Strasbourg in 2 Days: everything you need to know

For a weekend trip, a romantic getaway or a visit to Strasbourg at Christmas, here is a flexible 2-day plan in the capital of Europe.

Carla Yaquer

Carla Yaquer

8 min read

Strasbourg in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Afternoon in Strasbourg | ©Patrick Robert Doyle

Located in the east of France, in the Alsace region, Strasbourg shines with an extensive historical heritage and boasts of being the European capital along with Brussels and Luxembourg. Among the best things to see and do in Strasbourg are visits to its monuments, intertwined bridges, squares and houses like out of fairy tales, which you can learn about in this 2-day itinerary in Strasbourg and recommendations to make the most of your visit.

Day 1: Cathedral, the palaces and the Historic Center

Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral| ©John Mansfield
Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral| ©John Mansfield

The first day will be spent exploring the historic center of Strasbourg, a World Heritage Site located in the heart of the capital. It is a stretch of 1.5 kilometers walking where five iconic places stand out. Here is the map to facilitate the tour.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

The majestic Cathedral of Notre Dame de Strasbourg is one of the most impressive sites in Europe and thanks to the 142 meters high bell tower will be the point of orientation during your walk.

Let me tell you a few things about it:

  • It is a Catholic church in Gothic style is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
  • It was built over four centuries, from 1015 to 1439.
  • Besides being the standard-bearer of Strasbourg, it was declared a Historical Monument in 1862.
  • Throughout its history, the cathedral has survived many challenges, such as sacking during the French Revolution in 1793 and bombing during World War II in 1944.
  • Its architecture is exquisite, with sculpted doors, an impressive 15-meter rose window, Gothic pulpit and the first astronomical clock built in 1350.
  • It is open Monday to Sunday until 5:30 p.m., except on Sunday morning, when it is closed.
  • Admission is free

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The Rohan Palace and its museums

If you visit Strasbourg and want to get an idea of what the city was like in its heyday, there is no better way to do it than visiting the Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan) and you find it just 120 meters from the cathedral. This former 18th century baroque palace was completed in 1742.

It was the residence of the prince-bishops and cardinals of the House of Rohan, and the favorite abode of French royalty: monarchs such as Marie Antoinette, Louis XV, Napoleon and Louis Philippe I stayed here, and today it bears the traces of history in three of Strasbourg's best museums:

You can visit them every day from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and in the afternoons from **2:00 pm to 6:**00 pm, except for Tuesdays and Thursdays, when they are closed.

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Historical museum of the city of Strasbourg

Continuing our tour, 250 meters from the Rohan Palace, you will find the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg. Housed in the former Grande Boucherie (large butcher's shop) since 1587, it presents a fun and educational way to learn about the history of Strasbourg with its selection of objects and relief plans of the city from 1727.

From its time as a free metropolis of the Holy Roman Empire of the West to its transformation into a royal and revolutionary city, the Historical Museum of Strasbourg will take you on a journey through time in three chapters to facilitate an understanding of the role the city has played in the history of Europe.

Lunch stop

Choucroute| ©David Pursehouse
Choucroute| ©David Pursehouse

It's time for a break to recharge your batteries and at this point you will be surrounded by good restaurants with similar prices. Lunch with a drink costs approximately 25-30 € per person.

Take the opportunity to try the local gastronomy such as the Choucroute (a combination of sausages and cured meats with vegetables). You could also opt for the Tarte Flambée, a kind of artisanal German shepherd pizza that is a delight.

Maison Kammerzell

350 meters from the Strasbourg Historical Museum you will find the famous Kammerzell House, in the Place de la cathédrale, another of France's Historical Monuments.

La Maison Kammerzell is one of the 1000 places to see before you die according to the author Patricia Schulz:

  • This house is a symbol of tradition and the artistic past that so characterizes the area.
  • Its well-preserved medieval foundations are an architectural highlight.
  • **Its 1427 spiral staircases will impress you.
  • Léo Schnug's paintings and wooden sculptures captivate visitors.

After your lunch, stop here for dessert and take the opportunity to discover its spaces, now that they have been converted into a hotel-restaurant.

Le Petite France

800 meters from Maison Kammerzell is Le Petite France, where Renaissance and medieval architecture merge to create a charming walk along Strasbourg' s canals with picturesque mud and wooden houses filled with flowers, ducks and swans.

The area is vibrant by day and night, one of the highlights to visit in Strasbourg and a great place to take photos, especially at sunset when the light creates beautiful orange hues reflected in the Ill River, a tributary of the Rhine.

For the end of the day, you can take a boat ride to enjoy the views of the historic center past the large 19th century Neustadt Quarter to the European Quarter or sit on one of the terraces in the area for a glass of local wine or beer (remember that Strasbourg is the capital of France that dresses up as Germany).

