Mulhouse is a really interesting place to visit if you’re coming to Alsace. If Mulhouse is less popular with tourists than Strasbourg and Colmar, it’s not because it’s not worth a visit. On the contrary!
Why visit Mulhouse ? My opinion
Mulhouse simply does not conform to the image of the Alsatian postcard that one usually has in mind, which can confuse those who are not warned. Mulhouse is an old industrial city (it is sometimes even called “the French Manchester” or “the city of 100 chimneys”!), whose past is interesting but which also knew how to evolve. It has gone through a difficult period but it is now a pleasant and dynamic city where I always enjoy going and where there is plenty to do!
What to do and see in Mulhouse and its surroundings?
In this article, I tried to list my ideas of visits in Mulhouse as well as my good addresses. I have listed the must-sees of Mulhouse but also places and activities that I like, in Mulhouse and its surroundings. I hope this article will help you to prepare your visit! And don’t hesitate to read the following articles for a day-by-day program for a weekend in Mulhouse and ideas forfamily activities in Mulhouse.
Tourism and activities in the center of Mulhouse
Discover the historic city center of Mulhouse on foot
The historic center of Mulhouse is full of charm. Don’t expect to find typical Alsatian half-timbered houses, there are none here, but the architecture of the city center is no less interesting. I particularly like the Place de la Réunion and its incredible City Hall, but also in general the numerous painted walls of the city, a specificity of Mulhouse. Take the time to stroll through the alleys that start at the Place de la Réunion, it’s really cute! Along the way, you will also see the Tour de l’Europe, which I personally don’t find very beautiful but which has really become an emblem of Mulhouse.
Visit the museums of Mulhouse
Mulhouse is well known for its numerous museums of quality. Among the must-sees, the Cité de l’Automobile (to dive into the history of the automobile and discover the largest collection of cars in the world!), the Cité du Train (the largest railway museum in Europe) and the Musée d’Impression sur Etoffes. Click here to know more about these 3 museums. Beyond these must-sees, there are also other nice and interesting ones, like Electropolis or the Museum of Painted Paper.
Discover Mulhouse with a greeter
Do you know the greeters? It is a network of volunteer residents who offer to show you around the city. Visits are proposed on different themes, according to the specificities of each one. The network of greeters in Mulhouse network is very developed. Great to discover the city through the eyes of one of its inhabitants!
Take a walk on the theme of street art
Street art is present absolutely everywhere in Mulhouse (even on the road signs!), you will quickly realize it while walking in the city. You can choose to discover the works of street art as you stroll through the streets, or during a visit with a greeter, or by taking a street art tour organized byMulhouse Tourist Office. It’s up to you, but in any case a visit to the M.U.R and by the Quai des Pêcheurs and Graffitipolis is a must!
Stroll through the Mulhouse Market
The market of the covered canal of Mulhouse which takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, is one of the largest markets in eastern France. It is true that it is huge and the cosmopolitan atmosphere is guaranteed! It is really nice to do your shopping but also to have lunch, there is a lot of choice.
Stroll in the Cité Ouvrière of Mulhouse
Not far from the market, it is pleasant to discover the old Cité Ouvrière of Mulhouse: small streets well aligned with houses and small gardens, built at the time to allow the workers of the city to reach the property. It is full of charm, very quiet and green: you would almost think you had left the city! Visit the streets around the Passage des Alouettes (yes, the names are charming too!). Just be careful to respect the peace and quiet of the residents!
Visit the Zoological and Botanical Park of Mulhouse
Enjoy Alsatian specialties… Or the World!
Mulhouse is not the city where you will find the most typical Alsatian winstub. However, you can easily find what you need to taste Alsatian specialtiesbut also turn to the cuisine of the world. The city has a lot of restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world, it’s great and it allows you to vary the pleasures! Go here for my good addresses.
Take the high road at Belvedere
Take a gourmet break
Mulhouse has many cafés, tea rooms and pastry shops that are gourmet and welcoming. Here are my favorites:
- Le temps d’une pause – One of my favorite places, where I go every time I visit Mulhouse! It’s cosy inside, there’s a terrace and good teas and cakes.
- Tilvist – Also a great place to have a cup of tea, eat a delicious piece of cake and even have lunch! I love the atmosphere and the terrace is great too.
- Café Mozart – An emblematic café located on the Place de la Réunion. Very fine pastries and very pleasant terrace.
- Vanilla Café – Another top terrace where it is good to settle.
- Dany Husser Pastry Shop – An excellent pastry shop located in the Engelmann House, a very nice place.
