Green, cosmopolitan, historic… Visiting Strasbourg is full of surprises!
Looking to visit Strasbourg? You’re in the right place. As the prefecture of Bas-Rhin, the city is also, and above all, the capital of Alsace. On the border of Germany, crossed by the Rhine and the Ill, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site… The city will show you many different faces. You will be in awe of its cathedral, Petite France, or the Grande Île. You’ll love wandering through its museums and history-laden streets. Your taste buds will delight in eating or drinking in one of its traditional winstubs. But don’t think Strasbourg is only about the past. This city is also a European capital hosting numerous institutions of the Union.
By foot, tram, bus, or bike… There are only good ways to visit Strasbourg. So grab your bag and get ready: its urban landscape will transport you as surely as a trip to the other side of the world. Ready? Here are, just for you, our top 12 must-do activities in Strasbourg.
1. The Grande Île
If there’s one thing you absolutely must do in Strasbourg, it’s visiting the Grande Île. Indeed, it’s none other than the historical heart of the city. Entirely listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is very representative of what a medieval city was like. In visiting Strasbourg, you cannot miss the Grande Île as it contains the city’s main tourist attractions. Within a restricted perimeter, you’ll find the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Gutenberg Square, Kléber Square, Kammerzell House, and Rohan Palace. All are must-see attractions in Strasbourg.
2. Notre-Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg
The cathedral is undoubtedly a must-see when visiting Strasbourg. At 142 meters tall at the tip of its spire, it is the second tallest cathedral in France after Notre-Dame de Paris. Entirely built of pink sandstone, you can admire its magnificent stained glass windows and a very beautiful astronomical clock. Moreover, climbing the 330 steps leading to its panoramic platform is a sporty activity in Strasbourg, perfect for burning off pretzels and flammekueche.
We have selected for you the best offer to visit the Cathedral: Strasbourg: Official digital audio guide of the cathedral
3. La Petite France
La Petite France is located southwest of the Grande Île. Also UNESCO-listed, it offers a charmingly typical Alsace landscape. Visiting Strasbourg also means strolling among its flower-decked half-timbered houses, admiring the Vauban Dam and the Covered Bridges, and getting lost in its medieval alleys.
> The European Quarter
Just like Brussels in Belgium and Luxembourg (in… Luxembourg, well done to those who are following!), Strasbourg is a European capital. As such, it hosts the headquarters of numerous institutions. While it’s not possible to visit all of them from the inside, you can still admire their buildings while walking through the city’s European quarter when visiting Strasbourg.
4. The European Parliament
Admiring the curvaceous building of the European Union Parliament is definitely one of the things to do in Strasbourg. Glass, metal, and wood combine to form the figure of a ship cutting through the waves. Additionally, and it’s good to know if you want to visit Strasbourg by night, this magnificent building is illuminated every evening. And for those interested in the workings of our institutions, it is possible to visit the hemicycle with more than 800 seats.
5. The Council of Europe
The European Council currently sits in the Palace of Europe. The buildings of the Parliament and the Council are connected by a magnificent bridge that spans the Ill River. Inaugurated in 1977, the square building is very impressive, and rightly so. Here, the focus is on the protection of Human Rights and democracy, as well as culture, education, and the environment. If you’re looking for things to do in Strasbourg, it’s possible to visit the interior of the Palace of Europe, but only in groups. If you wish to visit with your family, you can be incorporated into an existing group.
6. The Human Rights Building
Constructed by Richard Rogers and inaugurated in 1995, the seat of the European Court of Human Rights is a building you can’t miss when visiting Strasbourg. Its bold architecture represents the scales of justice in a very modern style. A family visit during a hearing is a great civic education activity to do in Strasbourg with children.
7. The Historical Wine Cellar of Strasbourg’s Civil Hospices
If you’re looking for an unusual visit in Strasbourg, consider the wine cellar of Strasbourg’s hospital. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this timeless place was probably created in the hospital to store wine from vineyard parcels offered in payment for care. Since 1995, it has been used again for its original purpose, and delicious Alsatian wines are aged there. An additional curiosity: in the cellar of Strasbourg’s civil hospices, you’ll find the world’s oldest wine preserved in a barrel, dating back to 1472. It has only been tasted three times to date, during historical events.
