Ponts Couverts covered bridges Strasbourg France

The picturesque city of Strasbourg France is the hustling and bustling capital of the Alsace Region. The town, a perfect mixture of urban and idyllic historic neighborhoods, is a cornucopia for those looking to experience local culture, great food and locally sourced wine, historic architecture, and world class museums. It’s the perfect place for anyone looking for big hitter attractions.

First time in Strasbourg? Planning a short trip? Strasbourg is a fairly large city, in fact it’s France’s 7th largest. If this is your first time visiting you won’t have enough time to see all the town has to offer on a short trip. We’ll cover just the main attractions, but you’ll still have to pick and choose your favorites and get an early start! Use this perfect one day Strasbourg itinerary planner to plan the perfect Strasbourg day trip!

Strasbourg day trip photo map pin France
one day in Strasbourg!

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Strasbourg day trip “itinerary”

I’m not going to try and force you into a rigid itinerary. Every trip is different, and everyone has different priorities. We’ll cover what I believe is the “VERY BEST OF” Strasbourg. You order this however works for you! Note: the numbers in this article correspond with the numbers on the map!

Strasbourg day trip “best things to do”

La Petite France (3)

Petite France (Little France) is the charming medieval quarter with half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets that overlooks the Ill River. The entire quarter has a distinctly fairy tale charm, you will indeed feel as if you’ve landed in a real life storybook! Take your time and explore this historic area and take note of the distinct architectural style of this region of France. Alsatian architecture includes features like steeply pitched roofs, colorful facades, ornate gables, and cozy inner courtyards. Points of interest include:

  • The Barrage Vauban (Vauban Dam) (4): This bridge spanning the River Ill was erected in the 17th century.
  • Ponts Couverts (5): A set of three covered bridges and four towers that make up a defensive work erected in the 13th century.
Ponts Couverts covered bridges Strasbourg France
Ponts Couverts
Petite France, Strasbourg France
Petite France
French architecture in Petite France Strasbourg
French architecture in Petite France

Strasbourg City Card (6)

The next stop is Strasbourg Tourist Office (Office de Tourisme) to pick up a Strasbourg City Card. This tourist discount card (valid for 7 days) covers many of the city’s top attractions. If you plan to visit several of the covered attractions, it may save money (do the math.) If not, just head to the next stop. Opens at 9:00 a.m. Location: 17 place de la Cathédrale. €6 for adults €4 for children (can be purchased online)

Reduced rates and discounts on the following:

  • A boat tour of Strasbourg
  • Cathedral Platform climb
  • Astronomical clock
  • municipal museums (covered: Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, and Musée Historique)
  • and more!

Strasbourg Cathedral (7)

The 12th century Strasbourg Cathedral (Notre Dame de Strasbourg) with its towering lacy spire is one of the world’s tallest. Inside is an ornate 16th century Renaissance Astronomical Clock. The clock’s animated figures make an appearance every day at half past noon. Admission to the Cathedral is free. Men should remove head wear. Mon-Sat 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Location: Place de la Cathédrale.

Cathedral Climb (Ascension de la Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg): Climb 330 steps to the Cathedral platform for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and historic buildings. Price: €8 for adults (50% off with Strasbourg Card)

Strasbourg Cathedral France Notre Dame Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral (Notre Dame Cathedral) Gothic cathedral with stained-glass windows

You have likely by now noticed the mixture of both historic and urban landscapes in Strasbourg. Architectural periods represented include Roman Antiquity, the Middle Ages, Rhineland Renaissance (private residences built between the 15th century and the late 17th centuries), French 18th century classicism, and modern city. In the 18th century, French classical / traditional houses became dominant.

Choose a museum

Choose one or two of your favorites, if you’re really ambitious you may have time for more!

