Strasbourg, France is a city straight out of a fairytale. If the storybook German houses lining the canal don’t reel you in, then the promise of incredible Alsacian food and wine should!
Since it isn’t a huge city, it is very easy to see almost everything within one or two days. The key to an incredible trip is strategically planning out those one or two days with great accommodations and a good idea of what types of activities you’re most interested in doing. This travel planning guide will help you create the perfect itinerary for your trip to Strasbourg.
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Strasbourg: The Perfect Travel Planning Guide
Whether you’re traveling by car or train, Strasbourg is an easy city to navigate. It has the feeling of a big city, yet it’s very small and easy to walk around.
You’ve probably already determined how you’ll be getting there so the next things to think about are:
- Accommodations and what part of the city to stay in
- Where to park (if driving)
- Things to do
- What to eat
- How much cash to bring
Where to stay in Strasbourg
Determining where to stay in any city you’ve never been to is always a bit tricky. You want to be close to everything, have a great hotel or Airbnb, and not spend your entire budget in the process.
Strasbourg isn’t too difficult to figure out, but there is a sweet spot to aim for. Try to search for accommodations near Petite France or Cathedrale Notre Dame. If you’re close to one of those iconic spots or anywhere in between, you’ll be situated perfectly for an amazing trip.
We stayed at the very central Hotel Gutenberg and loved our stay. Here’s why:
- Central, located 5 minutes walk from Petite France and the cathedral
- Close to the train station
- Not super expensive, but in the heart of everything
- Great and friendly staff
- Parking close by
Here are some other hotels to consider in Strasbourg:
- Hotel Rohan: Close to the Cathedral, modern rooms, reviews are excellent but mention the breakfast isn’t worth the price, so maybe skip that add-on.
- EtC…Hotel: Located right in between Petite France and the Cathedral. Reviews are great and mention close proximity to the train station which is great if that is how you’ll be traveling.
- Pavillion Regent Petite France: The location is in the name, this hotel is right in the heart of Petite France. If your dream is waking up in the middle of a fairytale, this is your hotel!
- Hotel Cour du Corbeau Strasbourg – MGallery: A historic and beautifully decorated hotel located very close to the cathedral.
Where to park (if driving)
This was our first time driving in Europe which brought about a new issue we never had to deal with on all of our other trips: where do we park?
This was something we tried to pay attention to when booking our accommodations, but there are many cities in Europe where it is nearly impossible to find hotels with parking. So we planned the best that we could.
When we first arrived in Strasbourg, we checked into our hotel first so we could drop off our bags and ask about parking. The main thing we had trouble with was where to park to check-in! There were two spots in front of the hotel but they were taken. Eric ended up pulling up onto a large section of the sidewalk while I ran in with our bags.
That was a little chaotic, but the woman who checked me in explained where to park and gave us a voucher to save a little money on our parking. Once we knew what to do, everything became much easier.
There was a parking garage underground right outside our hotel called Parking Parcus Gutenberg. That seemed to be the easiest and most obvious place to park, but our hotel told us we could pay half the price if we just walked 5 minutes to Parking Austerlitz. That’s what we did and it was so easy. For the little over 24 hours we were there, we paid about 20 Euros.
The best things to do
Do you enjoy history? Art? Views? Shopping? Food? Strasbourg is so amazing because it is a city that can satisfy any type of traveler.
For us, history, food, and views were our top priorities.
Here is what we were able to do with one full day in Strasbourg:
|Ascent to the Cathedral Notre Dame viewing platform||About 1 hour||Do this first thing in the morning before all the tour groups descend on the city.|
|Boat tour through the city||About 1.5 hours||Book your trip time in the morning. If going on an open-top boat, wear a hat.|
|Presentation of the astronomical clock inside the Cathedral||1 hour||Use the time after the clock presentation to walk around the cathedral. The line to get into the cathedral at normal times is so long. If you are already inside for the clock presentation, there's no need to stand in that long line at a different time!|
|Walking tour of the city with an audio guide||About 2 hours||Don't do this backward. We tried to start in another part of the city and work our way back and it did not work. Each of the stops leads to the next stop with the history and commentary. Get the audio guide from the tourism office next to the cathedral.|
We were hoping to make it to the Alsace Museum, but we just didn’t have enough time. You could easily spend 2 full days in Strasbourg and not run out of things to do!
