Last Updated on 9th November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Medieval, fortified and full of good food, if it isn’t already, then a trip to the country of Luxembourg should most definitely top your list of places to visit in Europe this year. But if there’s one thing you make sure to do above all others when you visit this gem of a country, it’s that you should leave Luxembourg city, if only for a day. Spend time exploring the rest of this beautiful Grand Duchy and see its rich history for yourself. Here are the very best and most incredible day trips from Luxembourg!
Even if you’re only in Luxembourg for a weekend, then it couldn’t be easier to enjoy this tiny country at its very best. From medieval castle ruins to glittering artificial lakes, Luxembourg has something to appease every traveller, and at every budget. Don’t believe me? Here’s why you need to visit Luxembourg this year!
Otherwise, this day trip selection includes some of the most beautiful places to visit in Luxembourg. While a couple are off-the-beaten-path and more of the ‘hidden gem’ variety, some are some of the most popular towns in Luxembourg. The one piece of travel advice I would give to you, however, is to book your stay so as to be in Luxembourg itself. Check for the best Luxembourg accommodation rates here.
#1 Beaufort, Luxembourg
Situated in Eastern Luxembourg, Beaufort is a quaint little town filled with cobbled lanes and plenty of eateries serving traditional Luxembourgish food. But what makes this settlement so special is that it has not one but two castles, meaning that whether you’re a ruin chaser or Château fan, tow of the best castles in Luxembourg are to be found here!
There’s the Grand Renaissance Château, and then right next door there’s the even older fortified ruins of a huge castle. While parts of the old castle date all the way back to the 11th Century, the Renaissance château dates back to 1649 and is filled with beautiful furnishings.
Directions to Beaufort from Luxembourg City
Beaufort is located around an hour and a quarter from Luxembourg city (if you take two buses). If you’re able to, I highly recommend renting a car to reach the town as this is the easiest option for getting around the country. Luxembourg City to Beaufort is only forty minutes by car.
#2 Echternach, Luxembourg
Located right next to the German border, and in the east of Luxembourg, you’ll find that the architecture and vibe of Echternach are entirely different from nearby Beaufort. The town is the oldest in all of Luxembourg and grew up to surround an abbey of the same name from the 7th Century onwards.
If you want to see multiple museums and plenty of history on one of your day trips from Luxembourg, then Echternach is the place to go. What’s more, is that just a half-hour walk outside the town, you’ll even find the ruins of a Roman villa. Otherwise, check out my guide to the best of Echternach for further information!
Directions to Echternach from Luxembourg City
There is a direct bus to Echternach that takes just over an hour. The 110 runs at regular intervals and throughout the day. Alternatively (and if you want to stop at other Luxembourgish attractions, including plenty of beautiful nature spot, along the way), a drive to Echternach from Luxembourg city only takes thirty minutes.
#3 Vianden, Luxembourg
A trip to the fairytale village and castle of Vianden is easily one of the most popular day trips from Luxembourg City. And it’s not hard to see why. After all, here you’ll find a feudal castle built on ancient Roman ruins, a museum dedicated to Frenchman Victor Hugo (who did plenty to try and promote tourism to Vianden during his lifetime), and plenty of cobbled lanes perfect for snapping pretty photos.
Located to the North of the tiny country of Luxembourg, other highlights of Vianden include going up the mountain via cable car for some of the best views of the town and hiking down to the castle from the viewing point. Just make sure to take your camera in tow to capture magical views of the castle from above…
Directions to Vianden from Luxembourg City
For such a tourist hot spot and Luxembourg must-see, Vianden is surprisingly hard to get to by public transportation. While a car ride from the city to Vianden takes around forty-five minutes, in order to reach Vianden by other means, you’ll need to take a train and then a bus.
#4 Clervaux, Luxembourg
A sleepy little town by the name of Clervaux lies in Northern Luxembourg, not far from the quaint town of Vianden. This means that a trip to Clervaux can be easily combined with a visit to Vianden (especially if you have a car) and the two towns make for the perfect day escape from Luxembourg city in the South.
Although there is an imposing church and equally impressive monastery towering in the hills above the rest of the town, the main attraction of Clervaux is its castle. After heavy restorations in the 20th Century, the castle has since been transformed into three museums.
One part of the castle houses models of castles in Luxembourg, while another part has been transformed into a museum dedicated to WWII. The third and final museum is that of the ‘Family of Man’, an impressive collection of 20th-Century photographs collected by Edward Steichen in the 1950s.
Directions to Clervaux from Luxembourg City
Clervaux takes around an hour and a quarter to reach from Luxembourg city if you take the two buses to reach it. Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive the full hour it takes to get there. A day trip to Clervaux from Luxembourg city can easily be combined with a side visit to Vianden castle. In my opinion, these are the two prettiest excursions from the city!
#5 Metz, France
Located in the Lorraine region of France, Metz has seen plenty of history throughout its millennia of inhabitation. From the German Kaiser of the late 19th Century to the Teutonic Knights in the middle ages, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this pretty French city.
While you’re there, make sure to see the Metz Cathedral (one of the highest in France), visit the Centre Pompidou-Metz (home to a Fireflies on the Water installation) and the Porte des Allemands (medieval ramparts). Otherwise, check out my guide to Metz for further Wanderlust inspiration!
Directions to Metz from Luxembourg City
By far the easiest way to reach Metz from Luxembourg City is to take the high-speed train that takes you directly from city centre to city centre. Rather than worrying about parking fees and toll routes, simply take the forty-minute train for peace of mind. Book your train tickets in advance here.
#6 Trier, Germany
Because Luxembourg is such a small country, it’s easy to reach nearby countries in a short space of time. France, Germany, and Belgium are all within accessible reach of this tiny Grand Duchy (a deceptive name for a country with a population size of under 600,000!). The pretty town of Trier in Germany is just an hour’s drive from Luxembourg and is well worth a visit.
After all, there, you can see plenty of history, eat traditional German cuisine and wander the local markets to your heart’s content! Trier also boasts plenty of well preserved Roman ruins, other UNESCO world heritage sites and the chance to take boat trips along the River Mosel in the warmer months.
Directions to Trier from Luxembourg City
One of the easiest ways to reach Trier, Germany from Luxembourg in terms of both parking and time is by train. While the train journey is just fifty minutes, the car is forty-five but involves parking the car up once you reach the ancient city, and crossing the border to Germany. If you’re planning on getting the bus, I recommend booking your tickets in advance through this site.
One of the most delightful hidden gems that Luxembourg has to offer is the town of Esch, which is known by its full name as Esch-sur-Alzette. Though it may be the second most populous place in the landlocked country, it often misses out on much of the press it deserves in favour of more famous location.
With this being said, Esch has plenty to offer even the most discerning of travellers. Some of the top things to do in the town include admiring the architecture of architects such as Viollet le Duc, Joseph Stübben, Gottfried Böhm, as well as a surprising amount of green spaces to relax in.
Directions to Esch from Luxembourg City
The easiest way to get from Luxembourg City to Esch is by public transportation. Simply hop on the train at Luxembourg City station and you’ll be in Esch-sur-Alzette in just twenty-three minutes. Trains are in operation from every ten to twenty minutes throughout the day.