Home Europe One Day in Luxembourg City – A Free Walking Tour Itinerary

One Day in Luxembourg City – A Free Walking Tour Itinerary

by Valerie Vanr

Enjoy a day in Luxembourg on this self-guided walking tour of Luxembourg City. See all the city’s important sites and learn about its historic fortifications.

Luxembourg City – A UNESCO Site

Luxembourg is one of the smallest and least populated countries in Europe.  Its largest city, and its capital, is Luxembourg City.  Founded in 963 due to its strategic location, the city was fought over and controlled by different European powers over much of its history.

Luxembourg City’s Old Quarters and its fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to the survival through a millennium of its ancient districts and some of its stone forts and casements. 

Walk the city’s streets and see the partially demolished fortifications on a walking tour through Luxembourg City.

Bock promontory above Alzette river
The Bock Promontory was the site of the first of Luxembourg’s fortresses. Over 800 years, this site became the centre of one of the most fortified cities on earth.

Luxembourg Itinerary

This itinerary allows flexibility depending on the amount of time available in the city.

Luxembourg Walking Tour

This 2.1 kilometre loop route includes all the city centre’s best sites.

  • The Casemates, Bock or Petrusse – ancient military defences carved from the rocks of the valley walls.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral – the Gothic-style cathedral with stunning stained glass windows.
  • Chemin de la Corniche – top of the fortress walls with incredible views of the Alzette River valley.
  • Grand Ducal Palace – official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

What to See in Luxembourg City: A Walking Map

Map walking tour route blue
Click the map for an interactive version.

The best place to start a walking tour of Luxembourg City is the Place Guillaume II and the Tourist Office.

Luxembourg City Tourist Office

We recommend making this your first stop. The friendly, helpful staff will answer all your questions and provide information about what is happening in the city on the day of your visit.  They can help book a guided walk, a visit to the palace or the casemates and more.

For our self-guided walk through the city, step outside into the square.

Place Guillaume II

The central square was named for William II, King of Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who ruled from 1840 to 1849. He granted Luxembourg its first parliamentary constitution in 1848. The square had been the location of a Franciscan church and convent for 500 years.  Today it is a central meeting place, used for markets and city events. It is the perfect place to start a city walking tour.

The equestrian statue of William II was erected in the square in 1884.

Man horseback bronze statue
This statue of William II on horseback recognizes his importance to the country. He granted its first parliamentary constitution in 1848.

Luxembourg City Hall

Construction of the neo-classical Hôtel de Ville began in 1830 and was completed in 1838. This was the site of a Franciscan monastery until the late 18th century. Many of the stones used for city hall construction were salvaged from the monastery’s 13th-century convent. The lions on the front steps were added in 1938.

Person City Hall front flanking lions
City Hall was completed in 1838 and is the centre of local government.

Exit the square by the walkway on the left side of the tourist office. Turn left onto Rue Chimay. Walk to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boulevard at the end of the street and Place de la Constitution.

Constitution Square

This city square sits on the top of the 17th century Beck Bastion, part of the city’s extensive fortifications. The Monument of Remembrance called the Golden Lady or Gella Fra is in the square.  This memorial, originally dedicated to the sacrifices of Luxembourg’s WWI soldiers, symbolizes the freedom enjoyed by Luxembourg’s citizens today. In 1940, during the Nazi occupation, the monument was pulled down. Restoration in 1984 returned it to its original splendour.

From the edge of the square, enjoy the view of the lush park in the Petrusse River Valley and the Adolphe Bridge to the west. The beautiful stone double-arch bridge was built around the turn of the 20th century during the reign of Grand Duke Adolphe.

Obelisk gold statue top 2 bronze figures base
The monument is a 21-metre-tall granite obelisk with a gilded statue of Nike, goddess of victory on top.
Flag poles bastion bridge green valley
From above Constitution Square, a corner of the Beck bastion and the Adolphe Bridge are visible.

Beside the street is the entrance into the Casemates de la Pétrusse.

Petrusse Casemates

These underground military areas were built under, and into, the original Spanish and French fortifications.

Many of the casemates were bricked up and closed after the Treaty of London in 1867, though 17 kilometres of tunnels still remained. Over the last 150 years they have been used for many things. The casements were first opened to visitors in 1933. Recently major upgrades were made to improve the safety of the casements and visitors are welcome again for guided tours.  Buy Petrusse Casemates tickets online or at the Luxembourg City Tourist Office.

