Table of Contents
Nestled in the heart of Europe lies the ever-quaint Strasbourg. This fairytale Alsatian village is a hidden gem that is often overlooked, despite offering a variety of things to do. Here you’ll find medieval-style houses, charming markets, beautiful gardens, and savory traditional food.
There’s also a unique mix of German and French cultures that will leave you wondering which country you’re in. So, if you’re looking for a city rich in history with unparalleled beauty, then Strasbourg is for you. Here are the best things to do in Strasbourg.
1. Take in the Views from Barrage Vauban
Built in the 17th century, this dam served as the first line of defense by completely flooding the city. It was, however, only used once for this purpose, during the Franco-Prussian War, and has since been transformed into a historic monument. Today, the interior of the dam displays sculptures of cultural significance while the roof offers spectacular views over the city. From here you can have a bird’s eye view over the canals, La Petite France, and Strasbourg’s Notre Dame Cathedral. Opening Times: 8 am – 7pm (Sunday – Saturday)
Address: Pl. du Qur Blanc Closest Tram Stop: Langstross – Grand’Rue (Lines A and D)
2. Meander Around La Petite France
La Petite France is without a doubt the most picturesque neighborhood in Strasbourg. It’s particularly known for its narrow cobblestoned streets, half-timbered houses, and cozy restaurants.
From the moment you enter this unique quarter, you’ll notice that each building is a different color. And, while today, the goal is to have a variety of colors, this was not always the case. Before the 18th century, the color of the building corresponded to either the religion of the household or the type of shop (baker, butcher, etc.). Make sure to take a stroll down the Quai de la Petite France. There’s a small park with a beautiful collection of pink, orange, green, and blue buildings.
Closest Tram Stop: Langstross – Grand’Rue (Lines A and D)
3. Picnic in Parc de l’Orangerie
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy an afternoon in Parc de l’Orangerie (Orangerie Park). This charming park is full of winding paths that weave in and out of perfectly manicured gardens. There’s even a zoo, which has free admission. Since it’s the largest park in Strasbourg, it never feels full, despite its popularity. So, bring a packed lunch and picnic in one of the many grassed areas, then rent a boat and paddle around the lake.
Closest Tram Stop: Droits de l’Homme (Line E)
4. Visit the European Parliament
Believe or not, but Strasbourg is home to more than 20 European Institutions! And, since 1992, it’s has been the official seat of the European Parliament. So, why not walk its corridors and witness democracy in action. You can sit in on a plenary session and listen in on a live debate or tour the Parlamentarium. The tour is a 90-minute self-guided multimedia experience that will take you on a journey through the history of the European Union. It’s educational, informative, and provides insight into the European Union.
Address: All. du Printemps Closest Tram Stop: Parlement Européen (Line E)
5. Ride a Bike along the Rhine-Rhone-Canal
Strasbourg is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe. And renting a bike is a great way to explore the city. There are over 600 kilometers of well-labeled biking paths that pass through the city and the surrounding area. If you’re looking for more scenic paths, bike a section of the Rhone-Rhine Canal Cycle Route. You’ll pass small villages while following the beautiful Rhine River.
There are several picnic tables along the route, so be sure to bring a packed lunch. Of course, there are several places to rent a bike in Strasbourg, but the easiest and cheapest option is Vélhop! They have over 5000 bikes available at a time with flexible renting options. Prices start at only 6€ per day.
6. Tour the Musée des Beaux-Arts
Established in 1898, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is the oldest museum in Strasbourg. Not only that but it’s housed in one of the most important cultural landmarks in the city, the Rohan Palace. Here you’ll find artwork dating back to the 14th century. It’s an impressive collection totaling nearly 2000 pieces of art! Some of the most famous works include Vanity by Hans Memling and Portrait of a Young Lady by Raphael and Giulio Romano. Admission starts at 6.5€.
Address: 2 Pl. du Château Closest Tram Stop: Langstross – Grand’Rue (Lines A and D)
7. Devour a Tarte Flambée
Tarte flambée is a regional specialty consisting of a thin crust topped with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons. It’s like pizza, but with an Alsatian twist. And for it to be a true tarte flambée, it must be cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Given the popularity of this delicacy, there are several dedicated restaurants around Strasbourg. But the best selection of tartes flambées can be found at Binchstub Broglie. Just make sure to reserve at least a day in advance, they fill up quickly.
