The Grand Duchy dates back to 963, when the first castle was built on the craggy heights where Luxembourg City now stands. Visitors are attracted by the forested Ardennes highlands, the rolling farmlands, and the Moselle valley wine region.
Area: 999 square miles (smaller than Rhode Island). Population: 400,000 (Luxembourg City, 80,000). Language: Luxembourgish, French, German. English is widely spoken.
Luxembourg City, capital of the Grand Duchy and once a much-besieged fortress city, is now a cosmopolitan center with fine museums, art galleries, theaters, concert halls, chic boutiques, shopping malls and great restaurants.
The new walking tour, 1,000 Years in 100 Minutes, leads from the recent 10th-century castle excavations along the ramparts of the former fortifications to the lower historical town. An elevator in the wall brings visitors back to the center of the city.
A miniature train ride is a delightful way to tour the valley and the remaining fortifications, which have been transformed into charming parks with pleasant walks. The Casemates are a 12-mile network of underground passages, hewn from rock.
The city is headquarters for the European Union Court of Justice, the Investment Bank, the Court of Auditors and the Secretariat of the European Parliament.
Excursions can be made from the capital to the Ardennes and through the scenic Valley of the Seven Castles.
Vianden dates to the 9th century. Its castle, cradle of the Orange-Nassau dynasties, is one of the largest feudal fortresses in the Ardennes. Also of interest is the magnificent restored Gothic Trinitarian Church and cloister, dating to 1248.
The house where Victor Hugo stayed during part of his exile from France is now a museum. Mondorf-les-Bains, close to the French border, has a thermal spa, fitness and sports center and casino.
National Museum of Art and History, Luxembourg City. Major archaeological finds from the Gallo-Roman period.
Luxembourg Municipal History Museum, Luxembourg City. Glass elevators take you through 2,000 years in this innovative new eight-level museum.
Natur Musée, Grund. Natural history collections housed in a former women’s prison.
Clervaux Castle, in the heart of the Ardennes, is the permanent home of the newly restored ‘Family of Man’ photography exhibition (503 photos by 273 artists from 68 countries). The castle’s collection also includes several models of the fortresses raised in Luxembourg during the Middle Ages.
Battle of the Bulge museums, Clervaux, Diekirch, Ettelbruck, Wiltz. Exhibits and descriptions of the crucial World War II battle, much of which was fought across Luxembourg. There is a major American cemetery at Hamm where Gen. George Patton is buried, along with thousands of other American soldiers.