December 02, 2014

3 Must-Do's in Strasbourg

"I've never even heard of Strasbourg."

This is the most common response when mentioning this French city in a conversation with another American.  Located in the Alsace region, which borders Germany along the Rhine river, Strasbourg is just big enough to be a tourist attraction while small enough to keep the bulk of camera-wielding hordes at bay.  Whether for someone with a dubious impression of the French (based largely on stereotypes and not on firsthand experience) or for someone with a keen love for all things Teutonic, Strasbourg provides the perfect combination of both cultures: German charm and the French joie de vivre, or joy of life.

So what's so special about this city you've never heard of?  Well, here are three things you can do in Strasbourg to discover its beauties and learn its history:

1.  Explore the Notre Dame Cathedral (Strasbourg Cathedral)
Completed in 1439 in the late-Gothic style, the Strasbourg Cathedral remained the highest building in the world for nearly 230 years, finally acceding to St Nikolai Kirche in Hamburg in 1874, but still remains the tenth tallest church.  Marvel over the flying buttresses, the astronomical clock in the interior, and climb the spire for stunning views of the city.

2.  Wander the Grand Île & Munch on Flammkuchen
The historic center of Strasbourg, known as the Grand Île (Grand Island), was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.  Its medieval lanes and half-timbered houses hearken to the town's Germanic roots.  Stop by a shop for some flammkuchen, a thin-crusted pizza topped with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons - an Alsatian specialty! - and crisscross your way over Strasbourg's many bridges for picturesque photo opportunities.

3.  Take the Water Tour
Speaking of bridges (and water!), take a boat tour of Strasbourg.  Audio commentary is available in 12 different languages for adults, and a special guide for children is available in four languages.  You'll get a waterfront view of Strasbourg's iconic buildings, including the Cathedral, palace, and glimpses of the European Parliament.  It's a great way to orient yourself to the layout of the town and map out what attractions you'd like to visit.

Have you heard of Strasbourg?  Visited yet?


Linking up with Bonnie & other travel bloggers for #TravelTuesday!


  1. This town looks so quaint and lovely! It would be interesting to see how German and French culture melds together.

  2. Wow Strasbourg does look gorgeous! I loved the mix of French and German in Luxembourg so I would be interested to see whether it was similar or different here :)

  3. I have heard of Strasbourg and actually met someone from there last week - I like it and want to visit it exactly for the reason you said, it seems small enough not to be too touristy but big enough to be really enjoyable and also the fact that it clearly has so much German influence! Very intriguing!

  4. I'm heading to Strasbourg in about two weeks (I'll be there for Christmas) so I'll definitely be checking back on this list :)


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