Strasbourg is a French town near the border of France and Germany. There are German influences, like the colorful half timbered houses that line the streets of Germany. However, it’s possible to pop into a tiny cafe for a fresh baguette, which reminds you that you are indeed in France. Admiring the beautiful buildings and frequenting the charming cafes are among the many things to do in Strasbourg France.
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The merging of French and German cultures, along with the picturesque views everywhere you look, make for a dreamy getaway. While I could easily spend days meandering the streets of Strasbourg, it’s possible to see Strasbourg in a day. Allow me to share our stories of how we spent one day in Strasbourg. Here are the top things to do in Strasbourg in a short amount of time.
Getting to Strasbourg
There are numerous ways to get to Strasbourg. First, there’s the option to arrive by plane on a flight to Strasbourg. You might find better priced international flights to Frankfurt, Germany, which is relatively close by.
If you’d rather travel around the region by car, we suggest comparing prices on rental cars in advance to find the best rate. Here’s where you can compare rental car prices ahead of time.
Where to Stay in Strasbourg
We took an Uber from the train station to our hotel, the MGallery Cour du Corbeau. It’s one of the best places to stay in Strasbourg. Justin and I were greeted immediately at the front reception desk by friendly and kind staff members that made us feel right at home. Cour du Corbeau is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture and it’s one of the oldest hotels in Europe.
Our spacious suite incorporated modern design with old world charm. The half-timbered framing from the building’s exterior carried right into our room. Exposed wooden beams marked the corridor to the bedroom where we enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. Just across the room, there was a living space with a couch, coffee table, and a TV. Ideal for both couples and families, the sofa bed offers a secondary sleeping area.
The best surprise of all was the view from our suite’s window overlooking the inner courtyard. I pulled back the curtains and opened the little window near the bed. Poking my head outside, the historic half-timbered structure and flowers lining every space of the balconies was so captivating. The enchanting qualities of Strasbourg were visible in plain sight right from our window. I felt like I was living in a fairy tale.
Needless to say, I was in love. If you’re looking for where to stay in Strasbourg, we highly recommend the MGallery Cour du Corbeau. Reserve your stay at the Cour du Corbeau, and be sure to check out these reviews written by fellow travelers.
Pick Up Strasbourg Pass
Once you’re ready to hit the town, head straight to the Strasbourg Tourist Office (17 Place de la Cathédrale) and pick up your Strasbourg Pass. I recommend purchasing it online in advance and bringing your voucher right to the desk. You’ll be hooked up with your official Strasbourg city pass within seconds. You can use the pass for three days consecutively, although it’s worth it even if you’re only spending one day in Strasbourg.
The Strasbourg Pass features all of the best things to do in Strasbourg. It gives you free admission to some attractions and a reduced price at others. For instance, you can take a boat tour in Strasbourg, visit the platform of the Strasbourg Cathedral, see the astronomical clock at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and visit one of the museums for free. Then, you can visit a second museum, as well as several other activities and tours at half price or a reduced cost.
If you’re looking for what to do in Strasbourg, the activities and tours on this city card are a great place to start. Even if you only check a couple of things off the list, the Strasbourg Pass is well worth the cost. Things aren’t exactly cheap in Strasbourg, so it’s nice to receive a deal now and again!
Things to Do in Strasbourg: Boat Ride
Starting the list of Strasbourg attractions, use your Strasbourg Pass to take a boat ride along the the River Ill. Taking a tour by boat allows you to get acquainted with the city, both in terms of its geography and history. This 70 minute boat tour is one of the top things to do in Strasbourg France because it’s relaxing, you can see beautiful places from a different perspective, and you learn facts about the town.
Choose from 11 languages for the audio guide that comes with the tour. It starts downtown at the Batorama office. Then, you’ll visit the European Parliament building, the district of Neustadt, and Petite France. Travel through two canal locks and beneath old bridges. I recommend starting your day with a boat ride, as it’s one of the best attractions in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg Attractions: Petite France
It’s called a fairy tale town for good reason; the Petite France section of Strasbourg is like stepping into the scene of a dreamy book or movie. It’s easy to feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. At Petite France, the River Ill splits into numerous smaller channels with lots of narrow, winding streets around them. The two of us wandered around Petite France twice: once in the late afternoon, and another time in the early morning hours the following day.
While it certainly wasn’t crowded when we visited Strasbourg in June, there was a whole different aura surrounding the neighborhood in the morning. There weren’t any tourists in sight; there were only people taking their dogs out for a sunrise stroll.