  • Alsatian Museum (Musee Alsacien) (8): This fabulous historical museum is one of my top two picks. Take a walk back in time to rural life in Alsace in the 18th and 19th centuries. You’ll navigate your way through old Strasbourg homes connected by wooden staircases and passageways. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Tuesday and Thursday) €7.50. Location: 23-25 Quai Saint-Nicolas
  • Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame (9): This museum, with its ancient religious artifacts, is my other top pick. Inside you’ll find ancient sculptures and statues moved here from the cathedral for preservation purposes, stained glass windows, and other religious treasures. 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm closed on Monday. Location: 3 Pl. du Château
  • Decorative Arts Museum (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) (10): This museum is located on the ground floor of the Palais Rohan / Palais des Rohan, the former city palace. See the prince bishop’s lavish apartments and sumptuous living quarters of Rohan cardinals. The magnificent chambers are decorated in late baroque, Rococo and Empire styles. weekdays from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 6pm, Closed on Tuesdays AND Thursday. Address: 2 Pl. du Château
  • Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts (MUSÉE DES BEAUX-ARTS) (11): The Museum of Fine Arts is located on the first floor of the Rohan Palace. closed on Tuesday. Address: 2 Pl. du Château. Another option for art lovers: Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (16) located near the preferred parking in this article.
  • Strasbourg Archaeological Museum (MUSÉE ARCHÉOLOGIQUE) (12): The Archaeological Museum can be found in the basements of the Palais Rohan. Discover the rich history of Strasbourg and Alsace, from Prehistory to the first centuries of the Middle Ages. Closed on Tuesday. Address: Palais Rohan, 2 Pl. du Château
  • Historical Museum (Musée Historique (13): The historical museum of the city of Strasbourg is in the Renaissance building of the former slaughterhouse and is dedicated to the tumultuous history of the city from early medieval life through modern times.
Alsace Museum sign Strasbourg France
Alsace Museum
Alsace Museum wooden stairways Strasbourg France
Alsace Museum wooden stairways
Alsace Museum Strasbourg France
Alsace Museum Strasbourg France
Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame Strasbourg France
Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame Strasbourg France
Musée de l'Œuvre Notre-Dame Strasbourg France
Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame

Boat Tour (14)

Sit back and relax on a river boat tour of the River Ill. You’ll get a different perspective of the town from the water. Riverboat tours usually last between 60 and 70 minutes. BATORAMA boat tours run year-round and are covered and heated or cooled depending upon the season. There are several options so if you don’t speak French, you might take a peek at their website prior to your trip. The ticket location on the water is a ticket machine. Alternatively, you can stop in the office at Place de la Cathedrale for assistance with ticket purchases. Price depends upon which cruise option you choose.

boat tours on the river Ill in Strasbourg France
relax on a boat ride through historic Strasbourg

More activities in Strasbourg

Have more time? Just want more options? There are several activities covered under the Strasbourg card:

  • Rental of a bike
  • An audio-guided tour of the city
  • A ride in a little electric boat
  • A tour in the sightseeing train (Neustadt)
  • Admission to the “Château Vodou” museum
  • An hour-and-a-half-long Segway® tour
  • A guided bike ride
  • A session to discover the night sky full of stars
  • Book tours on Viator (book food tours, Segway tours, private boat tours, guided tours and more!)
Tourist Train, Strasbourg France, Petite France
Tourist Train, Strasbourg

Where to eat in Strasbourg

Here are some favorite picks OR simply grab a spot at a street-side Café and watch the world go by.

  • La Potence (27): Just down the street from the train station, it’s so good we ate there and then came back again for our very next meal! Try the gallows, flaming meat and vegetables for two, cooked right at your table.
  • La Cloche à Fromage Restaurant (21): Ideal for cheese tastings, raclette, and fondue. (closed on Sunday)
  • Maison des Tanneurs (28): Historic 16th century canal side tannery turned restaurant with Alsatian fare in nostalgic surrounds with a terrace. A bit of a splurge so perfect for a special dinner. (Closed Sunday and Monday)
  • Restaurant Le Kuhn (29): Alsatian specialties like Duck Foie Gras, escargot, tarte tarte flambée, salads and more. (Closed Sunday)
  • La Table du Gayot (30): Warm vibe serving classic regional dishes in a historic half-timbered building. (closed Wednesday)
  • Fink Stuebel (31): Delicious authentic food inspired by the Alsace region in a rustic, dark-timbered tavern. Foie gras, escargots, sausages & sauerkraut, more! (closed Monday and Tuesday)
  • L’ Ancienne Douane (20): 14th-century building beautifully decorated with old world flair. Address: 6 Rue de la Douane
  • Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg (19): Wine tasting in an old historic hospital complete with old wine barrels and tunnels to explore in this 600-year-old wine cellar.
  • Au Pain De Mon Grand-père (32): mouthwatering bakery goods.
Foie Gras French food France
Foie Gras, one of France’s most popular foods. It’s very good has a delicate buttery texture, but very rich. Be sure to try some!

