Our trip is coming soon! We'd been scheduled to fly home from Copenhagen to Paris and then to NY, but I HAVE to be able to get to Boston the following day, so we've decided to eliminate one possible problem by taking a train to Germany and then driving to Paris and flying direct. We'll have the time - the dates I could book with freq fly miles gave us a lot of extra time to explore. The cost to change all the tickets for 5 people was only $10 and the reduction in taxes just about paid that!
When I was looking for a place to stay one night in the Luxembourg area, I came upon this picture.
Picture from the air of Vianden (http://www.Dew-Web.com/PIX/Lux-Vianden.jpg)
It looked so beautiful that I investigated further. Here's a little about the history of the town.
Vianden, Luxembourg (http://www.nessmoort.lu/english/vianden/index.html)
I've booked a small hotel in Vianden and since our auto travel days are easy ones (in miles,) we'll have a little time to see a bit of it. Has anyone been there?
PS - does anyone know why I can't get the picture to appear in this forum? I've used the insert picture button and put the full url but it doesn't show up. ?? Have we got that feature disabled?
07-23-2006, 09:21 AM
The uploading of pictures is currently disabled because of the hack attack we had a bit ago. I need to check if the security has been upgraded.
I got this info from Intelliguide on Luxemborg if you are interested. I did not read it but here is is:
It would be easy to overlook tiny Luxembourg in a European itinerary, but you'd be missing out on a very charming experience. Squeezed into a pocket of land smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island, it's Europe in miniature, complete with its own wine country, abbey towns, a cosmopolitan city, hiking trails, restored castles, lovely river valleys and a multilingual populace.
Luxembourg's neighbors haven't overlooked it: The country's strict laws regarding bank secrecy have made it a popular tax haven and an important financial services center for the region. Luxembourg is also the headquarters for several European Union institutions, including the General Secretariat of the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.
Luxembourg has been influenced at one time or another by the Spanish, Belgians, French, Germans, Dutch and Austrians. But perhaps the most influential of all were the Romans, who ruled the land for nearly 500 years. They left behind an excellent network of roads and bridges that, in addition to unifying the nation physically, linked the people psychologically.
Luxembourg's location in the heart of Europe made it a desirable territory for the continent's abundance of expansion-minded rulers. So it built itself into one of the most powerful fortresses in the world. Most of the fortifications were dismantled in the mid-1800s, and the fortresses were converted into parks—too soon, as it turned out. Luxembourg was invaded and occupied in both world wars by Germany and sustained terrible damage in World War II's Battle of the Bulge. In the post-war years, Luxembourg integrated itself with its neighbors by joining various European economic, political and military organizations. It was a founding member of the European Economic Community.
Luxembourg borders Belgium to the north and west, Germany to the east and France to the south. The country is surprisingly varied, considering its small size. The northern third of the country, called Eisleck, has the most dramatic scenery. It's part of the Ardennes, a forested plateau with cliffs and valleys that stretches into Belgium and France. The southern two-thirds of the country is called Gutland (Good Land), which is the main agricultural area. It encompasses Mullerthal (or Moellerdall), often called Little Switzerland for its rock formations and abundant hiking trails, and the wine-growing Moselle Valley, both in the east. The extreme south is called Land of the Red Rocks because of its iron ore. Close to the center of Gutland is the country's capital, Luxembourg City.
The country's main attractions are castles, hiking and biking tours, wineries and breweries, the Ardennes' lovely scenery, friendly people and Luxembourg City.
The country will appeal to visitors on an extended (or return) European itinerary who are in the neighborhood and want to spend a few days in a beautiful part of Europe. (It also attracts its share of those who simply want to say they've been there.)
Luxembourg has the highest per capita income in Europe—and by some counts, in the world.
Many tours (including motor-coach tours of the countryside) and attractions in Luxembourg operate only during the high season (roughly April-October).
From the third to the fifth Sunday after Easter, the colorful Octave of Our Lady of Luxembourg is held. Thousands of pilgrims accompany the statue of the Holy Virgin from the main cathedral through flower-strewn streets.
The nation is the birthplace of Robert Schuman, father of the European Economic Community, predecessor of the European Union (EU).
Luxembourgers faced the Nazis boldly—they went on a nationwide general strike rather than give up their young men for the German army.
