With Christmas only 7 weeks away, plans for a Christmas shopping trip are on many people’s agenda. While most opt for London, New York or Cologne, I would recommend a less obvious destination: Luxembourg! A city trip to Luxembourg, – only a one hour flight from Amsterdam – guarantees a weekend packed with Christmas markets, culinary surprises, picturesque photo opportunities and a maxed out credit card from shopping. The city is built on 3 hills and 2 valleys and is one of the most romantic and fairytale-like cities I’ve ever been to. There’s a cosmopolitan ambiance yet it is small enough to explore on foot, moreover most of the old town is a pedestrian area. Whether you’re a nature lover, culture seeker or a real foodie, Luxembourg has it all.
The Christmas Markets
From November 23 till December 24 the annual Christmas Markets luster different squares like the Place d’Armes in the old town center that is filled with chalets selling food and handicraft gifts. The Constitution square holds the Winter Market and on Place Guillaume there’s a skating rink. Sure enough it’s not as extensive as the markets in Germany, but it will get you in the holiday cheer. For more information about all Christmas Markets go to www.winterlights.lu
Things to do and see
Besides being a excellent shopping city there is also plenty of heritage and culture in the old town. The old town center is packed with monuments, statues, churches and squares. Don’t miss the changing of the guards at the Grand Ducal Palace right in the center of the old town, which is beautifully decorated during the holiday season. – Rue du Marché aux Herbes
Across the street from the Grand Ducal Palace at Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes 20, you’ll find the Chocolate House; a charming shop and establishment where you can indulge in tens of hot chocolate flavours, cakes, chocolates, tea or coffee.
Speaking about chocolate, the must-go chocolate/pastry shop in Luxembourg is Oberweis. Their pastries and confectionery are world-renowned pieces of art that will make perfect gifts for Christmas. 16, Grand-Rue
On Clairefontaine square you can find the bronze statue of Grand Duchess Charlotte. Place Clairefontaine is a tranquil and charming square surrounded by pale pink buildings.
The National Library which is adjacent to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin is actually located in the restored Jesuit College. The library holds a collection of 700,000 books and has a department of literary and artistic treasures. 37 Boulevard FD Roosevelt
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin which was originally a Jesuit church is an impressive cathedral in Gothic style. Boulevard Roosevelt and rue Notre-Dame
The Congregation Church is situated in a picturesque part of town consisting of a maze of narrow cobbled streets. Its decorated portal is said to be one of the most beautiful in the city. 5 rue de la Congrégation
A beautiful part of town is the Fish Market which is the former crossroad between two Roman roads. In old times people had their social contacts in the narrow streets surrounding the Fish market. Nowadays the National Museum of History and Art is situated here.
The most magical experience in Luxembourg is to walk the boulevard and balcony Chemin de la Corniche. It is said to be the most beautiful balcony of Europe and I couldn’t agree more. The boulevard runs along and above the Alzette valley. It is built on the ramparts starting at the Bock Promontory up to the lower part of the Holy Ghost Citadel. The panoramic view on the valley is mind blowing, romantic and hands down magical at night. From the Chemin de la Corniche you have an excellent view on another highlight: the St John’s Church at Rue Münster dating back to the 17th century.
If you have time to spare after shopping and sight seeing, a visit to the MUDAM is an absolute must. The museum of modern art is set in nature, in Park Drai Eechelen, and therefore a welcome escape from the busy city center. Fort Thüngen which is neighbouring the museum is also an interesting site to explore, making the trip out of the center all the more worthwile. 3, Park Dräi Eechelen
Where to stay
Luxembourg is boasting with charming B&Bs and boutique hotels. However for the best view in town you go to the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal. This luxury hotel is a true design gem with breathtaking vistas on the valley. If this hotel is out of your budget you can still choose to book a table for dinner at their fantastic restaurant Mu or grab drinks at the rooftop bar, both with a view on the glimmering lights of the city.
This trip was sponsored by Accor Hotels. Nonetheless all opinions are my own.