The Forum of Contemporary Art is about 200 metres to the west on Franklin Delano Roosevelt Boulevard.

Cross the boulevard and walk north on Rue de l’Ancien Athénée to Rue Notre Dame. Turn right and walk about 70 metres to Cathédrale Notre-Dame’s unassuming entrance.

Notre Dame Cathedral

The church was built by the Jesuits in the 1600s. While it was built in late Gothic style architecture, many of its components and ornaments are in the Renaissance style. It became a cathedral in 1870 and was enlarged in the 1930s.  Its altar and stained glass windows are stunning.

Exit the cathedral onto Rue Notre Dame. Turn right and walk to Pl. de Clairefontaine. Turn right again and walk to the Monument à la Grande-Duchesse Charlotte.

Half circle tall windows around guilded altar and high gate
The beautiful stained-glass windows highlight the statue of the Madonna, patron saint of Luxembourg.
Grand Duchess statue steeples background
The monument honours popular Grand Duchess Charlotte.

Grand Duchess Charlotte Monument

The monument was designed by Paris sculptor Jean Cardot in honour of Charlotte, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg who reigned from January 1919 to November 1964.

Walk southeast to Rue du St. Esprit. The Luxembourg City History Museum is about 40 metres to the north along Rue du St. Esprit.

Turn left and walk to Plateau du Saint-Esprit.

Saint-Esprit Square

The buildings which ring the courtyard contain the district courts of Luxembourg. Walk to the east side of the courtyard for beautiful views of Luxembourg’s Grund district and the river valley below.

The elevators in the middle of the square descend to the parking garage and a walkway leading to the street above the Alzette River.

Straight ahead, Rue Munster crosses the Grund Bridge into the Grund district. If time permits, continue straight ahead on our Grund Walking Tour.

Otherwise, turn left onto Mnt du Grund, climbing to the Spanish Grund Gate. Walk about 20 metres beyond the gate to a set of stairs on the right. Take the stairs to the Chemin de la Corniche. Turn left.

River valley buildings steep wall behind
The Luxembourg City district of Grund is in the Alzette Valley. The old city walls adjoining the Bock Promontory divide Grund from the city centre.

Chemin de la Corniche

This is the top of the 17th-century city walls built by the Spanish and the French. Its viewpoints offer splendid panoramas across the river valley to Grund’s ancient buildings and the Bock Promontory.

The pedestrian street ends at Victor Thorn Boulevard. Turn right and walk to the Bock Promontory.

Monument of the Millennium on Bock Promontory

Count Sigfried of Ardenne, the first of the Luxembourg Counts, built his fortress on top of this ridge in 963. Castle Bridge was added in 1735 linking the defences of the promontory with the rest of the city.

In 1963, Luxembourg City wanted to commemorate its millennium and chose the promontory as a fitting spot for a monument. While working on the site, the walls of the first castle were discovered.  Plans changed. The walls were partially reconstructed and restored as a very fitting way to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary.

Restored stone foundations city background
These stone walls are the restored walls of the first fortress build in 963. They were discovered while preparing for the city’s Millennium celebration.

The promontory still offers the same expansive, panoramic views that it has for centuries. Look to the south over Grund. It’s the perfect spot for photos of the Wenceslas Wall, the stone Stierchen Bridge over the Alzette and Neumünster Abbey.

From Casemates Memorial Point on the north side of the promontory, see the Pfaffenthal district along the Alzette River below.

The Kirchberg plateau, to the northeast, is Luxembourg’s banking and financial centre. The Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art’s building was designed by IM Pei, designer of the Louve’s glass pyramid. The MUDAM showcases modern art, installation and experiential art, ranging from photography to fashion design. At Fort Thüngen, one of the city’s fortresses, the Dräi Eechelen Museum explores the history of the fort and Luxembourg. It focuses on the figures who’ve shaped the city and country over 500 years.

Green gardens valley train bridge
Looking across the Alzette River valley to the Kirchberg Plateau, known as Luxembourg’s financial and business centre.

