Strasbourg is a beautiful and captivating city in the Alsace region of France with a rich history, stunning architecture and vibrant culture. It’s no wonder that Strasbourg is known as the ‘Heart of Europe’ and is one of the best places to visit in Eastern France.
Strasbourg has plenty of places to visit, from its charming canals to its Gothic cathedral and world-class museums. So whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an exciting adventure, this remarkable city has it all!
I spent 24 hours in Strasbourg as the first stop on my European Road Trip, and in this post, I highlight what to see in Strasbourg in one day and why this fantastic French city should be at the top of your must-see list!
Top Things to Do in Strasbourg in a Short Amount of Time
If you are wondering what you can fit into a day of sightseeing in Strasbourg, this travel guide will help you to plan the perfect day. Strasbourg is a compact and walkable city, so you can see most of the main Strasbourg sights I have mentioned in this article in a day.
You will have time in a day to visit Strasbourg Cathedral, Petite France, Place Kléber Square, and take a Batorama cruise.
If you still have time, add a museum visit or a shopping spree to your one-day Strasbourg itinerary.
Wander the streets of Strasbourg and discover the charming Alsatian architecture
On arrival in Strasbourg, go for a mooch around the narrow streets away from the main tourist sights. Get a feel for the city by seeing its beautiful buildings, unique to the Alsace region and a mix of French and German influences.
Visit the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral and see the astronomical clock
The next stop on your day trip itinerary is Strasbourg Cathedral. Known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg or the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, it is an impressive 15th-century Gothic cathedral that is one of the main attractions during your day in Strasbourg.
It has been the tallest building on the city’s skyline for centuries and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe; marvel at its towering spire, intricate stained glass windows, and exquisite Baroque interior.
The cathedral took 400 years to complete, making it one of the largest medieval churches ever built.
The cathedral’s impressive soaring spire rises to 142 meters, making it the tallest church spire in Europe. Amazingly, it is also the fifth tallest in the world. Its numerous stained-glass windows, some dating back to the 11th century, are also a must-see in Strasbourg.
Due to its unique architecture combining Romanesque and Gothic styles, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.
Don’t miss the astronomical clock inside the cathedral, and if you’d like to see it work, you can see it in action at midday for a small fee (free if you have the Strasbourg City Pass).
You can also climb to the top of the cathedral for outstanding views, which is one of the top things to do in Strasbourg.
Once you have finished your cathedral visit, grab an outdoor seat at one of the cafes or restaurants in the square and watch the world go by with a cold beer or wine. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in one of Strasbourg’s historical sites.
Stroll through Petite France and see the stunning timbered buildings
Petite France, often called Petite Venice of Little France, is a quaint and picturesque area and a must-see during your visit. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the city of Strasbourg.
Its crowning glory is its narrow cobblestone streets, hidden alleyways and canals, home to traditional coloured half-timbered houses lined with colourful flower boxes.
It is full of old-world charm and history, making it a popular tourist destination in France and a romantic place for a picturesque evening walk or boat ride.
The main attraction of Petite France is its preserved architecture from the 16th century to the 18th century. Its charming fairytale look makes it easy to understand why it has been used in films like Amélie and Sherlock Holmes.
In addition to its historic beauty, Petite France also offers a variety of things to do for visitors. Stroll along the banks of the River Ill or visit some of the shops that line Rue des Dentelles for unique souvenirs or antiques.
Stop at one of the restaurants or winstrubs (cosy bistros) and sample some of Strasbourg’s culinary specialities like fleischnacka’s (potato pancakes) or tarte flambée (Alsatian pizza). Petite France is the real draw for tourists to Strasbourg and is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the delights of the city.
Take a sightseeing Batorama Boat Tour and see the city from the water
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Strasbourg is to hop aboard a Batorama Boat Tour.
The tour begins at Place Kleber, where you can board one of the traditional flat-bottomed boats carrying passengers along these waterways for centuries.
From there, you will sail past iconic landmarks such as La Petite France, Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg and Place Gutenberg before arriving at Port du Rhin.
Throughout your tour, you will be accompanied by knowledgeable guides who will provide detailed commentary about each monument or landmark you see along the way. It is the perfect way to learn more about the city during your day in Strasbourg.
Explore Place Kléber Square and see the city’s historical buildings
One of the largest public squares in Europe, with its impressive fountain and lively cafes, restaurants, bars, and shopping centres, Place Kléber is a square in the centre of town.
Located between the Place de la Republique and the Place Gutenberg, it is named after General Jean-Baptiste Kléber, a famous French military commander born in Strasbourg during the 18th century. It has become an important part of the city’s cultural life.
Several Strasbourg landmarks surround the square. These include the Hôtel de Ville (town hall), built around 1680; La Maison des Tanneurs (the house of tanners), built from 1720 to 1740; and La Petite France. At its centre stands a large fountain dedicated to General Kléber, erected in 1902.
Enjoy a meal at La Maison Kammerzell and immerse yourself in history
La Maison Kammerzell is a stunning 15th-century wooden house built in traditional Alsatian style and noted as the most beautiful house in Strasbourg! Founded in 1427, it is one of the oldest buildings in Strasbourg and has been at the heart of the city for almost 600 years.
