One Day in Strasbourg (Itinerary + Boat Tour)

A perfect itinerary for one day in Strasbourg (+ a map with all must-see attractions and the best places to try Alsatian cuisine).

Situated in northeastern France, Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region. The city is a perfect blend of French and German influences, due to its unique position, less than 4 km west of the border. Its historic city centre, Grande Île is known for its medieval half-timbered houses, and landmarks such as the Strasbourg Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Strasbourg has a rich history dating back to Roman times when it was known as Argentoratum. Over the centuries, it has been part of various empires and kingdoms, including the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire. Today, this picturesque city on the banks of the Rhine River, home to the European Parliament, stands as a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation.

Best 1-day Strasbourg Itinerary

With its major attractions, all located on the Grande Île, Strasbourg could be easily seen in one full day. However, I highly recommend staying overnight instead of making a day trip from Paris. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your time travelling back and forth. Moreover, Alsatian cuisine is very delicious, and you’ll want to take your time savouring it!

This self-guided walking tour of Strasbourg will take you through the city’s most popular attractions. You’ll also find some restaurant suggestions, where you can try local Alsatian specialities such as tarte flambée and spaetzle.

One Day in Strasbourg Itinerary (for first-timers)

  • Try the cheesecakes at Salon de thé Grand’Rue
  • Explore the picturesque Petite France
  • Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban
  • Strasbourg Cathedral and the Astronomical Clock
  • Try the Flammekueche at Binchstub Broglie
  • Visit the royal apartments at Rohan Palace
  • Try the Spätzle at La Corde à Linge

Personally, one day in Strasbourg is the minimum time you need to explore the city. In case you’re visiting for the Christmas markets, I recommend allocating at least two full days as there are nine markets to explore. However, if you’re short on time, you can find suggestions on how do to Strasbourg on a day trip right after this 1-day itinerary.

Tips on your 1-day Strasbourg itinerary

Accommodation – have you already booked a hotel? Make sure to check if its location is in a convenient area (find out more in my guide where to stay in Strasbourg).

My favourite place to stay in Strasbourg: Hotel Léonor
Why: fantastic central location, within walking distance of everything
What I like: spacious modern rooms, excellent restaurant and breakfast

Restaurants – Strasbourg is a popular destination, especially during the summer or Christmas season, so make reservations a few weeks ahead of time.

Always book tours or skip the lines tickets with GetYourGuide (you get a mobile ticket + free cancellation). Tickets from the attractions’ official websites are mostly non-refundable.

Mapfind here a map of this 1-day itinerary for Strasbourg (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites).

One Day in Strasbourg Itinerary

Morning

Breakfast at L’atelier 116

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 head to L’atelier 116. This bakery offers fantastic pastries and cakes. I loved the éclairs, one of the best in the city. However, there are only a limited number of tables outside. Thus, if you prefer a proper breakfast, make your way to Salon de thé Grand’Rue. This tea house serves a wide variety of cheesecakes. I found their cakes light and fluffy and the portions were huge. They also offer a great breakfast menu (try the Grand’Rue breakfast).

atelier 116
L’atelier 116 – the best place for a quick breakfast
salon grand rue
The delicious cheesecakes at Salon de thé Grand’Rue

La Petite France

09:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Petite France is the most picturesque part of the Grande Île, the historic city centre. The area is filled with scenic canals and half-timbered houses, tucked away in alleyways and cobblestone streets. Many of these colourful houses date back to the 16th and 17th centuries!

Petite France was once home to the city’s tanners, millers, and fishermen during the Middle Ages. The district got its name from the hospital, built in the late 15th century to treat those suffering from syphilis. The latter was known as the French disease at the time, hence the name.

strasbourg petite france
Petite France is a must-see during your one day in Strasbourg

Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Petite France is also home to several landmarks such as the Barrage Vauban and Ponts Couverts. They were once a part of the city’s fortifications.

Ponts Couverts were constructed in the 13th century. They are a series of three bridges with four towers that span across the River Ill. Initially, the bridges were covered with wooden roofs to protect the defenders. From here comes the name Ponts Couverts, which means covered bridges in French. Make sure not to miss the panoramic views of the neighbourhood and the Ill River from the bridges.

ponts couverts
Ponts Couverts dates back to the 13th century

Barrage Vauban dates back to the 17th century. The function of this bridge 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, offering panoramic views of Petite France.

