15 Amazing Things to Do in Strasbourg for a Weekend

Steve Cummings

Strasbourg, the largest city and prefecture of eastern France's Grand Est region, is an intriguing place to visit for a weekend. Bordering with Germany, it is fully immersed in both French and German culture. There have been many times in history when the two neighboring nations would fight over the region. Nowadays, it has become a fully functioning cultural bridge between the two countries, thanks to the University of Strasbourg.

Aside from its interesting cultural make-up, this is a fairytale city with many streets you can get lost down and a truly remarkable gothic cathedral. That's not all, though. The following article will look at 15 amazing things to do in Strasbourg.

1. Grand Lle 

Grand Lle
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Located with the Canal du Fauz Rempart and River Ill around it, the Big Island (or Grand Lle) is where you need to go if you want to take in many of the best and most famous attractions Strasbourg offers. It is UNESCO-listed. 

This is a great place to start any visit to Strasbourg, as you will find it easy to access the other attractions, sights, and places mentioned in our guide below.

2. Strasbourg Cathedral of Notre Dame

Strasbourg Cathedral
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You've heard of Notre Dame in Paris. Well, Strasbourg has the second most visited cathedral, and it is the Strasbourg Cathedral of Notre Dame.

While it's true that construction initially started on the cathedral in 1015, it was predominately completed between the 12th and 15th centuries. 

It features an impressive 18-meter-tall astronomical clock, 12th-century-stained glass windows, and a 300-step staircase that leads you to the top of the cathedral and takes in memorable views of the city that will make for great holiday snaps. It's one of the best things to see in Strasbourg.

3. Strasbourg Covered Bridges

Strasbourg Covered Bridges
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The city sits on the Rhine and connects France and Germany, so it's unsurprising that to find bridges in Strasbourg. The most notable are three that make up the Pont's Couvert, Strasbourg Covered Bridges. These are iconic of the city and provide a gateway to central Grande-Ile.

Sadly, the roofs for the bridges that gave them their name were destroyed during the 18th century, but the remains of the four towers built in the 13th century that linked the bridges still stand. 

One of the best views of the bridges and towers is from the terrace of Barrage Vauban, or Vauban Dam. From the grass-topped spot, you can look at the bridges and have a clear panoramic view of the local La Petite France district. 

Another way to experience the bridges a little closer is by taking a boat cruise along Strasbourg's many canals, which can lead you to the historical pieces of architecture. 

4. Orangerie Park

If you are looking for a quieter and green getaway from the noise and busy city goings-on, one place in Strasbourg you won't want to miss visiting is Orangerie Park. 

This is one of the free things to do in Strasbourg. The park covers 64 acres and is the biggest and oldest park in the city. It is thought to date back to the 18th century and features pristine lawns lined with flowerbeds, a lake that you can rent a rowboat on; the Josephine Pavilion is a quaint garden lodge that was built for Napoleon Bonaparte wife Empress Josephine, a stork sanctuary (the official bird of the city), vintage car circuit, mini farm, petting zoo, playgrounds, and a bowling alley. 

5. La Petite France

La Petite
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We've already mentioned, but rather than just drinking in the views, you should consider visiting the former tanning houses and watermills at La Petite France. They are among the best things to see in Strasbourg. These have now been converted into nostalgic little souvenir shops, water-facing restaurants, and bijou hotels. 

There are walking tours available for affordable prices that present the opportunity to explore the narrow cobblestone-covered alleys, waterside promenades, and painstakingly preserved buildings that date back to medieval times. 

The great thing is that many of these tours explore the area beyond the city parameters, such as into the spa town of Baden-Baden, where you can see Kurhaus Casino and the world-famous thermal baths, Lake Mummelsee, or even into the Black Forest. 

6. Alsatian Museum

First established back in 1907, the Alsatian Museum was created to help preserve Strasbourg's unique cultural heritage. This structure is an interesting tribute to the folk arts and traditions of the Alsatian people and features a collection of over 5,000 items. Three rooms offer a snapshot into traditional life for Alsatian people in 16th to 17th-century timber-framed mansions.

7. Fort of Mutzig

Built in the latter half of the 1800s by Germany, Fort de Mutzig provided defense for Metz and Strasbourg during the ongoing Franco-Prussian War. The fort consisted of various dispersed units connected by tunnels that offered shelter and artillery dispersal. This design later influenced the Maginot Line layout. 

Also referred to as Feste Kaiser Wilhelm II, it is one of the cool things to do in Strasbourg if you are interested in architecture designed for military strategies. Some of the highlights of exploring this include the underground area with many original pieces of equipment and furnishings and a large selection of armaments. 

8. Kamerzell House 

Kamerzell House is one of the best things to see in Strasbourg because its architecture is so unique. Built in 1467, it underwent extensive rebuilding during the 16th century. It offers a mixture of Renaissance and Gothic architecture, full of elaborate frescoes, sculpted window frames, and timber framing. 