Address: 28 Imp. de l’Écrevisse, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Closest Tram Stop: Broglie (Lines B, C, and F)
8. Visit the Oldest Christmas Market in France
Every year at the end of November, Strasbourg undergoes a complete transformation. The streets are decorated with colorful lights, lively figurines, and small wooden chalets selling local crafts. As the smell of glühwein and choucroute fills the air, you have the impression that you’re in a real-life winter wonderland. Since this is the oldest Christmas market in France, it can get packed. So, plan on visiting early in the season or during the week to avoid the crowds.
9. Tour the Oldest Wine Cellar in Strasbourg
Alsace and wine are synonymous. In every corner of the region, you will find fields overflowing with gorgeous vineyards. Not only that but the Alsace Wine Route is one of the most famous in France and it passes by Strasbourg! Wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Alsace, so, why not spend a few hours learning about how wine is made? I
There are several wine cellars throughout Strasbourg, but the best is the Historic Wine Cellar of Strasbourg Hospices. This establishment dates to 1472 and houses the oldest wine in the world. So, it’s safe to say, they are experts. Free tours are offered throughout the week. Be sure to call in advance to book your place!
Address: 1 Pl. de L Hôpital Closest Tram Stop: Porte de l’Hôpital (Lines A and D)
10. Take a Day Trip to Colmar
Colmar stands out as one of the most beautiful villages in Alsace, and it’s only an hour by train from Strasbourg! Here you’ll find vibrant half-timbered early Renaissance and medieval buildings, fascinating museums, and one-of-a-kind shops.
Granted it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of it all, but don’t forget to stop by Rue des Écoles. This is without a doubt one of the colorful streets in Alsace. Then, if you’re a history buff, take a tour of Unterlinden Museum. They have a wide variety of artwork from prehistorical to contemporary times. Granted, there are a ton of things to do in Colmar, one day is more than enough to see the major highlights. Read here about more fun things to do in Colmar.
11. Visit Strasbourg’s Notre Dame Cathedral
If there’s one thing Strasbourg is known for it’s its Notre Dame Cathedral. This extraordinary piece of architecture stands at 142 meters, towering over the city. The exterior is decorated with ornate Gothic-style sculptures depicting various biblical figures while the interior houses stunning stained-glass windows.
There’s even an astronomical clock that comes to life every day at half-past noon. The sheer magnitude of intricacy makes it easy to see why it took more than 300 years to construct. You can tour the cathedral for free, but, if you want to go to the top, it’s 8€. It’s a small price for a magnificent view!
Address: Pl. de la Cathédrale Closest Tram Stop: Broglie (Lines B, C, and F)
12. Admire Place Kléber
Situated in the center of Strasbourg lies one of its more famous squares, Place Kléber. Here you’ll find the shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bakeries. Every Saturday morning it plays host to Strasbourg’s largest market, where locals come to sell their goods and produce.
And, during the Christmas Market, Strasbourg’s famous Christmas tree is placed in the center of Place Kléber. It’s an impressive sight to say the least. So, if you love to shop and want to catch a glimpse of daily life in Strasbourg, this is the place to be.
Closest Tram Stop: Homme de Fer (Lines A and D)
13. Step Back in Time at Musée Alsacien
Musée Alsacien is a museum dedicated to the cultures and traditions of Alsace from 18th to 19th century. The unique museum is set in several old half-timbered houses and contains over 5000 exhibits. From furniture and ceramics to costumes and religious imagery, it’s an impressive collection that you won’t find elsewhere. The museum also has a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year, so be sure to check if there’s something happening while you’re here. Admission starts at 6.5€.
Address: 23-25 Quai Saint Nicolas Closest Tram Stop: Porte de l’Hôpital (Line A and D)
Getting to Strasbourg
While Strasbourg does have an airport, it’s small and expensive, so it’s better to fly into a nearby city. And given Strasbourg’s central location, there are several options available. The most accessible cities include Frankfurt (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), and Paris (France). Each one of these cities is less than two hours from Strasbourg with buses and trains running regularly.
Where to Stay in Strasbourg
It’s true that there is no shortage of accommodation options in Strasbourg. But if you’re looking for convenient, easily accessible neighborhoods, then Krutenau and La Petite France are the best. For cheaper options head to Rivetoile. And those are the best things to do in Strasbourg. Have you been to Strasbourg? Tell us about your trip below. In the meantime, check out our Secret Destinations in France.
Jen Ciesielski wrote 13 Best Things to Do in Strasbourg for EuropeUpClose. She is an avid traveler, hiker, and photographer. While originally from Chicago, Jen, now lives in Strasbourg, France. She writes about her adventures around the world and travel photography, her two passions. And when she’s not planning her next adventure, you can find her hiking in the Vosges mountains. Take a look at her adventure travel and photography blog and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.