The Strasbourg Pass: Is it worth it?
Prior to our trip, I contacted Strasbourg Tourisme to learn more about the city and see what helpful information I could bring back for my readers (YOU!). They were extremely helpful and offered us Strasbourg Passes to aid in my research of the city.
While I received these passes complimentary, I would purchase them for another trip in a heartbeat. We didn’t even use half of the vouchers with our one day and still came out ahead of the purchase price.
The cost is €22 per person for a 3-day Strasbourg Pass and here’s what it includes:
- Boat tour through the city: FREE
- Ascent to Cathedral de Notre Dame viewing platform: FREE
- Presentation of the astronomical clock inside the Cathedral: FREE
- One museum visit: FREE
- Walking tour of the city with an audio guide: €2.75 (reduced from €5.50)
- Many more things at a reduced cost!
All of these things alone cost €36 but with the pass only €24.75. However, dollars aren’t the only things you’ll save. You won’t need to worry about purchasing tickets anywhere or worry if a certain attraction will take credit card or cash only. Simply rip off the ticket and hand it to the cashier.
Purchase your Strasbourg Pass when you arrive in the city at the tourist office located right next to the cathedral. The staff in the tourist office are extremely helpful and will give you a map to help you navigate from site to site. If the boat tour is on your itinerary, their office is right next to the tourist office so you can book your boat tour right after you purchase the pass.
What to eat in Strasbourg
French food is so good but what is so interesting about Strasbourg and the whole Alsace region is the obvious German influences. There are the beautiful and delicious pastries France is known for next to pretzels and sausage. It’s an interesting culinary world and makes for an exciting adventure for your traveling palate.
Here are the main foods to try while you’re in Strasbourg:
- Pastries: Our hotel did not come with breakfast but that didn’t worry me a bit because as long as I could have a French pastry in one hand and a café au lait in the other, I was une fille heureuse (a happy girl). There seemed to be pastry shops on every corner in Strasbourg but we loved Dreher and L’atelier 116. One thing we noticed at all bakeries in Europe during the summer was the abundance of yellow jackets. No one seemed bothered by them except the Americans (AKA us) so maybe they are less violent in Europe. However, no matter what time of day, there were so many yellow jackets INSIDE the bakery cases. Try not to let it bother you because the pastries are fresh and delicious!
- Spaetzle: This is a German dish that is a cross between pasta and gnocchi. It is basically potato and
cheese but many spaetzle dishes will come with other things on top like ham, onion, or mushrooms. We loved our spaetzle dishes from La Corde à Linge.
- Tarte Flambée or Flammekueche: Essentially an Alcasian pizza, the tarte flambée is a thin bread covered with different local toppings like French cheese, onion, and ham. We actually didn’t try one until we got to Colmar, but there are plenty of places to have one in Strasbourg if you’re dying to try this dish. Try the highly rated Binchstub Restaurant.
- Bretzel: In German, the bretzel is a pretzel. Why the “B”? The “P” sound doesn’t happen very often in the German language. At least that’s my theory. We didn’t go too crazy on bretzels in Strasbourg because we knew we’d eat a ton of them in Germany. But if Germany is not on your itinerary, make sure you stop by any patisserie to get this German staple!
How much cash will I need?
We never know how much cash we’re going to need when we go abroad, but we’ve found we always end up needing more than we think.
While more and more places are accepting credit cards, Europe is still very cash focused. You’ll notice most locals use cash for nearly everything. We noticed on this trip that many shops have moved to using electronic payment through the phone. So if you don’t have Apple Pay set up yet, do this before your trip to make paying even easier (and safer).
It will be rare to find a restaurant that doesn’t take credit card, however, they are out there. Make sure you always have some cash on you just in case. Most sites and museums will be cash only if the cost is €5 or less.
For a two week trip to Europe, €500 Euros is usually enough. We always order our foreign cash through our bank about a week before our trips. There are no fees to do this and the exchange rate is always pretty great. You can choose to pick it up at the bank or have it shipped directly to your home.
If you end up with some extra cash at the end of your trip, use it on your last couple of days for all meals and souvenirs. You’d rather have too much than have to fork over ridiculous fees to get cash out of an ATM.
Strasbourg is a city for any time of year, any type of traveler, and travelers of all ages. If this incredible city is on your list, I hope you’ve gathered some great information for your upcoming trip!
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