There are Christmas markets and then… there are Christmas markets. Elegant, sophisticated and very European, Luxembourg knows how to see in the festive season with the dulcet tones of live singers, chic cuisine, and warming mulled wine.
Bordered by Belgium, Germany and France. Luxembourg is a multicultural city in Western Europe. It’s small but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in elegance.
As I travelled from the airport, modern buildings passed by my window, each with a soft hue lighting the glass panes. This country was so clean and oozed an elegance that struck me as soon as we landed.
Fairy lights lit up branches of well-kept trees, and there was a quietness and calmness on the bus. I was travelling to Luxembourg on a mini co-working break with a friend and was ready to see what this Western European country had to offer. With only 4 days and lots of work to do, we were about to experience Luxembourg as the locals do.
Saying Bonjour to everyone I met on my morning run (they speak French and German) I was delighted by their warm response. It may have been cold but the people were definitely warm.
We stayed like locals, ate like locals, shopped like locals then partied like locals and then when our four days were up, we left the locals and flew back to our lives in Barcelona.
So how do you experience Luxembourg like a local?
Join a Meet up group
Searching for meet up groups to meet some locals, we were surprised to find expat groups. From single professional meet ups to a Saturday dinner meet up, there seemed to be events on nearly every day of the week. Joining the Meditation group there was an event we could attend during our time there.
Although the country is known for being expensive, it didn’t seem to be any more expensive than the shops in Barcelona. The shops are more boutique and were a warm welcome in the cold winter in terms of both customer service and heating. Having searched in numerous shoe shops in Spain for winter boots I found there was a greater choice here in terms of different styles for the same price.
So a ‘cafe au lait’ will set you back €3.50 within the old town but the swanky environment and welcoming customer service definitely makes the price worth it. Luxembourg has a few independent coffee shops.
If you prefer a coffee with a view, Hotel Sofitel has some of the best views here. Admittedly it isn’t cheap but the view is definitely worth paying for.
For a small country, the nightlife surprised me. Clausen is where it is at. With neon flashing lights and large video screens advertising practically any themed bar under the sun, I honestly felt as though I was in Magaluf or Benidorm (except for the coat and gloves). If you love nightlife, then get yourself to this area. Although I wasn’t solo for this trip, I would have been happy coming here alone. Star’s Bar is really sociable and if you go on a Latin night, you can take part in the group dancing or just sit there looking pretty until someone asks you to dance.
Then there is the sightseeing and even as a local you deserve some time off to be able to sightsee on the weekends. Strolling through the old town admiring the architecture is practically just going for a walk. The Adolphe Bridge is the famous arch bridge in the city and stands above beautifully landscaped gardens.
If you like museums then stay in Luxembourg City. Fort Thungen is one of the best museums here with the museum housed inside the fort. It is a picturesque walk from the Old Town to get here too.
Stay with a local
We stayed in Airbnb which was in Kayl, a small town in the southwest of Luxembourg which was a 25 minute bus ride to the main station. Although we weren’t in the actual city. there was a forest area where I could run and the bus was only €2 to get to the Old Town from here. Save $25 off your first Airbnb stay here.
The main language here is French, but they also speak German. The buses are cheap and tickets last for 2 or 4 hours which you validate on the machine on the bus. They also have eco buses too.
Thanks to Visit Luxembourg for my 3 day Visit Luxembourg card. This included free bus rides and free access to more than 60 museums and tourist attractions in the country. Having only visited here on a workcation, I didn’t spend as long exploring as I should have so Luxembourg… I will have to come back.
Although I wasn’t solo for this trip, Luxembourg felt extremely safe and welcoming for women travelling alone. It’s a great place to visit for a long weekend.