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!
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! There’s the Grand Renaisannce 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.
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.
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 along the way), a drive to Echternach from Luxembourg city only takes thirty minutes.
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. Go up the mountain via cable car for some of the best views of the town and 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.
Read more: Best things to do in Vianden!
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.
Read more: How to spend three days in Luxembourg.
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.
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).
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.
Read more: How to spend three days in Lorraine, France.