is-strasbourg-worth-visiting

Is Strasbourg Worth Visiting? 21 Reasons to Visit Strasbourg

Is Strasbourg worth visiting? As a French native, I would say that all the French cities are worth visiting.  However, Strasbourg is a charming town in the Alsace area which shouldn’t be missed.  The natural beauty of the city with its canals makes Strasbourg one of my favourite towns in France.

Strasbourg is a paradise if you love to wander as you will discover something interesting around each corner.  You will be transported back in time as walking around Strasbourg is like walking on to the pages of a fairy tale book!

So yes, Strasbourg is worth visiting.  Below is a list of some of the best places to visit in Strasbourg along with ideas about what to eat and drink in the city.

Where is Strasbourg France?

Strasbourg is situated in the Alsace area in the far east of France. Strasbourg is the biggest city and the capital of the Grand East Area. Strasbourg is in the Bas-Rhin department.

đź“Ť Map here

Is Strasbourg in France or Germany?

Today, Strasbourg is part of France and the city is close to the border with Germany. In the past, Strasbourg was part of Germany several times during the war.  However, since the end of World War II in 1944, Strasbourg has been a French city.

What to Do in Strasbourg?

Strasbourg is a charming city with cobbled streets and a relaxed atmosphere.  There are plenty of things to see and do in Strasbourg.  One of the advantages of Strasbourg is that you can visit the city on foot or by bicycle if you prefer.

Is Strasbourg Worth Visiting? Video Guide

1. La Grande ĂŽle, Strasbourg (Large Island)

La-Grande-ĂŽle-Strasbourg
La-Grande-ĂŽle-Strasbourg

At the heart of Strasbourg surrounded by the River Ill is La Grande ĂŽle (Large Island).  La Grande ĂŽle is the historic medieval centre of Strasbourg which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

In the centre of La Grande ĂŽle is the city’s main square, Place KlĂ©ber.  On La Grande ĂŽle, you will also find many of the main tourist sites including the Notre Dame Cathedral and La Petite France.

La-Grande-Ile-Canal
La-Grande-Ile-Canal

It is easy to walk around La Grande ĂŽle on foot.  Everywhere you turn, you will find lovely cobbled streets and half-timbered houses.  There are plenty of small restaurants bars and Winstub which serve authentic Alsatian food and drink.

2. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg (Notre Dame Cathedral)

In the centre of the old town, is the imposing Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral with its 142m high spire.  In fact, the cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France.  The façade is covered with detailed decorative figures and arches.

Cathédrale-Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg
Cathédrale-Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg

Inside the cathedral, you will discover stunning stained-glass windows from the 12th and 14th Centuries.  There is also an enormous organ and the famous Renaissance astronomic clock. 

astronomic-clock
astronomic-clock

To see the clock, head to the back of the cathedral in the far-right hand corner.  The best time to visit the clock is 12.30pm as there is a parade of the apostle figurines.

3. Palais Rohan, Strasbourg (Rohan Palace)

Palais-Rohan
Palais-Rohan

Close to the cathedral is the Palais Rohan which is the residence of the Prince-Bishops and Cardinals of the House of Rohan.  Inside are 3 museums: The Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Even if you are not interested in museums, the building is nice to visit as it is a beautiful example of French Baroque architecture.

4. La Petite France, Strasbourg

La-Petite-France
La-Petite-France

La Petite France is a picturesque area of Strasbourg which resembles Venice with cobbled streets, canals, and half-timbered houses.  This is a vibrant tourist area with plenty of small authentic restaurants and shops.  Make sure you explore the side streets because there are plenty of beautiful photo opportunities from small bridges across the canals.

Recommended Tours and Activities

Strasbourg: Euro Guided Tour by Segway

See the old and new landmarks of Strasbourg from a different perspective on a 2-hour Segway tour of the city and its districts, including the institutions of the Quartier Européen. Explore La Petite France, the German district and much more.

Strasbourg 3-Day City Pass: Boat Tour, Museums & More

Explore the sights of Strasbourg at your own pace with a 3-day Strasbourg Pass, and visit more as you spend less! Get free or half price entry to 10 key sites and activities, including boat tours, Museum entry and access to the cathedral’s terraces.

