Nestled in the northeastern part of France, Strasbourg is a charming and picturesque city that offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and gastronomy. Its location on the border between France and Germany has contributed to its unique blend of French and German cultures, making it an interesting and diverse destination for visitors. This city has so much to offer, from its beautiful architecture and scenic waterways to its delicious food and wine. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the best things to do in Strasbourg France, whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation.
What is Strasbourg Most Famous For?
Strasbourg is a beautiful city located in the northeastern part of France, close to the border with Germany. It’s known for its unique blend of French and German cultures and is home to some of the best things to do in Strasbourg. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most famous attractions in the city:
- La Petite France: This picturesque neighborhood is a must-visit when in Strasbourg. Known for its beautiful half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and canals, La Petite France is the perfect place to stroll around and take in the city’s charm.
- Strasbourg Cathedral: One of the most iconic landmarks in Strasbourg is the Strasbourg Cathedral. This stunning Gothic cathedral stands tall in the heart of the city and is a true masterpiece of architecture. Be sure to climb to the top of the cathedral for stunning views of the city.
- Strasbourg Christmas Market: Another famous attraction in Strasbourg is the Christmas market. This market has been held in the city since 1570 and is the oldest Christmas market in France. With its festive atmosphere, christmas tree, twinkling lights, and delicious food, the Christmas market is a must visit during the holiday season.
- Boat Tours: One of the best ways to see the city is by taking a boat tour. These tours will take you through the city’s canals, giving you a unique perspective on the city’s architecture and landmarks.
- Musée Alsacien: If you’re interested in learning more about the history and culture of the region, be sure to visit the Musée Alsacien. This museum is dedicated to showcasing the traditional arts, crafts, and customs of Alsace.
How many days to spend in Strasbourg?
The number of days you should spend in Strasbourg largely depends on your interests and how much time you have. However, we recommend spending at least two to three days in the city to fully experience all that it has to offer.
During your first day in Strasbourg, you can explore the historic city center, visit the Strasbourg Cathedral, and take a boat tour of the canals. Be sure to also stroll through the charming La Petite France neighborhood and indulge in some delicious Alsatian cuisine.
On your second day, you can visit the Musée Alsacien to learn more about the region’s history and culture. In the afternoon, you can check out the Strasbourg Christmas market (if you’re visiting during the holiday season) and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
If you have a third day in Strasbourg, you can take a day trip to some of the nearby towns and villages, such as Colmar or Riquewihr, which are known for their charming architecture and picturesque scenery.
Of course, if you have more time, you can spend additional days exploring the city and its surroundings. But two to three days should be enough to get a taste of what Strasbourg has to offer.
Best time to visit Strasbourg
Here are some factors to consider when planning your trip:
- Weather: Strasbourg has a continental climate, which means that the summers are warm and the winters are cold. If you prefer milder temperatures, the best time to visit Strasbourg is during the spring (April to June) or the fall (September to November). The weather during these seasons is generally pleasant, and there are fewer crowds than during the summer months.
- Festivals and Events: Strasbourg is known for its festivals and events, which can be a great reason to visit the city. The Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the most popular events in the city and takes place from late November to early January. The city also hosts a number of other festivals throughout the year, such as the Festival de la Musique (June) and the Festival des Artefacts (July). We have talked more about Festivals and Events further in the post.
- Crowds: Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months. If you prefer to avoid crowds, it’s best to visit the city during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) or the winter months (excluding the Christmas market).
Overall, the best time to visit Strasbourg is during the spring or fall, when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are smaller. However, if you’re interested in attending the Christmas market or other festivals, you may want to plan your visit accordingly.
Best Things to do in Strasbourg
Discover Strasbourg’s Rich History
If you’re a history buff, Strasbourg is the perfect destination for you. Here are some of the best historical sites to visit:
Strasbourg Cathedral or Cathédrale notre-dame de strasbourg
Strasbourg Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, is a stunning Gothic cathedral located in Strasbourg, France. The cathedral is one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in Europe and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.
Construction on the cathedral began in 1176 and was completed in 1439. It features intricate stonework and sculptures, including a famous astronomical clock and a stunning rose window. Visitors can climb the tower for panoramic views of Strasbourg and the surrounding area.