Bock Casemates

The first casemates were dug into the rock of the Bock Promontory by the Spanish in 1644. The set of rooms and passages were carved for military purposes to defend the city. In the 1680’s French engineer Vauban expanded the 23 kilometre long casements. When the Austrians ruled the city in the mid-1700s, they added even more rooms. The casemates have held everything a city needed to survive: garrisons, bakeries, slaughterhouses and acted as bomb shelters in World Wars I and II.

Left Cannon casement opening Right person dugout stone tunnel
The city’s valley walls once held 23 kilometres of underground galleries which included bomb shelters. These shelters protected the city’s defenders, their horses, and equipment. They included all the support services to repair the equipment and feed the forces.

If time permits, enjoy our walk exploring Pfaffenthal and the northern City Centre.

Otherwise, leave the promontory and walk back to Chemin de la Corniche. Turn left onto Rue Sigefroi and see Église Saint-Michel ahead.

Saint Michael’s Church

This Catholic Church was built in the 17th century.  The site is the city’s oldest religious site, where the first church was built in 987.

At the next intersection Rue Large is on the left, the ancient fish market is straight ahead and the Luxembourg Museum of National History and Art is to the right.

Turn left onto Rue Large and then a quick right to Rue de l’Eau. Walk to Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes. Turn right and walk to the Palais Grand-Ducal.

Grand Ducal Palace

The oldest part of the palace was built in the Renaissance style and completed in the 1570s. It was added to in the 1740s. The palace was thoroughly restored in the early 1990s. During the summer, guided tours of the palace are available.

Sentries guarding palace doors
The formal changing of the guard ceremony occurs once a month from June to September.

Across from the palace is a great place to end the tour, the Chocolate House Nathalie Bonn. Its “Hotchocspoons” are available in almost any flavour imaginable. Add some unique sweetness to coffee or hot milk. The patio is the perfect spot to take a break and people watch while enjoying a sweet treat.

To return to Place Guillaume II, walk north to Rue de la Reine, turn right and walk straight ahead, back to the square and the start of the walk.

3 retail shelves chocolate covered spoons
Doesn’t a coffee or hot milk sound better with a bit of almond raspberry or hazelnut caramel from a hotchocspoon melted in?

Grund Walking Tour

Grund is one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, dating back to the 14th century, in the heart of the ancient fortifications.

Begin at the Grund Bridge over the Alzette River. Walk across the bridge on Rue Munster. Turn left and continue to follow Rue Munster for about 70 metres.

The National Museum of Natural History is straight ahead at the end of the street.

Turn right onto Rue de Treves and walk for about 200 metres. The buildings on the left are a former Benedictine Abbey.

River huge spired yellow-brick building
The Neumunster Cultural Centre in the Grund district is a former Benedictine Abbey.

Neumünster Abbey

Built in 1606, the church and its four wings enclosed an inner courtyard. The abbey ceased operation at the end of the 18th century. The Church of St. John continued as a Catholic Church. The rest of the abbey buildings were converted for use as a military hospital and later became a prison. They reopened 2004 as a cultural and conference centre after extensive renovations.

Turn left at the eastern corner of the abbey buildings. Walk to the stone Stierchen Bridge and across the Alzette River to a stone tower and wall.

Wenceslas Wall

The wall is part of the ancient city fortifications. Originally, the wall was almost a kilometre long with 37 towers and 15 gates. Today this small remaining piece is integrated into the beautiful gardens at the base of the Bock Promontory.

Gardens ancient wall river plaza back
View from the Bock Promontory of the remains of the Wenceslas Wall and people crossing the Alzette River on the Stierchen Bridge.

Follow the wall to the base of the promontory. Turn left and walk the pathway to Rue Sosthene Weis. Turn right walking under the Castle Bridge. Take the first left and climb the walkway and stairs to Victor Thorn Boulevard and Mnt de Clausen. Walk east on Mnt de Clausen to the Monument of the Millennium and return to the main Luxembourg Walking Tour.

Pfaffenthal and Northern City Centre Walk

The Pfaffenthal district was an important area to the early city’s tanners. They produced leather for the glove trade which was a huge source of income for the city. Many workshops were set up downstream of the city and close to the river, where power could be generated easily.

Begin at the Bock Promontory and walk along Mnt de Clausen and Victor Thorn Boulevard to the Spanish Turret. Walk straight ahead onto Mnt de Pfaffenthal and down into Pfaffenthal. Enjoy this quiet area.

