Forget London and Paris — here’s why Luxembourg is the best European destination for affordable luxury this summer

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Mikhaila Friel visited Luxembourg in March 2023.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

  • I have visited many European countries, but I found Luxembourg to be one of the most affordable.

  • It has free public transportation and luxury hotels for less.

  • I’d encourage all tourists to step out of their comfort zone and visit the small landlocked nation.

I love traveling, but I also love saving money.

This year, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit an array of European countries for personal vacations and work trips, including Spain, Belgium, Norway, and Italy. But Luxembourg — the wealthiest country in the world, according to an August 2022 report by Global Finance — stood out to me due to its affordable accommodation and free public transport.

Luxembourg, which is smaller than Rhode Island, is a landlocked nation that shares borders with Belgium, France, and Germany and has 645,000 residents, a spokesperson for Visit Luxembourg confirmed to Insider. The country is known for its magnificent castles and gorgeous countryside.

In March, I spent a day in Luxembourg City, the country’s capital and only city, and two days in Clervaux in the countryside before taking a train to Brussels, Belgium. I had a fantastic experience and would recommend it to anyone looking for a luxurious vacation that won’t break your budget.

Experience luxury for less

Travelers who visit Europe often overlook Luxembourg in favor of London or Paris, respectively the first- and second-most visited cities in Europe in 2022, according to the geography resource website World Atlas.

But, in my opinion, those who disregard Luxembourg are missing out on experiencing luxury travel for less.

When I visited in March, I spent one night at Hotel Le Royal, a five-star hotel in Luxembourg City. I stayed in a traditional queen room, which cost $275.70 for one night and had a queen-sized double bed, a TV, a dressing table, and a bathroom with a bath and shower. There was also a complimentary fruit bowl and a box of chocolates in my room upon my arrival.

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Mikhaila Friel at Hotel Le Royal in Luxembourg.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

I loved that the hotel was located in a central location, as I could walk to all of the shops, restaurants and tourist attractions in the city center. There was also plenty to do within the hotel, as there was a bar, a restaurant, a spa and an indoor pool.

hotel le royal pool

The pool in Hotel Le Royal.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

Hotel Le Royal isn’t the first five-star hotel I’ve stayed in, but it’s certainly the most affordable. Last year, I stayed at The Rubens at The Palace, a five-star hotel across the road from Buckingham Palace in London as I was covering Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. I spent one night in The Royal Themed Queen room that had a queen-sized bed, a desk, an armchair, and a TV which cost £564 per night, or around $713 per night.

Then in April this year, I spent one night at San Domenico Palace, the five-star hotel where “The White Lotus” was filmed in Taormina, Sicily. I stayed in a sea-view room with a terrace, which cost $2,248, or around €2,047, for one night, and the price included breakfast.

San Domenico Palace is the most luxurious hotel I’ve ever stayed in, thanks to the incredible customer service, the delicious food, and the glamorous decor. However, Hotel Le Royal had a lot of similar amenities, such as the spa and pool, the piano bar, and a restaurant, and it cost much, much less.

The free public transport was a highlight of my trip

In my opinion, the best thing about Luxembourg is the free public transport that’s available to all residents and visitors as part of the government’s plan to support people living on lower incomes.

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Mikhaila Friel photographed on a train from Luxembourg to Belgium.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

I made use of this during my visit, as I used the tram system to get around the city before taking a free train and bus to the countryside, where I visited castles and saw rolling hills and forests.

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

The expense of public transport is something all travelers should take into consideration, especially those who don’t have a driver’s license or are unable to rent a car while traveling.

It’s also something worth considering for those who don’t want to spend a good chunk of their vacation budget on the underground or trains. In London, for example, a Visitor Oyster card for the London Underground and National Rail train services costs £5, or around $6.18, and the Transport For London (TFL) website recommends adding £15 credit, or around $18.55, for two days of travel. And in France, a Paris Visite travel pass costs €22.05, or around $23.56, for two days of public transit in central Paris, according to RATP, the public-transport operator in the city. And those costs are for city travel, not countryside adventures like I got to experience in Luxembourg.

So next time you’re looking for a European vacation, I’d urge you to step outside your comfort zone and give Luxembourg a try — you might be pleasantly surprised by the value of what you discover.

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