Make sure to see Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban after dark, both are stunningly illuminated.

barrage vauban night
Don’t miss to see Barrage Vauban after dark

Strasbourg Cathedral and the Astronomical Clock

10:45 AM – 12:30 PM

After visiting Petite France, head to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg), or simply known as the Strasbourg Cathedral.

The Strasbourg Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. Its construction began in the 12th century and continued over several centuries, finally being completed in 1439. The facade of the cathedral is decorated with intricate stone carvings and sculptures, including biblical scenes, saints, and gargoyles. Its characteristic pink hue is due to the sandstone from the Vosges, used in the construction.

One of the highlights of the Strasbourg Cathedral is its famous Astronomical Clock. It was built between 1838 and 1843 by clockmaker Jean-Baptiste Schwilgué. This impressive mechanical masterpiece not only tells the time but also displays the position and phases of the sun, moon, and stars, and the signs of the zodiac. One of the most striking features of the clock is its figures of the Twelve Apostles, which parade past Jesus at noon every day. The Astronomical Clock show takes place every day except Sunday.

strasbourg cathedral
The cathedral is a must when visiting Strasbourg
astronomical clock
The Astronomical Clock of the cathedral

With its towering spire that reaches 142 meters (466 feet), the cathedral is one of the city’s tallest structures. There is a viewing platform at 66m (216.5 feet), offering stunning panoramic views of the city. Note, that is only accessible by stairs (330 steps to the top).

There is no possibility to reserve your tickets in advance
Entry ticket: free for the cathedral, €8 – the viewing platform, €4 – Astronomical Clock Show

Make sure not to miss seeing the cathedral after dark, it’s beautifully illuminated. The Strasbourg Cathedral is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe that I’ve ever seen. So, even if you’re not particularly interested in churches, it’s worth visiting the interior.

strasbourg cathedral at night
The Strasbourg cathedral at night
strasbourg cathedral inside
Inside the cathedral

Lunch at Binchstub Broglie

12:30 PM – 02:00 PM

For Flammekueche (tarte flambée) and local Alsatian beers, head to Binchstub Broglie. This is one of the best places to try the traditional tarte flambée in Strasbourg. Opt for Flammekueche with cranberries, arugula and Morbier cheese (my favourite one).

Another option for lunch is L’Epicerie. This cosy restaurant serves open-faced sandwiches, known as tartines, made with sourdough bread with a variety of toppings.

L’Epicerie
The tasty sandwiches at L’Epicerie

Afternoon

Rohan Palace

02:15 PM – 04:00 PM

Rohan Palace (Palais de Rohan) is a stunning example of French classical architecture. Constructed in 1742, the palace served as a residence of the House of Rohan, a powerful French family. They played a significant role in the city’s history and were closely associated with the Prince-Bishops of Strasbourg. During its long history, the palace hosted several famous French monarchs such as Emperor Napoleon, Louis XV and Marie Antoinette.

Nowadays the Rohan Palace 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 combined ticket for the three (it’s cheaper).

From my experience, Rohan Palace is often underrated by tourists. However, it’s definitely worth a visit, especially for the lavish royal apartments.

rohan palace
Make sure to add Rohan Palace to your 1-day Strasbourg itinerary

Dinner at La Corde à Linge

Finish your one day in Strasbourg with dinner at La Corde à Linge. This restaurant is well-known for its delicious traditional Alsatian dishes. I especially loved their Spätzle (soft egg noodles) with mushrooms and the Cordon bleu with Munster cheese and Black Forest ham.

La Corde à Linge spatzle
Spätzle at La Corde à Linge
La Corde à Linge cordon bleu
Cordon bleu at La Corde à Linge

More ideas for one day in Strasbourg

Explore Strasbourg with a local guide

If you’re visiting Strasbourg in less than a day, I highly recommend taking this Walking Tour with a Local Guide. The tour takes you through the city’s most popular spots and some of its hidden gems as well. You’ll also learn about Strasbourg’s fascinating history and get recommendations for local restaurants. It’s the best way to see everything in just 2 hours.

