Moien, as they say in Luxembourg. The Grand Duchy, which lies between France, Belgium and Germany, is often overlooked by tourists heading to one of those other countries. But to pass through this gem on a train would be a mistake, especially if you’re into food and wine. Luxembourg captivates with Francophile charm, a cosmopolitan vibe and more than 1,000 imposing castles. It’s also a veritable foodie mecca, with the most Michelin stars per inhabitant.
With an area of about 1,000 square miles, Luxembourg is as small as a sprawling metropolis but remains a giant among European microstates. Thanks to its friendly, multicultural vibe, compact size and pleasant climate, Lëtzebuerg—as it is called in Luxembourgish—is the perfect destination for anyone wanting culture with a dash of food and wine.
Good food and wine are so deeply ingrained in the culture here, that you can’t have one without the other. Locals often pair traditional dishes, using regional ingredients, with AOP (Appellation d’origine protégée) wines from Ahn in the Moselle, the country’s winemaking region. This makes for an authentic and sustainable experience. Look for wine with the “Marque Nationale” seal of quality.
Some of the most iconic Luxembourgian dishes include Judd mat Gaardebounen (smoked pork with beans), Bouneschlupp (green bean soup with potatoes and bacon) and Kachkéis (cooked cheese refined with spices). Pair these with a dry Riesling or Auxerrois, and you’re already living like a local.
For a unique culinary experience, head to Léa Linster in Frisingen. Linster has retained her one Michelin star since 1987 and is still the only woman chef to ever be awarded the Bocuse d’Or, an intense culinary competition held biennially in Lyon, France, in honour of late French chef, Paul Bocuse. At the family-run restaurant, which now features her son, Louis, at the helm, expect haute cuisine such as sea bass with leeks and Alba truffles and venison with cabbage and juicy currants.
If you don’t want to splurge, look to Bistronome in Luxembourg City. The Bib Gourmand award-winning restaurant tempts with creative, affordable three-course menus that turn traditional Luxembourgian cuisine on its head—think chicken with butternut squash and chicory in a cream sauce with mushrooms.
Fulfil sweet desires at Namur, Luxembourg’s oldest pastry shop. In its sixth generation, the traditional shop is home to the best “knippercher” in town. The first-class selection includes handmade pralinés, truffles, petit fours, marzipan, nougat and candied fruit.
All that rich food and wine will make you want to walk off the calories and thankfully, Luxembourg offers myriad places to explore nature and man-made delights. Due to its compact size, Luxembourg can be discovered in just a few days. While it’s the first country in the world to offer free public transport, we’d suggest exploring it by foot.
More than 170 different nationalities make the capital a vibrant hub, which is impressively reflected in a variety of cultural institutions. Contemporary buildings, medieval alleys and castle ruins blend seamlessly. A good example is the Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM), a futuristic glass complex located on the grounds of historic Fort Thüngen.
The old town with its winding streets has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, as have the casemates, subterranean military fortifications. The 14-mile-long system of caves and passages was built in the seventeenth century. Head to the Bock, a promontory at the top of the casemates that affords picturesque views of the Alzette River. Follow the road to the Chemin de la Corniche, the “most beautiful balcony in Europe,” which guarantees further postcard-worthy scenes. Further afield lies Grund, a neighbourhood that has retained its authentic, rural character thanks to an idyllic bridge and photogenic stone houses.
Heading out of the city, Luxembourg offers a feast for the senses. Vianden Castle, one of the most important architectural monuments in Europe, is located in the north of the country. Perched between slate cliffs, steep valleys and the extensive forests of the Ardennes, the castle evokes fairytale worlds. Tip: From April to October, a chairlift facilitates the ascent and descent.
Charming Echternach, the oldest city in Luxembourg is situated in the east of the country. It’s the gateway to Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland, a region that owes its name to the quirky sandstone formations popular among hikers and climbers. The Mullerthal Trail runs about 68 miles through forests and streams, past the Schiessentümpel—a three-jet waterfall—and impressive rocky gorges.
The wine-growing village of Ahn is the perfect finale. The Palmberg Ahn wine and nature trail takes you through vineyards, past wild orchid meadows and waterfalls in the Pellëmbierg nature reserve. Make yourself comfortable in the evening with a glass of wine from the local private wineries, while the sun slowly disappears over the horizon.
Michelin-starred restaurants in Luxembourg: 2021
Restaurant Ma Langue Sourit retained its two Michelin stars in 2021, while chef René Mathieu of La Distillerie received the Michelin Green star for sustainability.
- La Distillerie in Bourglinster
- Léa Linster in Frisange
- Clairefontaine in Luxembourg City
- La Cristallerie in Luxembourg City
- Les Jardins d’Anaïs in Luxembourg City
- Mosconi in Luxembourg City
- Ma Langue Sourit in Moutfort
- Fani in Roeser
- Guillou Campagne in Schouweiler
“Bib Gourmand” restaurants in Luxembourg: 2021
With the Bib Gourmand, the Michelin Guide honours restaurants that offer innovative three-course menus that cost up to 35 pounds.
- Dahm in Erpeldange
- Parc Le’h in Dudelange
- Brimer in Grundhof
- K Restaurant in Huldange
- Atelier Windsor in Luxembourg City
- Brasserie des Jardins in Luxembourg City
- La Bergamote in Luxembourg City
- La Cantine du Châtelet in Luxembourg City
- Kamakura in Luxembourg City
- Joël Schaeffer in Mertert
- Bonifas in Nospelt
- Two 6 Two in Strassen
- Bistronome in Strassen
- Les Timandines in Troisvierges
- L’Ecuelle in Wilwerdange