20 Best Things To Do In Strasbourg, France

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Strasbourg is the birthplace of France’s national Anthem, whose hymns were written between cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. It is a city known for its Christmas markets and diverse culture, architecture, and culinary tastes. You can imagine there are plenty of things to do in Strasbourg

After centuries of wars between Germany and France, the city became a melting pot of both cultures where beer co-exists with wine, and medieval Germanic houses lay next to French Rococo mansions – all serving as noteworthy places to visit in Strasbourg.

The best things to do in Strasbourg all culminate during the festive winter season, but plenty of activities are summer-specific. This city can be enjoyed all year long through its scenic canals, soaring cathedrals, and distinctive neighborhoods.

Strasbourg Card – City Pass

The Strasbourg city card offers travelers many discounts and free activities. Consider purchasing it if you want to explore as many things to do in Strasbourg as possible within a budget. With it, you’ll get free access to a canal tour and the famous observatory of the Cathedral.

You’ll also get to explore popular places to visit in Strasbourg and get free entry to the museum of your choice with additional discounts on subsequent ones. Depending on the season, the city pass also offers discounted mini-train tours, segway tours, or chocolate experiences. 

Most Popular Thing To Do In Strasbourg

Marvel at the architecture of Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg

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The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Strasbourg has become one of the most popular places to visit in Strasbourg and the most visited cathedral in France since 2019.

Victor Hugo described it as a ‘skillful combination of monumental size and delicateness.’ His words still reign true today as it stands as a Gothic and Romanesque art masterpiece.

The building took around 400 years to complete and encompasses an astronomical clock, hundreds of sculptures etched within its structure, and a beautiful stained-glass window depicting biblical passages.

One of the best things to do in Strasbourg is to climb the platform on the bell tower, which offers stunning panoramic views of the town. It is no wonder that this is one of the top landmarks in France.

Local Things To Do In Strasbourg

Swim in one of the lakes around Strasbourg

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Summers in Strasbourg can get quite hot, and although the sea doesn’t border the area, it is surrounded by many lakes and gravel pits – some of which are used as natural pools by locals.

The most frequented ones are linked via public transport and have on-site facilities like volleyball courts, slides, sand, playgrounds, and watersports. While there are many to pick from, the following four are great options based on their proximity to the center, free access, and lifeguard supervision.

If you’re wondering what to do in Strasbourg during summer, make sure to visit the following lakes: Ballastière de Bischheim, Plan d’Eau de Reichstett, Lac du Baggersee, and Lac Achard (plan d’Eau de la Hardt). Note that all of them are equipped with toilets and showers.

Take a Stroll in the Parc de l’Orangerie

 Parc de L’Orangerie is the city’s oldest public green space, frequented by locals who like taking their children to playgrounds and going on strolls.

This English-style park comprises broad romantic green areas, a zoo, a bowling alley, and a vintage car circuit – all noteworthy places to visit in Strasbourg. The winding paths throughout its gardens will take you to half-timbered houses, bridges, fountains, and temple-like structures.

We recommend checking out the Buerehiesel house, which houses a gourmet restaurant, and canoeing in the lake during summer. Sink your teeth into some delicious french food.

Bird-watchers will enjoy the fact that this park is where once-endangered storks got reintroduced to the area: they can now be admired within the grounds throughout all seasons.

Marvel at the diversity found throughout the Botanical Gardens of Strasbourg University

The Botanical Garden of the University of Strasbourg dates back to 1884 and covers an area of 3.5 hectares of 6000 species of plants. The garden has a tropical greenhouse consisting of palm trees, cycads, and bromeliads.

You’ll also find a cold greenhouse with over 500 species from mild-winter regions, like bulb plants, conifers, and cacti. Travelers and locals alike often refer to the garden as a living museum thanks to the richness of its diverse plant worlds and its historical monuments, which makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Strasbourg.

Discover Alsatian cuisine at a local Winstub

alsatian-cuisine

Strasbourg’s cuisine is very different than that found in the rest of France as it merges food cultures of both Germanic and French traditions.

As such, Alsatian dishes incorporate notes of German staples like sauerkraut and pork with French classics such as cheese. Portions are always hearty, and flavors are distinctive, referred to by many as ‘comfort food.’

Must-try dishes in Strasbourg include the Spaetzle (pasta made with butter and eggs), Lewerknepfle (poached liver dumplings), and the Choucroute d’Alsace (fermented cabbage with pork).

If you are hungry and wondering what to do in Strasbourg, visit a local Winstub: the official restaurant for Alsatian cuisine.

