It may be one of the world’s tiniest countries, but don’t sleep on Luxembourg.
While this compact country in the heart of Europe (and the only Grand-Duchy!) is small, it’s big on scenery and history and a breeze to get around which makes it a cinch to explore beyond the capital.
From towering castles to geoparks to wineries to charming rural villages, here are some of the best day trips from Luxembourg city.
Hike in the Mëllerdall UNESCO Global Geopark
Home to deep gorges, towering sandstone cliffs and rocks dating as far back as the Jurassic period, the Mëllerdall UNESCO Global Geopark is a geologist’s dream come true.
The ‘Millers Valley’ is a sprawling protected area that covers about 10 per cent of Luxembourg’s land, and a quick escape from the city at just a 30 minute drive north.
Best known for the Luxembourg Sandstone consisting of 200 million year old seabed and considered among the best sandstone landscapes in western Europe, there are 22 geosites in the park which is considered a region with a geological heritage of international importance.
Many are found along the 112-km long Mullerthal trail, where there are three different routes, four Extra Tours or six stages to hike along.
The Mullerthal region is nicknamed ‘Little Switzerland’, and best explored by walking over the suspended bridges, through the narrow gorges and dense woodlands, up the steep steel ladders (if you’re not scared of heights!) and by enjoying the sweeping views from the rocky plateaus.
There’s no need to do the whole trail—though if you have time and are up for a trek you should, since it has a spot on the ‘Leading Quality Trails–Best of Europe’ list.
Notable spots in the park include the Schiessentümpel waterfall which has a trio of cascades under a historic sandstone bridge, and the charming village of Berdorf which is considered the heart of the region with mesmerizing rocky landscapes, trails and climbing areas.
The well-marked trail system makes it quite straightforward to visit on your own: otherwise, book this tour with Viator or GetYourGuide that includes a stop at the waterfall before continuing onto some of the most beautiful places in Luxembourg.
Echternach is half an hour north of the city and Luxembourg’s oldest town, founded way back in 698 by a Benedictine monk.
Considered the cultural and historical centre of the Mullerthal region, you’ll find a bustling market square, the towering St. Willibrord Basilica and a pristine lake surrounded by forested walking trails, a bike park, picnic areas and a Roman Villa.
Echternach is best known for the annual ‘Echternach Hopping Procession’ on Whit Tuesday, where thousands of people gather around the abbey and perform a unique hopping dance accompanied by live music–a tradition that was awarded UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status in 2010.
See Vianden’s medieval castle
Vianden is one of the best places to visit in Luxembourg and a very popular day trip, as it’s home to one of the country’s most impressive castles and a charming town with winding laneways, gothic churches, hiking trails and panoramic viewpoints.
Its crown jewel is Vianden Castle which was built between the 11th and 14th centuries on the foundation of a roman fort, and is considered one of the most beautiful and largest feudal residences of the gothic and romanesque periods in Europe.
Unfortunately it fell into a state of ruin in the 1800s when King William I of Holland began selling it off piece by piece, until being restored to its former glory by the state in the 1970s.
Today, there’s an interactive visitor centre on site and a high-spirited a medieval festival every summer. As the imposing castle is located high up on a hill, many guests opt to take the chairlift up then walk back down.
Vianden Castle is open daily from 10 AM-4 PM (purchase tickets ahead of time here), while the chairlift runs from 12-5 PM in spring, summer and fall.
Book a tour to Vianden here:
Visit Schengen, an important place in Europe’s history
Want to know why it’s so easy to get around Europe? It’s all thanks to the Schengen Agreement, which helped unite the continent and was signed right here in Luxembourg.
Here’s a good primer of this spot’s significance–essentially, five countries signed an agreement in 1985 to reduce border patrols between countries, allowing free movement between countries within the designated Schengen area.
The agreement was signed on a boat in the small, winegrowing village of Schengen, selected for its fitting location right on the borders of Luxembourg, France and Germany.
There are a number of monuments erected along the shoreline, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and the European Museum Schengen which explains the history of the treaty. Visitors can print their own “Schengen passport” to take home.
