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15 things to see in Strasbourg: the best attractions and things to do

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Joel Fulleda
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Crossroads of Europe, a "logistic" destination for international political and humanitarian interests, a perfect mix between two cultures, the German and the French, which over the centuries have contended for its "ownership". Strasbourg is one of those cities to visit absolutely, seat of the European Parliament, the Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe, where many "souls" coexist: the cultural one, the gastronomic and wine one, the more exquisitely cosmopolitan one.

Let's get to know it thoroughly together, here things to see in Strasbourg: the best attractions and things to do!



Index

  1. Great Île
  2. Place Klébe
  3. Notre Dame Cathedral
  4. Maison Kammerzell
  5. Le Petite France
  6. Barrage Vauban and Ponts Couverts
  7. Rohan Palace Museums
  8. Museum of the Opera of Notre-Dame
  9. Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait
  10. Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  11. Alsatian Museum
  12. Strasbourg City History Museum
  13. European Institutions of Strasbourg
  14. Parc de l'Orangerie
  15. Jardin botanique of the Université de Strasbourg
  16. Other attractions to visit
  17. 7 things to do in Strasbourg
  18. User questions and comments

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1 - Grande Île

Strasbourg is crossed by the river ill, creating several city "islands". The most famous is Grande Île, island that encloses the historic center and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Here you will find most of the attractions to visit in the city, but among all the delightful streets, you risk getting lost! For a first approach, opt for a guided walking tour, you will learn more about the history and attractions of the city!

The architecture of the Grande Île is characterized by the typical half-timbered houses, which will make you take a real step back in time! This is also the perfect place to start discovering the city, to then go to other districts, such as the European one where the European Parliament is located, the Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe and the Parc de l'Orangerie.

Easily reachable on foot from anywhere in the city, it corresponds to the historic center and here are the main attractions. Just 1,1km from Gare de Strasbourg central station (15 min walk) and crossed by some tram lines - Get directions



2 - Place Klébe

If Grande Île is the heart of Strasbourg, Place Klébe is the heart of Grande Île and the historic center! It is the most important square and meeting point for the inhabitants of the city! Numerous events are held here throughout the year. It is also very easy to reach every major attraction from here!

This is also the starting point of the Christmas celebrations, from late November, when becomes a real Christmas village in the open air, with a huge Christmas tree, markets and events of all kinds! To make the most of this atmosphere, there is also a specific tour of the Christmas markets!

Easily reachable on foot from every point of Grande Île, in the heart of the historic center. Not far from the Cathedral (500m, 61 min) or Petite France (550m, 7 min) - Get directions

3 - Notre Dame Cathedral

The beautiful Cathedral is without a doubt one of the symbols of the city. It took 8 centuries to make it so impressive and fascinating! Its construction began in 1015, on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules. Furthermore, the Cathedral is one of the greatest examples of Gothic in Europe!

The religious building, which with the spire reaches a height of 142 m, it is equally impressive inside as well as outside. The facade, with its sculpted door, is a sort of Bible depicting different episodes from the life of Jesus. The interior of the cathedral, on the other hand, is characterized by a simple and sober decor. Capture the interest of visitors thanks to three "micro-attractions": the stained glass windows, the Astronomical Clock and the Pilastro degli Angeli.



Watch out for Sundays and holidays: Tourist visits to the Cathedral are not allowed on Sunday mornings and public holidays, on the occasion of the celebrations of Holy Mass or religious holidays. So be sure to include your visit during the week or Sunday afternoon.

  • in the Place de la Cathédrale. Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île, such as the Rohan Palace (60m, 1 min) or Place Kléber (550m, 6 min) - Get directions
  • Mon-Sat 9: 30-11: 15 and 12: 45-17: 45, Sun and holidays 13: 30-17: 30 / astronomical clock Mon-Sat only 12:00 (access 11:30)
  • free / full astronomical clock € 3,00, reduced € 2,00

4 - Maison Kammerzell

E' the most beautiful house in all of Strasbourg! It is located on the Place de la Cathédrale e represents the triumph of Alsatian architecture, with its wooden tiles, leaded windows and unique decorations. It was built at the behest of the wealthy cheese merchant Bronn, although it takes its name from the merchant Kammerzell, who bought it in 1806.

