What to visit in Strasbourg? Between its cathedral, the charming Petite France district and its many museums, Strasbourg is a city where you won’t get bored!
How to prepare your stay in Strasbourg? What are the must-see visits? Discover in this useful guide a selection of activities to discover the city as well as some good addresses to make the most of your stay in the heart of Alscace!
Coming and moving around Strasbourg
Coming to Strasbourg
The train is surely the best way to come to Strasbourg, especially since the introduction of the very high-speed line. By TGV you only need 2h30 to get there from Paris Gare de l’Est station and you arrive in the heart of the city, only 15 minutes walk from the historical hypercenter and most tourist places.
Getting around the city
Museums, monuments and tourist places are almost all located in the heart of the city so that walking is the easiest and most pleasant way to discover Strasbourg.
If walking is difficult for you or if your accommodation is off-centre, an efficient tramway network will allow you to cross the city. Single tickets cost €1.80.
You can also opt for cycling, because with its 560km of cycle paths, Strasbourg is one of the most accessible cities for two-wheelers. The Vélhop service allows you to rent a bike for the day for only 6 €.
The Strasbourg pass: the best tip for spending less money
The Tourist Office of Strasbourg offers a pass valid for 3 days which allows you to make several visits and take advantage of discounts. Offered at the rate of €22 for adults, €15 for 13-17 years and €10 for 4-12 years, it contains :
- a visit to a museum of your choice
- a visit of the astronomical clock of the cathedral
- a boat cruise
And discounted rates for :
- a ride in a small train
- a guided tour of the city
- a second visit to a museum
- the ascent to the cathedral’s platform
- a segway tour of the city
- many other discounts at several partners.
10 must-see visits in Strasbourg
Visit the cathedral and its astronomical clock
The Starsbourg cathedral is a true masterpiece. Built between the 12th and the 15th century it is a monument to visit absolutely. Surrounded by large houses, it is not very visible from the rest of the city, which offers a real “wow” effect when you approach it and it reveals itself!
Inside, you can admire an impressive astronomical clock. Although entirely mechanical this clock indicates besides the time, the day of the year, the position of the sun and the moon, the hours of sunrise and sunset, the position of 5000 stars and the planets of the solar system… And at each hour, a system of automatons comes alive and is a small spectacle in itself.
At noon, access to the cathedral is paying but allows you to enjoy the clock and the building in small groups. In addition, a video is broadcast explaining the history and operation of the clock.
Admire the view of Strasbourg from the platform of the cathedral
Complete your visit of the cathedral by climbing on the upper parts. You have to climb 330 steps to get there, which requires a good physical condition, but the reward is worth the exercise! From up there a magnificent view awaits you over Strasbourg. By downloading the free application VR Strasbourg Cathedral you can also discover what the city was like in the Middle Ages.
Stroll in the Petite France district
The Petite France district is the most typical district of Strasbourg and a must when visiting the city. With its cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and canals, you are bound to fall under the spell!
Climbing on the Vauban dam
Created at the end of the 17th century to reinforce the city’s defensive system and prevent access to the city by water, this dam has been modified several times over the centuries. Today it allows pedestrians to cross the river. Its terrace was built in the 60s and is accessible free of charge. From up there, you can enjoy a superb view of the Petite France district.
Go to the Rohan Palace
Built at the beginning of the 18th century on the model of Parisian hotels, the Palais Rohan is the episcopal palace of the city, hence its proximity to the cathedral.
Today there are three museums there: the Fine Arts Museum, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Decorative Arts. The museum is Beaux-Arts is a must, you can admire works of Rubens, Goya, Corot, Fragonard, Carpeaux… As for the museum of Decorative Arts it is to be seen to appreciate the beauty of the building.
Visit the museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Close to the Vauban Dam, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art presents a rich collection of paintings. Monet, Signac, Hantaï, Niki de Saint Phalle, Picasso, Braque or Magritte are some of the great artists whose works can be admired in the permanent collections. Temporary exhibitions enrich the visit.
