Strasbourg is undoubtedly one of the most charming towns of France; a town you should definitely include in your French trip itinerary. We had been to Strasbourg in the past, but this was was the first time we visited Strasbourg with kids. In this post I share our day in Strasbourg, including things to see and do in the city and the map with a city walk we did in the old town. It’s not an in-depth guide of Strasbourg, rather a one-day city guide including the main highlights of Strasbourg and the best way to see the old city centre in just a couple of hours.
We also visited Parc de L’Orangerie in the less known part of the city. Since it’s such a great area for families and other travellers alike, I included this park in our Strasbourg one day itinerary as well (read more below).
The highlights of Strasbourg and our city walk map
This is a map I made to illustrate our Strasbourg city centre walk.
We started our Strasbourg city walk at the car parking Centre Historique Petite France (right at the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art -#1 on our map).
The first stop on our Strasbourg city walk was Barrage Vauban (#2) – a 17th century covered bridge that has a terrace on the roof offering beautiful views over the historical centre of Strasbourg. The inside corridor is now used to display ancient plaster casts and several statues. This is such a great place to start your day in Strasbourg with kids. Our boys loved the covered bridge, the fact that you could go on the roof, and the beautiful views from the top!
We continued our walk towards the Ponts Couverts (#3) – a set of three bridges and four towers from the 13th century. I didn’t know where to look first – there were so many beautiful buildings all around us. In the meantime, the kids discovered a playground… (#4)
La Petite France
The historical centre of Strasbourg is located in a beautiful area called La Petite France (#5-6). It is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site of Grande Île. La Petite France area dates from the Middle Ages when it was home to the city’s tanners, millers and fishermen. If you visit just one area in Strasbourg, this is the place to be!
Make sure to also check the little street Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes (#9) as well. You’ll find many typical Alsace Renaissance style buildings here.
Cathedral: Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock
We then followed the river in the direction of the Cathedral of Our Lady.
The kids loved walking so close to the water, but I have to admit that I was not always at ease…
The Cathedral (#7) is another highlight of Strasbourg and it’s a must to see it from both – outside and inside. Once the tallest building in the modern world, it’s also one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals of Europe.
The Cathedral of Strasbourg is very special as it only has one tower. The good news is that you can climb the bell tower for the amazing views over the city and the area as far as the Vosges mountains and the Black Forest in Germany. It’s a serious climb of more than 300 steps on a spiral staircase, but the views were absolutely worth the wait and the climb.
- Admission fee is 5 EUR for adults and 3,5 EUR for the children. You can find more practical information on the official website of Alsace Tourism.
Don’t forget to take a look inside the cathedral as well. The cathedral holds many treasures: 12-14th century stained glass windows, the St. Pancrace’s altar, the 17th-century tapestries, 15th-century mural paintings, the impressive pipe organ, and the famous astronomical clock.
The Astronomical clock of Strasbourg can be seen the whole day (inside the Cathedral, at the far right corner), but in order to see it in action at around 12.30PM you need to get a ticket (and arrive at least half an hour in advance).
Strasbourg Cathedral Square
The beautiful architecture of the Cathedral Square is worth noting too. Don’t miss the Rohan Castle (Palais Rohan), Maison Kammerzell, and the view of the Cathedral from the Rue Merciere.
One more area that is nice to see is the Place Kleber, the largest square at the centre of the city of Strasbourg (#8).
Strasbourg by boat
Another great way to see Strasbourg is by taking a boat tour. If you walk from the Cathedral and past the Rohan Castle towards the river, you will see the departing point for the boats. I think that a boat tour would be fun for the kids and adults alike, and it’s a good way to see a lot without having to walk much.
More things to see and do in Strasbourg city centre
We spent about 4-5 hrs in the city centre. This included a visit to the Cathedral bell tower and a short drink. Count another hour for a boat ride, and also at least an hour for lunch. If you have more time left, consider visiting one of the many museums in the city centre. A great way to discover Strasbourg is to ‘get lost’ in the city centre and stroll the narrow picturesque streets of the old town. We found some great street art this way! If you have an hour or two to spare visit the park (read further).
