Picturesque view of the river in Strasbourg, reflections of half-timbered houses, flowers in foreground

Strasbourg travel guide

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 choucroûte, (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.

OVERVIEW

  • Country: France

  • Region: Alsace Lorraine

  • Department: Bas-Rhin

  • Population: 273,000

Holidays in France

Sail & stay with us to save time and money! Pack your car with everything you need - even the family pet, and enjoy the fun of travelling on board.

Gite in Atlantic Loire Valley

GITES AND COTTAGES IN FRANCE

View of the Hotel Aigue Marine, Tréguier

HOTEL HOLIDAYS & BREAKS IN FRANCE

Family walking on the beach

FAMILY HOLIDAYS IN FRANCE AND SPAIN

A man and a woman reading by their car

CAR & MOTORCYCLE TOURS IN FRANCE

Getting to France

Get closer to your holiday in France with a choice of routes sailing to Roscoff, St Malo, Cherbourg, Caen and Le Havre

Colourful boats at the port in Roscoff © Shutterstock

PLYMOUTH TO FRANCE FERRIES

Aerial view of Poole harbour, from where Brittany Ferries sail to Cherbourg, France

POOLE TO FRANCE FERRIES

The walls of Intra-Muros around St Malo from the marina © Shutterstock

PORTSMOUTH TO FRANCE FERRIES

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