Getting Around Luxembourg

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Getting Around Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a compact country and it's possible to reach most any place in the country from the capital in under an hour. The central railway station has a handy Mobilitéit office that will help to plan your trip with bus and train.

By train

The Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois (CFL) train network is either comprehensive or spartan, depending whether you want to go south or north. While the south is reasonably well covered, the north is limited to one main line (Ligne 10) which runs from Luxembourg City via Mersch, Ettelbrück, Wilwerwiltz, Clervaux and Troisvierges. The line continues north into Belgium towards Liège. Diekirch has a branch line from Ettelbrück, and Wiltz has a branch line from Kautenbach. To the south you can reach Bettembourg and Esch-sur-Alzette. There is also a line to the east which crosses into Germany over the Moselle River at Wasserbillig.

The same tickets are valid on trains as buses, and the same rates apply: €1.50 for two hours (unlimited transfers) or €4 for one day. A €45 (Jan 2012) month ticket can be purchased at the CFL office under Hamilius, at some newsagencies or at the station. Trains in Luxembourg generally run very much on time and are modern and comfortable. As the fares are so cheap this is a good mode of transport to use when possible.

From an aesthetic view, perhaps the best way to approach Luxembourg City is by train from the north via Ligne 10 as this is a beautifully scenic route past some of the most well-known Luxembourgish sights.

By bus

Within the city, the comprehensive bus service is more than adequate for the average tourist. Buses numbered 1-25 serve the Ville de Luxembourg, with the most useful being the 16 (Town to the Airport via Kirchberg) and the 18 (Town to Kirchberg and Auchan). Almost all buses include the central bus station Hamilius (centre of town) and the Station (Luxembourg Gare) in their routes at some point. Any bus pointing stationwards from Hamilius will probably take you there (the 3 being a notable exception). Bus tickets (which are also valid on trains) are available from the driver. A standard ticket costs €1.50 (Jan 2012) and will be valid on any bus up to 2 hours after its purchase.

The bus service out of town is also extensive and reliable. Every village has a convenient bus service which runs at least once every hour. Buses numbered 100 upwards will take you out of the city. Useful routes to the north of the country include the 100 (Diekirch via Junglinster, every hour), the 120 (Junglinster, every 30 minutes) and the 290 (Mersch, frequent). However, Mersch and the south are more easily reached by train (see below). The 118 goes East to Wasserbillig and Trier from Hamilius and Bvd JFK in Kirchberg.

A monthly network (réseau) pass for the whole Luxembourg network costs a very reasonable €45 (Jan 2012) but crossing the border to Belgium, France or Germany will add substantially to this.

Town buses experienced a reduced service on Saturdays (including those used mainly by shoppers), and many routes are barely existent (if at all) on a Sunday. This doesn't matter, though, since most shops and attractions are closed on a Sunday.

Almost all national buses run the same on Saturdays (which count as working days in this instance) as during the week, but the Sunday service is usually reduced or non-existent.

By car

Luxembourg's road infrastructure is well-developed if not always very well thought-out. Anywhere that happens to lie along the major motorways is easily accessible via these (including Grevenmacher in the east, Mamer to the west and Bettembourg to the south). Esch-Alzette, the country's second city (more like a small town by international standards) has its own motorway link, the A4. In addition, a new motorway is being built towards the north of the country (Mersch, Ettelbrück), but this won't be completed until 2010 at the earliest. However, the current North Road provides easy access to these areas for the moment.

Current national speed limits are 50km/h in towns and villages, 90km/h on open country roads (110 in some places on N7 and N11), and 130km/h on the motorway (110 in the rain). 70km/h also exists in some places. Speed limits are enforced by random police checks. Be aware that if you have a right-hand-drive car then you are very likely to be singled out for a customs check on the way in. Police are also very keen on stopping drivers for having the 'wrong' lights on in town, i.e. side lights instead of dipped headlights.

Driving in Luxembourg is nowhere as testing as in other European countries. The locals are polite, even when entering roundabouts. When entering the highways from side roads into the slower traffic lane, the other drivers will allow you to join the traffic line, but traffic indicators are essential. As with other highways in Europe always keep in the slow traffic lane, keeping the fast lane for overtaking. Some drivers travel at high speeds and will flash their headlights to indicate that they are in a hurry, even if you are sitting on the speed limit. Most of the time trucks keep in the slow lane at their regulated speed for large vehicles. They can be a little annoying when overtaking other trucks. The truck drivers seem to keep a watch out for other vehicles. Cars towing caravans can be a bit of a menace at times but staying alert will ensure there are no problems. The closing speeds of vehicles needs to be watched if overtaking, as some drivers travel well in excess of the speed limits. Normal day to day driving in Luxembourg is a delight but traffic does slow down in peak times.

Finding parking in Luxembourg city centre on weekends can be difficult. Most spaces are quickly taken and some parking garages close early. The best option is to find somewhere near the station and then walk around the city centre. Traffic wardens are also numerous and vigilant.

By bike

The streets and landscape in Luxembourg make for good biking territory; highly recommended. Be wary, though, of small-ish bicycle repair shops in rural corners of the country -- they may quite well charge you quite some money for fixing your bike when they actually break it, more or less subtly. For bicycle repairs, neighboring Trier (with a considerable University student population) is usually a safer bet. 

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