Inside, the attraction has found its ideal redevelopment, becoming one of the busiest restaurants in the city and a hotel. It cannot therefore be visited freely, but you can decide to stop for dinner inside the restaurant to live a unique experience!

  • in Place de la Cathédrale 16. Easily accessible on foot from any point of Grande Île, such as the Rohan Palace (60m, 1 min) or Place Kléber (550m, 6 min) - Get directions
  • always accessible from the outside / inside according to restaurant hours, consult the official website
  • free from outside / restaurant variable prices based on dinner

5 - Le Petite France

Le Petite France, which in Italian means Little France, is one of the most romantic and most loved neighborhoods in Strasbourg. A real postcard, with the typical sixteenth-century architecture houses, shops and typical shops. This was for many centuries the area where millers, tanners and fishermen lived.

Today it is one of the most characteristic areas, although barns and warehouses have been replaced with craft workshops and souvenir shops. Furthermore, the area is completely closed to traffic, making it accessible only to pedestrians and cyclists, to be able to experience it even better. A real step back in time!

Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île. It is located in the southernmost part of the historic center, not far from the Cathedral (800m, 10 min) and Place Kléber (550m, 7 min) - Get directions.



To visit at sunset: one of the most evocative moments to explore the neighborhood is absolutely the sunset, when the colors of the sky are reflected on the water, creating wonderful plays of light. A paradise also for photography lovers, who will be able to take real postcard photos.

6 - Barrage Vauban and Ponts Couverts

In the southern area of ​​Petit France there is a set of bridges and towers, from which to enjoy wonderful views of the city! One of the best times to visit this area is definitely at sunset!

The first is Ponts Couverts, which it consists of 3 bridges and 4 towers dating back to the thirteenth century, built for defensive purposes.

The other bridge is Barrage Vauban, a completely closed bridge declared a Historic Monument in 1971. This bridge was also built with a defensive purpose. Nowadays it has a panoramic terrace to admire the city and the Petit France district, while the interiors are used to display statues and temporary exhibitions.

  • in the district of Le Petit France. Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île, not far from the Cathedral (800m, 10 min) and Place Kléber (550m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • every day 9: 00-22: 00
  • free

7 - Museums of Palazzo Rohan

All the best of the artistic-archaeological museum culture it is contained in the rooms of the sumptuous Palazzo dei Rohan. Originally erected to provide hospitality to the Prince Bishops, today it is one of the most visited attractions in Strasbourg!

There are three museums enclosed within this monumental attraction: the Archaeological Museum, to retrace the history of Alsace since the remote primitive era; the Museum of Decorative Arts, full of pottery, sculptures, jewels that belonged to the opulent cardinals of the city; the Museum of Fine Arts, believed one of the most important in Europe, with works of the highest quality by the likes of Raphael, Giotto, Goya and Delacroix, just to name a few.

Plan your visit: if you want to visit all three museums, we recommend that you dedicate the whole day to them, as the collections are very large! Alternatively, you can opt for some of the museums, based on your interests. At the entrance, have a map of the museum or plan in advance the route to follow through the info you find on the official website.

  • in the Place de la Cathédrale. Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île, such as the Cathedral (60m, 1 min) or Place Kléber (700m, 8 min) - Get directions
  • all three museums Wed-Mon 10: 00-18: 00, closed Tue
  • full € 6,50, reduced € 3,50

8 - Museum of the Opera of Notre-Dame

The Museum of the Opera of Notre-Dame, in French Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame, is located near the Cathedral and is centered on the collection of the best medieval and Renaissance works of art not only of Strasbourg, but of the whole of Alsace and also of the Upper Rhine area.

The museum, housed in a pair of buildings with a clear neo-Gothic flavor, houses various works ranging from the early Middle Ages to 1861, the year of the annexation of Alsace to France. You can indeed admire architectural elements, works of art, vintage maps and wonderful stained glass windows, all from numerous churches in the region. Among the exhibits, you will find masterpieces such as the Head of Christ stained glass window from Wissembourg and Conrad Witz's painting of Saint Catherine and Mary Magdalene, as well as paintings by Hans Baldung and Sebastian Stoskopff.

  • in Place du Château 3. Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île, such as the Cathedral (50m, 1 min) or Place Kléber (600m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • full € 6,50, reduced € 3,50

9 - Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait

Located in the historic center, behind the Cathedral Museum and near the Rohan Palace, Place du Marché-aux-Cochons-de-Lait is a quaint little square that you shouldn't miss! This, in fact, in the past was a merchant area, where the most profitable activity was the buying and selling of suckling pigs of Strasbourg! An important part of history is linked to this square.

