The many tourist routes across Luxembourg are a great way to relive the country's history, admire its architecture and find out about its industrial past. The fascinating synergy between old and new and the symbiosis of Luxembourg's urban centres with the natural world create a unique and enchanting blend.
Explore a thousand years of history
Visiting Luxembourg City is like travelling back in time. Luxembourg may be a small country, with a surface area of 2,586km2 and just under 626,000 inhabitants, but it has a rich and complex past, and its capital city sums up European history in a nutshell.
There's no better way to explore Luxembourg's eventful, thousand-year-long history than by walking one of the many sightseeing routes in Luxembourg City:
This route takes you on a tour of what is essentially Luxembourg's biggest open-air museum. The starting point for the 5.5km walk is the ruins of the former castle of the Counts of Luxembourg and the adjoining archaeological crypt – the birthplace of the city and the country. In three hours, you will explore the medieval ramparts and the remains of the fortress. Don't miss: the Bock Casemates.
This 4.6km historical walk takes you in and around the district of Clausen, with its many architectural gems dating back to the time of Count Mansfeld, who became a prince in 1517 and was made Governor of the Duchy of Luxembourg (1540) and then of the Netherlands (1590). Follow the 'M' arrows to explore winding lanes, hidden staircases and 19th-century walls. This is a great three-hour tour with some amazing views!
Are you a fan of military history? If you are fascinated by the city's last fortifications – how they were built and which parts were most strategically important –, then the Vauban Circular Walk is for you. The walk is named after engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, who was responsible for the reconstruction work after the fortified city was captured by the French. The work carried out by Vauban earned the city its reputation as an impregnable fortress – it was known as the Gibraltar of the North.
Or maybe you just want to go for a walk that will give you a wonderful panoramic view over Luxembourg City? In that case, head for the Chemin de la Corniche, described as Europe's most beautiful balcony by Luxembourg writer Batty Weber. The walk takes you along the ramparts built in the 17th century by the Spanish and the French, running parallel with the Alzette valley.
UNESCO Tour for All
Did you know that the old quarters and fortifications in Luxembourg City are on the UNESCO World Heritage List? In addition to the many existing walks and tours, two new audio guides and a brochure for people with specific needs have recently been produced to make this historical site even more accessible:
- The UNESCO Tour for All on izi.travel is suitable for wheelchairs and prams. The tour was specially designed and tested by groups of people with specific needs. The guide is available in Luxembourgish, French, German, English, Dutch and Portuguese.
- The UNESCO-Tour für Alle – Leichte Sprache guide uses the same route but with simplified language and sequences filmed in sign language. This tour is only available in German.
- The UNESCO-Tour für Alle in Leichter Sprache brochure introduces visitors to the UNESCO tour in German in very clear language, using simple phrases to explain complex artefacts and events.
Nature in the city
Luxembourg City is dotted with green spaces that can also be explored on foot.
The walking tour around the Bonnevoie district leads you to the Schläifmillen artists' workshops, which began more than 30 years ago when a group of artists looking for a workspace set up in a disused industrial warehouse. As you walk along the woodland path beside the river Alzette, you will also spot the former gunpowder mill and Polfermillen spinning mill. This is a great walk to find out more about the role of textile manufacturing in the Luxembourg economy in the 19th century and to discover how cottage industries gradually developed into factories along the river's edge to make use of the energy potential of water.
Do you love roses? If so you'll want to check out the RosaLi Circular Walk. As you stroll through the district of Limpertsberg, you will find out about its rich rose-growing heritage, which led to Luxembourg becoming known as Rose Country at the turn of the 20th century.
Admire the country's architectural and artistic gems
If you are a contemporary architecture enthusiast, you will particularly appreciate the 14 tours in the architectour.lu architecture guide. In total, you'll get to see some 278 works of architecture throughout the country.
In Luxembourg City, the Kirchberg Plateau, the European quarter and business hub for Luxembourg's financial centre, is an open-air gallery for contemporary architecture. The station district and the Upper Town are also home to fine examples of Luxembourg City's architectural heritage.
You will be beaming with enthusiasm as you check out the contrasting architectural styles of the city's seven museums. the Museum(s)mile walk is a tour in the form of a smile! We can guarantee that you will be blown away by the diversity and unique nature of each one.
The history of southern Luxembourg is imprinted on the facades of the many protected buildings that make up the architectural heritage of Esch-sur-Alzette. Slip on a comfortable pair of shoes and set out to explore the open-air scenery that tells the history of the 'Forge of the South', a surprising melting-pot of European architecture. Also available as a virtual walk!
Guide historique et architectural Esch-sur-Alzette - Rue de l'Alzette (1re partie)
Virtual walk in the rue de l'Alzette of the historical and architectural guide Esch-sur-Alzette of the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (in French). © C2DH / Université du Luxembourg.
Piece together the region's steelmaking past
As you're now in the south of Luxembourg, why not take the opportunity to find out more about the region's steelmaking past?
The Terres rouges (Red Lands) owe their name to the iron ore that was the key to Luxembourg's successful steel industry from the late 19th century onwards. In recent years, the region has transformed the relics of past industrial success into tourist facilities for the present and the future, with a host of surprising activities on offer.
You can now explore the terrace of the blast furnaces: Explore the Belval site and marvel at the modern architecture of the new buildings contrasting with the industrial heritage. The guide will explain the conception of the quarter and the conservation of the blast furnaces in the context of creating a new urban quarter. The visit culminates at the top of Blast Furnace A, which has been open to visitors since 2014. Climb the staircase alongside the former pressure reactor and read the information about the workings of the industrial plant. A breathtaking view awaits you from the top floor!