> Alsatian Gastronomy
It would be a shame to visit Strasbourg without discovering the secrets of three pillars of Alsatian gastronomy: pretzels, beer, and sauerkraut.
Gastronomy: we have selected for you the 2 best offers among 54 possibilities
- Guided bike tour of downtown Strasbourg with a local
- Strasbourg: day trip to medieval villages and wine tasting
- Strasbourg: Group walking tour of traditional cuisine
8. The House of Sauerkraut
If you’re looking for a thematic visit in Strasbourg, head to the Maison de la Choucroute Le Pic. For five generations, the Muller family has been fermenting cabbage, and today, 5000 tons annually leave their company. The guided tour of the premises will allow you to discover the history of sauerkraut, from the field to the plate. And, of course, at the end, food lovers can taste.
9. Perle Brewery
But what would sauerkraut be without a good beer? To complete your gastronomic education while visiting Strasbourg, now head to the Perle artisanal brewery. Reopened by the great-great-grandson of the brand’s founder in 2009 after 40 years of closure, it now produces six different types of beer. Here again, the guided tour will end with a tasting… in moderation, of course!
> Two Unusual and Original Museums
Even if you’re not a big fan of museums, here are two that are worth a visit when in Strasbourg.
10. Tomi Ungerer Museum – International Center of Illustration
Tomi Ungerer was an author, painter, and illustrator from Alsace, born in Strasbourg. From 1975 until his death, he donated a large part of his personal collection and work to his hometown, which opened a museum dedicated to his work in 2007. It is also the only French museum exclusively dedicated to 20th-century illustration. You can admire the original works of Tomi Ungerer, a youth author who believed it was “good to traumatize children.” A must-visit in Strasbourg!
11. Vodou Castle
The Vodou Castle is a unique private museum as it houses a gigantic collection of objects related to the Vodou cult in West Africa. The scenography allows you to discover this culture, still very much alive today. Statuettes, costumes, skulls, and ex-votos are displayed in a magnificent place: a former 19th-century half-timbered water tower. A must-see if you come to visit Strasbourg.
Museum: we have selected for you the 3 best offers among 21 possibilities
- Strasbourg: 7-day city pass
- Strasbourg: guided tour of the Christmas market
- Strasbourg: First Discovery Walk and Reading Tour
12. Participate in a Strasbourg Workshop
Are you charmed by the beautiful city of Strasbourg and want to take home a “handmade” souvenir? Why not try a culinary workshop and make your own pretzels from scratch with Léonie, a craft baker. For €50 per person, follow a 2.5-hour training and leave with 5 delicious pretzels made by you! This culinary specialty will have no more secrets for you!
How to Get to Strasbourg?
It’s very easy to visit Strasbourg by plane. Indeed, many French and international airlines serve Strasbourg Airport. To find the most suitable flight for your budget and dates, don’t hesitate to use a flight comparator like Kayak, for example. Once there, a shuttle train will take you to the city center in less than 10 minutes.
If you prefer to visit Strasbourg by train, you’ll be spoiled for choice as the city is very well connected. Moreover, the TGV station is located right in the city center and is therefore on several bus and tram lines. From Paris, the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. Finally, know that from all the major French cities (Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille), none are more than 5 hours and 30 minutes by train.
The bus is probably the most economical solution to visit Strasbourg. Many companies serve the city, such as Flixbus, BlaBlaBus, Eurolines, or Isilines.
It’s very easy to visit Strasbourg by car as two highways intersect there: the A4 and the A35. However, depending on what you plan to do in Strasbourg, it might be better to choose another means of transport. Indeed, parking can quickly become expensive. Moreover, it’s easy to get around the city without a car thanks to public transport and bike paths.
Where to Stay in Strasbourg?
Depending on what you want to do in Strasbourg, there are several options. To accommodate according to your budget and tastes, you can prefer a hotel or, of course, make your choice on Airbnb. To decide, don’t hesitate to use a hotel comparator. As for neighborhoods, the city center is a logical choice. However, the price per night can be high. If you are looking for a cheaper option, the Gare district, in addition to being convenient for mobility, offers more attractive rates.