The cathedral has played an important role in the history of Strasbourg and has survived several wars and conflicts over the centuries. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage.
Visitors to Strasbourg should definitely include a visit to the cathedral in their itinerary. It is one of the top attractions in the city and is a top things to see in Strasbourg if you are interested in architecture, history, or religion.
Recommender Tour: Guide Walking Tour for Strasbourg Cathedral
Petite France is a charming and picturesque neighborhood in Strasbourg, France, known for its historic architecture, quaint streets, and canals.
The area was originally a tanning district in the Middle Ages, but now it is a popular tourist destination for its charming half-timbered houses, narrow alleys, and romantic bridges. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the narrow streets, admire the colorful facades of the buildings, and enjoy the scenic views of the Ill River.
Petite France is also home to several cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to relax and enjoy some local cuisine or pick up some souvenirs. At night, the district is beautifully illuminated, making it a must-visit spot for a romantic evening stroll.
So without a doubt visiting Petite France is one of the top things to do in Strasbourg.
Palais Rohan is a beautiful Baroque palace located in Strasbourg, France. It was built between 1728 and 1742 as the residence of the bishop-princes of Strasbourg. Today, it houses three of the city’s most important museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Archaeological Museum.
The Museum of Fine Arts features a stunning collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, including works by Botticelli, Goya, and Rembrandt. The Museum of Decorative Arts displays a variety of decorative art objects from the 17th to the 19th century, such as furniture, ceramics, and tapestries. Lastly, the Archaeological Museum showcases the history of Strasbourg and the surrounding region from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages.
Visitors can explore the beautifully decorated palace rooms and marvel at the impressive collections housed within. The Palais Rohan is definitely a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, art, and culture.
Explore Strasbourg’s Beautiful Architecture
Strasbourg is known for its stunning architecture, from Gothic cathedrals to colorful half-timbered houses. Here are some of the best architectural sites to visit:
La Petite France
La Petite France is a charming historic district located in the heart of Strasbourg. Its picturesque streets and canals are lined with half-timbered houses that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries.
The area was originally home to fishermen, millers, and tanners, but today it is one of the best places in Strasbourg’s and is the most popular tourist attractions.
Visitors can stroll along the winding cobblestone streets, cross the quaint footbridges, and admire the colorful buildings that reflect in the water of the Ill River. La Petite France is also home to many restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a great place to relax and enjoy a meal or some souvenirs after a day of sightseeing.
The Barrage Vauban
The Barrage Vauban is a historic dam located on the River Ill in Strasbourg, France. It was built in the 17th century by the French military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. The purpose of the dam was to regulate the water levels of the river and provide a defensive structure to protect the city.
Today, the Barrage Vauban is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can climb to the top of the dam for stunning views of Strasbourg’s historic buildings and the river. The rooftop terrace also offers a great spot for taking photos of the city.
The Barrage Vauban also houses an interesting museum about the history of the city’s waterways and their importance to Strasbourg’s development. The museum has exhibits about the construction of the dam and its significance to the city’s defense system. It also displays the ancient mechanisms used to regulate the water levels of the River Ill.
The European Parliament
The European Parliament in Strasbourg is one of the three official seats of the European Parliament, alongside Brussels and Luxembourg. The Strasbourg location is used for twelve sessions a year, while the Brussels location is used for most other meetings.
The European Parliament is an important institution of the European Union and plays a crucial role in shaping EU policies and legislation. It is the only directly elected EU institution, with members representing the citizens of the 27 member states.
Indulge in Strasbourg’s Delicious Cuisine – What to eat in Strasbourg?
No trip to Strasbourg is complete without trying its delicious cuisine. Here are some of the best dishes to try:
Tarte flambée, also known as Flammekueche, is a traditional dish from the Alsace region in northeastern France. It is a thin crust pizza-like dish made with bread dough, topped with crème fraîche, onions, and bacon or other meats.
The dish is typically cooked in a wood-fired oven, which gives it a unique smoky flavor. Tarte flambée is a popular local specialty and can be found in many restaurants in Strasbourg and the surrounding area. It is often enjoyed as a shared appetizer or as a main course accompanied by a glass of Alsatian wine.