Outdoor Things To Do In Strasbourg

Enjoy a view of the city through its canal reflection at the Barrage Vauban

The Barrage Vauban or Grande Ecluse is a system of fortified covered bridges that served as an urban defense system during the Middle Ages through the 17th century. Back then, they defended the vulnerable side of the city, where the river was subdivided into four canals.

The bridges were equipped with movable iron panels that could be let down into the water to block the flow and flood part of the city, making it inaccessible to attackers.

Today, the bridges serve as one of the most pleasant places to visit in Strasbourg, offering beautiful panoramic views via their terrace.

Visit Strasbourg’s little Venice at Petite France

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The Ill river can be discerned throughout all of Strasbourg, but especially so in the neighborhood of Petite France, which has earned it the nickname of Little Venice.

Few strolls in the city can compare to those you’ll take in this district: the water is always nearby, reflecting the colorful facades of houses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

Popular places to visit in Strasbourg within this neighborhood include the Executioner’s Tower, Haderer House, the Tanners’ House, and Bain-aux-Plantes street.

Take an architectural tour of Strasbourg at the Grande Île

Strasbourg is renowned for its architecture, and the best area that showcases its heritage’s full splendor is the Grande Île. This is where you’ll find the older side of town that houses most of the city’s historical landmarks through its mixture of medieval houses, mansions, and timbered homes.

If you’re wondering what to do in Strasbourg in this neighborhood: Look up! The roofs are home to beautiful structures you won’t tire of with their ‘sitting dog’ or ‘Schleppganten’ style windows.

In this area, you will also find many of the city’s Winstubs which translate to ‘wine lounges,’ that serve typical Alsatian wine and gastronomy. 

Pretend you’re in Germany at Neustadt

famous-neustadt

The Neustadt is the German quarter of Strasbourg. Unlike other neighborhoods, this one did not naturally grow with the city but was conceived through a German administration that planned to develop the space through architectural policies.

The town became part of Germany in 1870 after the Franco-Prussian War, which saw the erection of 10,000 new buildings that tripled the area of Strasbourg.

While the original expansion was due to German immigration, the second expansion during World War II aimed to showcase the German Empire’s power and prestige. Today, both developments can be seen through Neustadt, characterized by long and wide avenues, monumental squares, parks, and gardens.

Popular nearby places to visit in Strasbourg include the national theater of Strasbourg, the Palais du Rhin, and the national and university libraries.

Explore the city through its canals in a boat tour of Strasbourg

strasbourg-boat-tour

What better way to explore a city traversed by rivers than to embark on a cruise across its canals?

A boat tour will enable you to take in the many architectural wonders of Strasbourg from the comfort of your seat, but the real gem is that most cruises will also make you explore the surrounding area as the canals lead to larger rivers that are linked to other towns.

Some boat tours will take you to the Rhine Gorge – a UNESCO World Heritage Site-, the french cities of Colmar and Mulhouse, and some might even make you cross the German border to Salzburg.

If boats aren’t your thing, you can also opt for other things to do in Strasbourg on the canals: kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or canoeing.

Cheap And Free Things To Do In Strasbourg

Head to the Christmas markets of Place Broglie

Broglie square encompasses many of the most famous things to do in Strasbourg. This is where the city’s annual Christmas market takes place, where you’ll find traditional alsatian delicacies, Christmas decorations, and mulled wine.

During other seasons, you can gaze at the surrounding pieces of architecture around the square or visit the nearby Opera house, city hall, and Governor’s Palace that lies on its edges.

You’ll also find beautiful monuments such as the Janus fountain near the base of the Bridge Theatre, which celebrates the 2000th anniversary of Argentoratum – Strasbourg’s name in Roman times.

When it comes to winter time, there are many Christmas Market Tours offered by local guides.

Discover the remains of General Jean Baptiste Kleber at Place Kléber 

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Place Kléber is the city’s largest square, and its location in the historical and commercial district makes it one of the most frequented places to visit in Strasbourg. This square has been a meeting place since its original construction in the 14th century.

The statue of General Jean Baptiste Kleber stands at its center point, and the vault it sits on top of encloses the remains of the general who served in Napoleon’s army during his Egypt campaign and was later appointed by the emperor as Commander of the French Forces.

Make sure to check out the Aubette building if you’re looking for nearby things to do in Strasbourg: it used to be a military post. Today, it serves as the centerpiece of the yearly Christmas lights show. In 1928, avant-garde artists decorated its interior walls with works now referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of Abstract Art.’

