Visiting Strasbourg is of course a must during a stay in Alsace. The Alsatian capital is full of charm and has a lot to offer to visitors coming to do tourism. When I moved here, I was immediately seduced and I still am: I keep discovering new places to see and activities to do.
One of the great advantages of Strasbourg in my opinion is that it offers a wide range of possibilities: the city is charming and pleasant to stroll around in, it is dynamic and has a large number of good places to go out, it is culturally rich, and finally, an important point in my eyes, nature is easily accessible from downtown Strasbourg.
Finally, Strasbourg is a European capital located on the border withGermany: it is fun to play border hopping to go to Germany (you can go on foot, by bike or by streetcar). In this article, I will try to list my ideas so that you can enjoy your visit to Strasbourg… I’ve put together the must-sees of Strasbourg but also some more unusual ideas. You’ll see that if you want to do everything, you’ll have to stay a little longer than a weekend! 😉
For a first approach of the city, it can be interesting to participate in a guided tour. As in many European cities, it is possible to sign up for a free tour in Strasbourg, a tour of the city organized by a passionate local, or to book a real guided tour book a real guided tour if you want a more in-depth discovery.
Visits and activities in Strasbourg in Alsace
Visit the cathedral of Strasbourg
Impossible to miss the Notre Dame de Strasbourg cathedral, which sits majestically in the heart of the city center. With its pink color and its unique tower, it is unique! I advise you to admire it from the outside but also to visit the inside of this historical monument: the entrance is free and it’s worth it, there are plenty of things to admire there including the famous astronomical clock! You can also download a tour module on the Pop Guide app to get a very useful audio guide. Good plan: there is a combined offer with the Batorama boat tour. On summer evenings, you should not miss the illuminations show on the cathedral. It changes every year but is always beautiful!
Climb the tower of the cathedral of Strasbourg
To enjoy a panoramic view of Strasbourg, climb on the platform of the tower of the cathedral of Strasbourg! From its 66 meters high, the view is really beautiful… It’s worth the 330 steps!
Stroll on the Grande Île (old town) and discover the monuments of Strasbourg
The heart of downtown Strasbourg is located on an island surrounded by the Ill (name of the river) and called the Grande Île. Yes, you read that right! The Grande Île of Strasbourg is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its remarkable architecture. You will quickly see it by walking around, the city is really very beautiful and has many historical monuments! It is very pleasant to walk in its mostly pedestrian streets: it is both beautiful and lively! Among the places to see, go to Place du Marché Gayot, place saint-Etienne, take the Rue des Juifs, stroll through the quartier des Orfèvres (around the rue des Orfèvres) and admire the Kammerzell House (the oldest in Strasbourg), see the Rohan Palace, the place Broglie, the Place Kléber and join the Grand Rue (one of the main streets of Strasbourg) before returning to Place Gutenberg, Rue des Tonneliers and Place des Tripiers. Finally, don’t forget to cross the water for a walk along the quai des Bateliers. Everything can be done on foot, distances are short in Strasbourg!
Wonder in Little France
The Petite France district is located on the Grande Île of Strasbourg. It is the most touristic area but it is also one of the most charming! With its canals, locks, numerous half-timbered houses with flowers, cobbled streets and covered bridges, it is impossible not to be seduced! Here is a perfect place to stroll quietly by the water…
Take a river boat tour with Batorama
Strasbourg is surrounded by water: what could be better than a boat tour? Batorama offers to visit Strasbourg on board of its river boats. It is a tourist activity but I highly recommend it: there is nothing better to discover the city from another angle, to go through districts where you would not necessarily have gone on foot (like the European district), to discover its historical monuments and to understand the history and the organization of the city. A must for a visit to Strasbourg!
Climb the Vauban Dam
Here is a place where I never fail to go when friends visit me: the Vauban Dam offers one of the most nice views of Strasbourg! The entrance is free, just go up one floor and you are on the terrace of the Vauban Dam.A place to relax, with a view of the Ponts Couverts, the Ill, the Petite France and the cathedral… Nice, huh?
Rent a Vélhop to get around the city by bike
If you want to do like the locals, rent a bike! Strasbourg is the first cycling city in France: many bicycle paths are developed and the inhabitants of Strasbourg are delighted to use them. You can do the same by renting a Vélhop: you can explore parts of Strasbourg that are a bit further away from the center but still worth it, or even get out of the city to enjoy the surrounding nature! You will find here my ideas for bike rides in Strasbourg. Be careful if you want to leave the city: it is forbidden to leave the city with the Vélhop. You can rent a bike here instead. Finally, don’t hesitate to book a guided tour of Strasbourg by bike, very nice too!
Discover the Neustadt
The Neustadt is a district of Strasbourg, also called the imperial district or German district. This name comes from the fact that it was built when Strasbourg was German. The Neustadt, together with the Grande Île, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an essentially residential area but worth visiting for its architecture. At least visit the main square of the neighborhood, the Place de la République, which will give you a good idea. You will also discover some remarkable buildings of the district during the Batorama walk I mentioned before.
