How to Spend 1 Day in Strasbourg
Whether visiting Strasbourg’s famous Christmas markets or exploring its UNESCO World Heritage–listed center, one day is just enough time to hit the highlights. Maximize your time by planning ahead, booking skip-the-line tickets for top attractions, or hiring a local guide to show you around. Here’s how to spend a perfect day in Strasbourg.
Morning: Explore the Grande Île
Ringed by canals, Strasbourg’s traffic-free central island—the Grande Île—is the historic heart of the city and the obvious place to start your day. The best way to explore is on foot, so join a walking tour and make a beeline for the star attraction, the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. Prebooking skip-the-line tickets is recommended, especially in high season; barring that, the views from the top are worth waiting for.
Stop to admire the nearby Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan) and Maison Kammerzell before heading into the picturesque Petite France district, where you can stroll along the waterfront and admire views of the much-photographed Covered Bridges (Ponts Couverts) and Vauban Dam (Barrage Vauban).
Afternoon: Journey to Europe
Leave the island to explore the European Quarter, home to the European Parliament headquarters. Trams run the short distance from the city, but a much more scenic option is to join a bike or Segway tour. On the way, pass through the Neustadt district, known for its German-style architecture, and visit the beautiful Jardin de l’Orangerie park, home to a large population of storks—the symbol of the Alsace.
Afterwards, head back to the Grande Île to browse the shops along Rue des Orfèvres and Rue des Grandes Arcades. If visiting over the festive season, this is the ideal time to explore Strasbourg’s Christmas markets, the largest of which are on Place Kleber and Place Broglie.
Night: Admire the Illuminations
Strasbourg is stunning at night, when the plazas and riversides are dramatically lit up. A pedicab tour is a fun way to admire the glittering illuminations, passing around La Petite France, Place de la République, and Place du Château.
For dinner, grab a table at one of the traditional winstubs (German-style pub-restaurants), where you can sample typical Alsatian dishes such as spätzle (noodles) or baeckeoffe (casserole) accompanied by regional wines.