The Luxembourg tourist offices, throughout the country, are among the most helpful we've encountered.
The country has an amazing network of hiking and cycling trails, with more than 3,100 mi/5,000 km of hiking trails and innumerable cycling routes. Ask at nearly any town hall for a copy of the local hiking map.
Most Luxembourgers harbor warm feelings toward U.S. citizens, largely as a result of the major role played by the U.S. forces in liberating the country at the end of World War II. Gen. George S. Patton and 5,000 other U.S. soldiers are buried at the American Military Cemetery in Hamm, on the outskirts of Luxembourg City. A German military cemetery lies nearby.
SEE AND DO
You can pick up river tours of the Moselle wine valley aboard the impressive MS Princesse Marie-Astrid at most riverside towns. Other boats also tour the river at variable times, generally between late March and late September. http://www.moselle-tourist.lu.
Each tourist office has excellent multilingual guides that can be hired for two hours for groups of up to 25 people. The Luxembourg City Tourist Office will also organize tailor-made motor-coach tours anywhere in the country. It is located at Place d'Armes. Phone 3522-22809; http://www.lcto.lu.
Day by Day
Few people stay in Luxembourg more than a night or two, and most who go see only the capital. We think that's a shame, because the countryside has beautiful scenery, and the spirit of Luxembourg is in the small communities. Luxembourg also makes a good base for seeing nearby regions of France, Belgium and Germany. The following is a generous six-day, five-night visit.
Day 1—Arrive in Luxembourg City.
Day 2—Tour Luxembourg City.
Day 3—Drive north and stay the night in Diekirch, Beaufort, Vianden or Echternach. For the remainder of the day, tour one or two of these villages.
Day 4—Tour the Valley of the Seven Castles (near Mersch) or the Moselle Valley. (Note: Most of the castles can only be viewed from the outside.)
Day 5—Drive to Clervaux or Troisvierges via Wiltz for overnight.
Day 6—Return to Luxembourg City and depart.
If time permits, visit some of the other villages—distance presents no problem in Luxembourg.
Destinations in LuxembourgLuxembourg
This beautiful city is sometimes known as Luxembourg Ville. It was founded in AD 963 and is filled with museums, old churches, ruined fortresses and lovely parks. Much of the city is built on top of hills and cliffs overlooking the Alzette and Petrusse Rivers and steep ravines. The best way to see the city is on foot. The tourist office runs guided walks, and it also has self-guided walking-tour maps. Be sure to crisscross the beautiful bridges and stroll the Promenade de la Corniche—you'll see wonderful views of the city.
Luxembourg City was once one of the most fortified cities in Europe—it was called the Gibraltar of the North. A series of tunnels and passageways, called casemates, are just under the Corniche. They were extensive enough to shelter the entire city during times of siege. Many are still open to the public during the main tourist season, and they're fun to explore. The elegant Spanish turrets and the towers of Rham are other examples of the city's former defenses.
We also enjoyed visiting the National Museum, which has displays on minerals, archaeology, painting, natural science, history and industrial art. Other points of interest include the 11th-century Abbey of Munster, the 17th-century Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg and Casino Luxembourg (a forum for contemporary art). An afternoon can be spent looking at the 10th-century St. Michael's Church, the Renaissance-style Grand-Ducal Palace and some of the government's ministries, housed in elegant belle epoque buildings. The Place d'Armes is the city's main square. It's at the center of a pedestrian area, where you'll find many restaurants and open-air cafes. We recommend a two-night visit to Luxembourg City. Day trips can be taken to any point in Luxembourg.
Located on the Our River, this town is the site of a wonderful, well-restored medieval castle. The castle has a nice display of antique weaponry and armor, furniture and tapestries. Vianden is also known for the Victor Hugo House (and museum), a folklore museum and the scenic wooded hills where Hugo used to go to relax. Vianden merits at least a full day. 23 mi/37 km northeast of Luxembourg City.
For its size, Luxembourg has a high number of Michelin star-rated restaurants (many showcase their fish specialties). But don't neglect the sidewalk cafes and bistros—you'll dine very well, often at a fraction of the price. There's a wide variety of food, including French and Belgian cuisine. Luxembourg specialties include cheval (horse steaks), grives (roast thrush) and wild boar. Try trout, crawfish, Ardennes ham and—in cafes and country inns—smoked pork with broad beans. You might also try some of the good local wines (rarely exported) and local beers, including Mousel and Bofferding. Be sure to leave room for dessert—the pastries are especially good.