- Cabosse – If you like good chocolate, this is the place to be!
Participate in an art workshop at Motoco
Motoco is a place of artistic creation located in the industrial wasteland of the DMC factory. The place hosts 140 artists in residence and also organizes regular events. It is not possible to visit the places freely outside of these, but it is possible to participate in visits + workshops with some artists by purchasing a“Motoco Box“. Contact the Tourist Office for more information.
Visit a Japanese garden
In Mulhouse is an incredible Japanese garden open to the visit on reservation… What to travel far while remaining in Alsace!
Rent an electric boat
In July and August, it is possible to rent a small electric boat without a license and go for a ride on the Rhone-Rhine canal. A nice little walk for the whole family!
Go for a drink in a bar: where to go out in the evening in Mulhouse?
There are many nice bars in Mulhouse (click for our best addresses), where you can taste the Bollwerk, a beer brewed by the bar Gambrinus. I also really like the NoMad, located outside the city center in the Fonderie district, in a former industrial wasteland, and which has a magnificent terrace!
Mulhouse Christmas Market
At the end of the year, the Christmas market in Mulhouse is not to be missed! Less known than markets like Strasbourg and Colmar, it is nevertheless beautiful and is very frequented by the locals, which gives it an authentic and friendly atmosphere.
What to do around Mulhouse? Places to visit
Dive into the Alsatian culture at the Ecomuseum
L’Ecomusée d’Alsace is a museum dedicated to the Alsatian culture and which is interesting for young and old. It is located in Ungersheim, near Mulhouse. It would be a shame not to take advantage of your visit to Mulhouse to discover it, it’s a great visit to make with your family!
Family fun at the Little Prince Park
Right next to the Ecomuseum, still in Ungersheim, is the Parc du Petit Prince. It is a family amusement park on the theme of the Little Prince. Various rides and hot air balloons await the children.
Going for a bike ride
If you enjoy cycling, it is easy to make many beautiful walks, some to discover the city and others to explore its surroundings. You can for example walk along the canal and in the Hardt forest for easy walks, discover the Three Borders region, the Sundgau or the Valley of the Thurfor longer loops. There is a choice, many bike paths are waiting for you!
To eat a piece of pie at the guinguette of Illfurth
If you like homemade pies and the guinguette atmosphere, I can only advise you to go to the guinguette of Illfurth, located on the banks of the Rhone-Rhine Canal, 10 km from Mulhouse. Count on 30 minutes by bike, the ride being very pleasant since it is enough to follow the canal!
Visit the church of Ottmarsheim
Ottmarsheim is a village located at 15km from Mulhouse and which has a Romanesque church which is worth the detour: the abbey church Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul of Ottmarsheim, famous for its astonishing octagonal plan inspired of the chapel of Aix-la-Chapelle
Explore the Sundgau
South of Mulhouse is the Sundgau, a particularly beautiful part of Alsace, with its hills and its pretty villages… And its restaurants of fried carp, a local specialty. As a bonus, you will be in a quiet place, this region is not very touristic but is really worth it! If you like cycling, this is also a very nice place to do so. I tell you more about it here.
Discover the Potash Route
In the vicinity of Mulhouse there are old potash mines. It is possible to discover this part of Alsatian history by visiting the sites of the Potash Route. I particularly recommend the visits with former miners as in Carreau Rodolphe for example, which are really fascinating!
Walking in the Vosges
From Mulhouse, the Vosges mountains are easily accessible. If you like hiking, don’t hesitate to go and discover the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park, which has some beautiful discoveries in store for you. You will find in this article several ideas for walks and hikes in Alsace .
Walking in the Wesserling Park
The Wesserling Park is located in the valley of the Thur, 30km from Mulhouse. It is one of the favorite places of the locals to come to walk in family, the park is magnificent and the themes vary with the years. Its visit is worthwhile during the summer season but also during the Christmas time.
Take a tour of Basel, Switzerland
Mulhouse is located not far from the Swiss borderIt will take you only 20 minutes by train to reach the charming town of Basel. You can easily take advantage of your stay in Mulhouse to go there, the city is beautiful and you can even swim in the Rhine in summer!
Hotels: where to stay in Mulhouse?
Do not hesitate to consult my article on the best hotels in Mulhouse. Otherwise, here are two different-style accommodations I can recommend:
L’Hotel Mulhouse Centre is ideally located in the city center, with a magnificent decoration, comfortable rooms and a good breakfast… A great value for money!
The camping de l’Ill for its unusual accommodation. For example, you can sleep in a cabin worthy of a leprechaun’s house!