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Introducing Luxembourg

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Luxembourg Fortress © Luxembourg City Tourist Office

It is easy to overlook the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a tiny little country dwarfed between its neighbours France, Germany and Belgium, when planning a tour of Europe. If it is thought of at all, it is probably as a rather unexciting place full of important banking institutions and European Union bureaucrats. This little country is, however, located at the crossroads of several major highways, and if you are going to travel through it, don't hesitate to stop awhile and probe behind the glass office blocks and official buildings to find a land of fascinating medieval fortresses, rolling woodlands, sun-drenched castles, and quaint villages.

The entire country is only 51 miles (85km) long and 32 miles (52km) wide, but there is a lot in this small package. The Ardennes region is hilly, densely forested and dotted with medieval castles, best known for being the site of the World War II Battle of the Bulge. The Mullerthal area is great for hiking with a landscape of curious sandstone rock formations, waterfalls and forest; the Moselle wine-growing region is picturesque and famed for its white wines; and Luxembourg City has grown up around an ancient fortified citadel in a setting that is unique and strangely beautiful. As if that were not enough to attract attention, bear in mind that the Grand Duchy also has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other country in the world.

Luxembourg's long history is concerned mainly with warding off and withstanding invasion, occupation and siege, which is perhaps why its people seem a little more conservative than their neighbours, with a national motto that reads: 'We want to remain what we are'. However, Luxembourgers do enjoy their traditional parades and processions, and there are some jolly bars and cafes in the city where beer flows with good cheer.

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