5. Ponts Couverts in La Petite France, Strasbourg (Covered Bridges)

Ponts-Couverts
Ponts-Couverts

Keep walking through La Petite France and you will find the Ponts Couverts.  The Ponts Couverts feature three bridges and four fortified towers over the River Ill.  At one time, the bridges were covered by a timber roof but today they are open. 

From the bridges, you can take some great photos of the Barrage Vauban (Vauban Dam) and Strasbourg with the Cathedral in the distance.

6. Barrage Vauban, Strasbourg (Vauban Dam)

Barrage-Vauban
Barrage-Vauban

The Barrage Vauban was built during 1681-1688 to give additional protection to the city of Strasbourg.  When the dam was closed, the area in front was flooded which prevented invaders from entering the city. 

Today, you can walk inside the dam to cross to reach the other side of the water or you can walk along the top (terrasse) of the dam.  From here, you can take some great photos of the Ponts Couverts and watch the boats entering the nearby lock (Ă©cluse).

7. Medieval Churches, Strasbourg

Medieval-Churches
Medieval-Churches

Close to La Petite France, you will find the Église Saint Pierre-Le-Vieux which is an interesting medieval church.  Other medieval churches on La Grande ĂŽle include Saint Pierre Le Jeune, Église Saint Thomas and the Église Saint Paul.

8. Kammerzell House, Strasbourg

Kammerzell-House
Kammerzell-House

Kamerzell House dates back to 1427 and is famous for being the most decorative and well-preserved building in Strasbourg.  Today, Kamerzell House is a restaurant and you can be transported back in time by eating in one of its rooms.  In front of Kammerzell House is a small attractive square lined with other restaurants.

9. Place Kléber, Strasbourg

place-kleber
place-kleber

Place KlĂ©ber is in the centre of La Grade ĂŽsle and is the largest square in Strasbourg.  In the middle, there is a statue of Jean-Baptiste KlĂ©ber who was a famous General during the French Revolution. 

The square is a popular meeting place with attractive fountains and is a pleasant spot to walk.  During the festive season, the Christmas Market is held here.

10. Place Broglie, Strasbourg (Broglie Square)

Place-Broglie
Place-Broglie

At Christmas, you will also find festive markets in the Place Broglie.  At other times of the year, the tree-lined Place Broglie is another attractive square to explore. 

Place Broglie is lined with many impressive buildings like the City Hall, the Governor’s Palace, the Bank de France, the historic military Mess building and the OpĂ©ra.  To the left of the Place Broglie is the Fontaine de Janus (Janus Fountain).

11. Opéra de Strasbourg (Strasbourg Opera House)

Opéra-de-Strasbourg
Opéra-de-Strasbourg

At the end of the Place Broglie is the Strasbourg Opera House.  This is a striking building with 6 sandstone columns.  Above each of the columns is a sandstone muse.  The Strasbourg Opera House is home to the OpĂ©ra national du Rhin and the Ballet of the OpĂ©ra national du Rhin.

12. Théâtre National de Strasbourg (National Theatre of Strasbourg)

Théâtre-National-de-Strasbourg
Théâtre-National-de-Strasbourg

If you are interested in the Arts, Strasbourg also has a theatre.  The National Theatre of Strasbourg is housed in a former palace building on the Place de la RĂ©publique.

Originally, the National Theatre of Strasbourg was built for the regional legislative assembly after Alsace-Lorraine came under German control.  In 1919, the area returned to France and the building was offered to the Strasbourg music conservatory.

In front of the National Theatre of Strasbourg are attractive gardens.  On the other sides of the Place de la RĂ©publique, you will also find the commanding Palais du Rhin (Imperial Palace) which was the official resident of the Kaiser and the domed Bibliothèque Nationale Universitaire de Strasbourg (The National and University Library).

