It is easy to overlook the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a tiny little country dwarfed between its neighbors France, Germany and Belgium, when planning a tour of Europe. If it is thought of at all, it is probably as a rather unexciting place full of important banking institutions and European Union bureaucrats. This little country is, however, located at the crossroads of several major highways, and if you are going to travel through it, don't hesitate to stop awhile and probe behind the glass office blocks and official buildings to find a land of fascinating medieval fortresses, rolling woodlands, sun- drenched castles and quaint villages.
Full country name: Grand Duch of Luxembourg
Area: 2586 sq Km ( 999 sq mil)
Capitals: Luxembourg city
People: 70% nationals (Celtic stock, with French and German), 30% resident foreigners (mostly Belgian, French, German, Italian and Portuguese)
Language: The official language is Letzebuergesch, French, German
Religion: 97% Roman Catholic
Government: Constitutional monarchy
GDP: US$14 billion
GDP per head: US$32,700
Major industries: Iron and steel, plastic and rubber, chemicals, mechanical and electrical equipment
Major trading partners: EU (esp. Belgium, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands)
Visas: Citizens of many countries - including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA and virtually all of Western Europe - require only a passport to enter Luxembourg for stays of up to 3 months.
Health risks: none
Time: GMT/UTC plus 1 hour
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to go
Luxembourg’s climate is temperate – warm summers and cold winters.
The sunniest months are from May to August, although April and September can be fine also. If you’re into flowers, go in spring. For festivals and outdoor dining, join the throngs who come in summer, Luxembourg’s peak season.
To enjoy wine-making, plan for autumn when the Moselle villages move into harvest celebrations.
Luxembourg’s climate is temperate – warm summers and cold winters. The sunniest months are from May to August, although April and September can be fine also. If you’re into flowers, go in spring. For festivals and outdoor dining, join the throngs who come in summer, Luxembourg’s peak season. To enjoy wine-making, plan for autumn when the Moselle Hiking
Although small, Luxembourg has an extensive network of marked hiking and walking routes. Sometimes referred to as ‘the green heart of Europe’, almost one third of the country consists of forests.
There are six golf clubs in the country.
This is popular in Luxembourg’s main wine-growing region in the southeast, the Moselle (d’Musel), which is named after the River Moselle flowing through it and forming a 42km- (27 mile-)border with Germany. The mild, sunny climate of the Moselle is ideal for wine making. White wines such as Riesland, Rivaner and Elbling are the most popular. Top-quality wines are labelled Grand Premier Cru. Wine cellars are happy to receive visitors. For further information, contact the Luxembourg National Tourist Board (see General Info section).
There are over 30 marked cycling routes and it is possible to cycle from the south to the north on car-free routes. Contact the Luxembourg National Tourist Office for details (see General Info section).
villages move into harvest celebrations.
Attractions - Luxembourg City
The mighty fortress started by Count Siegfried atop the Rock of Bock in 963 eventually became a citadel with three girdles of battlements, the inner one fortified with bastions, and the other two containing a total of 24 forts along their length.
Grand Ducal Palace
The city residence of the Grand Ducal family is right in the heart of the old town, and is surprisingly unpretentious, recognizable more by the fact that there are sentry boxes outside. The building features ochre yellow stone decorated with spires and railings, overlooking a paved pedestrian square.
The National Museum for History and Art
This museum was recently substantially refurbished and contains some major archaeological finds from the Gallo-Roman period, which are displayed in underground galleries. Collections of fine arts, medieval artifacts, coins, medals and arms are also on display.
The beautiful town of Echternach lies on the border between Germany and Luxembourg on the banks of the Sûre River. It boasts a famed abbey, founded in the 7th century by St Willibrord, whose remains are contained in a magnificent white marble sarcophagus in the crypt of the Basilica. There are also three museums in the town, one dedicated to the history of the abbey, another showcasing ancient artifacts and a third detailing rural architecture.