Take a boat tour

The Grand Île, Strasbourg’s historic centre, is encircled by two branches of the Ill River. All year round, you can enjoy a boat ride and discover the historic centre from a unique perspective. The Batorama tour takes you through the charming Petite France and the imperial district of Neustadt, all the way to the European quarter.

As it’s a popular activity, I suggest securing your boat tour tickets in advance here. The boats depart from Place du Marché-aux-Poissons, right behind the Palais Rohan.

petite france cruise
Taking a boat tour is the best way to explore Petite France

Alsatian Museum

The Alsatian Museum is housed in three historic houses on the bank of the Ill River. The collections feature over 5,000 objects, related to the daily life of Alsatians during the 18th and 19th centuries. Within its 30 rooms, you can explore traditional costumes, religious objects and furniture. What’s even better is that you can actually see the interiors of these charming half-timbered houses!

Palais du Rhin

Palais du Rhin was constructed between 1884 and 1889 when Alsace-Lorraine was under German rule. Initially, it was built as the Kaiserpalast (Imperial Palace) to serve as a residence of the German Emperor Wilhelm II during his visits to Strasbourg. The building also housed various administrative offices of the German Empire. Today, the palace is an administrative building and it’s not open for visitors.

palais rhin
Palais du Rhin once served as a royal residence

Strasbourg Christmas Market

When travelling to France in December, make sure to include a visit to Strasbourg as well. The city hosts one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe! There are 9 markets to explore, scattered throughout the historic city centre.

Find everything you need to plan the perfect holiday in my guide to the Christmas market in Strasbourg.

strasbourg cathedral decoration angels
Strasbourg Cathedral at Christmas time

Strasbourg on a day trip

If you’re planning a day trip to Strasbourg, you can follow this itinerary with minimal adjustments. However, I recommend skipping the Rohan Palace entirely or only visiting the Museum of Decorative Arts, as it houses the royal apartments.

If you’re coming to Strasbourg for the Christmas market, one day won’t be enough. With nine markets to explore and magical Christmas decorations after dark, you’ll need more time to fully experience it all.

Strasbourg day trip

  • Try the cheesecakes at Salon de thé Grand’Rue
  • Explore the picturesque Petite France
  • Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban
  • Visit the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral
  • Try the Flammekueche at Binchstub Broglie
  • Visit the royal apartments at Rohan Palace
  • Try the Spätzle at La Corde à Linge

2-day Strasbourg itinerary

In my opinion, two days in Strasbourg is just the right amount of time to explore the city. Dedicate the entire first day to explore Strasbourg following the above itinerary. On the second day, take a day trip to Colmar, one of the most picturesque towns in France!

2 days in Strasbourg

  • Day 1: Petite France, Ponts Couverts, Barrage Vauban, Strasbourg Cathedral, Rohan Palace
  • Day 2: Christmas market (winter) or day trip to Colmar (summer)

Where to stay in Strasbourg

The ideal place to stay in Strasbourg is the Grande Île. This is the historic centre, home to the city’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Strasbourg Cathedral and La Petite France. The Grande Île with its colourful half-timbered houses and scenic canals, is the most charming area of the city.

I suggest booking a hotel between Place Kléber and Petite France. In this way, you’ll be within walking distance from the train station, which is convenient if you’re arriving by train.


BOMA easy living hotel – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.8 | 3,470+ reviews

Hotel Boma is the perfect base for an overnight stay in Strasbourg. It is just a short stroll from the charming Petite France and a 10-minute walk from the train station. Rooms are modern and cosy, featuring high-quality bedding with comfy beds and pillows.

Why book – 5min walk to Petite France, super comfy beds, great restaurant


Hotel & Spa Regent Petite France – Best luxury

Guest rating: 8.7 | 1,940+ reviews

For a luxury stay, book a room at Hotel & Spa Regent Petite France. This boutique hotel is housed in a converted 17th-century mill, right on the canals in Petite France. The wellness centre, equipped with a sauna, aromatic hammam, salt grotto, and ice fountain, is ideal for relaxing after a day of sightseeing. Be sure to visit the Champagne bar and sample some of the delicious champagne it offers, with more than 20 types available!