Person buildings line road down
The Pfaffenthal district began as an industrial area filled with workshops which needed a nearby source of power. Many of its buildings are former factories.

Continue onto Rue Laurent Ménager. Turn left on Rue du Pont, a total distance of about 700 metres.

The Ascenseur panoramique du Pfaffenthal is at the west end of Rue du Pont.

Panoramic Elevator

This glass-sided elevator carries passengers seventy-one metres between Pfaffenthal in the valley and the Pescatore Park above.

At the top, the viewing deck offers incredible 180 degree views over the valley. To the west, the 350-metre-long, red Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge stands out on the horizon. It connects the city centre to the Kirchberg Plateau straight ahead. To the east is the Bock Promontory.

Walk to the end of the hallway and exit into Pescatore Foundation ParkFollow the path to Avenue Jean-Pierre Pescatore. Turn left and walk to Rue Willy Goergen. Turn left again, walking about 20 metres to Rue des Capucins. Turn right and walk to Église Saint-Alphonse which is on the left.

Saint Alphonse Church

The church was built in the 1850s on the site of a former convent. The stained glass windows were donated by the city’s wealthy families.

Capucins Street becomes a pedestrian-only street south of the church. It is part of a car-free area about 3 by 4 city blocks in the city centre. Enjoy a wander through its shops and restaurants.

Exterior church front door to roof top
This pretty Catholic Church is tucked among the shops and cafes of the old city.

Capucins Street ends at Place d’Armes. On the south side of the square turn left and follow Rue du Cure. Walk about 200 metres to Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes.

The Luxembourg Museum of National History and Art and St. Michael’s Church are two blocks further east.

Turn left and walk to the Grand Ducal Palace and the end of the main Luxembourg Walking Tour.

Luxembourg City Museums

The city centre has a number of excellent museums to learn about the history and art of both the country and the city.

Luxembourg City History Museum

The museum, on Rue du St Esprit just south of Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, occupies several former houses built from the 17th to 19th centuries. The buildings are ingeniously linked together over five floors with some quirky spaces to present the history of Luxembourg City. Lower levels cover its industrial, handicraft and commercial growth. Upper floors hold temporary exhibits. It is a unique presentation and well worth a visit. Allow at least an hour.

Left 4 religious sculpture right 3 candelabra
The collections of the Luxembourg City History Museum include religious artifacts relating to Catholicism.

Luxembourg Museum of National History and Art

The museum’s large collection of art, archaeological artifacts and coins presents the history of the city and the Grand Duchy. It is in the historic centre of the old town, the site of the historic fish market at the corner of Rue Sigefroi and Rue Wiltheim. It is free to see the permanent collections.

Forum of Contemporary Art – Casino Luxembourg

This building was built in the late 19th century and houses the Forum of Contemporary Art. The museum was founded in 1996. Walk through the exhibits on your own or take the guided tour.

While not in the city centre, the Museum of Natural History is located in nearby Grund.

National Museum of Natural History

The museum houses the country’s most important zoological, botanical, paleontological and mineralogical collections. Only the best examples are chosen for display in its excellent exhibits. This is a great place to take the kids (and, as a bonus, they get in free).

Hanging lanterns long street
Enjoy the colourful streets of Luxembourg City.

Day Trip to Luxembourg

A visit to Luxembourg City can easily be completed in one day making it a great day trip from neighbouring countries.  If you need more time to visit, you can always stay overnight in the city.

Day Trip to Luxembourg from Paris

From Paris, France, a one-way trip to Luxembourg City, by car, is about 375 kilometres and 4 hours. Both bus and train service is available. Train travel is the faster option.

Day Trip to Luxembourg from Brussels

The one-way journey from Brussels, Belgium to Luxembourg City is about 230 kilometres and 2.5 hours by car. Train and bus service is available.

Day Trip to Luxembourg from Frankfurt

The one-way journey is about 250 kilometres and 3 hours from Frankfurt, Germany to Luxembourg City. Train and bus service is available.

Day Trip to Luxembourg from Maastricht

By car, the one-way journey between Maastricht, Netherlands and Luxembourg City is about 200 kilometres and 2.25 hours. Train and bus service is available.

Couple foreground river valley church background
In Luxembourg City, look in any direction for a stunning view of the ancient fortified city.

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