La Maison Kammerzell’s interior design is inspired by traditional Alsatian architecture and features wooden beams, staircases, stained glass windows and plenty of charming antiques.
One of Strasbourg’s best restaurants is housed here, serving some of the region’s most delicious dishes and wines.
The menu offers a variety of regional specialities, such as baeckeoffe (a stew made from pork shoulder, beef, lamb, potatoes and onions) or choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with smoked meats). There are also excellent wines available to accompany your meal.
Get your culture fix at one of Strasbourg’s world-class museums
Strasbourg is home to some of the world’s finest museums, and while one day in Strasbourg might limit you to spending time in one of these cultural gems if you like visiting museums on holiday, Strasbourg has something for everyone!
The Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCS) showcases 20th-century art in its collection and regularly hosts special exhibitions. Its sculpture garden offers an interesting outdoor experience, with works by renowned artists.
The Musée Tomi Ungerer, named after the famous German artist, is dedicated to his life and work, including illustrations, sculptures, films and books. It’s one of Europe’s most important collections of graphic art from the 1950s through today.
Meanwhile, La Cinémathèque de Strasbourg explores film history from early silent movies to current releases.
Other museums include the Musée des Beaux-Arts (fine art and masters) and the Musée Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg, dedicated to the city’s history from the early Middle Ages until the contemporary period.
Shop till you drop on Grand Rue
Although shopping might feature high on your Strasbourg one-day itinerary, if you’re looking for a great shopping experience, Strasbourg’s Grand Rue is the place to go.
In the heart of Strasbourg, it is one of Europe’s most popular shopping streets, with shops and boutiques offering all kinds of merchandise, from designer labels to local crafts.
The main stretch of Grand Rue runs along Place Kléber and runs parallel to Petite France.
The pedestrianised street also has lovely small boutiques selling everything from vintage clothing to handmade jewellery and larger international brands.
Check out the side streets that run off Grand Rue, as these often have hidden gems waiting to be discovered!
As well as shopping, you will find some great coffee shops and restaurants on offer along Grand Rue.
Best Time to Visit Strasbourg
So when should you plan your visit?
The best time to visit Strasbourg is during spring or autumn. From late March to early June (or September to November), temperatures are milder than during summer, and humidity levels are lower – perfect weather for sightseeing!
I visited in early June, and the weather was beautiful. This meant I could explore Strasbourg in one day with fewer crowds and more manageable temperatures than I would have experienced visiting Strasbourg in summer.
Winter in Strasbourg is a big affair as France’s oldest Christmas market is here, attracting visitors from far and wide to experience Christmas time in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg Christmas market has several individual markets scattered around town, and traditional Christmas decorations cover the charming half-timbered houses. Add an ice skating rink, and it’s not hard to see why Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas.
How To Get To Strasbourg
You can fly directly into Strasbourg, France, or Frankfurt in Germany, as Strasbourg is close to the German border. Pick up a hire car in Frankfurt and drive the rest of the way to the city.
If coming from the UK with a car, as I did, you can take the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from Folkestone to Calais in 35 minutes and then drive from Calais to Strasbourg. The driving time with one stop for refreshments is around six hours.
We chose the early morning Eurotunnel crossing and were in Strasbourg by 2 pm, giving us plenty of time to look around the sights. We stayed overnight and then spent a couple more hours in the city the following morning before heading to Interlaken in Switzerland to continue our road trip around Europe.
Where I Stayed in Strasbourg
I enjoyed a one-night stay at the D Hotel in Strasbourg. The room was small but comfortable, and the hotel was quirky. The bonus was the off-street parking (at an additional cost), which we needed as we had the car.
If that doesn’t sound like what you are looking for, here are a few more properties in Strasbourg from Booking.com that you may like for a one-night stay:
City Résidence Strasbourg Centre are comfortable basic self-catering apartments if you are on a budget.
Appartements Le 32 are self-contained apartments close to place de la cathédrale at a reasonable price.
Hôtel Gutenberg is the place to stay if you want somewhere luxurious.
Fun Tours in Strasbourg
Are you looking for something fun to do in Strasbourg? Explore the top pick of activities and attractions for your trip!
And don’t forget to get your Strasbourg City Card giving free or discounted access to many top sights.
Conclusion on spending one day in Strasbourg France
As you can see, one day in Strasbourg allows you to take in this beautiful city’s main sights and sounds. It is the perfect city to visit as part of a European adventure or as a stand-alone destination.
From its charming old town to its impressive architecture, you will be inspired by all that Strasbourg offers. Whether you’re looking for a fun-packed experience or just a relaxing day out as part of a road trip, Strasbourg is the perfect destination.
If you decide to extend your stay in the area, you can explore the Alsace wine route and tour some of the delightful vineyards in the region. Or you can travel to Colmar, Kaysersburg, or Riquewihr to see other enchanting Alsatian towns.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
Please Pin for Future Travel to France
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