourself. But then, the country is small; and yet, this is by far the cheapest rate, since in most other countries the fare is proportional to the distance. The weather can be anything between beautiful sunshine and rain, but it will (except in winter) be hot enough for cycling and camping. Plan your journey such that your prospective camping-site is close to a Youth Hostel, so that you can sleep there in case of lousy weather. Off-campground camping is forbidden, so be extremely careful to be well-hidden; but campgrounds are not too expensive. Interesting cities in Luxembourg are Luxembourg-City, Larochette, Echternach, Clervaux, Wiltz, Esch-sur-Sure, Vianden, Diekirch, Rosport, Beaufort, Mondorf. Except for the capital, these are mostly [very] small towns with medieval castles/fortresses situated in a cyclist's paradise: the Ardennes (Bulge), the Luxembourger part of which is called "Eisleck" in our language. You'll indulge in your favorite sport on lonely roads in a spectacular countryside. Be in good shape, but the hills are not too high. The only major professional bike-race in that area will be the "Tour of Luxembourg" (mid-June): traditionally the last stage is across the Oesling, and the tour usually ends in Diekirch. I strongly recommend you buy the Michelin map for Luxembourg (the yellow one with the scale 1cm = 2km): they are made for drivers, but very helpful for cyclists as well, in the sense that: + everything useful is on them (all villages & roads); + scenic roads (usually the yellow ones) are marked by a green border: use these roads as much as possible, since in addition they are not heavily used by motor-vehicles; stay clear of the red roads; + uphill & downhill parts of roads are shown and expressed in %. Youth Hostels are all over: something like 9, which is world record density. They are all equally good I think, and well-situated. I particularly like those of Vianden and Beaufort. Staying far away from civilization will be difficult: I don't think there is any point in Luxembourg, where you are more than 5 miles away from a village or lonely farm. Camp-grounds are literally everywhere. I think you can plan on 60-100 miles/day, at least if you plan on riding in the valleys as much as possible, and only go uphill when you change valleys. Watch out for rivers on the map: there usually are very scenic roads along them, and they get you around the whole country. Luxembourg has special bike trails (often for bikes only) that get you almost all over the country, and of course to the best places. I remember the following: + Ettelbrueck - Diekirch - Echternach (along the Sure/Sauer river) + Echternach - Vianden (along the Our river) + Echternach - Luxembourg (on the track of an ancient railroad: includes tunnels!) and certainly some more in the meantime... Other scenic roads in the Ardennes are: + Ettelbrueck - Kautenbach - Esch/Sure (along the Sure/Sauer river) + Luxembourg - Larochette - Diekirch + Junglinster - Muellerthal - Bollendorf (don't miss this area!) + Clervaux - Michelau - ... (along the Clervaux/Clerf river) + Vianden - Stolzembourg - Dasburg (along the Our river) + Schengen - Remich - Wasserbillig (along the Moselle/Mosel river) + Wasserbillig - Rosport - Echternach (along the Sure/Sauer river) and many more... If you feel like hill-climbing, try the following roads: + Luxembourg - Bridel - Saeul - Redange + Dasburg - Marnach - Clervaux - Wiltz or any other across-the-valley-structure itinerary! --- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jordan Stump) Newsgroups: rec.travel.europe Subject: Re: Hiking in Luxembourg Date: April 1998 > My wife and I are going to be in Luxembourg for about five days next > month. We want to do walking on trails and would like to know what > areas of the country are best for that activity. The only path I've walked in Luxembourg is the big one, the GR5, which I would certainly recommend. It follows along the eastern side of the principality for the most part, much of it along the Moselle river, going through Vianden, Diekirch, Echternach, Wasserbillig, Mondorf-les-Bains, etc. It would probably take you five days to get from, say, Vianden to Mondorf. The very best parts of the path, I think, are between Diekirch and Echternach -- you go through the beautiful Petite Suisse area, and past at least one great castle (in Beaufort, a little town well worth staying in). I've found walking in Luxembourg a bit more tiring than in, say, France or Belgium, because the paths in Luxembourg seem to want to take you to every scenic spot they can -- down to a river, then up to a hilltop, then back down to the river, etc. This might be a subjective impression, however... Also I've found the paths a bit easier to lose in Luxembourg than elsewhere...also a subjective impression, I imagine. But five days in Luxembourg will get you some very good walking indeed, through gorgeous scenery and amid very congenial people.
From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Luxembourg Date: March 1994 >> BTW, there are more people of Luxembourg origin in the USA than back >> home, most being in the Illinois/Iowa area. > > most of our ancestors came to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I have found > out about *2* Luxembourger heritage groups in Minnesota! The St. Donatus village, a few miles south of Dubuque on the Mississippi River in Iowa looks as if it had been transported brick by brick from Luxembourg! I don't know whether all these heritage groups have a common head, maybe he Embassy in New York can help you there. I know that they have opened a Luxembourg House in New York. You'll also notice, especially with elder people, some gratitude towards US-citizens (re: WWII). Gen. George Patton still is sth like a nat'l hero back home, and the US-cemetery near the airport in Luxembourg- City is a constant reminder of to whom we owe our independence of today: sth like 1,500 tombs, mostly from the Battle of the Bulge (Winter 1944/45). --- Subject: Luxembourg Date: October 1995 From: email@example.com (Owen Torrey) To: the editor As a young infantry private in General Patton's Third Army (11th Armored Division) I spent a large portion of January and February of 1945 in southeastern Belgium and northern Luxembourg. Even in winter and in what was then a dangerous environment, I coudn't help noticing how lovely a region that is. As a private, I rarely knew where I was, but I do remember being in Clervaux and Vianden, both of which are impressively and uniquely attractive. This summer I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to revisit that area by car with my wife and daughter. In summer, the region is simply breathtaking. Of course, all the destruction I remember has been repaired or rebuilt, including Vianden's chateau (fort?), the roads are smoother and the towns and villages no longer deserted. I truly enjoyed my stay and hope for a chance to go back again.