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Day 2: European Quarter and German Quarter

Gutenberg Square| ©Mr Joel's Photography
Gutenberg Square| ©Mr Joel's Photography

On your second day your walking distance will be 4.8 kilometers with eight featured stops. Here is the map of the day. You can do it on foot, however, I recommend you to rent a bike or a segway for more comfort. Without further ado, let's get started!

Gutenberg Square

Right next to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, you will find Gutenberg Square, a place named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the modern printing press, who, despite not being French, makes clear the close border relationship between the countries.

He spent most of his life in Strasbourg where he set up his first printing press in 1440. For this reason, in the center of the square you will see the statue of Johannes Gutenberg. And that's not the only interesting thing, Neubau was also erected here in 1585, this is the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the first Renaissance building in Strasbourg.

The way to this square takes you along the Rue du Vieux Marché Aux Poissons, where you will be surrounded by cafes, stores and restaurants and in December the decorations are enchanting. Therefore, it is one of the best places in the world to celebrate Christmas Eve.

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Kleber Square

Continue your way for 350 meters to the Kleber Square, located right in the middle of the Grand Isle of Strasbourg, well known as the "heart of the city" for being the meeting place of choice. This is where concerts, the main celebrations, demonstrations and all mass events of this European capital take place.

In December, the gigantic Christmas tree is placed there. The decorations are charming and not to mention its local markets, the most famous of which is installed here, between the statue of General Jean-Baptiste Kléber and the Aubette building. This is the place to note as a must-see among your things to do and see in Strasbourg at Christmas.

Broglie Square

At 7 minutes from the Place Kleber, in the Place Broglie, is located this emblem of the capital among other things because the Marseillaise, the anthem of France, was heard for the first time here. It is also the space where the Hôtel de Ville or City Hall of Strasbourg has its headquarters.

And to one side opens the space for art in the Opéra national du Rhin, also known as the Strasbourg Opera House. Formerly, in 1821, it was the seat of the municipal theater, then it was renovated preserving the neoclassical style of its original architect, Jean-Nicolas Villot. Its Ionic columns and imposing facade deserve at least a couple of photos.

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Garden of the Place de la République

We continue moving forward 250 meters and, after taking the photo of the Janus Gate, Fontaine de Janus, you will arrive at the Republic Square, a large circular square whose origins date back to 1871, when the Germans began to build here a new city after the victory over the French in 1870, giving rise to the local name of the German Imperial Quarter. The intention was to make Strasbourg the capital of the Reichsland of Alsace and Lorraine.

The square features impressive buildings and wide avenues reflecting imperial architecture, including the Rhine Palace and the Strasbourg National and University Library.

In the center of the square, the 1936 Léon-Ernest Drivier Monument to the Dead depicts a German shepherd mother weeping for her two sons, one defending France and the other Germany, a symbol of this mixed-race city.

St. Paul's Church

St. Paul's Church| ©Christina
St. Paul's Church| ©Christina

At 450 meters, across the Pont d'Auvergne, is the Church of St. Paul, in the "European zone", where antique and craft stores are replaced by the glass buildings of European institutions, colleges and student residences.

The Church of St. Paul is of neo-Gothic architecture and was completed in 1897, inspired by the Sainte-Elisabeth of Marburg in Hesse of the thirteenth century. This Protestant temple was designed by Lutheran members of the German Empire. It has two 76-meter high towers that simulate a pair of arrows. And inside, the walls are covered with tall stained glass windows. Because of its location next to the river III, it offers an enviable background for your photographs.

Lunch stop

The next highlight of the day is the European Parliament, and the walk is 1.8 kilometers from St. Paul's Church. And yes, I know it's time for lunch, but I recommend you wait a bit until the last point, the Parc de l'Orangerie. You'll have more options, good prices and with the best views of the city. In the meantime, have a snack in one of the cafes on the way to the Parliament. Go along Quai Mullenheim to get there faster.

European Parliament

Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament, making it one of the most important places in the European Union. Your tour of these German shepherd lands would not be complete without a visit to this historic landmark. Also, in the surrounding area, in the European Quarter itself, you will find the headquarters of the European Council and the European Court of Human Rights. Do not hesitate to visit these important buildings.

Strasbourg Gardens

The Parc de l'Orangerie or Strasbourg Gardens is the perfect place to enjoy as a couple, as a family, to sit on a bench and watch the storks - symbol of Alsace -, to stroll and tour with your bike or segway.

This is the oldest and most famous park in Strasbourg. Its entrance is free, it has a lake with canoes, a waterfall, a small farm, car circuits, a zoo and much more. In addition, it is 400 meters from the European Council. This is the area where I recommend eating your late lunch to relax and conclude your Strasbourg getaway like the locals.

At the end of your tour of the area you will have enough time to take the train, car or flight back after a well-deserved vacation in Strasbourg.

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