Strasbourg travel guide

Cities and towns

About Strasbourg

Strasbourg in Alsace Lorraine is a cultured and artistic city on the German border that is at a crossroads of Europe.

Home to the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg is one of Europe's most important cities. The regional capital of Alsace, the city began its life as a crossroads which the Romans turned into a settlement. Since then, Strasbourg has frequently been a spoil of war and has passed hands between France and Germany several times. During WW1 it was occupied by the Germans and at the outbreak of WW2 the entire city was evacuated. In 1450, Strasbourg was the place where Gutenberg built his first mechanical printing press and today Strasbourg is a hub of education, politics and culture. The town centre known as the Grande Ile, was the first in France to be listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage of Humanity. Find Strasbourg's famous Gothic cathedral with its 142m tall spire, an impressive building made of pink sandstone that dominates the city and Kammerzell House, a late Gothic timber house that is synonymous with Strasbourg and is now a restaurant and hotel.

Drift into the quarter known as Petit France, a picturesque area full of 16th and 17th century houses that were homes to the fishermen, millers and tanners and whose sloping rooves were designed to dry hides. Strasbourg also has areas that have political and humanitarian overtones such as the stunning riverside European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. In the German quarter on the Place de la République you will also find a sculpted war memorial created in 1936 depicting an Alsatian mother whose 2 sons have died - one fighting for France and the other fighting for Germany, a dramatic situation that was all too real for Alsatians during the two world wars.

Strasbourg has many museums whether you are interested in art, history or science with museums including a Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, an Alsatian Museum full of local art, furniture and costumes and a Zoological Museum. There is also a Planetarium, a Mineralogy Museum housing over 1,000 mineral samples and the Oeuvre Notre Dame Museum containing medieval artworks. The beautiful Palais Rohan by the river is home to the Decorative Arts Museum, Fine Arts Museum and Archaeological Museum. Strasbourg has many different themed tours to offer as well as boat tours along the river. Save yourself some money by buying the Strasbourg Pass which offers free entry and discounts at museums, monuments and more. Spend some time wandering through the city streets, along the famous covered bridges, and take a stroll through some of the excellent parks and gardens including the Botanical Gardens, Citadelle Park located amongst the ruins of a Vauban fortress and Orangerie Park, the city's oldest park where a conservation programme has so far meant that over 800 storks have been born here since 1971. Why not visit the Maison du Vin, or the Kronenbourg Museum where you'll learn about brewing beer, and sample some of the produce with wine or beer tastings, or perhaps you would rather try your hand at a perfume workshop or an Alsatian cookery class? The city really comes alive at Christmas with its Christmas market all through December and the most Christmas illuminations of any city in Europe. A magical place to do your Christmas shopping with a glass of warm and spicy mulled wine!

Throughout the rest of the year, Strasbourg is a great place for shopping too with specialist food and drink shops selling local produce such as jams, tarts, spirits, beers and wines. There are also some great arts and crafts shops with local artisans, jewellers, and engravers and several art galleries. Enjoy a good meal and a drink in one of the many winstubs - a local Alsatian tavern with a friendly and homely atmosphere. Try local dishes such as wädele (pork shank) with sauerkraut, also known as choucrote, (fermented cabbage), baeckeoffe (a potato dish simmered in Alsatian white wine with pork, beef and lamb) and spätzle (thick handmade noodles). There is also the flammekueche or tarte flambée, a type of thin pizza covered with cream, onion and bacon lardons, Bibeleskäs cheese, a white cheese often served with sautéed potatoes and flavoured with parsley, garlic, chives and onion, and the cake kougelhopf which can be served sweet, with raisin and almonds, or savoury, with bacon pieces and walnuts. Wash down your meal with some locally brewed bière, Alsatian wines and finish off with some schapps brandy. Popular flavours are raspberry, plum, kirsch and pear.

Why visit Strasbourg?

  • The Cathedral
  • Christmas Market and Illuminations
  • The Museums
  • Food and Drink 

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Alsace Lorraine
  • Department: Bas-Rhin
  • Population: 273,000
  • Coordinates: 48.592051,7.747318

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

A Gothic masterpiece that was begun in 1176, Strasbourg's cathedral has many Germanic influences with an ornate facade carved into the unusual dark pink Vosges sandstone.

In just over 40 years, the Opera National du Rhin has established itself as a key institution of the French and international operatic life.

The grass-roofed Vauban Dam is a weir built by its namesake between 1686 and 1700 on the river Ill. Several stories high, it houses sculptures in its main level and a panoramical terrace on its roof.

The beautiful Taverne Katz, with its amazingly ornate façade, is one of the most interesting buildings in the town. Built in 1605 for Henri Katz who was the chief tax collector, it is a spectacular example of a medieval timber...

Places to visit nearby

Saverne in Alsace Lorraine is famous as the town of the unicorn and for the magnificent Château des Rohan that stands beside the canal.

Nancy in Alsace Lorraine is a beautiful city set amidst the Alsace countryside with a stunning historic centre.

Montbéliard in Franche Comté was once the property of the dukes of Württemberg, sitting in peaceful countryside on the Swiss border, and is the home of Peugeot cars.