Visit the Cellar of the Hospices civils de Strasbourg
Strasbourg has the oldest white wine in the world stored in barrels. Yes, just that! Even more unusual, the latter is stored… in the cellar of the Strasbourg Hospital! A practice that dates back to the Middle Ages, when payments for medical expenses and bequests were made in kind. I’ll tell you more in this article dedicated to the Historic Cellar of the Hospices de Strasbourg. If you want to see a nice cellar and buy some good wine, here is a good place in the city center. Already very nice if you can’t go for a ride on the Wine Route to visit some wineries!
Visit one of the museums of Strasbourg
Strasbourg has several museums to suit all tastes, from the most classic to the most unusual! You will find all the museums of the city on this page. For my part, my favorites are the following:
- Alsatian Museum – Located in a beautiful Alsatian building, you can learn a lot about Alsatian culture and life in Alsace in the past.
- Historical Museum of the city of Strasbourg – The history of Strasbourg well explained and not boring at all thanks to a beautiful museography!
- Tomi Ungerer Museum – A museum dedicated to the famous Alsatian cartoonist.
- MAMCS (Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) – I love the building and the collections are interesting. One finds there in particular with works of Gauguin, Monet, Renoir or Pissarro. Temporary exhibitions too.
- Vodou Museum – In the unusual kind, the Vodou museum proposes to dive into the African tradition of Vodou…
Go and greet the storks at the Parc de l’Orangerie
The Parc de l’Orangerie is the park where the citizens of Strasbourg meet to go jogging, take a walk with their family or have a picnic with friends. It is the oldest and largest park in the city: with its 26 hectares, it is indeed a beautiful green space! The park is pleasant, with playgrounds for children, a small lake where it is possible to take a boat ride and ping-pong tables. As a bonus, you can easily see the famous Alsatian storks!
Visit the European quarter and the European Parliament
Strasbourg shares, with Brussels, the status of European capital. Indeed, Strasbourg has several European institutions, and notably the famous European Parliament (clearly my favorite). You can also see the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) or the Council of Europe. All the information on the visits of the European institutions is here. And if you want to delve into the history of the European Union and the role of its institutions, go to the Place d’Europe.
It is possible to go there by bike or by streetcar (or by foot, but it is further away so you have to take time, but the walk is nice). If you have limited time and want to see the European institutions in Strasbourg, the best options are in my opinion
- the Batorama boat trip, which takes you around the area.
- the Segway tour of Strasbourg, which gives you a complete tour of the city in 2 hours, including the European institutions. Book your tour here.
Treat yourself to a moment of well-being
We are lucky in Strasbourg to have beautiful places dedicated to well-being and relaxation. I suggest for example to go and test the Roman Baths of Municipal Baths of Strasbourg (or just enjoy the pool!), travel while doing a hammam at the Hundred Skies to test the unusual experience of the Taaka Beer Spaa beer spa, or a breakfast and spa at the Athena Hotel.
Don’t get bored, even if it rains!
Is it raining when you visit Strasbourg? Don’t panic: in addition to museums, I have some unusual ideas for you: you can go to Dooz, A Maze In or Secrets du Sablier for an escape game, go rock climbing or even go on an electric karting session. And here are a few more original ideas to do if the weather is not too bad: try a treasure hunt, or a treasure hunt on the theme of beer… Not bad, right?
Listen to a concert in a bar
Strasbourg has concert halls but also several bars that regularly organize live music concerts. Very nice to spend a good evening! Find here our addresses to listen to live music in Strasbourg.
Ideas of things to do for nature lovers
Cycling around Strasbourg
As I said before, cycling is part of Strasbourg’s DNA. The good news is that nature is easily accessible from downtown Strasbourg. One of my favorite rides is along the Bruche Canal bike path, but I also love to have fun crossing the border with a bike ride on both sides of the Rhine or just walking around Strasbourg and its surroundings.
Walk in the forest or in the Urban Nature Park
If you like to walk in the forest, the Robertsau Forest or the Neuhof Forest, the two peri-urban forests of Strasbourg, are the right places for you! We make very beautiful walks there 🙂 Look here to see how to get there.
I also recommend a walk in the Urban Nature Park of Strasbourg, to enjoy the greenery and discover some secret corners of the city!
Boating or canoeing on the Ill
You can make a electric boat trip in StrasbourgA very pleasant experience, because you can walk quietly along the water… No need to have any experience in navigation, the boats have a low-powered engine, they are easy to drive and you don’t have to go on the most complicated canals of Strasbourg.
The Ill is the river that crosses Strasbourg: we see it everywhere but we do not necessarily know that it is possible to go there by canoe or kayak! Strasbourg Eaux Vives offers several itineraries: crossing the city, walking in the surroundings of Strasbourg or on the mysterious Rhin Tortu… There is a choice! The only constraint is that you need to be a group of 8 people for most of the walks (but not all of them) because of the logistics involved in bringing the participants and the equipment back to the finish line. If you want to discover Strasbourg in an unusual way, here is an activity that I really recommend!