Choucroute garnie is a traditional Alsatian dish made of fermented cabbage (sauerkraut) cooked with various meats such as sausages, pork belly, and smoked pork. The dish is typically served with boiled potatoes and mustard on the side.
Choucroute garnie is a hearty and flavorful dish that is popular in the Alsace region of France and is often enjoyed during the winter months. It is a perfect comfort food that is both filling and delicious.
Coq au Riesling
Coq au Riesling is a classic Alsatian dish that features tender chicken cooked in a creamy Riesling wine sauce. The dish typically includes bacon, mushrooms, onions, and garlic, which are sautéed together and then simmered in the Riesling wine until tender. The chicken is then added to the pot and cooked until it is fall-off-the-bone tender. The dish is often served with boiled potatoes or egg noodles to soak up the delicious sauce. Coq au Riesling is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for cold winter evenings.
Enjoy Strasbourg’s Festivals and Events
Strasbourg hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, which are a great way to experience the city’s culture and traditions. Here are some of the best events to attend:
The famous Strasbourg Christmas market is a tradition, attracting visitors from all over the world. The markets, known as “Christkindelsmärik,” are spread throughout the city’s historic district, and offer a wide variety of holiday-themed goods and foods and it is one of the best Christmas market in Europe.
Visitors can browse through the colorful stalls, filled with handcrafted ornaments, toys, and gifts, and sample local specialties such as mulled wine, gingerbread, and roasted chestnuts. The markets also feature live music and entertainment, making for a festive and joyful atmosphere.
Recommended Tour: Strasbourg Christmas Market Tour
Strasbourg Music Festival
The Strasbourg Music Festival is an annual event that takes place in Strasbourg, France. It is a celebration of classical music and features performances by renowned musicians and orchestras from around the world. The festival showcases a variety of music genres, including chamber music, opera, symphony, and choral music.
The festival attracts music lovers from all over the world who visit to Strasbourg to enjoy the beautiful music and experience the rich cultural heritage of the city. The festival is usually held during the summer months and offers a range of concerts, workshops, and other music-related events.
Check out all the music festival in the region here.
Fête de la Bière – Strasbour Craft Beer Festival
“Fête de la Bière” is a French term that translates to “Beer Festival” in English. It is a popular event that takes place in Strasbourg and celebrates the region’s rich brewing culture. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local beers, as well as food and music.
The festival typically takes place in late summer and is a lively and fun experience for beer enthusiasts and tourists alike. If you have missed the October Fest from Munich you might want to think about exploring Strasbourg during “Fête de la Bière”.
Check More Here
Explore Museums in Strasbourg
1. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Address: 1 Place Hans Jean Arp, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is one of the most popular museums in Strasbourg. It features a vast collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by famous artists like Picasso, Kandinsky, and Giacometti.
2. Alsatian Museum
Address: 23-25 Quai Saint-Nicolas, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Alsatian Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Alsace region. It showcases the unique traditions and customs of the Alsatian people through a variety of exhibits and artifacts.
3. Strasbourg Museum of Archaeology
Address: 6 Rue de la Mésange, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Strasbourg Museum of Archaeology is home to a fascinating collection of artifacts from the Roman and medieval eras. Visitors can explore ancient tombs, weapons, and pottery, among other artifacts.
4. Palace of Rohan
Address: 2 Place du Château, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Palace of Rohan is a stunning 18th-century building that now houses three museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Museum of Archaeology. The collections include paintings, sculptures, furniture, and more.
5. Tomi Ungerer Museum
Address: 2 Avenue de la Marseillaise, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Tomi Ungerer Museum is dedicated to the work of the eponymous artist, who was born in Strasbourg. The museum features a wide range of Ungerer’s artwork, including children’s books, political cartoons, and erotic illustrations.
6. Historical Museum of Strasbourg
Address: 2 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, 67000 Strasbourg Description: The Historical Museum of Strasbourg is located in a beautiful 16th-century building and tells the story of the city’s rich history, from its Roman origins to modern times. The museum features a variety of artifacts, including furniture, artwork, and historical documents.
Where to stay in Strasbourg
Strasbourg offers a variety of accommodations to suit different needs and budgets. The city center is a popular area to stay in as it is close to many attractions and the public transportation system. There are also many charming hotels and apartments located in the historic Petite France district, which is known for its picturesque canals and half-timbered houses.