Where to stay

Staying at least one night in the area? Here are your best options:

Strasbourg

Although an easy day trip from some of the area’s nearby destinations, my vote is to stay in Strasbourg. You can get an early start before the day crowds arrive, explore the town romantically lit at night, and then collapse into a nice bed at the end of the day. You might even be able to catch a midday nap! These are my top favorite standouts in Strasbourg:

Hotel Beaucour

Decorated in old world French style and set around a flowered courtyard and featuring a shared lounge with a fireplace, Hotel Beaucour provides accommodations in central Strasbourg, just 1312 feet from Strasbourg Cathedral. Most rooms offer a whirlpool bath to soothe tired traveler muscles. Guest rating: 8.7. Prices starting at: $110 per night

Book Hotel Beaucour here!

Hotel Cour du Corbeau Strasbourg – MGallery

This gorgeous 4-star hotel is set in a renovated 16th-century building with a quiet courtyard and Louis XV-inspired furniture. Strasbourg Cathedral is 550 metres away, the Alsatian Museum is 100 metres from the property. Guest rating: 9.2. Prices starting at $176 per night.

Book Cour du Corbeau Strasbourg here!

Hotel Roses

Brightly color and cheery, this hotel features 34 rooms decorated on specific-rose theme with a privileged location near the Ill River, Strasbourg Cathedral, and Rohan Palace. Guest rating: 8.1. Prices starting at: $140 per night.

Book Hotel Roses here!

Best Western Plus Monopole Métropole

Don’t let the “chain hotel” name fool you. This is a beautiful hotel with loads of character! Best Western Monopole Métropole is located just 400 metres from Strasbourg Train Station, next to La Petite France district. Guest rating: 8.5. Prices starting at $130 per night.

Book Best Western Plus here!

Hôtel & Spa Le Bouclier D’or

Simply wow! Located in historic Petite France in a 16th Century building with beautiful old world decor and antique furnishings, this one is just gorgeous! Available spa services, spa bath, and sauna. Guest rating: 9.0. Prices starting at $269 per night.

Book Hotel & Spa Le Bouclier here!

Colmar

A Colmar day trip to Strasbourg is super simple! While not exactly a short drive it’s quite doable (50 minutes, less by train!) In my opinion, Colmar is more atmospheric, more manageable, and even more adorable! My favorite picks for best places to stay in Colmar:

Alsatian Villages

Strasbourg, Colmar, and the adorable villages nearby are located on the Alsace Wine Route. If you are a wine lover the entire area is a virtual treasure trove of wine production and all things wine! Alsace is dotted with tiny villages scattered through the nearby hills of the Vosges Mountains. Stay in one these for beautiful storybook architecture and terraced vineyards loaded down with Pinot Gris grapes!

If you have a car consider a small town on this list:

  • Eguisheim (1 hour drive)
  • Kaysersberg (1 hour),
  • Riquewihr (50 minutes)
  • Bergheim (45 minutes)
  • Turckheim (50 minutes) (Hôtel des Deux Clefs REALLY stands out! This dreamy hotel is at the top of my wish list!)

arrival in Strasbourg

Both the recommended parking and train station are just a short walk from Château Musée Vodou (the voodoo museum! #17 on our map)

Closest airports to Strasbourg France:

  • Strasbourg Airport (SXB) 9.7 km
  • Stuttgart Airport (STR) 107 km
  • Basel Airport (BSL) 110.6 km
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) 39.9 km

arrival by car

A car is a hindrance in the city. Driving is a pain and parking is expensive. If you are arriving by car, leave it parked and make your way around on foot or by tram.

where to park
Check here for a list of parking lots (parcus) and here to locate parking.

  • my favorite option (#1 on our map): Petite France Historic Center Car Park. This lot is ideally located at the entrance to La Petite France, a mere stone’s throw from the city center, and quite economical! Daily rate €15. Location: Rue de Molsheim 67000.
  • Park and Ride: Rather do Park and Ride? There are plenty of Park and Ride options outside of the old town center. The daily rate includes a round-trip bus/tram ticket valid for up to 7 passengers in your party. Daily rate: €4.20

public transport: arrival by bus or train

Shop for train tickets online at SNCF, the official website to book train tickets in France. TGV are the intercity high-speed trains. TER are regional trails (Transport Express Régional)

Buses are frequent, may be slower, but also cheaper. You can explore your best train and bus route options on Rome2Rio.

