A picture perfect city!
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Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region, home to half-timbered houses, great wines and tarte flambée. The magical French city is put on the map by its annual Christmas Market. But we’re here to tell you that there is so much more to Strasbourg, and it’s a perfect city for a break any time of the year. From outstanding churches to unique foods to serene river walks, you really will find something for anyone in this city. Keep reading for our honest opinion on what Strasbourg is really like, and if it will suit your travel tastes.
A blend of cultures - Strasbourg may be situated in France, but it’s right on the border with Germany, and has been passed between the countries several times over the years. This means it has a very unique blend of both French and German culture which you can spot in the architecture, food and even the dialect. You can learn all about the history of this city on a guided walking tour or even a sightseeing tour by boat. We went for an evening boat tour with Batorama for an hour on our first night and it was just the perfect introduction to the city before our days exploring!
Whilst in Strasbourg, a gastronomical capital, make sure to try some of the local classics. There are lots of Michelin Star restaurants in the city to be explored, such as Au Crocodile. If that isn’t your thing, head down Grand Rue for lots of local bars and restaurants selling traditional dishes at much lower prices. We opted to try Chez les Lùschtig, a great bar and restaurant which offers classic french drinks and their “Alsatian tapas”. We shared a mouth-watering tarte flambée - a meal originating from the Alsace region, made of thinly rolled bread topped with crème fraîche, onions and bacon. This, paired with a classic French Kir cocktail (crème de cassis and white wine), was such a great combination and we would 100% recommend it!
Elegant architecture - The famous half-timbered houses in Strasbourg’s central area, Petite France, can date back to the 16th century! But aside from wandering the streets and staring in awe at the beautiful homes, there’s far more to admire in the historic centre too. Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, the main cathedral in the city, is a stunning gothic cathedral and it’s free to enter. Pay a fee of 8 euros and you can head up to their platform for views of the whole city!
Don't stop at one church, make sure not to miss Saint Paul's Church in Strasbourg either. This building is another work of art in the city centre, situated less than 15 minutes from Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. Even this close to the centre, it feels like a very serene area, surrounded by greenery and pedestrian paths. It's also completely free to go inside, which is always a nice bonus!
Strasbourg isn’t just home to stunning religious buildings, you’ll also find amazing palaces and landscapes here. Barrage Vauban is a bridge and dam, built in the 17th century, and still stands in the historic centre of Strasbourg. Surrounded by river walks and other stunning bridges, this is a great place to head to start your exploration of the city. Ponts couverts were built even earlier, in the 13th century, and are a must-see in Strasbourg. Again, they’re close to river walks and the historic centre, and they make for a great travel photo to add to your collection. Head to Palais Rohan and Palais du Rhin for more exceptional architecture.
Relax and reconnect - Strasbourg is just the destination for you if you’re looking for a moment of peace away from everyday life. Stroll through Parc de l’orangerie and marvel at beautiful flower beds, sculptures and a lake. If you’re lucky, you’ll even spot storks roaming around the park, or making their nests in trees. Enjoy your proximity to the Ill river and take a sightseeing trip around the city by boat, or wander along the riverbank at your own pace to take in the sights independently.
Petite France, a central area of Strasbourg, is completely pedestrianised, so you can enjoy seeing the sights without the bustle, noise and pollution of an average city. If you enjoy cycling, you could take a guided bike tour or even rent a bike and explore the city solo.
Overall, if you’re looking for your next modern, big city to explore and fall in love with, Strasbourg probably isn’t the destination for you. But if you’re after a romantic destination packed with history, culture and a wonderful festive atmosphere around Christmas time, you’ve definitely found the right place. It completely depends on the kind of trip you’re looking for, and the experiences you want to fit in! We loved this city, and really hope you do too.
Getting there: Strasbourg is easily accessible by air internationally. Strasbourg airport itself is a minor international airport, with few flights, so it may not be the best option. However Strasbourg is easily accessible from other nearby airports such as Karlsruhe or Basel. You can also get to Strasbourg by train and coach from major cities in France and surrounding countries.
Visas: Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit France for a stay of up to 90 days.
Currency: The currency of France is the Euro.
Language: The official language of France is French, but English is widely spoken.
Time zone: Strasbourg is in the Central European Time Zone, usually an hour ahead of the UK.
Ready to go?
- Look for things to do in Strasbourg on GetYourGuide here
Let us remind you just how picture perfect this city with a few more photos from our visit. We really did adore Strasbourg!