Try some local food specialities: pretzels (also bretzels), tarte flambée (or flammekueche), kougelhopf cake, choucroute (sauerkraut with sausages, pork, and potatoes). Don’t miss the Alsace wine that is drunk from the typical Alsace wine glasses with a green stem.
If you are looking for restaurant suggestions in Strasbourg, here is a great guide to the best restaurants in Strasbourg written by my friend who lives in the area. Check it out!
Off the beaten path in Strasbourg with kids – visit Parc de L’Orangerie
We had never heard of the Parc de L’Orangerie of Strasbourg before our most recent visit to Strasbourg. But the hotel we stayed at was located just next door to it, so we decided to check it out. We just loved it! And apparently we are not only ones, as this park is rated as one of the best things to do in Strasbourg by the independent travelers on Trip Advisor.
Parc de L’Orangerie is a really beautiful park with several restaurants, well-maintained paths, a playground, a pond with row boats, a mechanical car ride for the kids, a beautiful Josephine Pavillon, a small zoo and a farm zoo.
We couldn’t believe the number of storks we saw in this park! Every chimney and every tree top had a nest of storks. No wonder that storks are a symbol of Strasbourg and Alsace.
The small zoo (free entrance) was also well worth a visit. We saw flamingoes, and parrots, and even a monkey and a lynx. There was also a cute little desert fox that was just burying its food under the sand.
Many of the attractions at the park were closed in winter, but it was still a very enjoyable visit. If you are visiting Strasbourg with kids, I would definitely recommend spending a couple of hours in this park. It’s a great place for the kids to play and for the whole family to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy touristic centre of Strasbourg.
How much time do you need to visit Strasbourg?
You don’t need much time to see Strasbourg. If you only have half one day in Strasbourg, stay in the historical city centre and see the main highlights.
If you have a couple of extra hours to spare, I strongly suggest to pay a visit to Parc de L’Orangerie as well.
However, the whole Alsace region is so beautiful that I suggest that you spend at least two – three days in Strasbourg and explore beyond the city as well. You’ll find some suggestions below.
Suggested Strasbourg city tours and day trips in the area
As already mentioned, you can take a boat ride in the historical city centre. In addition, there are several bike tours (some bring you to the park de L’Orangerie as well).
Strasbourg is located in a beautiful Alsace region and it would be a pity not to see more of it. I definitely recommend a day trip to the charming town Colmar and also the wineries – please check this highly rated Highlights of Alsace day trip from Strasbourg. If you have less time, consider this Half-day wine tour from Strasbourg.
Where to stay in Strasbourg
Probably the nicest area to stay in Strasbourg for tourists is in the old city centre of Strasbourg.
If you are looking for a really nice hotel right in the heart of the city, I recommend these highly rated hotels:
- Pavillon Régent Petite France
- Cour du Corbeau – MGallery by Sofitel
- Sofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile
- Hôtel & Spa Le Bouclier D’or
- Hôtel Régent Petite France & Spa
For a more affordable luxury in the city centre check these hotels:
- Novotel Strasbourg Centre Halles
- Hotel D – Strasbourg
- Best Western Plus Monopole Metropole
- ibis Styles Strasbourg Centre Petite France
Other great options, a bit further away from the centre:
- Hôtel Athena Spa
- Holiday Inn Express Strasbourg Centre
- Hilton Strasbourg
- Le Jean-Sébastien Bach. We stayed at this hotel and it was perfect for a family stay. The hotel is located a bit outside the city centre, it has big family rooms, a car parking, and the beautiful quiet location just next to the park de l’Orangerie. There is a good Italian restaurant just next to the hotel too.
For more accommodation options in Strasbourg check here.
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