Why book – on the canals in Petite France, spacious rooms with river views, private parking

ponts couverts at night
Ponts Couverts in Petite France after dark

Getting around in Strasbourg

Although Strasbourg covers a much larger area, the historic centre, where you’ll find all the tourist attractions, is relatively small. And despite its name Grande Île (the Big Island), you can easily explore it on foot.

However, if you need to use public transportation, trams are the most convenient mode of travel. Find out more information on the website of CTS (Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois).

How to get to Strasbourg

By air

The closest airport is Strasbourg Airport (SXB), located in Entzheim. To get to the city centre just take the shuttle train directly from the airport (less than 10min journey).

The closest international airport to Strasbourg is the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. To get to Strasbourg from the EuroAirport, you have to first take the Distribus shuttle 11 to Saint-Louis Train Station. From there you can take a direct train to Strasbourg.

By train

Strasbourg is easily accessible by train from any major French (or European) city. It’s only 1h40min train ride from Paris (from Gare de l’Est). The Strasbourg-Ville station is less than a 10-minute walk from the historic city centre. You can walk or take the tram (the stop is right in front of the train station).

By car

If you’re arriving by car, it’s best to opt for accommodation with parking outside the Grande Île. A lot of areas of the historic centre are pedestrian-only and parking is usually metered and payable from 9 AM to 7 PM (find out more about parking in the Old Town 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.

Day trips from Strasbourg

Colmar

colmar day trip

Just a 30-minute train ride away, Colmar is a perfect destination for a day trip. The city looks like it has come straight from the pages of a medieval fairytale. With its colourful half-timbered houses with flower pots and scenic canals, Colmar is one of the most beautiful towns in France.

You can explore the town on a day trip or stay overnight (which I recommend). Find out everything you need to know in my Colmar day trip itinerary.

How to get to Colmar

  • the easiest way is to join this Best Of Alsace Historical Day Trip, which includes also the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle and the charming villages of Riquewihr and Kayserberg. A perfect solution to see the best of Alsace in just one day
  • by train – take a train from Strasbourg Central train station to Colmar train station. From there it’s about a 10-minute walk to the historic city centre

What to see next

Continue your journey to Paris, the capital of France. The city is located only 1h40min away by train. Check out my Paris sightseeing itinerary for more information (plus restaurant recommendations).

Best time to visit Strasbourg

For the best experience, plan your trip to Strasbourg between May and September. During this period, the city is very picturesque with its half-timbered houses tucked away behind overflowing flowers.

July and August are peak seasons, so if you can, it’s best to avoid them. However, if you’re travelling during this period, make sure not to miss the summer sound and light show. It is held at the Strasbourg Cathedral, daily from 10:30 PM to midnight (duration 10min).

December is also a busy time because of the famous Christmas market, turning the city into a fairy tale with beautiful decorations.

Faqs about visiting Strasbourg

Is Strasbourg worth visiting?

Yes, Strasbourg is worth visiting. It’s a picturesque city with a unique blend of French and German cultures, famous for its half-timbered houses, scenic canals, and delicious Alsatian cuisine. Don’t miss iconic landmarks like the Strasbourg Cathedral and La Petite France district.

How many days in Strasbourg?

I recommend spending at least one full day in Strasbourg. There’s plenty to see, from the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral to picturesque Petite France with its scenic canals and the royal Rohan Palace. If you’re visiting during the Christmas season, consider adding another day as there are 9 Christmas markets to explore.

What is Strasbourg famous for?

Strasbourg is famous for its stunning Gothic cathedral, picturesque canals in Petite France, its Christmas market and being the seat of several European institutions, including the European Parliament.

What to do in Strasbourg on Sunday?

On a Sunday in Strasbourg, you can explore the charming Petite France, take a boat tour, visit Strasbourg Cathedral and the Rohan Palace, and savour delicious Alsatian cuisine at La Corde à Linge and Binchstub Broglie.

Is one day in Strasbourg enough?

One day is enough to explore the historic city centre, including the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral and the picturesque Petite France, visit the museums at the Rohan Palace and try the delicious Alsatian cuisine.

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one day in strasbourg
strasbourg itinerary

About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

2 Comments

  1. This sounds like a good itinerary. I will be there early October for a day and half. Looking forward to it.

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