This one day in Strasbourg itinerary covers all the must-see sites (including where to stay, what to eat and how to save money with Strasbourg Pass).
Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region in northeastern France. It’s located less than 4 km west of the French-German border.
Although today the city is a part of France, things looked quite different in the past. The capital of Alsace has been a subject of endless wars between France and Germany. In fact, the city changed its ownership several times during its history!
One day in Strasbourg itinerary
How to visit Strasbourg in one day? What are the top things to see and do? Follow this self-guided walking tour of Strasbourg to get the best of the city in such a short time. Find a detailed map of the itinerary here.
Another option to explore the city is on a guided Segway tour.
What to see in Strasbourg in one day
- La Petite France
- Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban
- Strasbourg Cathedral
- Rohan Palace
- Temple Neuf Church
- Imperial Palace
- St. Paul’s Church
If you’re still looking for accommodation, check out the hotels below. They are conveniently located right in the Old Town of Strasbourg, at a walkable distance to all attractions and restaurants.
Elegant hotel with a fantastic location right in the Old Town.
4-star boutique hotel in a superb historic building.
Comfy apartments with great views of the cathedral.
See whether your hotel is in a good area in the article Places to stay in Strasbourg.
Morning – La Petite France and Strasbourg Cathedral
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start your one day in Strasbourg with breakfast at L’atelier 116 or Salon de thé Grand’Rue.
For a quick breakfast try L’atelier 116. It’s an awesome bakery where you can find the best éclairs in the city.
If you’re a tea or cheesecake fan, try Salon de thé Grand’Rue. They offer a wide variety of cheesecakes. The cakes are light, ideal for breakfast and the servings are huge. They have a great breakfast menu, too.
La Petite France
09:30 AM – 10:00 AM
La Petite France is the most photogenic part of the city. The area is crowded with black and white half-timbered houses tucked away in alleyways and cobblestone streets.
The name La Petite France (Little France) is not given for any architectural reasons. In the 15th century, there was a hospital for syphilis in this part of the city. At that time the Germans were calling syphilis a French disease. From here derives the name – La Petite France.
Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban are part of La Petite France. They were built to defend the city.
Ponts Couverts are three bridges and four towers from the 13th century. Initially, the bridges were covered with wooden roofs to protect the defenders. From here comes the name Ponts Couverts, that means covered bridges in French.
Barrage Vauban is a bridge from the 17th century. Its function was to raise the level of the river, flooding everything south of the city in case of an attack. This defensive measure was used during the Franco-Prussian War.
Nowadays Barrage Vauban has a viewing platform on its roof, revealing nice views of La Petite France.
Strasbourg Cathedral and the Astronomical Clock
10:45 AM – 12:30 PM
Cathédrale de Strasbourg is the emblematic monument of the city. Finished in the 15th century, it rises above all buildings at the heart of the Historic Centre. Its characteristic pink hue is due to the sandstone from the Vosges that was used in the construction.
There is a viewing platform at 66m above sea level. It’s accessible only by stairs (330 steps to the top) and it costs €5. On the first Sunday of every month, there is no entrance fee. During the Christmas markets season, the platform is closed for visitors.
The most famous object in the cathedral is the Astronomical Clock. It’s a real Renaissance masterpiece from the 19th century. There is a presentation of the clock every day except Sunday at noon.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
For lunch try Dreher or L’Epicerie. Dreher is a great option for a quick lunch.
L’Epicerie offers tasty open-faced sandwiches on sourdough bread with a variety of toppings.
Afternoon – See the palaces
02:30 PM – 04:30 PM
The Rohan Palace (Palais de Rohan) is a French Baroque masterpiece completed in 1742. The palace served as a residency of House of Rohan, a French noble family. The palace hosted a number of French monarchs such as Emperor Napoleon, Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and many more.
Nowadays the building houses the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts. The restored royal apartments are part of the Museum of Decorative Arts. You can buy a separate ticket for each museum or one for the three. The latter option will save you €6.
Temple Neuf Church
04:45 PM – 05:00 PM
Temple Neuf Church (Église du Temple Neuf) is a beautiful pink sandstone church from the 19th century.
05:15 PM – 05:30 PM
Palais du Rhin (Palais du Rhin) is the former royal palace. William I commissioned the building in 1883. Today, the palace is an administrative building and it’s not open for visitors.
St. Paul’s Church
05:45 PM – 06:00 PM
St. Paul’s Church is a stunning church often missed by the tourists. This 19th-century church is built for the Imperial German garrison members that were stationed in the city.
Finish the day with a dinner at Aux Trois Chevaliers or La Corde à Linge.
I just loved the Spätzle with mushrooms at La Corde à Linge. Spätzle are soft egg noodle, typical for the Alsace region. And they are unbelievably tasty, too!
Take an evening walk
The city is lovely at night. Don’t miss the illuminated Ponts Couverts, Barrage Vauban and of course, the Cathedral.
