Running Route Gems in Luxembourg
As an American expat living in the north east of France, I am only 45 minutes away from quaint Luxembourg. Officially known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, this landlocked little country between Belgium, France and Germany may be small in size, only 82 km long and 57 km wide, but is packed with culture, history, a booming economy, and lush nature.
Long ago known as a powerful fortress, Luxembourg now hosts many of the European institutions. Although it has one of the smallest populations within Europe, it claims the highest population growth rate with half being foreigners. With this influx, it’s no wonder the interest of discovering this fascinating country is best done by foot.
While being abroad, I have been able to to take advantage of exploring Luxembourg and have discovered it to have several running havens. Training for a trail race? It’s got you. Need to work on some hills? They are plentiful. Looking for a leisurely scenic stroll? Look no further! Luxembourg has got your running needs covered and I’m about to highlight my favorite running routes.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital of Luxembourg, Luxembourg City, one may travel 34 km north-east towards the Mullerthal region, also known as Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland, which hosts 112km of trails to explore either by hike, bike or run. Three grand routes (each 37 km within a given loop) will give you different aspects of terrain, landscape, forests, rock formations, and even picturesque castles. How many of you can say that? Obviously, these routes can be modified to fit the distant needs of the runner, but in September they boast an Ultra trail race giving you the choice of 18, 38, 75, or 112km.
If ultras aren’t quite your thing, you can stick a bit closer to the city center to find some tranquility. About 5 km north-west of the center is the Bambesch Forest. This natural green space has clearly marked trails ranging from 4.6 to 7.5 km. Looking for an obstacle challenge? On a 5.5 km trail you can test your strength on 18 separate challenges. You can even find a laid-back, free, Tuesday night running club if exploring on your own isn’t your thing.
This is my jam. Located parallel to the financial district, the Kirchberg Forest allows one to break away from work for a lunch time run to clear the mind and work on the lungs. Hills exist here but only a couple drastic, tough ones of up to 270m. A big loop of 14km can be broken down into smaller loops. It is typically quiet here but you’ll often find other single or duo runners making their brief escape in the day.
Luxembourg City is small in comparison to other major metropolitan areas. Most of the major tourist sites can be seen in a half day walk, but I’m sure we can agree it’s more fun to run.
- Public Park: Starting in the Eduoard Andre Municipal Park, located conveniently across from a major parking lot called Glacis, which as a warning during the month of August is occupied by a huge carnival called Schueberfouer, one can make their way towards Hollerich by way of 6 small connected public parks.
- Public Monuments: (Adolphe Bridge and the Gelle Fra or Monument of Remembrance): Making a left out of the last public park called Edith Klein, you’ll find the historic, now renovated Adolphe Bridge which overlooks the Petrusse Valley. Next to the bridge you’ll find a tall statue with a golden lady on top, this is called Gelle Fra or the Monument of Remembrance. She is one of Luxembourg’s most recognizable symbols.
- The Valley (Petrusse, Barrio Grund, Castmates du Bock): Past the golden lady you’ll find a set of stairs on the right which will descend you down into the Petrusse Valley. Heading left, you’ll eventually make your way to Barrio Grund, a nice restaurant and bar area. Here you’ll notice the architectural view of the elevated city verses the valley you are currently in. Keep venturing to the left where you’ll find the original fortress that Luxembourg built it’s name upon. Continue on a bit further to a popular bar area called Clausen. Grab a drink, if need be, as here you will have to take a left onto the street Montee de Clausen, which contains an aggressive uphill climb to get back to the city center.
- City Center (St. Michel Church, Grand Duke Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Hotel de Ville): At the top of the hill, you can admire the once visited valley below. After passing the Castmates, stay straight onto what appears to be a pedestrian walkway. You’ll see an old, simple catholic church called St. Michel’s, a little bit further straight and on your right will be the National History and Art Museum, take a left after Urban bar and you’ll pass the Grand Duke Palace. Don’t go too quickly and it’s possible to miss if it weren’t for the marching guards protecting the entrance. Take a right in front of the Palace entrance and you’ll quickly be led to Place Guillaume II, where the more impressive Cathedral Notre-Dame sticks out with it’s two pointed towers. Take a small loop around the plaza and you’ll see the Hotel de Ville until you make your way to a small pedestrian tunnel between two restaurants. Pass through, take a quick left and you’ll find yourself at Place d’Arms and the popular pedestrian only shopping district. Go straight past the plaza and take the first right, stay straight a little more than a kilometer to make your way back to the Municipal Park.
This scenic tour will cover 6.7 km or just a little over 4 miles.
Breathtaking nature, challenging ascents, and historical views all make Luxembourg a special place and memorable experience for any runner.
- Luxemborg, Scenic Tour, Website ,