Obviously today this activity is no longer held, but the square, which literally in Italian means Suckling Pig Market, is one of the meeting points for the inhabitants and one of the busiest! In addition to several clubs, here you can often come across numerous markets.

Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île. It is located in the southernmost part of the historic center, not far from the Cathedral (150 m, 2 min) and from Place Kléber (650 m, 8 min) - Get directions

10 - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, full name Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, is an attraction to visit absolutely, especially if you have visited the Museum of Fine Arts at the Rohan Palace, this is because it takes up the artistic path of this 'last and are therefore linked together!

Housed in a glass building dating back to 1998, the museum traces all forms of art from the late nineteenth century to today, with several permanent collections that also contain works by Picasso, Monet, Kandinsky, Duchamp, Ernst and Gustave Doré, more generally embracing styles such as impressionism and post-impressionism, twentieth-century art, expressionism and surrealism.

  • in 1 Place Hans-Jean-Arp. Easily reachable on foot from Le Petit France (700 m, 9 min) and Gare Central train station (600 m, 8 min). Reference bus and tram station Musée d'Art Moderne (tram line B, bus N1) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • full € 7,00, reduced € 3,50

11 - Alsatian Museum

Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and is indeed an excellent starting point for exploring the whole region.

But if you are short on time or your trip focuses only on Strasbourg, we still recommend that you discover the region by visiting the Alsatian Museum, located near the historic center. In fact, the museum houses several on Alsatian art, folklore and rural life. It is also worth a visit for the location: the collections are in fact exhibited in two ancient residences in the city, connected by stairs and wooden walkways!

  • in Quai Saint-Nicolas 23-25. Easily reachable on foot from the Rohan Palace (300 m, 4 min) and the Cathedral (350 m, 4 min). Reference bus station Corbeau (lines N1, N2 and N3) - Get directions
  • Wed-Mon 10: 00-18: 00, closed Tues
  • single price € 3,50, free for under 18s

12 - Strasbourg City History Museum

Another really nice museum and that will allow you to get to know the city better is the History Museum of the city of Strasbourg, the Musée historique de la ville de Strasbourg, located in the Grande Île. The exhibitions range from the medieval city to the 200s, with the creation of European institutions and the birth of the important role that Strasbourg now plays.

The museum, organized with interactive exhibitions to bring even the youngest visitors closer, exhibits about 1.300 objects, such as commemorative objects, relics, tools and photographs, which will give you an overview of what life has been like in the city over the centuries.

  • in Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons 2. Easily accessible on foot from anywhere in Grande Île, such as the Cathedral (290m, 3 min) or Place Kléber (600m, 7 min) - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • full € 6,50, reduced € 3,50

13 - European Institutions of Strasbourg

You cannot leave Strasbourg without visiting the European quarter, that is the area where all the buildings that house the various institutions are located, then the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights, which with their presence made Strasbourg the Capital of Europe.

Since these are institutional and government buildings, it is not possible to visit them inside, except for the Parliament. However, this is an area with a particular and modern architecture, which deserves to be visited! If you are particularly interested in European history, we recommend the Euro guided tour.

For the Parliament it is instead reservation required for the visit on the official website. At the entrance you will be asked for the documents to proceed to all the security checks and then you can take the audio guide, available in 24 languages, including Italian.

Attend plenary sessions: it is possible to visit the Parliament also during the Plenary Sessions, or parliamentary sessions. In any case, it is better to book as soon as possible on the official website to guarantee you a place.

  • Parliament on Place Adrien Zeller 7, Allée du Printemps BP, in the European Quarter. Reference tram stop Parlement Européen (line E). From Gare Centrale train station bus line H (15 min) - Get directions
  • European quarter always accessible / Parliament visits Mon-Sat 9: 30-12: 00 and 13: 00-17: 00
  • free

14 - Parc de l'Orangerie

The Parc de l'Orangerie is the oldest green area in Strasbourg and is a place much loved by locals. Sunday becomes a real meeting point, where families meet to let their children play, while joggers invade the paths running. It extends over 26 hectares!