Palais-du-Rhin
Palais-du-Rhin

13. Strasbourg Museums

Strasbourg also has plenty of museums to visit during your stay:

Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCS) (Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art)

If you love art, the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art houses exhibitions which cover almost 5,000 square metres.  In addition to three or four temporary exhibitions a year, the museum also has permanent contemporary art collections featuring the work of DorĂ©, Kandinsky, Rossetti, Pissarro, Monet and Rodin as well as Alsatian artists.

The museum is located on 1 place Hans Jean Arp close to the Barrage Vauban.

đź“Ť Map here

Musée Historique (The Historical Museum)

Historical-Museum
Historical-Museum

The Historical Museum showcases the history of Strasbourg from the middle ages to the establishment of its European institutions.  The museum is designed to be a fun and interactive experience. 

If you would like to learn more about the history of Strasbourg, this museum is situated on 2 rue du Vieux Marché aux Poissons.

đź“Ť Map here

Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame (The Oeuvre Notre-Dame Museum)

The Oeuvre Notre-Dame Museum is situated very close to the city’s cathedral.  This museum is dedicated to seven centuries of art from Strasbourg and the Upper Rhine region.  You can enjoy rich medieval and Renaissance collections alongside masterpieces from Strasbourg cathedral. 

This museum can be found on 3 place du Château. 📍 Map here

Musée Alsacien (Alsatian Museum)

The Alsatian Museum celebrates the arts and popular traditions of Alsace.  The museum is based in old Strasbourg homes linked by charming wooden staircases and passageways.  The rooms are filled with furniture and objects from rural life in Alsace during the 18th and 19th centuries.

AlsaceTraditions
AlsaceTraditions

If you want to be transported back in time, you will find this museum on 23-25 quai Saint Nicolas.

đź“Ť Map here

Palais Rohan

The Palais Rohan is home to 3 important city museums:

  1. Musée archéologique
  2. Musée des arts decoratifs
  3. Musée des beaux-arts

In the basement, you will find the MusĂ©e archĂ©ologique (The Archaeological Museum).  On the ground floor is the MusĂ©e des arts decoratifs (The Museum of Decorative Arts).  Finally, on the first and second floors is the MusĂ©e des beaux-arts (The Museum of Fine Arts).

The Museum of Decorative Arts includes a visit to the historical apartments of the Rohan cardinals.  The Palais Rohan is located on 2 place du Château.

đź“Ť Map here

Others Articles Which May Interest You.

Zoological Museum

The Zoological Museum is located on the Strasbourg University campus and celebrates animal diversity through its various collections.  The Zoological museum is situated on 29 boulevard de la Victoire.

đź“Ť Map here

14. Le Parlement Européen (The European Parliament)

European-Parliament-Strasbourg
European-Parliament-Strasbourg

Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, and you can visit this important transnational institution during a 45-minute tour. 

Visits include the Parlamentarium Simone Veil which features a 360-degree cinema and interactive games which explain the role of the European Parliament and the process of European law making.  During your visit, you will also walk the corridors of the parliament and experience the Hemicycle debating chamber.

15. Le Marché de Noel (Christkindelsmärik or Christmas Markets)

christmas-market
christmas-market

Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas.  Every year, a Christmas market is held on the Grande ĂŽle near Strasbourg Cathedral and on Place KlĂ©ber.  The Christmas market in Strasbourg is one of the oldest in Europe as this tradition started in 1570. 

For the festive season, Strasbourg has more than 300 stalls, kilometres of fairy lights, the Great Christmas Tree in Place Kléber and entertainment.

16. Strasbourg Food Specialities

If you are like us, you are probably planning your visit and asking yourself what food is Strasbourg famous for?

Well, the food in Strasbourg is very different from traditional French cuisine but is delicious in its own right.  Certainly, Alsatian cuisine is influenced by neighbouring Germany.  Here is some of the food Strasbourg is famous for:

Choucroute

Choucroute
Choucroute

Choucroute is similar to Sauerkraut but better.  This dish is a delicious mix of stewed shredded cabbage served with waxy potatoes and a selection of slow-cooked meats including sausages.