From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Luxembourg Date: November 1999 > I have a report for my French class about a French speaking > country, and I chose Luxembourg. But I cannot find out when > and how specifically French was introduced. In fact, Luxembourg is NOT a French-speaking country!!! French is a national language, though, along with the native Luxembourgish and the non-native German, primarily because Luxembourgish was for a long time a spoken-only language, without a formal spelling and grammar. This was fixed in the 1980s and Luxembourgish was then also elevated to a national language, although it had always been the native language of every native, and the only one at that. Visitors are confused, however, because written French (as the main official language) and German (in newspapers) are still dominating by far, and because spoken French is much heard in the capital, due to the high percentage (over 30%) of francophone/Italian/Portuguese immigrants and the presence of the headquarters of many international institutions and companies there. Don't worry, almost everybody gets this wrong, even in our neighbour countries, so I don't bear any grudges. To answer your question: I do not know when French became an official language, but suspect it was after the Napoleonic conquest. --- From: the editor To: Some.One@Some.Where (name withheld) Subject: Re: Luxembourg Date: March 1994 > [...] we now have a few towns to look for, and unless noted, we can't > find it on the maps we currently have: Gastingen/Gostingen/Gohstengen > (we don't know the spelling), Godbrange (have a map that shows it), > Greiveldange (one map shows it, and we may have distant relatives named > Speltz there), Biver, Everlange, Mersch (on map). (I'm not even sure > all of these are real towns, due to the fact that I can't find all of > them on the map.) Spelling depends on the language (and era): most of our villages have 3 names, one in Luxembourgish, one in German, one in French. The first two are usually quite close, but the third can be arbitrarily different, and not necessarily a mere translation (I ignore why these exceptions exist). Maps usually show at least one of the latter two. When you enter villages, yellow signs will indicate in big black letters the French name, and below, in smaller characters (italics) the Luxembourgish name. This is but a recent trend: French (and marginally German) used to be, until a few years ago, the sole *written* languages of Luxembourg, even though nobody speaks any of these as a native language! To solve this paradox (which puzzles visitors, and makes them assume we are native speakers of one of those languages, which we are *not*), and to put a plug on the rapid disappearance of original idioms of our native tongue, Luxembourgish, the latter has become a full-scale national language a few years ago, and grammar/spelling of this *spoken* language have finally been decided upon. Linguistically speaking, Luxembourgish is a Germanic language (*not* dialect) derived from Mosel-Fraenkisch (an old language that has essentially died out, except in Luxembourg), but with strong French influence, and thus not mutually intelligible with either German or French. The villages of: + Gouschtingen (l), Gostingen (g,f) + Godber (l), Godbringen (g), Godbrange (f) + Greiveldeng (l), Greiveldingen (g), Greiveldange (f) + Biver (l,g,f) + E'iverleng (l), Everlingen (g), Everlange (f) + Miersch (l), Mersch (g,f) all still exist (I don't think we have ghost-towns), but they are all very small, except for Mersch (which is in the exact geographic center of the country). > We always knew of one of Joel's great-grandfathers as Peter Faber, but > in some stuff we got recently, he was also called Pierre! (Pierre > Faber's father was also Peter, and Pierre also has a grandson, cousin > of Joel's dad, named Peter Faber. It was this fellow Pierre who was > born in Gastingen (or however it is spelled). Is it common for > Luxembourgers to be called either Pierre or Peter, or is it a regional > thing? Did they maybe call him Pierre just to differentiate him from > his father? The Peter/Pierre confusion for the same person can be explained as follows: traditionally (French having been the official *written* language for such a long time) we all have French first names in our id's, although Luxembourgish equivalents exist: Pier (pronounced "Peer") or Pit[t] (pronounced "Pit") in my case, but *never* [the German] Peter. Everybody calls me one of the former two, and in the case of that ancestor, I'd reckon that he just anglified his name to [the English] Peter. Pierre is a rather common name, indeed. Recently, the French-only "rule" is often broken, especially by the ~30% immigrant population (soon, we'll be a minority in our own country). Whenever you meet sb with a French first name and a Germanic-looking surname, s/he's likely to be a Luxembourger (linguistic crossroads!). Exceptions to the Germanic-looking surnames are the Latin ones, such as Faber, which were at some point adopted to point out the differences between Luxembourg and Germany (the national motto being "Mir woelle bleiwen waat mir sinn", that is "We want to remain what we are").