There's really nothing to buy in Luxembourg that can't be found elsewhere. Some things to consider purchasing, however, include Ardennes and Easter candies, chocolates and clothing. These items may end up being cheaper than in neighboring countries because you are more likely to see a refund of the Value-Added Tax (VAT)—Luxembourg's spending threshold for a refund is lower than that of most countries in Europe. Porcelain and ceramics from Villeroy and Boch are a special buy. Another interesting item is a cast-iron wall plaque, which can depict anything from a castle to a coat of arms. Your stamp-collector friends will enjoy receiving a postcard with a Luxembourg stamp.
Shopping Hours: Generally Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, though some stores are also closed Monday morning.
Luxembourg is generally a safe place to visit. Always use commonsense precautions, however. Ask your hotel's concierge or front-desk staff for advice about the areas and attractions you wish to visit.
For the latest information, contact your country's travel-advisory agency.
Canadian Travel Advisory Line—Phone: 613-944-6788. Toll-free: 800-267-6788. http://www.voyage.gc.ca.
U.S. Department of State, Overseas Citizens Services—Phone: 202-501-4444. Toll-free: 888-407-4747. http://travel.state.gov/travel/warnings.html.
Luxembourg has modern medical and dental facilities. Very high standards of cleanliness are adhered to, and it's safe to eat the food and drink the water throughout the country. Do be sure to take along a pair of comfortable walking shoes. For the latest information, contact your country's health-advisory agency.
Health Canada—Phone: 613-957-2991. http://www.travelhealth.gc.ca.
U.S. CDC International Travel Information—Toll-free: 877-394-8747. http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
Dos and Don'ts
Do visit some of Luxembourg's more than 200 foreign banks, even if you're not looking to deposit a family fortune. Located along the Boulevard Royal and Plateau de Kirchberg in Luxembourg City, many of the splashy modernistic buildings display interesting art.
Do try a balloon excursion over the lake region, but take your passport—there's no telling which country you'll land in.
During the summer, do take the Princesse Marie-Astrid boat between Wasserbillig and Schengen. Also consider taking the old-time train at Rodange.
Do pop your head in at the youth hostel in Tuntange that is known as Hollenfels Castle.
Don't miss the National Day (23 June) festivities in Luxembourg City. The Grand Duke reviews his troops in a colorful ceremony, and a wonderful day of revelry ends with fireworks over the city.
Do keep an eye out for the Grand Duke, who is often seen driving his car or walking around the city.
Do be ready to pay an on-the-spot fine if you are caught speeding.
Do take one of the organized walking tours on Saturday or Sunday (ranging 5-20 mi/8-32 km). A slight fee is charged, but it's a great way to see the country.
Official Name: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
Passport/Visa Requirements: Passports are needed by citizens of the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. Reconfirm your travel-document requirements with carrier before departure.
Capital: Luxembourg City.
Languages: French and German are the official languagues. Letzebuergesch (or Luxembourgish) is the everyday spoken language. English is also widely spoken.
Predominant Religions: Christian (Roman Catholic).
Time Zone: 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+1 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is observed March-October.
Voltage Requirements: 220 volts.
Telephone Codes: 352, country code; no city codes are required.
Ordinary banks are not that common, but ATMs are readily available and accept all the usual international credit cards. Shops, restaurants and garages also readily accept credit cards. Care should be exercised when using an ATM, however; it's best to withdraw cash during the day and be especially careful just after withdrawing cash.
Currency Exchange Rates
US Dollar Euro US Dollar Euro
$10 7.74 $200 154.80
$20 15.48 $400 309.60
$30 23.22 $600 464.40
$40 30.96 $800 619.20
$50 38.70 $1000 773.99
$60 46.44 $1200 928.79
$70 54.18 $1400 1,083.59
$80 61.92 $1600 1,238.39
$90 69.66 $1800 1,393.19
$100 77.40 $2000 1,547.99
The Value-Added Tax (VAT or TVA) in Luxembourg is 3% for hotels, restaurants and taxis and 15% for most other goods and services.
