Geography and climate

Geography

Position: Western Europe

Geographical coordinates: latitude 49° 37’ N, longitude 6° 08’ E

Neighbouring countries: Germany, Belgium, France

Area: 2,586 square kilometres Luxembourg extends from north to south over a maximum distance of 82km and 57km from east to west.

Border length: 356km. The country has 148km of borders with Belgium, 135km with Germany and 73km with France.

Dimensions of the country: north-south 82km, east-west 57km

Altitudes: maximum (Wilwerdange): 560m; minimum (Wasserbillig): 130m; Luxembourg City: 300m

Geographical centre of the country: 49° 46' 38'' N and 6°05' 43'' E . It is situated in the forest reserve called 'Pëttenerbësch'.

Main rivers: Moselle (37km), Sûre (136km), Alzette (67km)

Area covered by water: 0.6% of the national territory

Wooded area: 88,000 hectares (34% of the entire country); wooded area per inhabitant: 0.18 hectare

  • Find all the maps and geographical information on the national geoportal: www.geoportail.lu

Geographic areas

Oesling or Éislék (Luxembourgish Ardennes):

The ’Éisléck, in the northern part of the country forms part of the Ardennes massif and borders the German Eifel region. This wooded areas cover 828 square kilometres, one third (32%) of the entire country. Oak and pine forests cover the steep slopes. Its nature parks and castles attract large numbers of visitors. The highest point in the Grand Duchy (560m) is here, in Wilwerdange. The climate is harsher than in the rest of the country. The main towns in this region are Wiltz, Clervaux and Vianden.

Guttland ('good country'):

Guttland, in the south and centre of the country, together with the capital, occupies the remainder of the country (68%, or 1,758 square kilometres). It is mainly open countryside and forests. The main regions are the Luxembourg sandstone plateau, marly depressions, the Moselle valley, the Mullerthal area (the Grand Duchy's 'Little Switzerland'), and the Red Earth area ('Terres Rouges'). The Luxembourg sandstone plateau is the dominant feature of the Guttland. The Grand Duchy's finest forests are to be found here. Marly depressions constitute the most widespread and typical landscapes in the Guttland. Their broad valleys lie at the foot of the Dogger and Luxembourg sandstone escarpments. Over two-thirds of this area are farmland.

Tourist regions

The main tourist regions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg are Luxembourg, the capital and its surroundings, the Ardennes and their nature reserves, the Mullerthal – Luxembourg's Little Switzerland, the Moselle and the Red Lands.

Luxembourg City (the capital) and the surrounding areas:

A capital city with a thousand years of history, Luxembourg City was founded in 963. Its median altitude is 300m above sea level. The capital offers a striking contrast between the modern quarter, perched on a rocky plateau with a sheer drop, and the three older areas of Grund, Clausen and Pfaffenthal. The quarter housing the European institutions has been located on the Kirchberg plateau to the north-east of the city since the 1960s.

Valley of the Seven Castles

The 24km of the Valley of the Seven Castles to the west of Luxembourg City link the castles of Mersch, Schoenfels, Hollenfels, Ansembourg (two castles), Septfontaines and Koerich. They are part of a landscape of meadows and old villages which is perfect walking country.

The Ardennes and their nature parks:

Here you will find magnificent castles, upland villages, rivers and lakes (Upper Sûre lake), and two nature parks (Upper Sûre and Our). Oak and pine forests cover the steep slopes. The climate is harsher than in the rest of the country. The main towns in this region are Wiltz, Clervaux and Vianden. There are many kilometres of marked paths offering hikers a host of possibilities.

The Mullerthal – Luxembourg's Little Switzerland

The Mullerthal – Luxembourg’s Little Switzerland lies north of the Moselle valley along the border with Germany. Its main town, Echternach, is one of the oldest in the Grand Duchy. Elevated wooded plateaus and rock formations are the features of this area, where a great number of walks are signposted.

The Moselle

The Moselle valley is the most impressive in Luxembourg both in terms of size and variety of landscapes. It has the advantage of a mild climate. It is one of the country’s main tourist attractions, largely on account of its winemaking activities (Wine Route, wine-tasting).

The Terres rouges area:

The 'Terres rouges' area (literally: red earth) lies to the south of the marly depressions. The landscape has been shaped by industry because the red earth was a source of iron ore, hence the area's name 'Minett' in Luxembourgish (from 'minette', the word used in Lorraine for iron ore). The main towns are Esch-sur-Alzette, the second-largest town in the Grand Duchy, Differdange and Dudelange. It is an area which combines an industrial past and an innovative future.

Main towns:

Luxembourg City, Diekirch, Differdange, Dudelange, Echternach, Esch-sur-Alzette, Ettelbruck, Grevenmacher, Remich, Rumelange, Vianden and Wiltz. The title of 'town' is attributed by legislation.

Climate

Climate: temperate, with no extreme fluctuations, tending to damp and cold.

Average annual temperature: about 9°C; average temperature ranges between 0°C in January and 18°C in July.

Time zone: Central European Standard Time (CET) = GMT/UTC +1; Central European Summer Time (CEST) = GMT/UTC +2

The climate in detail

The Grand Duchy does not have a clear-cut climate: it varies between the oceanic climate of the Atlantic region (slight seasonal differences, with mild, wet winters) and the continental climate of the plains of eastern Europe (substantial seasonal differences, harsh winters and wet summers).

The ocean influence brings rain throughout the seasons and the continental influence brings biting, dry weather in winter. The climate is temperate from May to mid-October. July and August are the hottest months, but May and June frequently have more sunshine. The Grand Duchy often experiences its own version of an Indian summer in September and October.

There are slight variations in temperature, of rarely more than 2°C, between the north and south of the country, due to the difference in altitude.

  • Updated 10-06-2016