Speaking of the Alsace region of France, people immediately think of its capital of Strasbourg. The city with a long history and complicated events was once a battleground between the two great powers France and Germany. Traveling to Strasbourg is like lost in peaceful fairy tales. Walking along canals silhouetted against buildings bearing bold French architecture, thinking that I was like a wanderer in the land of dreams … So, what to do and how to visit Strasbourg for the first-time? Let’s check out our Strasbourg travel blog (Strasbourg blog) with the fullest Strasbourg travel guide (Strasbourg guide) from how to get there, where to stay, best time and best places to visit, top things to do as well as suggested Strasbourg itinerary for 2 days to clear the answer!
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Strasbourg travel guide: When to visit?
Strasbourg is most beautiful in the summer months from June to August, when the weather is sunny and flowers bloom everywhere. However, autumn from October to November is also a time you should consider with yellow leaves cover the streets. The autumn colors of Strasbourg are always charming, poetic, beautiful from the streets to the Alsace countryside.
A highlight in Strasbourg is Christmas Season. Few people know that Strasbourg is famous for its largest Christmas market in Europe. The city is dressed in a silk Christmas gown full of shimmering lights, the festive atmosphere spreads across the streets. Do not miss the opportunity to travel to Strasbourg during Christmas season.
Strasbourg guide: How to get to Strasbourg?
The city also has its own airport, Entzheim, 16km from central Strasbourg. There are 2 other airports nearby if you take international flights that want to go to Strasbourg right away, CDG (Paris) is 5 hours traveling by train and Stuttgart is 2 hours.
How to get from the airport to the city center
You can take the train from the airport to Strasbourg central station (Gare de Strasbourg). Then take the tram or bus to get to the hotel. Tickets are purchased at the airport or train station.
Take the train to Strasbourg from other European cities
If you depart from Paris, it only takes 2 hours by train to get to Strasbourg. You can book tickets through SNCF or Trainline. In fact, you can completely take a day trip to Strasbourg from Paris because the total traveling time is only about 4 hours. You should book early, the ticket price is only 45 Euros/way, but book late, the price can be up to 75 Euros/way.
Alternatively you can take Flixbus from Paris or other cities to Strasbourg. The price about EUR19/person from Paris to Strasbourg.
From Strasbourg you can easily take a day trip to Colmar and vice versa. These two places are only about half an hour apart from each other, and the daily train runs every an hour with a trip. Ticket price from EUR6-18/way, so buy tickets a few days early, the price will be much lower than buying close to the departure date.
Strasbourg travel guide: Public transportation and getting around Strasbourg
The central area of Strasbourg is quite small so you can completely walk to visit most of the main places. It is also a good idea to rent a bike to cycle around. Many cities in Europe now encourage people to cycling to protect the environment, you can see the rental price here. The rental price is about EUR6/day.
The public transport system in Strasbourg includes trams and buses. Tickets can be purchased at major stops, ticket vending machines or train stations, or direct from the driver.
Single ticket to travel for tram or bus costs EUR1.8/trip. If you plan to travel unlimited for a full day, you can refer to the 24 hour ticket for EUR4.6. There is also a day ticket for groups of people, with the price of EUR6.9 for 2-3 people to travel within 24 hours. See more here.
Strasbourg travel blog: Where to stay?
If you plan for a short time trip (1-2 days), you should choose a hotel near the central station. Right next to Strasbourg station there are many streets with many reasonably priced hotels, but from here to the center is only about 10 minutes. I went to Strasbourg and stayed at the Victoria hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com), just 300 meters from the station. The room is not too large but clean, beautiful, with a street view. Price is about 60 Euros / night.
If you want a nice view with abundant budget, you should consider the Regent Petite France Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com). This 19th-century hotel has a direct view of the canals in Petite France neighbourhood. Especially, it have an outdoor restaurant right next to the canal which is very suitable for fine dining romantic meals.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel D, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $77/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Athena Hotel & Spa, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $100/night (Check rates on Booking.com).
- Hotel Cour du Corbeau Strasbourg – MGallery, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $186/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Gutenberg, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $101/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Strasbourg travel guide: Where to go and top things to do
After checking-in the hotel, I began to explore every corner of this beautiful city. Start from the hotel and heading to the central circle of Strasbourg, which is embraced by narrow canals that are small branches of the Rhein river. Depending on your travel style, slow or simply to check-in, you can experience Strasbourg for 1-2 days.