Swimming in one of the lakes around Strasbourg in summer
Summers are often very hot, even stifling in Alsace… One of the solutions to refresh yourself is to go for a swim in one of the lakes and gravel pits located in the Strasbourg metropolis. You can even get there by public transport! Here is my article with the swimming places around Strasbourg .
Strasbourg for gourmets
Enjoy Alsatian specialties (or others!)
Sauerkraut, baeckeoffe, tarts flambées, pretzels… It is impossible to come to Alsace without tasting some Alsatian specialties. The traditional cuisine is rather rich and hearty but it is tasty! Here are the addresses of my favorite restaurants in Strasbourg and the best tarts flambées in Alsace.
If you are more of a vegan, don’t panic: here are also our good addresses for vegetarian, vegan (and gluten-free) restaurants in Strasbourg.
Don’t forget to try the famous kougelhopf for breakfast or a snack: here are the addresses of best kougelhopfs in Strasbourg.
Picnic on the banks of the Ill
Picnicking on the waterfront is one of my favorite summer activities. Buy some good local products (you’ll find them in the center of town at the Nouvelle Douane), sit back and enjoy!
Take a break in a real café or tea room
Please, run away from Strabucks when you visit Strasbourg and let the independent merchants live. We are lucky in Strasbourg, we have a lot ofexcellent cafés and tea rooms offering a nice setting, good drinks and delicious treats! It would be a shame not to take advantage of it… Here are the addresses of my favorite cafés and tea rooms in Strasbourg.
Enjoy the terraces of Strasbourg
If you come to Strasbourg in summer, you will quickly realize that the city is very pleasant and has many places to live that make you want to settle down. My favorite terraces? La Corde à Linge in Petite France, the bars of the Place du Marché Gayot on the Grande Île and the terraces of the Café Atlantico and the Rafiot, two boats installed on the Quai des Bateliers.
Drink a good beer
Who says Alsace says… Beer! It must be said that we drink quite a lot of it in the region. You still need to know the right places to try good craft beers! Here are some addresses to taste good beers in Strasbourg.
Going for brunch in Strasbourg
Here are some good addresses to have lunch in Strasbourg… That can be fun too, right?
What to do in Strasbourg in December? Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas
Christmas market in Strasbourg
Of course, if you come during the holiday season, you should not miss the Christmas Market in Strasbourg and all the activities that go with it! The city is then adorned with beautiful lights and decorations, it is magnificent. Find here my guide to the Strasbourg Christmas Market with all my tips and good addresses 🙂
In parallel to the traditional market, the OFF market is held, the social and solidarity Christmas market. If you want to do as the locals do, be sure to come and visit too!
Where to stay in Strasbourg?
Strasbourg has many quality hotels. Good news, there is something for everyone and every budget!
Family, romantic or unusual activities in Strasbourg
Here are some other articles that might interest you:
- If you are traveling with your family, check out this article dedicated to visiting Strasbourg with your family.
- If you are planning a romantic stay, check out this article dedicated to the most romantic places in Strasbourg.
- If you are only looking for original ideas, check out this article with ideas for unusual activities in Strasbourg.
Ideas for tours depending on the length of your stay
How to visit Strasbourg in 1 day? What to visit?
If you are short on time and only spendone day in the European capital, here is what I advise you to focus on:
- walk on the Grande Ile and in the Petite France
- go up to the Vauban dam to admire the covered bridges
- take a tour of Strasbourg on a fly boat
- visit the cathedral of Strasbourg
- visit the historical cellar of the civil hospices of Strasbours
- discover the Neustadt
- enjoy Alsatian specialties in a traditional winstub
What to see during a weekend in Strasbourg and its region?
Option 1: Strasbourg and the Alsace Wine Route
And if you have two days to spare, follow this itinerary to visit Strasbourg and its surroundings in 2 days that I wrote on my other blog (in French only), which will take you on the Alsace Wine Route on the second day.
Option 2: Europapark from Strasbourg
Europa-Park is not right next to Strasbourg, but it’s not far and many people take advantage of their stay in Strasbourg to visit Europa-Park, the German amusement park that has been awarded several times as the best in Europe!
It takes about 45 minutes by car from Strasbourg, or you can take the shuttle bus to Europapark from Strasbourg. This is the CTBR line 271, for which reservations are mandatory. More info here.
What to do in 3 days in Strasbourg?
If you have 3 days in Strasbourg, you can easily visit Strasbourg, Colmar and the Wine Route as well as some other must-sees. Here is my idea of an itinerary to visit Alsace in 3 days.
Things to do around Strasbourg
You can extend your discovery of Alsace by visiting other must-see places, such as the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, the villages of the Alsace Wine Route, the Mont Sainte-Odile and Colmar.
You can go there by yourself or book excursions from Strasbourg. I have selected three that look interesting:
- Day trip including Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, Kaysersberg and Riquewihr
- Day trip with the visit of several villages of the Wine Route (Bergheim, Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim and Hunawhir)
- Day trip with a visit to several villages of the Wine Route and a stop in a cellar (Bergheim, Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and Eguisheim)