I watched Strasbourg wake up, and it was delightful. Sitting at the edge of a calm channel, I observed an older, shirtless man standing out on his balcony. On a neighboring balcony, an elderly woman throws open her balcony doors and tends to her laundry. The man and the woman exchange morning greetings and converse back and forth in French. I wondered if this was their morning routine.
After exploring a very quiet Petite France, we walked down Grand’Rue, one of the main streets in town with shops and restaurants. Even though it was still early, a line formed out the door at a local bakery, L’atelier 116. I asked if they had any vegan offerings, and there were a few freshly baked rolls and baguettes. I was more than happy to eat fresh baguette for breakfast. While in France, am I right?
Visit the Strasbourg Cathedral
Simply put, the Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre-Dame is one of the most stunning gothic churches in Europe. It’s not to be missed, and it’s hard to miss this massive structure at Place de la Cathédrale. Victor Hugo once referred to it as a “skillful combination of monumental size and delicateness”. Even with just one day in Strasbourg, make a point of visiting the Cathedral.
The cathedral is over 1000 years old and originally constructed on the site of a Roman temple. It has stood the test of time and many catastrophes. For instance, the first version of the cathedral, dating back to 1015, was destroyed by fire. Its reconstruction began in the 12th century, and the 142 meter spire was completed in 1439. The church suffered greatly through three wars between 1870 and 1945, but it survived.
The exterior facade features hundreds of statues and intricate carvings, and the pink sandstone changes color depending on the time of the day. The interior of the church is peaceful and quiet, showcasing stained glass windows from the 12th and 14th centuries. You’ll also find the astronomical clock inside the cathedral.
The Platform of the Strasbourg Cathedral
One of the best things to do in Strasbourg is climb the narrow and winding staircases to the top platform of the cathedral. This Strasbourg attraction is included in your Strasbourg Pass; otherwise, one ticket is 5 Euros. Climbing to the top is a unique experience. Even though the staircases are the opposite of spacious, you get various windows to the outside world as you make the trek. We stopped to take photos when there weren’t other visitors coming up behind us.
Naturally, the best views are from the very top. From the platform of the cathedral, you can look over the entire town on two different sides. A Strasbourg Gay Pride event was happening down below, so we watched as the parade of rainbow flags and people cheering filled the streets. I love viewing cities and architecture from up above, so I definitely recommend that you check it out.
The Strasbourg Astronomical Clock
The astronomical clock inside the cathedral is quite beautiful, too. The first astronomical clock in Strasbourg, built in 1352-1354, stopped working in the 16th century. The present day mechanism dates from 1842. You can watch the show at 12:30pm each day with a parade of an assortment of miniature figures (except on Sundays and public holidays).
Conversely, 12:30pm is likely the busiest time to visit the Strasbourg cathedral. If you have no interest in viewing the astronomical clock, I’d recommend going there at a different time of the day. However, depending on the time of the year, it might not be too busy there. (Naturally, as so many times before throughout Europe, the astronomical clock was under repairs when we visited. Gotta love scaffolding!)
What to Do in Strasbourg: Rent a Bicycle
Justin and I decided to rent bicycles for a few hours during our time in Strasbourg. While we mostly walked everywhere we went, we wanted to ride to farther spaces and enjoy the simple pleasures of riding a bicycle. It’s a great way to see Strasbourg in a day because you can travel farther than walking alone. It’s easy to rent a bike in Strasbourg. While there are many bike stations around town, we opted to rent directly from Vélhop (3 Rue d’Or).
You can rent by the hour from the stations or by the day from the stores. It’s very inexpensive to rent a bike, and we had a wonderful time exploring the city this way. It was certainly one of my favorite things to do in Strasbourg.
Ride to Park L’Orangerie
If you’re seeking green space during your one day in Strasbourg, head directly to Park L’Orangerie. There are many paths, rows of trees, and duck ponds. We even saw a library of books where you could exchange, take, or drop off your reading material. Park L’Orangerie is the perfect picnic spot, place to curl up with a book, or place to ride your bike. There were a family of swans with their babies when we visited, and they were super adorable.
Where to Eat in Strasbourg
Who knew that there were so many amazing vegan restaurants in Strasbourg? I really had no idea until we got there, but Justin and I had absolutely no issues finding plant-based meals. Actually, we didn’t have enough time to sample everything that Strasbourg had to offer. I guess that means we’ll have to return someday.