With a little paperwork, nonresidents of the European Union can obtain a tax refund for certain purchases. You need three things to get a refund: the article you purchased, the purchase receipt and a refund form (which must be picked up at the place of purchase). If you don't have these three things, then your refund will be denied. Also note that only unused articles are eligible for a refund; if the article looks used, then you won't get your money back. The standard way to get a refund is to present these items to the VAT refund officer on departure, who will give you a final form to be mailed in for your refund. (For your own convenience, see the VAT officer before checking your bags and have your purchases in an easy-to-reach place.) Some larger stores have a streamlined process; they handle most of the paperwork and then mail the refund to you. Private VAT refund services, located at the airport, will give you an immediate refund minus a fee, which is usually a percentage of the refund.
If you are traveling to other countries in the European Union, you can claim your refunds only at your exit point from the EU. In other words, if you're traveling on to Belgium and France, and are departing the EU from Paris, you have to claim the VAT refunds from all three countries at the airport in Paris.
Most restaurant and hotel bills include a 15% service charge (in addition to the Valued-Added Tax). If the service charge is not included, tip 15%-20%. Taxi drivers receive 15% and bellhops about 1 euro.
The best time to visit is mid May to mid October—that's when it's warmest. Winters aren't too cold, but snow is typical in the Ardennes. A sweater is almost always needed at night, even in summer. Another year-round necessity is an umbrella, because the climate tends to be damp.
Findel Airport (LUX) is 4 mi/7 km northeast of Luxembourg City. Many visitors arrive in the country by rented car, train or escorted tour. The primary methods of getting around the country are rented cars, trains, taxis (relatively expensive), buses and bicycles. Consider buying an Oeko Pass. It's valid throughout the country for unlimited travel on trains, city buses and intercity coaches for one day (until 8 am the following morning). Another option is the Luxembourg Card, a combination ticket for transport and admission to several attractions.
In the summer, our favorite way of traveling is on foot. There are plenty of well-marked hiking trails, and the villages and forests are too charming to be raced by in a car.
For More Information
Luxembourg: Luxembourg National Tourist Office, 68-70 Boulevard de la Petrusse, L-1010 Luxembourg. Phone 428-2821. http://www.agendalux.lu.
Luxembourg: Luxembourg City Tourist Office, Place d'Armes, P.O. Box 181, L-2011 Luxembourg. Phone 222-809. http://www.lcto.lu.
U.K.: Luxembourg National Tourist Office, 122 Regent St., London W1B5SA. Phone 20-7434-2800. http://www.luxembourg.co.uk.
U.S.: Luxembourg National Tourist Office, 17 Beekman Place, New York, NY 10022. Phone 212-935-8888. http://www.visitluxembourg.com.
There are no tourist offices in Canada or Australia.
Embassies of Luxembourg
Canada: Luxembourg Honorary Consulate General, 3877 Draper Ave., Montreal, PQ H4A 2N9. Phone 514-489-6052.
U.K.: Embassy of Luxembourg, 27 Wilton Crescent, London SW1X 8SD. Phone 171-35-6961.
U.S.: Embassy of Luxembourg, 2200 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20008. Phone 202-265-5525. http://www.governement.lu. There is also a consulate general in New York City.
Luxembourg does not have an embassy in Australia.
Embassies Serving Luxembourg
The nearest Canadian and Australian diplomatic representatives are in Brussels, Belgium.
British Embassy: 14 Blvd. Roosevelt, L-2450, Luxembourg City. Phone 229-864.
U.S. Embassy: 22 Blvd. Emmanuel-Servais, L-2535 Luxembourg City. Phone 460-123.
Baedeker's Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg (Prentice Hall Press).
Luxembourg. A photographic journey by hot air balloon by Rob Kieffer (Editions Guy Binsfeld).
The Battle of the Bulge—Ardennes Offensive by Jean Milmeister (Editions Guy Binsfeld).
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (Editions Guy Binsfeld). This excellent guide is the only dedicated guide with maps and photographs of all regions. It's available in English.
Luxembourg—40 Cycle Routes (Editions Guy Binsfeld).
Luxembourg 171 Rambling Routes (Editions Guy Binsfeld).
The Rough Guide to Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg by Martin Dunford, Jack Holland and Phil Lee (Rough Guides).
Frommer's Dollarwise Guide to Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg by Susan Poole (Frommer's).
Belgium and Luxembourg by Leanne Logan and Geert Cole (Lonely Planet).[/b]