This site also doubles as a great place to eat. If you want to check out the stunning interiors, just book yourself a table and enjoy some authentic Alsatian dishes like spaetzle (noodle dumplings) or sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). 

9. Rohan Palace

Rohan Palace
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Visiting Rohan Palace is one of the top things to do in Strasbourg. Rohan Palace was constructed in the 18th century for the Bishop of Strasbourg at the time, Cardinal Armand Gaston Maximilien de Rohan. In the time that has passed since the building was built, it has played host to various guests, including Charles X, Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie Antionette, and Louis XV. 

The landmark on the riverfront is home to three significant institutions: the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Musee Archeologique, and Musee des Beaux. The Musee des Arts Decoratifs is found on the ground floor and is home to exhibits featuring ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, and furnishings from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Musee Archeologique is found in the structure's basement and is home to various medieval and even prehistoric artifacts unearthed in local excavations. 

Upstairs in the building is where you will find the Musee des Beaux-Arts, where Monet, Renoir, Rembrandt, and Rubens display works. 

10. Christmas Market

Found in the Grand Ile district of Strasbourg, the Christmas Market should be at the top of your list of things to do in Strasbourg in winter.

It brings a carnival for the senses to the city every year, which is why Strasbourg considers itself the Christmas capital. While the market is one, you can stroll through more than 300 chalets constructed from wood, selling a wonderful range of Christmas gifts, and you have the opportunity to sample mulled wine that fills the market. It spreads out across the various public squares that make up the city's heart, and during the season, you will also have a chance to take in light installations and special performances for children and families.

Whether you are a big fan of Christmas or just like the twinkling lights and good food and gifts, this is a great place to go. 

11. Tanners House

Found in the aforementioned La Petite France quarter of Strasbourg, Tanners House is one of the most well-known landmarks in the area. 

It is nestled among winding canals and half-timbered houses and is a remnant of the old tanners' district. Something that Strasbourg is very fond of and a key reason to visit the city in the first place. 

This is another great place to find a bite to eat, especially if you want to try authentic Alsatian food. Even if you are not interested in the food, the interiors have stunning architectural features, and it's one of the best free things to do in Strasbourg.

12. Place Gutenberg 

Place Gutenberg takes its name from Johannes Gutenberg, who was a resident of Strasbourg and is renowned for inventing the movable printing press back in 1439. 

It is a crucial navigation and commercial central point of the Old Town. It was also the site where the famous writer Arthur Young watched the magistrates' records being destroyed as part of the French Revolution. The statue of Johannes Gutenberg was designed and built in 1840 by David d'Angers. 

13. St Thomas Church 

St. Thomas Church
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Among the various historic buildings, you will find St Thomas Church, one of Strasbourg's best things to see. It is hard to miss because of its striking red brick façade and its mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. It was built in the 12th century. 

It looks like a castle on the exterior, and on the inside, it is just as impressive. You can either walk around it on your own or as part of a guided tour, and you will find the 10-meter (32-foot) fresco depicting Saint Michael along with a Sibermann organ from the 18th century that was once played by none other than Mozart. 

There is also a crypt which houses numerous 19th and 19th-century tombs. 

14. Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Located in the Vosges Mountains, Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg overlooks the Alsatian plains, offering stunning vistas. 

The Chateau itself is striking with its pink sandstone towers. It was constructed in the 12th century and underwent extensive renovation in the 19th century. It has a very fairytale feel to it. 

As well as looking at it from the outside, you can also explore medieval gardens, living quarters, wine cellars, and the windmill while discovering more about the castle and its connections to fire, siege, and war. 

15. Vauban Dam 

Vauban Dam
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The unmissable and impressive Vauban Dam is a remarkable key historical landmark for Strasbourg. Locals know it as Barrage Vauban, first constructed in 1686. The military engineer Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban was behind the design and this covered bridge stretches across the River Ill and acted as a fortification. Nowadays, it is the home of a gallery, and the rooftop can be accessed.

It has been an official National Historic Landmark since its appointment in 1971 and consists of 13 arches on the river. 

Inside the lapidarian, you will find many plaster casts and sculptures from Palais Rohan and Strasbourg Cathedral, and if you do venture to the roof terrace, you will benefit from a glass ceiling that offers the best views of Strasbourg across Petite France, the Covered Bridges, the Cathedral and so much more. 


Strasbourg is a city with one foot in the past and one in the present. It has a strong sense of its heritage and showcases this proudly in the various buildings and areas around the main city center. 

There is plenty to see and do, whether you are interested in the modern and classic arts, are curious about its military history, or just want to take in some of the stunning views. 

We have tried to include many of the best places to visit in Strasbourg, especially if you are only there for a few days. However, with a city like this, steeped in a long and intriguing history, it would be hard to include all the best places. Therefore, please let us know in the comments section if we have missed anything and have been to Strasbourg. 

We are always happy to update and make changes to our list, even after it has been published.

Related: 16 Epic Things to Do in Paris as a Tourist

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