How to save money on your Strasbourg itinerary
The Strasbourg Pass is a great way to save money from entrance fees, popular activities and shops. It includes:
- a free visit to one museum
- ascent to the cathedral platform
- the show of the Astronomical clock
- boat-tour through the city
- half-price offers for a second museum, guided visits and many more
- 20% reduction in some stores
Although the pass is valid for 3 days, it’s a great value even if you’re visiting the city for 1 or 2 days. You can easily fit the included free attractions in one day.
By using the Strasbourg Pass (€19.5) you will save €8.
- a visit to one of the museums – €6.5
- ascent to the cathedral platform – €5
- astronomical clock show – €3
- boat-tour through the city – €13
Total without the pass – €27.5, with it – €19.5
Total savings – €8
Best time to visit Strasbourg
To see the city in its full glory, plan your trip in the period from May to September. During this time Strasbourg is strikingly picturesque with its half-timbered houses tucked away behind overflowing flowers.
Also, the famous light show takes place in July, August and September. Plus, the weather is warm, sunny and you’ll enjoy the boat tour more.
However, keep in mind that the high season is in July and August. Also, these months are hot and humid.
December is one of the busiest months, too, because of the famous Christmas markets. This is the time of the year when the city turns into a fairytale. The Christmas decoration is out of this world.
Check out my guide to find out what is the best Christmas market in Strasbourg.
How many days in Strasbourg
From 1 to 2 days.
One day is enough to see the Cathedral, the palaces and tour the Historic Centre. If you’re visiting the city for the Christmas markets, add one more day. There are 11 markets to explore and each one of them deserves a visit.
Also, I’d suggest you to add one more day for a day trip to Colmar. It’s a small charming town near Strasbourg (a 30min journey by train).
Getting around in Strasbourg
The Historic Centre is located on the Grande Île (the Large Island). Despite its name, the island is small and you can easily explore it on foot.
The Central train station is right next to the Grande Île. It’s just a short walk from the Historic Centre (especially if your accommodation is near La Petite France).
How to get to Strasbourg
Strasbourg is easily accessible by train from any major French (or European) city. The Central train station is less than 400m away from the Historic City Centre. You can walk or take the tram (the stop is right in front of the train station). Check timetables and book train tickets online at SNCF official site.
If you’re arriving by car, it’s best to choose accommodation with available parking. The Historic Centre is partly a pedestrian-only zone with paid parking in car parks (see all car parks here).
If you’re visiting the city only for a day, you can use the Park & Ride system. It allows you to park in certain car parks near tram stops and then use a roundtrip bus-tram ticket to get to the city centre. It’s one ticket and it’s valid for all the passengers of your vehicle.
For renting a car, check out Sixt Car Rental. They are very popular in Europe and offer the lowest rates.
It’s super easy to get to the city centre from Strasbourg airport by taking the shuttle trains. The trains run regularly (4 per hour) and the journey is less than 10 minutes. Take the train directly from the airport and get off at the Central train station. From there it is less than 400m to the Historic City Centre.
You can get to Strasbourg from Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport in less than 2 hours. For more detailed information check out how to get from Baden-Baden Airport to Strasbourg.
Cities to combine with Strasbourg
Colmar is the capital of the Alsace wine region. With its charming half-timbered houses, Colmar looks like it has come straight from the pages of a medieval fairytale. It’s a great option for a day trip (only a 30min journey by train).
If you’re short on time, I’d suggest taking the Highlights of the Alsace guided tour. The tour covers the enchanting villages of Colmar, Eguisheim and Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg.
The Alsace wine route is one of the oldest in France. It stretches for 170km passing through 70 wine-growing villages (find a map of the route here).
This Alsace Wine Tour is a must for every wine lover. You’ll have the chance to visit 2 authentic wineries and learn about the different types of Alsace wines. In addition, the tour also includes a guided walking tour of the picturesque town of Obernai.
The capital of France, Paris, is less than 2 hours away by high-speed train (TGV). And it’s best to spend 3-4 days there if possible (there is a lot to see).
Check out my detailed guide on how to spend 4 days in Paris.
Practical information about Strasbourg
France is a part of the Schengen Agreement (the European border-free area). So you don’t need a French visa, but rather a Schengen visa. If your country is part of the Schengen Agreement, you’ll need only a valid passport or ID card.
You can check at iVisa if you need a visa and what type exactly. What I loved about iVisa is that they offer an easy and fast process to obtain a visa online. The application takes no more than 5 minutes!
The official currency of France is the Euro. Although credit cards (mostly Visa and Mastercard) are widely accepted in Strasbourg, you may need cash. Some of the smaller restaurants and merchants may accept only cash. This is especially true for the stalls at the Christmas markets – cash only.
American Express is accepted only in major stores and hotel chains.
The official language is French. However, many of the people also speak Alsatian (a Germanic dialect spoken in Alsace). Besides, the streets and the signs often have both German and French names.
English is widely spoken, too, at least in the tourist places and in most of the restaurants in the Old Town.
If you want to learn some French, check out this French phrasebook (it’s one of the best rated).
France operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. The associated plug types are C and E.
If you’re from the US, this is the only travel adaptor that you’ll need.
If you’re from the UK, this is the best-rated travel adaptor.