The Neustadt district is another option with many hotels and guesthouses, and it is known for its beautiful art nouveau architecture. For those on a budget, there are also many affordable hostels and guesthouses located throughout the city. Overall, there are many options to choose from when deciding where to stay in Strasbourg city.
- Budget: A&O Strasbourg – This hostel offers dormitory-style rooms for a very affordable price. It’s located near the train station and a short walk to the city center.
- Mid-range: Hotel Hannong – This hotel offers comfortable rooms with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. It’s located in the heart of the city, close to many popular attractions.
Luxury: Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Île – This 5-star hotel is located on a beautiful island in the center of Strasbourg. It offers elegant rooms and suites with views of the city or the river. The hotel also has a spa and fitness center, as well as a gourmet restaurant.
Day Trip from Strasbourg
If you’re visiting Strasbourg and have some extra time, there are many great day trip options to explore around Strasbourg. Here are three recommended day trips:
Located about 70 km south of Strasbourg, Colmar is a charming Alsatian town known for its well-preserved old town with half-timbered houses, canals, and flower-lined streets. You can spend the day wandering the picturesque alleys, visiting the Unterlinden Museum, which houses works by artists such as Grünewald and Picasso, and tasting local wines at one of the many wine bars.
2. Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle
Perched on a hill overlooking the Alsace plain, the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle is a medieval fortress that dates back to the 12th century. After being destroyed and rebuilt several times, it was restored in the early 20th century to its current state, and today it is one of the most visited castles in France. From Strasbourg, it’s about a 45-minute drive to the castle.
3. Black Forest
Cross the border into Germany and explore the beautiful Black Forest region. Located about 100 km east of Strasbourg, this densely forested area is known for its scenic drives, charming villages, and traditional food. Highlights include the spa town of Baden-Baden, the historic town of Freiburg, and the picturesque Triberg Waterfalls.
Is Strasbourg worth visiting?
Yes, Strasbourg is definitely worth visiting. It is a beautiful city with a rich history, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and a vibrant culture. The city is known for its unique blend of French and German influences, which is reflected in its cuisine, architecture, and traditions.
In addition to its many attractions, Strasbourg is also a great base for exploring the surrounding region. There are several great day trips from Strasbourg, including a visit to the charming town of Colmar, a trip to the Black Forest in Germany, and a tour of the famous Alsace Wine Route.
Overall, Strasbourg is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Alsace region of France.
Is Strasbourg Pass useful? How best to use it?
The Strasbourg Pass can be a useful option for those planning to visit multiple attractions and museums in the city. It provides free access to over 50 tourist sites, including museums, boat tours, and other popular attractions.
In addition to free entry, the pass also offers discounts on certain tours and experiences, as well as discounts at participating restaurants and shops. The pass is available in 3-day and 5-day options, and can be purchased online or at various tourist offices throughout the city.
To make the most of the Strasbourg Pass, it is recommended to plan out your itinerary in advance and prioritize the attractions you want to visit. Some of the most popular sites included in the pass are the Strasbourg Cathedral, the Alsatian Museum, and the Boat Tour on the Ill River.
It’s also important to note that the pass does not include public transportation, so if you plan to use the tram or bus system to get around the city, you will need to purchase separate tickets.
Overall, whether or not the Strasbourg Pass is worth it depends on your individual travel plans and the number of attractions you plan to visit. For those who plan to see several sights and museums during their stay in Strasbourg, the pass can offer good value and convenience.
FAQs About Visiting Strasbourg
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In conclusion, Strasbourg is a charming city that offers a unique blend of French and German cultures. Whether you’re planning a trip to Strasbourg for its famous Christmas markets, a tour of its historic landmarks like the Strasbourg Cathedral and Petite France, or to simply enjoy the local cuisine and wine, there is something for everyone in this picturesque city.
With its convenient location and variety of transportation options, Strasbourg is easily accessible for visitors coming from near or far. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Strasbourg Pass to make the most out of your stay and visit the city’s many museums and attractions. We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your trip to Strasbourg and that you have a memorable experience in this beautiful city.
Strasbourg tourist map