Strasbourg Train Station (Gare Centrale) (#2)

Strasbourg is one of the best day trips in Northeastern France.

  • Colmar France (30 minutes)
  • Basel Switzerland (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • Frankfurt International Airport (2 hours)
  • Paris – 2 hours, direct options available from Gare de l’Est station)

Save money with the ALSA+ TICKET
Save money on travel in Alsace! The Alsa+ pass gives you unlimited access to the entire public transport system, including trains, trams, and buses.
Sold at train station ticket booths and from regional ticket machines. Not valid on high-speed trains (TGV).

There are frequent train strikes in France so be sure to have a backup plan. New to public transportation? Public Transportation for Beginners.

Need to store your luggage? We like the Bounce app to easily locate and book at 10,000 plus safe locations to store your luggage.

Getting around and getting your bearings

Getting your bearings

Most of the main attractions are located on Grande Île an island that lies at the historic city centre and is surrounded by the Ill River. The area from Grande Île to the Neustadt has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island is quite small and easily manageable for tourists (0.75 kilometres (0.47 mi) at its longest and broadest.) At the centre of the island lies the Place Kléber, the city’s main square named for a famous General of the French Revolution.

Getting around

The best way to get around is either on foot or by using the bus/tram system.

walking
I’ve tried to lay out these suggestions to minimize walking. From the train station to the far end of the island it’s about a 20-minute walk.

Tram
A better way to get around is by tram. Consider using it whenever possible to save your legs. Get more information on the tram at the CTS website and access tram maps on the Strasbourg website (evening routes may differ, see the evening schematic) or use Rome2Rio.

walking distance from the train station to the Alsace Museum Strasbourg France
walking time from one end of the island to the other
tram from one end of Grand Island Strasbourg to the other
or take the tram instead!
tram map for Strasbourg France
tram map: a great option for getting around in Strasbourg

Strasbourg Map

The number associated with attractions listed in this article can be matched up with the number on this interactive Google Map.

Strasbourg attractions map links to interactive Google Map
Strasbourg attractions map, links to interactive Google Map

When is the best time to visit Strasbourg?

Because Strasbourg has so many great indoor activities it’s a great place to visit any time of year!

  • Summers are crowded and can be hot.
  • Winter, outside of the Christmas Market season, is less crowded than summer.
  • Spring and fall are shoulder seasons and a great time to visit. You’ll experience mild weather and less crowds than in summer.

In my opinion the very best time to visit the area is around the month of September when summer crowds have dissipated, it’s still plenty warm, flowers are still in bloom, and the vines are loaded down with grapes!

travel tips for avoiding crowds: Visiting early in the morning or late in the day (i.e. the first or last tour of the day) is a great way to avoid crowds! If possible be sure to wander Strasbourg after dark when it’s magically lit! Another helpful tip is to visit on weekdays, which are often less crowded than weekends.

Christmastime in Strasbourg

The city of Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas (Capitale de Noël) because the town really turns it up around this magical time of year! Each year Strasbourg hosts world-famous Christmas Markets with over 300 chalets! The big Christmas tree at Place Kléber (Place Kleber) is the tallest decorated tree in Europe. Make your way to and then down Grand Rue, a main street strung with hanging lights. While a magical time to visit, expect crowds.

Strasbourg is part of my Alsace Christmas Market itinerary. Get it now!

capitale noel sign, capital of noel, Strasbourg France Alsace Christmas
Capitale Noel Strasbourg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is 1 day enough in Strasbourg?

If you have one day in Strasbourg you have enough time to see the beautiful old French and German architecture, the world-famous cathedral, and see one or two of the wonderful museums. However, there are so many great things to see and do in Strasbourg. If you can fit it in, I recommend spending more time in this amazing town!

Is Strasbourg worth a day trip from Paris?

You’ll be on the train for a total of four hours, realistically giving you up to 8 hours to explore the town, making it worth the trip. You’ll get all the details in the overview of my helpful guide: Strasbourg day trip.

How many hours do you need in Strasbourg?

If you give it 8 hours, you’ll be able to see a lot of the town’s best attractions. Have less time? Pick a few of your top “must-see” attractions and come back another time to see the rest!

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