But not just relaxation and walks along the Les Promenades de l'Orangerie, inside the park there are many attractions to visit: Aire De Jeux is the play area completely dedicated to children, while the Circuit de voitures anciennes is a small carousel with vintage cars! In the park there is also the Mini-ferme de l'Orangerie, a zoo with free admission, not very extensive but ideal for spending a few hours!

  • in the northern part of Strasbourg. Easily accessible on foot from the European Parliament (1,3 km, 16 min). Reference bus stop Conseil de l'Europe (lines 30, 72, L6), tram stop Droits de l'Homme (line E) - Get directions
  • every day 7: 00-20: 00
  • free

15 - Jardin botanique of the Université de Strasbourg

The Botanical Garden, full name Jardin botanique de l'iversité de Strasbourg, is another wonderful green area of ​​the city! IS' the botanical garden of the University of the city and is developed right in the university complex, but it can be visited and open to the public!

Inside you can stroll through the avenues and admire six thousand botanical species, a luxuriant greenhouse, imposing and centuries-old trees! Inside the botanical garden there is also the Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg, an imposing planetarium dating back to 1881, which can be visited through guided tours and with various training and didactic activities (consult the official website).

  • in Rue Goethe 28, in the University of Strasbourg. Easily reached on foot from Palazzo dei Rohan (1,5 km, 18 min). Observatoire reference stop (bus lines 2, L1 and N2 / tram lines C, E and F) - Get directions
  • every day, March and April 14: 00-18: 00, from May to October 15: 00-18: 00, November and December 14: 00-16: 00, closed from 24 December to 28 February
  • free

Other attractions to visit

The attractions seen so far are the must see in Strasbourg, but if you have more time to visit the city there are many other things to see!

The historic center and the neighboring districts are a real open-air museum, which really deserve an in-depth visit! If you have time, we recommend that you go after the center also enjoy a walk in the Quartier Krutenau, full of art galleries and fashion boutiques and where you can taste some of the culinary specialties of the city, all surrounded by houses and architecture with a retro flavor.

Also, you will find other museums to visit based on your interests, like the Château Musée Vodou (€ 14,00), a collection on Voodoo rites! In the historic center, in addition to the Cathedral, then there are 4 large medieval churches, all with free admission and which you can visit between a walk and the other: the Church of Saint Thomas, the Church of Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux, the Church of Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune and the Church of Saint- Etienne! Also not to be missed is the Church of San Paolo.

7 things to do in Strasbourg

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  1. Boat trip: there is nothing more romantic than a boat tour through the Strasbourg canals, perhaps around sunset time
  2. Visit it at Christmas: December is one of the best months to visit the city! The historic center becomes a single large Christmas market, with a thousand decorations and lights in every corner. Truly a Christmas Wonderland, not to be missed
  3. Sweet break from Patisserie Christian: this wonderful pastry shop is characterized not only by exquisite desserts, but also by interiors furnished with attention to every detail. The ideal place for a relaxing break and to take some nice photos too
  4. Taste the Choucroute d'Alsace: typical Alsatian recipe, based on pork and sauerkraut. One of the best is served by Le Schnockeloch
  5. Quick lunch break at Académie de la Bière Cathédrale: in the historic center, this brewery is the ideal place for a quick but tasty lunch break! The interiors are also wonderful, which will take you back in time, as well as excellent quality of the products
  6. Shopping at Galeries Lafayette: located in the historic center, this shopping center is a shopper's paradise! You will find all kinds of shops, as well as restaurants and excellent patisseries
  7. Tour of the wonders of Alsace: if you are staying in Strasbourg we recommend that you also discover the wonders of Alsace with a day tour, transport included, to also discover the areas outside the city

Plan your stay in Strasbourg: tips, flights and hotels

Strasbourg, like the rest of France, it's not really a cheap city. If you arrive from Northern Italy, you could reach the destination by car (from Milan 475 km, 5 h 30 min). There are not many flights, but you can land in Stuttgart, which is about 150 km away (compare flights).
If the city is just a stop on a trip to Alsace, you could also opt for the Pass-Alsace.

As for the accommodation, the best solution is to sleep in the center (compare the best accommodations on Booking), full of services and close to the central train station Gare Centrale. So you can move on foot, the best way to explore the city.

Strasbourg is on a human and family scale! There are many activities dedicated to them and they will surely love the Christmas period, one of the best times to visit the city.

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