Even this article aims to show you how to visit Strasbourg in a day, we actually spent two nights / a day and a half in the city. This Strasbourg dining guide should keep you covered for at least two days. I’ve outlined everything that we ate in my Strasbourg vegan guide. However, here is a shortlist of the best restaurants in Strasbourg.
Vélicious (43 rue Geiler) is a cozy vegan restaurant and cafe serving up organic, plant-based cuisine. Justin and I couldn’t resist ordering the vegan cheese platter (because…well, vegan cheese! Enough said!) consisting of three kinds of cheese, bread, and fig chutney. For my main dish, I asked for the Middle Eastern wrap with seitan (seitan, chickpeas, mint, lemon zest, cream) with a green salad. Justin got a Greek salad with Greek vegan cheese. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best restaurants in Strasbourg.
Velicious Burger is a fast food version of Vélicious, and it’s right on the main tourist street in town (20 Grand’Rue). Justin and I both ordered the Queen Cheese burger as a combo with fries. They included vegan mayo and ketchup as dip for the fries, which was really tasty. The burger itself was super yummy. If you’re looking for fast food that’s satisfying and tastes great, stop by Vélicious Burger. The omnivores in the crowd won’t even be able to taste the difference!
Have you been to an all vegan and vegetarian pizzeria before? It’s a rarity for sure, but you need to head to Pizz’arome (15 Rue de la Croix) in Strasbourg. You buy pizza here by the slice, and the vegetarian and vegan slices are in separate sections. There are several varieties with vegan cheese and vegetable toppings. Once you place your order, he’ll heat them up for you and you’re good to dine there or take them away with you.
Harmonie Bowl & Juice
Harmonie Bowl & Juice (5 Rue St Étienne) serves up fresh and delicious meals, perfect as a brunch or lunch spot. Justin ordered the Tokyo Bowl (adzuki bean, cucumber, avocado) and I selected the K-Bowl (with tofu, kimchi, and sweet potato). We also ordered an iced tea and a watermelon juice. The food is artfully prepared and looks as good as it tastes. It’s one of the best restaurants in Strasbourg for flavorful, healthy cuisine.
Bistrot et Chocolat
Definitely head to Bistrot et Chocolat (8 Rue de la Râpe) for dessert, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Ordering an iced latte with almond milk definitely provided the jolt I needed to get through the rest of a busy sightseeing day. Justin and I split a dessert, which was a chocolate molten lava cake with mango sorbet. The cake was warm, gooey, and very tasty.
|Essential France Travel Guide|
|Getting There: The main airport in France is the Paris Charles de Gaulle and it’s where I started my Ireland road trip. You’ll most likely find cheap flights to Paris when compared to other airports in France. The national airline of France is Air France – KLM Group. There is also an airport in Strasbourg, so I recommend taking a look at flights to Strasbourg, too.|
Getting Around: I highly recommend traveling by train throughout Europe. It’s an easy and stress-free way to travel. While you don’t need to book train tickets to some regional trains in advance, I recommend booking all high speed train tickets ahead of time. You can easily buy train tickets to Strasbourg online in advance. If you’d rather travel by car, you can compare car rental prices in France to get the best rate.
Fast Facts: Euro is the currency. Power voltage is 230 V 50hz using Power Sockets E.
SIM Cards & Mobile: First, you can rent a portable Wi-Fi device with unlimited data that works in 130+ countries worldwide. We’ve used our portable device all over the world and love how we’re always connected!
Where to Stay: In Strasbourg, we stayed at the beautiful property, M Gallery Cour de Corbeau. Read our full review, book your stay at this amazing hotel, and read more reviews online here. If you prefer staying in apartments and houses, take a look at Airbnb properties.
Travel Safety: Don’t forget to get travel insurance before your trip. Whether you have an accident, have a flight delay, experience a theft, or need to return home sooner than anticipated, it’s always best to cover your bases. Get a travel insurance quote now for the best rates.
|Browse all of our France photos and read more of our France travel blog posts.|
Strasbourg, we quickly fell for you! It’s like a living and breathing fairy tale. With so many wonderful things to do in Strasbourg France, you’re guaranteed to have a blissful visit. Whether you spend one day in Strasbourg or several, you’ll have a fantastic time in this Alsatian city. Thinking about adding on a trip to the nearby city of Mulhouse? Here’s our travel guide to Strasbourg and Mulhouse, two amazing French cities.