No surprises here – another Ryanair bargain flight and we were off to Luxembourg at the end of January. Having got good flight deals on Gothenburg and Eindhoven I was very excited to add another country to our travel list. I booked the flights end of November for January at €9.99 each. It was a very short pleasant flight around an hour and half long which was perfect for a weekend break. We landed in Luxembourg around 7pm to really dense fog, I literally could not see the bus stop when we stepped out of the airport!!
The first thing you will notice is how clean everywhere is. The airport was immaculate. We jumped on the bus number 29 which departs outside the airport main door straight to the city every 15 minutes and takes about 20 minutes. Again so efficient. We were very lucky as the bus stopped quite literally outside our hotel door. We couldn’t wait to get a visual of the city but the dense fog and pitch dark meant that would have to wait until the morning.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Novotel Luxembourg Centre which claims to be a family friendly hotel and hand on heart it was one of the most family friendly hotels we have ever stayed in. It is evident from the moment you check in. There have a fussball table in reception and my kids were hyper about the next bit… a kids corner with an xbox. It was just perfect for us. I would be very remiss of me not to say a special thank you to Caroline on reception. The kindness and professionalism show to us was some of the best we have had in all the hotels we have stayed. She had endless patience with the kids and their questions and xbox requests and so much knowledge on things to do locally. I hope Novotel realise what a gem they have with Caroline.
The room we had comprised a double and sofa bed – again ideal for our needs. The breakfast was really and I mean really good. The kids were borderline obsessed with the pancake maker and pretty much hogged it the entire breakfast each morning! I find a good breakfast when you are travelling really sets us up for the day of exploring. Thanks to the Novotel for the lovely personalised welcome to our room, absolutely made our day.
Temperatures hovered around zero and it was quite damp so kids were glad to have their Reima which was kindly gifted to us for our Lapland trip.
What we did
Luxembourg is a stunningly beautiful city, the old buildings and walls and narrow winding streets. The fog was still pretty bad making visibility quite poor so we decided to head walking to get our bearings. Interestingly the old fortification walls of the city are designated UNESCO sites. Its not hard to be wowed by the contrasting architecture. The old walls are just stunning. The city also very uniquely have over 17km of underground tunnels (Bock Casemates) which unfortunately were closed during our stay but can be accessed at two points in the city. The kids are begging to go back just to see the tunnels.
Some of the highlights of our trip:
- Do not miss a coffee/ drink at the sky bar at the Sofitel wow that view is breathtaking. It was located just in front of our hotel so we made two trips here just to chill and soak up that view
- Playgrounds – there are loads of them all over the city. Welcome break from sightseeing for the kids.
- Notre-Dame Cathedral is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Luxembourg City – we visited early on a Saturday morning and it really is a beautiful building. Entry is free. It races it origins back to 1613 and its the only cathedral in Luxembourg.
- Changing of the guard at Luxmebourg Palace – officially knows as the Grand Ducal Palace where the Grand Duke of Luxembourg lives and performs his royal duties. The Palace itself is a beautifully grand building located right in the middle of the city. We stayed to watch the changing of the guard which the kids loved.
- We took a ride up the Pfaffental elevator which is a new glass elevator connects the “Pescatore” park located in the city centre to the Pfaffenthal area at the bottom of the Alzette valley. The ride in the glass elevator goes up 71 meters high and its free to use.
- Chemin de la Corniche or as it has often been called – “the most beautiful balcony in Europe” its such a beautiful stroll along the ramparts gazing over the city. The old walls and cobbled streets feel like you stepped back in time. Quite serene.
- I saw a tagline on a brochure “culture in abundance” and it does truly feel like that. There are tonnes of museums here from the Bank museum, Art gallery, museum of modern art. Most museums are free with the Luxembourg card and also most closed on Mondays so do bear that in mind.
- Saint Michael’s Church is located in Fishmarket, in the central Ville Haute quarter. The church is the oldest extant religious site in Luxembourg City. Worth a visit to see the architecture and the stained glass windows.
- The Luxembourg card is really invaluable for a weekend visit as it uniquely covers the entirety of the country covering over 60 attractions and free access to public transport which we made great use out it, really does make it so easy to get around.
Where we ate?
- Red Square Restaurant at the Novotel Luxembourg – This was the restaurant in our hotel and we ended up eating here twice! It was really good and the fact the kids had their own kids corner meant we could enjoy sitting over our dinner chatting while they happily played. Both kids loved the dinner here and totally cleaned their plates. It was good value and would definitely recommend it for a meal with kids. Kids declared the spaghetti bolognaise the best ever!! No mean feat for my pair of fussy eaters. Service was very efficient and the second visit was a testament to how much we all enjoyed our first visit.
- Urban – this uber trendy restaurant and bar is located quite close to the Palace and the queue to be seated was indicative of its popularity. We has a small wait to be seated before we got to our table on the first floor. Despite being really busy service was attentive, the food was served promptly and it was as tasty as we had hoped. It seems to be a very popular local spot and big thumbs up from us for it. We both opted for the fish and it was very tasty
- L’Observatoire at the Sofitel just wow – you have to visit just to soak up that view. We had coffees and light bites here and it was simply divine. The staff here were wonderful and so attentive and I was a tad nervous about taking the kids but I need not have been they were made more the welcome.
Note: Massive thanks to Mara and the team and Visit Luxembourg for their support for our trip. It is much appreciated. All view are mine of the kids where appropriate and I retain full editorial control.
For more pictures – see highlights on our Instagram