Strasbourg tourist attractions map:
Beautiful view from the Barrage Vauban dam
The central area of Strasbourg can be considered a Grande Île (Big Island), the Vauban Dam is the gateway to that island. This dam was built in the 17th century with the purpose of a defense system during the Franco-Prussian war. When the water rises, the enemy cannot pass.
You can admire the Vauban dam from the Couverts bridge. And right on the bridge is the house La Maison des Ponts Couverts with a path of green trees. An ideal photo spot.
Petite France (Little France)
Continue heading to the central area, you will enter the Petite France district, also known as Little France. However, this poetic name is derived from a true story that is not very relevant. In the 16th century there was a hospital specializing in the treatment of syphilis. The Germans called this disease Franzosenkrankheit – or French disease, thinking that the French were the origin. Hence the name of this area is Petite France.
Passing the Ponts Couverts bridge, you will see small streets with wooden-frame houses with a mixture of French and German architecture. This is home to many ingredients such as leather workers and fishermen as part of the city’s history. Do not ignore the nearby rotating bridge, as ships passing it will rotate to open the way for the ships to pass.
Place Kléber Square
From Petite France continues deep into the heartland, and Kléber is consider as the Strasbourg’s largest square. For those who love bustling and shopping, you can not ignore this place filled with these fashion shops and stores. Especially at Christmas, Kléber is also splendidly decorated, adorned with a super large and prominent Christmas tree.
The cathedral of Notre-Dame
Once the tallest tower in the world for about 227 years until 1874, the Strasbourg cathedral (Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg) is a masterpiece of Gothic and Roman architecture. All four sides of the church have sculptures expressing separate culture and history through periods.
Right at Notre Dame Cathedral there is a Strasbourg astronomical clock. The clock not only features within it a perpetual calendar, but also shows the actual positions of the sun and moon. When you reach the top of the tower (Height: 142 m) you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city with the Vosges mountains and Black Forest.
Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Hours: 7–11:20AM, 12:40–7PM
Saint Thomas Church (Église Saint-Thomas)
Located quite close to Petite France, Saint Thomas Protestant Church dedicated to the Saint Thomas believers with over 800 years old. The outside of the church is quite spacious, along with the typical Alsatian Gothic style, the church is a must-visit stop during your visit to Strasbourg.
Address: 11 Rue Martin Luther, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan)
Palais des Rohan is a large building with 3 special museums. The first floor of the palace is the Museum of Fine Arts (the Musée des Beaux-Arts) with collections of Italian, Spanish, Dutch and French artists from the Middle Ages to the modern.
Address: 2 Place du Château, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Hours: 10AM–6PM/Tuesday: Closed
Right next to the palace are small streets with buildings adorned by lush trees by the windows. The souvenir shops, the flow of people walking by, are like an irresistible beautiful vintage painting.
Broglie Square and République Square
Continue walking to Broglie Square, a site built in the 18th century by Marshal de Broglie, governor of Alsace in a long rectangle. Around the square, there are many other historical works such as the Opera House, City Hall, Governor’s Palace, Banque de France Strasbourg building.
From here, crossing the Pont du Théatre bridge is to République square with a small garden in the center and a war memorial monument. To the left is the Rhine Palace and continue to the right you will find the National Theater with lush green grass in front of the lobby.
Day trips from Strasbourg
If you have more than 1 day in Strasbourg you might consider to visit a few suburban places with interesting nature experiences. You can take the bus to reach two beautiful parks, Jardin des Deux Rives and Parc de l’Orangerie.
Jardin des Deux Rives
Bus number 2 will go directly to Jardin des Deux Rives – the park is located on the banks of the Rhine River. The two banks are connected by a bridge, one side is France and the other is Germany, a symbol of friendship between the two countries. From here you also can visit the small German town of Kehl.
Parc de l’Orangerie
If you take the bus number 2 you will arrive at Tauler station, from here you will walk for a while to reach Parc de l’Orangerie park. This destination is really for moments of quiet relaxation amidst the lush green nature of France. There is a zoo, a small farm and a bowling alley, perfect for a family picnic.