Admire the Beaufort Castles
Not one, but two majestic castles are found in the Beaufort countryside, about 30 minutes north of Luxembourg city.
Beaufort’s Medieval Castle was built in four different stages between 1050 and 1650, had several owners over the centuries, and was listed as a historic monument in 1988. The Renaissance Castle remains virtually unchanged since being built nearly 400 years ago and features furnished interiors, manicured gardens and stables.
There’s also a distillery inside, where liqueurs are made with natural products and no chemical additives. Cassero is a blackcurrant liqueur, Cassero-Kirsch is a mix of Cassero and cherry brandy, La Framboise des Bois made from forest raspberries and La Vielle Prune is plum-flavoured brandy.
The castles are open from April until early November, and guided group tours of the Renaissance castle are available from Thursday to Sunday at 11 AM and 4 PM. The Medieval Castle is open everyday from 9 AM-6 PM (last entrance at 5:30 PM).
Globe Guide tip: For a great photo-op, follow the trail along the small lake that’s across the road from the castle entrances for great reflection shots in the water.
Sip wine in the Luxembourg vineyards
Many of Luxembourg’s rolling hillsides are dotted with terraced vineyards, particularly in the Moselle region bordering Germany.
Best known for Crémant which is the country’s take on champagne, you’ll also find Riesling, Pinots, Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois, Rivaner, Elbling and Chardonnay here. The best way to enjoy it is by spending an afternoon wine tasting in Luxembourg, which usually includes a tour of the cellars, tasting flights and plenty of opportunities to soak in the surrounding scenery.
Notable Luxembourg wineries include:
- Caves St Martin: This top spot along Luxembourg’s Wine Route is found just outside Remich, and famous for its maze of underground tunnels carved into the limestone rock. Visitors get to wander through the cool cellars on a guided tour, which ends with a wine tasting up on the terrace overlooking the river.
- Domaines Vinsmoselle: Founded way back in 1921, this cooperative is made up of 240 wine growers, and has four sites along the Moselle including Caves du Sud in southeast Luxembourg. There’s a tasting room for trying local wines and crémant, an outdoor terrace and guided tours.
- Winery Jeff Konsbrück: A relative newcomer on the Luxembourg wine tasting scene, young winemaker Jeff Konsbrück set up shop in 2013 in Ahn, where an astounding 10 per cent of the town’s population are winemakers.
Focusing on sustainability, organic growing practices and meticulously hand-picked grapes, the winery has a large, bright tasting room and picturesque outdoor patio right along the Saar- Hunsrück Traumschleife Palmberg Ahn hiking trail.
Globe Guide tip: Be sure to head up to the St. Donat chapel on the Koeppchen in nearby Wormeldange, for gorgeous panoramic views of the valley below.
Cruise along the Moselle River
Another way to explore the Moselle region is by boat, and a leisurely river cruise is one of the top things to do in Luxembourg.
Enjoy the landscape from a different perspective aboard the elegant MS Princesse Marie-Astrid, which runs tours from Easter until the end of September. There’s an outdoor area, panoramic windows and restaurant, with great views as you glide past villages, thick forests and lush vineyards.
MS Princesse Marie-Astrid also has a unique place in history as the Schengen agreement was signed on its second ship, and it also hosts events like culinary cruises and live music.
Tips for booking Luxembourg day trips
While it’s worth spending at least a few days in the country to get a proper feel for it, day trips from Brussels to Luxembourg city are quite popular (about three hours by car or train), and it’s also about three hours to Mannheim and Heidelberg, Germany.
Here are a few good organized day trips in Luxembourg, whether you’re travelling from Belgium or already in Luxembourg and want to see some of its top highlights:
I also recommend picking up a Luxembourg Card which offers free or discounted admission to nearly 100 attractions around the country, including boat tours, museums, wine tastings and bike rentals.
One, two and three day options are available (which can be spread out over the year if you plan on returning), and pricing starts at just €13.
Driving directions for the best day trips from Luxembourg city
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