Pretend you’re defending the city against attackers at the Ponts Couverts de Strasbourg

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The covered bridges have a misleading name as they lost their roofs during the 18th century. They’re actually a series of towers linked by bridges that used to serve as a defense system during the Medieval ages.

The towers, three of which still stand today, were also used as prisons for civil and military personnel. The bridges you can visit today are clad in sandstone and built during the 19th century.

Two of them have projections into the river that used to house cannons that would directly fire on the river’s surface to repel invaders.

Things To Do In Strasbourg At Night

Indulge in dinner at Maison Kammerzell

The Kammerzell House is one of the most symbolic places to visit in Strasbourg. It dates back to 1427 and serves as what many regard as the city’s most beautiful building. The house’s appearance witnessed several remodelings that have only kept its original stone pavement.

The rest of it was rebuilt in 1589 on three corbelled floors, three attic floors, and a facade inspired by Greco- Roman, Biblical, and Middle ages references, as well as murals by Léo Schnug.

Today, the building is operated by a restaurant with spacious lounges that offer unique views of the Cathedral. We recommend visiting it to discover the region’s Alsatian specialties.

Discover Strasbourg European district

strasbourg-european-district

 Strasbourg has been the subject of quarrels between Germany and France for centuries which have seen conflicts and wars unfold within its territory.

But after World War II, more and more European countries strived to promote stability and peace in the region. It was decided that Strasbourg would house the Council of Europe, whose mission is to defend human rights and promote democracy in the continent.

A couple of years later, the city was also chosen to house the European Parliament, which triggered the appearance of the European district. This neighborhood is home to different European institutions and diplomatic representations, most of which are established in distinctive buildings.

One of the most popular places to visit in Strasbourg is the elliptical European Parliament made of wood, metal, and glass – we recommend visiting near sunset time as you’ll see the light’s reflection on its glass facades.

Other points of interest include the Lieu d’Europe’s English gardens and the European Court of Human Rights, with its interesting architecture and remains of the Berlin Wall.

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Indoor Things To Do In Strasbourg

Visit Strasbourg’s most prominent churches

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Strasbourg has an impressive collection of medieval churches you shouldn’t miss out on. Here are the top four you should visit:

  • The church of Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune: Check out the 14th-century frescoes and its columns that date back to the 11th century.
  • The church of St. Thomas: Discover its Alsatian Gothic art and a Baroque funerary masterpiece of the Maréchal de Saxe tomb.
  • The church of St. Paul: Its striking shape and surroundings make it one of the most unique places to visit in Strasbourg.
  • The church of Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux: Famous for its organ recitals that are regularly hosted and the fact that it’s made out of two joined buildings, one part from the 13th century, the other from the 19th century.

Visit the world’s oldest barrel-stored wine at the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg

The Alsace region is home to high-quality fine white wines whose reputation goes beyond France’s borders.

While many wine tours around the region promise tastings from various grapes of the Vosges foothills, you don’t need to go outside Strasbourg to drink great wine.

The city’s center is home to a neighborhood that encloses a system of hospitals where you’ll find one that stands out: the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg. This hospice was founded in 1395, an era during which wine was considered a cure for all ills and hospital care could be paid with plots of vines.

As the hospital amassed lands through payments, its cellar started sheltering the wine these lands produced in huge wooden barrels. One of these barrels is still there and dates back to 1472, making it the oldest barrel-stored wine in the world.

Today, visiting the brick-vaulted cellar is one of the best things to do in Strasbourg, and you can even purchase wines from the region at very reasonable prices.

Best Museums To Visit In Strasbourg

Visit the three museums inside the Rohan Palace 

famous-rohan-palace

The Rohan Palace was completed in 1742, following designs by Robert de Cotte, architect of the Court of the then king of France, Louis XV. It was created following frameworks of typical Parisian mansions and still stands as a spectacular example of classical noble façades and Rococo-style interiors.

The building is one of the most noteworthy places to visit in Strasbourg as it is distinguished from the other architectural styles you’ll find throughout the town. It was meant to serve as a home to Louis XIV’s illegitimate son, but today, the palace houses three museums.

If you’re wondering about what to do in Strasbourg, head over to one (or 3!) of them. You’ll find works by Van Dyck, Rubens, and Goya in the Fine Arts Museum, ceramics, machinery, and ornamentals in the Decorative Arts Museum, and precious artifacts from nearby digs at the Archaeological Museum.

Discover Alsacian culture at the Alsatian Museum

Alsace is a cultural and territorial region in France characterized by its mix of french and germanic influences.

