2,586 sq km (998 sq miles).
201.3 per sq km.
Head of state:
Grand Duke Henri since 2000.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel since 2013.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.
As the wealthiest nation in Europe and one of the founding fathers of the EU, it’s safe to say little Luxembourg is punching well above its weight.
But as well as the highest per capita income on the continent, this diminutive country also has more than its fair share of natural beauty with rolling hills, verdant valleys and meandering rivers painting picture of rural idyll.
Proud of its role as a founding member of the EU, Luxembourg plays a prominent position in European affairs and is home to a number of European Union institutions.
Most of the action takes place in the capital, Luxembourg City, which has something of a split personality: while it’s all antiquated charm in the Old Town, with its elegant squares, imposing churches, independent shops and cobblestone streets, the Kirchberg district has a modern, flashier feel thanks to its ubiquitous offices, shopping malls and entertainment complexes.
The most popular destination outside the capital is medieval Vianden in the northeast, with its cobbled streets and hilltop castle, which is the envy of many European cities. Vianden also hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year, many of which celebrate its historical past.
Echternach, founded in the 7th century, is the oldest city in the country, with a picturesque centre dominated by an abbey. It is also a convenient base for exploring ‘Little Switzerland’, a tiny region of rocky outcrops, cliffs, cascades, and forests, crisscrossed by walking trails that are a haven for hikers and mountain-bikers.
On the southeastern border with Germany, the Moselle Valley enjoys a unique microclimate that has given rise to one of Europe’s smallest wine-growing districts, producing award-winning whites and sparkling wines. Meanwhile, northern Luxembourg is dominated by the Ardennes, an area of high plateau where wooded valleys, shimmering rivers and lofty peaks make for stunning trekking.
All in all, not bad for a country the size of Dorset.
Last updated: 19 October 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Foreign visitors and residents can be targeted by scam artists. These can cause great financial loss. If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offering a tax refund on provision of your bank details you should make absolutely sure that it is not part of a scam.
Violent crime isn’t common in Luxembourg cities, but a higher number of burglaries have been reported by people who have recently moved into the countryside. Most crimes in these areas occur during the traditional holiday periods in August and around Christmas.
Pickpockets operate on buses and in train stations, particularly the Hammilus (main bus station) and the Luxembourg Gare (main train station) Be aware of your immediate surroundings, keep your bags within sight, and avoid displaying high value items.
Hotel lobbies, especially in the Findel area, are reported to be hot spots for thefts and pickpocketing.
Beware of bogus, plain-clothes policemen who may stop your car and ask to see your passport and/or driving licence. If you’re approached and you suspect that you are dealing with a bogus police officer, you can call 113 to check the officer’s identity.
Report any thefts in person to the nearest local police within 24 hours and get a police report crime number.
Many of the driving rules in Luxembourg roads are different to those in the UK
- the minimum age for driving a car is 18
- the driver must have a valid driving licence
- driving is on the right
- mobile phones may only be used ‘hands free’ while driving
- priority is given to traffic from the right in towns — drivers must stop for traffic joining from the right unless a yellow diamond sign or other priority road sign has been posted
- you must use headlights on full-beam outside towns and cities at night and in times of low visibility
If you live in Luxembourg, you can use a valid British driving licence as long as you register it with the Ministry of Transport. Alternatively, you can exchange it for a Luxembourgish driving licence.
Keep vehicle registration documents with you to prove you’re the legal owner. Failure to do so could lead to a fine and confiscation of the vehicle. On the spot fines are common. It’s easy to cross into neighbouring countries without realising it. Keep your passport with you for identification.
In 2013 there were 45 road deaths in Luxembourg (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 8.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2013.
All vehicles should have winter tyres when temperatures are zero or below.
Drink-drive laws are strictly enforced. You can be arrested for having a blood alcohol content of 0.05%.
See the European Commission,RAC guide on driving in Luxembourg.
Heavy goods vehicles
Heavy goods vehicles exceeding 7.5 tons, with or without a trailer, intended for the transport of goods from Belgium or Germany to France are prohibited on public roads in Luxembourg from Saturday 9:30pm to Sunday at 9:45pm, and on the days before public holidays from 9:30pm to the following day at 9:45pm.
If you travel on public transport you must buy a ticket and validate it either on platform before your travel or on the bus. Check validation rules on the ticket before you travel. You’ll be fined on the spot if you travel without a ticket or with a ticket that hasn’t been validated.
For more detailed information, see the Angloinfo website.
It’s safer to use a major taxi company like Web Taxi or ACL Taxi. Always check the fare per km before getting in as some taxis can charge highly inflated prices. Taxi drivers charge 25% extra on Sundays.