Flammekeuche or Tarte Flambée

Flammekeuche
Flammekeuche

Admittedly, we ate quite a lot of Flammekeuche whilst we stayed in Strasbourg!  The Flammekeuche slightly resembles a pizza but has a paper-thin crispy base with crème fraĂ®che and various toppings including fromage blanc, onions, lardons, Emmental cheese and mushrooms.

Foie Gras

Foie Gras has been made in the region since the 17th century.  We ate delicious home-made Foie Gras at a Winstub called Le Tire-Bouchon (5 rue des tailleurs de pierre).

Wine

Of course, Alsace is also known for its wonderful white wines: Riesling, GewĂĽrztraminer, Pinot Gris and Muscat.  The region also produces a sparkling wine called CrĂ©mant d’Alsace which we enjoyed at our wedding reception!

Recommended Tours and Activities

Strasbourg: Self-Guided Gourmet Tour

Explore the culinary scene of Strasbourg on a self-guided walking tour and sample the typical food and drinks of the Alsace region at 7 different tasting sessions. Use your complimentary map and booklet to guide you to 12 unusual locations.

17. Eating at a Winstub

Winstub
Winstub

Whilst you are in Alsace, make sure you eat at a Winstub.  These are small cosy settings which offer an authentic dining experience in a traditional Alsatian setting.  Traditionally, Winstubs were for working class Alsatians to enjoy traditional comfort dishes and local wine.

Today, Winstubs are very popular places to eat in Strasbourg.  You can still expect to enjoy a good, value for money meal based on local specialities accompanied by regional wines.

18. Local Food Markets

Local-Market
Local-Market

We love to wander around local food markets when we travel as they are a great way of getting a feel for regional food.  If you enjoy food markets, head to the Halles de Neudorf (Place du MarchĂ©) which is the only covered market in Strasbourg.  Alternatively, the MarchĂ© de Strasbourg is held on the Rue du Faubourg National. 

Before you head off to one of Strasbourg’s markets, check out the days and times they are held

19. Walking Along the Strasbourg Quays (Quais de Strasbourg)

Strasbourg-Quais
Strasbourg-Quais

The Grand ĂŽle is easily explored on foot.  We really enjoyed walking along the quays (quais) whilst we were in Strasbourg.  It is extremely relaxing to walk alongside the river.  In addition, the scenery is charming, and we took some great photos of the picturesque buildings and their reflection in the River Ill.

There are footpaths all along the quays.  One of our favourite walks was along the Quai des PĂŞcheurs and the Quai des Batelliers and the Quai Saint Thomas which leads all the way to La Petite France.

Recommended Tours and Activities

Strasbourg Historical Center: Private Walking Tour

Explore Strasbourg’s historical centre on a 2-hour guided walking tour. Take in the sights and the places you’re interested in. Customise the tour to your wishes or leave the planning to your guide, who will take you wherever you want.

20. Boat and Bike Tour of Strasbourg

Strasbourg-Bicycles
Strasbourg-Bicycles

If you tire of walking around Strasbourg, the city is also easy to navigate the city by bicycle.  The city is well-served by cycle paths.  Strasbourg has a bike sharing service called Vélhop

To gain a different perspective of this beautiful city, why not take to the water?  There are a variety of different companies which offer covered and uncovered boat trips on the River Ill depending on the weather.

Recommended Tours and Activities

Strasbourg City Centre Guided Bike Tour with a Local

On this 2.5-hour bike tour your guide will show you the 3 main areas of Strasbourg. Ride through the streets of Petite France, the city’s Old Town, the 19th-century Neustadt district and the sector that is home to important European Institutions.

21. Wine Tour Day Trip from Strasbourg

If you are a wine-lover, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take a day trip from Strasbourg and visit a vineyard.  It’s a great way to discover local Alsatian villages and their vineyards and to learn more about wine production.

Recommended Tours and Activities

Alsace: Full-Day Wine Tour & Tastings from Strasbourg

Enjoy a full day tour of the Alsace Wine Route. Visit the Mittelbergheim region, which produces fine Rieslings. Taste wines at 3 different wineries during the day, including 2 afternoon tasting stops in the medieval villages of Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr.