The best 10 things to do and see in Strasbourg
The best 10 things to do and see in Strasbourg
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Located on the German-French border, Strasbourg is a beautiful, charming city with a fascinating culture originating from both countries. With a rich heritage, the city is close to historical landmarks as well as numerous modern additions that form a vibrant, modern culture. Here we explore the most inconspicuous and interesting things to do and see in Strasbourg.
Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral.
This stunning 15th-century church was built in beautiful pink sandstone. One of its highlights is the marvelous medieval astronomical clock, a stunning technological invention for the time, which runs daily at 12:30 pm and is definitely worth seeing. The 468-foot spire can be climbed for first-class views of the city. Those going during the Christmas holidays will enjoy seeing one of France’s most beautiful winter markets on the square.
Address: Strasbourg Cathedral, Strasbourg, France, + 33 3 88 21 43 34
Strasbourg is trying to adapt its roads to cycling to become “the most cycling city in France,” with more than 240 miles of bike lanes. Those who buy the Strasbourg Pass will be able to hire a bike for half a day for free, while those without a pass will be able to hire one at various stores that are scattered throughout the city. In addition to cycling through the city center, walking through the Parc de l’Orangerie is great fun and offers great surroundings.
Parc de l’Orangerie
Even if cycling is not on the agenda, the Parc de l’Orangerie is a must visit, as it is one of Strasbourg’s gems. It is located opposite the Council of Europe, in an area called the Orangerie quarter. It covers more than 26 hectares, and it was supposedly founded in 1801 by André Le Nôtre according to some or by Captain Antoine du Chaffat according to others. During the French Revolution, many orange trees were confiscated and all were planted here, naming it after himself.
Address: Parc de l’Orangerie, Strasbourg, France
La Petite France
La Petite France is one of the most distinctive and stunning parts of Strasbourg. Located on the Grand Isle, an island located on the River Isle in the center of the city, this neighborhood is characterized by numerous canals and historic buildings that form what some might call a miniature Venice. However, the French chose to call it “little France” because there was a hospice here that cured patients with syphilis, which was known as the disease of France. In addition to the covered bridges, the square is filled with rustic, charming half-timbered houses and buildings that were built almost entirely using sandstone. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Address: La Petite France, Strasbourg, France
Discover the bridges
There are more than 20 bridges in Strasbourg, and some of them are really stunning. Those around La Petite France are lovely and picturesque, while other parts of the city have bigger and more imposing bridges. The 17th-century Vauban Riverside offers beautiful views of some of Strasbourg’s covered bridges, built in the Middle Ages and called pontoons in French. Those who prefer modern architecture can visit Passerelle, which was opened in 2004 and consists of sleek steel curves.
Jump on a day trip
Strasbourg is a great base for exploring other parts of northern France, southern Germany and even Switzerland. Visitors who feel adventurous can rent a car and drive to the Black Forest and enjoy the lush natural surroundings. Those who prefer organized day trips can visit the area south of Strasbourg, which produces wine and is thus filled with picturesque vineyards, or go to Colmar, the city where Frederic Bartholdi, the man who designed the Statue of Liberty, lived and where there is a museum with several variations and a scaled copy of the original statue.
Taste the gastronomy
A city of mixed cultures, Strasbourg’s cuisine reflects the city’s past influences. Visitors should try the choucroute garnie, which is the most famous dish and consists of sauerkraut with sausages and usually mashed potatoes. Another typical dish is coq au riesling, and it has excellent German culinary elements as it is served with spaetzle, a German type of noodles. For dessert, travelers can enjoy a delicious kugelhopf, a tart with yeast, almonds and raisins.
Alsace is the region where Strasbourg is located, east of France, and one of the smallest parts of the country. Historically, it has been an area of conflict and a mix of cultural influences as it has passed between the governments of France and Germany. At the Musée Alsacien, tourists can learn about typical life in this part of France and its folk art and traditions. The visit guides tourists through charming replicas of ancient housing and thousands of objects that show what rural life is like in Alsace.
Address: Musée Alsacien, Quai St. Nicolas 23-25, Strasbourg, France, + 33 3 68 98 51 52
Strasbourg is the official seat of the European Parliament, and visiting this striking building of great importance not only to France, but to Europe as a whole, is a fascinating experience. There are 12 annual sessions, each averaging about four days in length, so it is not uncommon to visit Strasbourg in one of these important meetings. It is possible to visit Parliament both during the sessions and during periods of the year when they do not occur. Individual and group visits are usually possible, although they are closed on weekends and public holidays.
Address: European Parliament, Allée du Printemps, Strasbourg, France, + 33 3 88 17 40 01
The Strasbourg Botanical Gardens are a mixture of beauty and science, encouraging visitors to get to know plant species a little better in a fun and fascinating way. The botanical gardens are located in the Imperial District of the city and have almost 6,000 different plants. In addition to the outdoor gardens, there is also an arboretum and a greenhouse. There are very impressive trees that are hard to find elsewhere in France, of which the great sequoia is one of the most remarkable.
Address: Botanical Gardens, 28 Rue Goethe, Strasbourg, France, +33 3 68 85 18 65
Strasbourg: 10 things to do in the city
Still agonizing over what to do or see in Strasbourg? Let’s find a use for this city other than to apply to the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. It is possible to go to Strasbourg from Paris and for 1 day. The journey is less than 2 hours. And there are enough activities for a whole day!
See the Cathedral
The North Dam de Strasbourg Cathedral is one of the city’s main attractions. It is a beautiful Gothic church of the original pink and brown color with only one tower. Notre Dame itself is beautiful and the square around it is wonderful. But go inside and go deep inside, there you will find an antique clock that shows not only the time but also the month, the year, the sign of the zodiac, the location of the planets and a little performance every half hour.
We advise you to also go up to the observation deck of the Cathedral. From there you have a very good view of Strasbourg. Just remember that you have to go up on foot. The entrance to the stairs is on the right side of the cathedral.
Walk around the island
The island of the Grand Isle is the historical part of Strasbourg. All the main attractions of the city are concentrated here. Most of the island is pedestrian. So it’s interesting and pleasant to walk around. But beware of bicyclists:).
We have prepared for you a special route with an audio guide in Russian throughout the old and new Strasbourg. You can download it at this link.
- It includes 34 points of the city, including:
- Little France.
- Covered bridges and the Vauban Gallery
- A visit to Strasbourg Cathedral (a tour inside and out)
- Many squares, narrow streets, palaces and bridges
- Interesting stories and legends. Well, for example, you will learn how in the Middle Ages to determine the qualifications of officials and where in Strasbourg they drowned witches.
In general, it is a great sightseeing tour of Strasbourg for 3-4 hours. And for only 5 euros. So download it. It will be very interesting!
Ride the canals on the river streetcar
The river streetcar in Strasbourg is practically a substitute for a tour of the city. You travel on canals and see almost all the main attractions of the capital of the Alsace region. There is also an audio guide in Russian. It’s very good and interesting, although not without its inaccuracies. Moreover, during excursion there are some surprises: locks and movable bridges.
The river streetcar ride is also part of the Strasbourg City Pass, which also includes a free visit to one of the city’s museums and more. Find out more information and buy your card here.
Try the local cuisine
Strasbourg is an amazing blend of different cultures. This can be seen in the appearance of the city and especially in its cuisine. For example, the main Alsatian dish is shukrut. Shukrut is a fried sauerkraut with different kinds of meat. This dish is rather German, and it is served with beer. In a good restaurant, it is better to take one for two, otherwise you will not be able to cope. Foie gras and sweet white wine are also inventions of the people of Strasbourg, and we recommend you to try them.
Read more about Alsatian cuisine in our article.
“JUST READ THE ARTICLE – Wines of Alsace
Have a coffee or dinner in Little France
Little France is the most beautiful neighborhood in the city. It may not have the most pleasant history associated with it, but it’s certainly nice to stop or take a walk here now. Choose a café with a view of the canal and enjoy the beauty all around!
Walk from France to Germany and back
Strasbourg is right on the border with Germany. They even built a pedestrian bridge over the Rhine here, connecting the two states. Residents and tourists love to walk across it, crossing the border quite legally. In addition, on both sides there are parks, and from the German side is a small cozy little town of Kehl.
The best way to get to the Bridge of Europe is by bike, which you can rent, or by bus number 21. Read more about rentals here.
Picnic at the Orangerie
Strasbourg is rich in its parks. But the favorite among the city’s residents is the Orangery. It was built on the orders of Napoleon for his wife Josephine. She never stopped here, but the park was left to the Strasbourg people. There is beautiful landscape architecture and something blooms all the time. And picnicking in this garden is a pleasure.
See a list of events
Strasbourg is one of the three capitals of the European Union. To celebrate this and more, there are a lot of interesting events here. The city hosts major Christmas markets, a fountain festival, a street theater festival, and more. Before you go to Strasbourg, it’s best to find out if there’s anything interesting going on.
Stay in the old part of the city
Stay in the very center of the city – on the island. It can be more expensive than in other areas of Strasbourg, but much more pleasant. The old city isn’t just an architectural marvel, it’s a garden city. Magnolias and flowerbeds bloom here, and residents decorate their windows and balconies with flowers.
This is one of the most picturesque corners of France. Maybe you’ll be lucky and you’ll live in a nice little house like in the picture, admiring the spire of the cathedral, the roofs of the city and blooming flowerbeds on your balcony. See a list of the best hotels in Little France and the old part of town at this link.
Visit one of Strasbourg’s museums
Strasbourg is rich in its museums. The best of them are the Museum of the History of the city, the Museum of Alsace and the Museum of Modern Art. There are quite interesting collections and a lot of interactive gizmos. It does not take much time, but it will leave a pleasant feeling.
Enjoy your stay in Strasbourg!
All photos are courtesy of the Strasbourg Tourist Office and are protected by copyright. Copyright © Copyright – OT Strasbourg