Strasbourg travel blog: Going to Strasbourg in Christmas season
Strasbourg is very famous in Europe for its splendid and decorated Christmas markets. Only in mid-November, local people have started decorating their houses, around the bustling streets with a festive atmosphere. A giant pine tree with 30m high placed in the middle of Kléber Square looks so astonishing. Hundreds of stalls were set up, lights sparkling everywhere and concerts bring a magical Christmas season.
In fact, the Christmas market is open from the end of November to the 30th of December every year except for the 25th of the year. Strasbourg’s Christmas markets are scattered in the downtown neighborhoods, mostly located in the large squares. You can visit the main markets including the one in Kléber Square and Notre Dame Cathedral, and the largest market in Broglie Square. Broglie Market dates back to the 16th century with more than 100 stalls selling ornaments, pottery, glassware, and food stalls.
Strasbourg itinerary: Suggested on how to spend 2 days in Strasbourg?
With a 2-day itinerary in Strasbourg you can spend the first day time for downtown spots. Including visiting Grande Île and Little Island, the Christmas markets. On the second day you can go out to the suburbs to play at the 2 parks Jardin des Deux Rives and Parc de l’Orangerie. At the same time combined with visiting the small village of Kehl, Germany.
In addition, when traveling to the Alsace region, visitors often combine both Strasbourg and the small town of Colmar. These two spots are only half an hour apart by train, so you can spend 2 days in Strasbourg and 1 day in Colmar. Or just stay in Strasbourg and take a day trip to Colmar.
Strasbourg travel guide: Food and delicacies in Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s cuisine featuring the typical cuisine of the Alsace region, and is heavily influenced by the French-German style. Some of the must-try dishes when traveling to Strasbourg include:
Choucroute: A must-try traditional dish in Strasbourg, a German version of sauerkraut. Pickled cabbage will be served with chicken, pork or sausage. You can visit the restaurant Maison des Tanneurs (Address: 42 Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, 67000 Strasbourg, France/Hours: 12–2PM, 6–8:30PM;Sunday, Monday: Closed) in Petite France to enjoy Choucroute and other traditional Alsatian dishes.
Don’t forget to drop by La Corde a Linge (Address: 2 Place Benjamin Zix, 67000 Strasbourg, France/Hours: 10:30AM–12AM; Friday, Saturday: 10:30AM–1AM) to enjoy a giant plate of spätzle with soft egg noodles and creamy sauce. Spätzle served with munster cheese, a specialty in the Vosges mountains, is also delicious.
For regular French food and a little beer, you can check out Kelly’s Síbín pub (Address: 4 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Vins, 67000 Strasbourg, France/Hours: 10:30AM–1:30AM) near the big island. Simply a bit of grilled ribs with french fries is fine for a chilly afternoon. This dish is quite similar to the grilled ribs in Amsterdam.
Strasbourg is also quite famous for its white wine, do not forget to visit Terres à Vin (Address: 1 Rue du Miroir, 67000 Strasbourg, France/Hours: 11AM–10PM) to enjoy wine. Besides, if you want to buy chocolate, the Jacques Bockel shop (Address: 10 Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons, 67000 Strasbourg, France/Hours: 10AM–7PM, Monday: 1–7PM;Sunday: Closed) is not a bad choice.
Traveling in Strasbourg has never let you down, regardless of the season of the year. With the cold winter days, come to Strasbourg to welcome Christmas, walk through the splendidly decorated streets with lights, decorative souvenirs on the doors, feel so peaceful and warm.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Strasbourg you can refer to
- Pearls of Alsace Whole Day Tour from Strasbourg
- Whole Day Wine Tour in Alsace from Strasbourg
- Alsace Christmas Markets Whole Day Tour from Strasbourg
- Obernai Half Day Wine Tour from Strasbourg
- Heart of Alsace Day Trip from Strasbourg with Audio Guide
- Gourmet Walking Tour in Strasbourg
- Black Forest and Baden-Baden Day Tour from Strasbourg
- Strasbourg Cathedral Walking Tour in Alsace
- Best of Alsace Day Trip from Strasbourg with Audio Guide