As the capital of this region, Strasbourg houses the Alsatian Museum, which is over a century old and has served as a place of testimonial representations of traditional Alsatian life.

Nestled in a classic half-timbered building, the museum is home to furniture, textiles, arts, viticultural tools, costumes, and popular imagery depicting the region’s historical heritage.

Over thirty of its rooms are reconstructions of Alsacian towns and artisan’s workshops, which will give you plenty of space to explore if you’re wondering about what to do in Strasbourg. 

Step back in time at the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg

The Strasbourg Historical Museum is located inside an old butchery building from 1587 and serves as a recollection of the city’s chronological history and a wonderful place to visit in Strasbourg.

The building is divided into two sections, one of which illustrates the life of the city from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution and the second recounting it from 1800 to 1949.

The town’s social, political, economic, and cultural dimensions are explored through a rich collection of relics, war equipment, testimonies, paintings, and archaeological collections.

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Where To Stay In Strasbourg

Finding accommodation in Strasbourg that suits your budget and expectations should be easy as this is a popular student town as well as a noteworthy historical and cultural city. The diversity of its visitors is reflected in the variety of accommodation styles and budgets it offers.

Here are some hotel and hostel recommendations that are ideally located near places to visit in Strasbourg and will provide you with all the needed facilities, amenities, and more.

Keep in mind that vacancies quickly fill up around the Christmas season – Strasbourg is a top-rated winter destination. 

Budget Accommodation In Strasbourg

Ciarus: Located in the heart of the city center near many things to do in Strasbourg. This hostel features 101 rooms distributed throughout four floors of simple decors marked by wooden touches.

It is one of the few hostels in the city with a wide variety of amenities that cater to all ages and budgets, from a self-service restaurant, game room, cafe, and bar to children’s facilities such as baby changing areas, curated meals, and high chairs.

Consider staying here if you want to meet people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

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The People – Strasbourg: Housed in a former tobacco factory, which is now regarded as a Historic Monument, this accommodation is located in the Krutenau neighborhood, a popular student district.

Nearby things to do in Strasbourg include the Strasbourg Cathedral, the Strasbourg History Museum, St. Paul’s Church, and many bars, pubs, and restaurants. On-site, you’ll find a shared lounge, a bar, and modern and cozy interiors and rooms.

>Check Accommodation Availability

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Mid Range Accommodation In Strasbourg

Hotel Rohan, Centre Cathédrale: This hotel lies a few steps away from the Strasbourg Cathedral and the Rohan Palace.

While it is located in the historic center, near many things to do in Strasbourg, its rooms reflect modernity and elegance. They are equipped with all the necessary amenities you can expect.

Guests enjoy the two furnished terraces on which they can have breakfast overlooking the city’s main sites.

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HANNONG Hotel & Wine Bar: As its name suggests, this accommodation is home to a wine bar, which is the perfect place for relaxation after a day spent visiting the city.

Its location is well in the central compared to other options. It is also a 5-minute walk from the TGV train station, perfect for guests who wish to explore the surrounding places to visit in Strasbourg and nearby towns.

Although it is in a lively area, rooms are fully soundproofed, promising peaceful and quiet nights.

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Luxury Accommodation In Strasbourg

Hôtel LÉONOR: Housed in a gorgeous mansion, this accommodation is centrally located near popular places to visit in Strasbourg, like the Jardin Botanique, St. Paul’s Church, and the Strasbourg History Museum.

This hotel is known for its upscale amenities, thoughtful, attentive staff, and its beautiful courtyard where guests can have their breakfast. The on-site bars offer stunning views of the city and surrounding landmarks.

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Hôtel & Spa Le Bouclier D’or: Located in the famous district of La Petite France, this hotel is set in a 16th Century building whose outside architecture reflects its luxurious quality of service.

Facilities include a wine bar, a tea room, and a wellness center comprised of massage rooms, a hammam, a sauna, and a spa bath. Rooms are furnished with antique furniture and chandeliers.

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Discovering Things To Do in Strasbourg

As you stroll through the diversity of Strasbourg’s streets, you’ll come across a richness of variety within its architectural monuments, churches, cathedrals, and museums. This is a city best enjoyed in Wintertime, which sees festivities take over its neighborhoods and the establishment of many Christmas markets.

But other seasons bring the opportunity to enjoy other things to do in Strasbourg, from canal watersports activities to dips in nearby lakes. Regardless of when you choose to visit Strasbourg, we’re sure you’ll immensely enjoy everything the city offers.

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PIN THESE BEST THINGS TO DO IN STRASBOURG FOR LATER

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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