Push the door of the 5th place
Right next to the cathedral, the 5th place is a space dedicated to the culture and history of Strasbourg. It is the place to go to for information on cultural life or to buy tickets for a show or concert. There is also a store as well as a free exhibition space which allows to understand the history of the city through its architecture.
Discover the Neustadt district
Nicknamed the German Quarter because of its Prussian-style buildings, the Neustadt district is atypical and deserves to be discovered. One can admire the national theater, the university library or the Tomi-Ungerer museum which presents a rich collection of the Alsatian illustrator.
Eating a bretzel
It’s very cliché but typical of the local specialties! Here the bretzel is not like the salty little cake we usually know but rather in the form of a brioche cake declined in several favors: cheesy / pizza style / sweet … you will easily find some in most bakeries.
Going to greet the German neighbors
With the European Parliament Strasbourg is the most European of French cities. Since it borders Germany, it would be a shame not to cross the Rhine to greet our German friends. Take the Pont des Deux-Rives, a bridge reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, which allows you to reach the German city of Kehl. By public transportation, you can also get there by streetcar on the D line.
Visiting Strasbourg with your family
Strasbourg is a city that is particularly suitable for family visits, even with young children. To discover the city without walking too much you can take the bike. The Vélhop service offers baby seats for 2€ per day.
Opt also for the boat tours, an original and pleasant way to discover the city center. Two options are available: a 1h10 tour with Batorama or small electric boats to pilot yourself with Marin d’eau douce.
Best places in Strasbourg
Where to stay?
Close to the train station, the Graffalgar hotel is a nice place where each room has been decorated by a different artist. Surprise guaranteed when you open the door of your room! Be careful though: the hotel unfortunately adjoins several bars which makes the environment can be very noisy in the evening.
Where to eat?
Strasbourg is not lacking beautiful addresses to eat well! Here are three recommendations of restaurants in different styles and neighborhoods.
Pour de bon
We fell in love with this small establishment where everything is local, seasonal and homemade. It’s been a year since Camille, passionate about cooking, created this restaurant.
Particularity of the place: the cheese, present in all the dishes, is made and matured on the spot! But take your mind off the image of heavy and fatty dishes: the cheese is used just right and blends perfectly with the other ingredients. I particularly recommend the burger made with apples, beet, mint… and the brownie / cheese cake. A treat! – www.pourdebonstrasbourg.com
In this restaurant managed by a father and his son they propose typical dishes of Alsace or dishes of the world revisited with Alsatian products. Same for the wines that come from the region or that are wines of the world produced by Alsatian expatriates. Here you can be sure of the origin of the products, all guaranteed of quality.
Everything is served in the form of delicious tapas to be shared in a relaxed atmosphere. The chef, a former cook of a Michelin-starred restaurant, is passionate about eating well and will probably come and talk to you at the end of the meal to tell you about his love for good food.
It is difficult to recommend a single dish as everything is excellent but since we are in Alsace, at least let yourself be tempted by a flammekueche, probably one of the best in town, before falling for other tapas. – www.restaurant-les-chauvins.fr
La Corde à Linge
In the heart of the Petite France, the most touristic area of Strasbourg, La Corde à Linge welcomes you in a charming setting. When the weather is fine, let yourself be tempted by the terrace to have lunch on the banks of the river Ill.
On the dishes side, dishes less refined than the two previous addresses but which remain tasty: salads, burgers or spätzle (traditional Alsatian pasta) – www.lacordealinge.com
As a souvenir, instead of opting for gadgets that end up in the back of a closet, I usually bring back from my stays local products to taste with my friends and family, a nice way to extend the trip in a convivial moment.
- For gingerbread, typical of the area, direction Pain d’épices Mireille Oster, 17 rue des Moulins.
- For local products (cheeses, delicatessen…) you can go through the door of Mon Oncle Malker de Munster, 4 place de la Grande boucherie.
- For wine lovers, I recommend Wolfberger (7 rue des Orfèvres). Here, we sell local wines and we take the time to explain you the different grape varieties to help you choose the nectar you will like the most!
Getting your way around Strasbourg: the map of the best addresses
To help you find your way around the city here is a map with all the addresses mentioned in this article.
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Article realized in collaboration with Strasbourg Tourisme.