Inspiration for your next holiday
Inspiration for your next holiday
Strasbourg, a spirited city along the Rhine River, offers a captivating blend of French and German culture. As the capital of France's Alsace region, Strasbourg boasts the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petite-France, with its enchanting half-timbered houses. The cosmopolitan Grand Île and Prussian-inspired Neustadt areas add to the city's charm.
Home to the iconic Notre-Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral, a thriving culinary scene, welcoming locals, and lively markets, Strasbourg is an unforgettable destination year-round. Famous for its Christmas Market, it's ideal for a city break or as a base to explore Alsace. This article will give an overview of the best areas to stay in Strasbourg and our top recommendations of what to do so you get the most from your visit.
Strasbourg is situated within the historic Alsace region and lies on the Rhine border between France and Germany. Given its situation, the city has sprawled along the river and is divided into 15 quarters (or districts). However, the focal point for tourists is the Centre-Ville and the surrounding districts.
To ensure that you get the most out of your trip to Strasbourg, it is worthwhile staying within the 1) Centre-Ville: Petite-France 2) Centre-Ville: Grande Île, 3) Gare-Tribunal or 4) Neustadt (an area of the Organerie-Conseil des XV district).
Please note: As the Centre-Ville is extensive and differs in appeal by area, this guide will detail the best areas to stay within this district.
The map below shows the location of hotels and rental rooms within central Strasbourg. The map will display current prices and availability by altering the dates to suit your trip.
First-time visitors to Strasbourg should stay within the Centre-Ville and specifically the Grand Ile, which is encircled by the Ill waterways.
This part of Centre-Ville is the heart of the city, and roaming in any direction leads to quaint streets, historical sights, and the water. In contrast to Petite-France, which can feel quieter and more intimate at night, the streets near the Cathedral are more alive.
This area is an approximate 15–20 minute walk to any surrounding districts and is very easy to navigate. Tourists can also easily reach the famous UNESCO Petite-France area via almost equally picturesque streets.
For first time visitors, it is well-worth following one of the many walking tours: These all depart from north of the Cathedral square and are a great way to get an overview of the main sights. The 'batorama’ boat tours, which set off from the embarkment south of Musee historique de la Ville de Strasbourg, are also a serene way to see the sights along the IIl waterways.
When planning lunch and sightseeing, it is essential to remember that many sights and even some restaurants shut for lunchtime. Therefore, eating on the go and dining out in the evening is often worthwhile. There is an enormous selection of restaurants across the Grand Ile, but those that surround Petite-France tend to be more traditional and tourist focused.
Local dishes worthwhile trying are Flammekueche, Spätzle and Corden Bleu
Getting to/from Strasbourg from the airport is incredibly easy via train and much easier than a taxi. A shuttle train service takes approximately 10 minutes (2.90 Euros, single) and departs every 20 minutes. Trains depart from the station, connected to the arrival Hall via a link footpath (follow signs for Gare Entzheim Aeroport).
For those arriving by car or train, there are also car parking options within the Gare–Tribunal, with the station approximately a 20-minute walk.
Always choose the location you'd like to be based in before looking for accommodation in Strasbourg. This may sound obvious, but it is all too easy to be sucked in by an amazing discount or outstanding reviews without really considering which area you will be staying in.
Centre-Ville: Petite-France area
Crossing the quaint Martin Point, the wooden bridge from Grand Ile, leads into the iconic Petite-France area. This pint-sized area is filled with wooden framed, black and white houses, which feel like something out of a fairytale. The dwellings formerly for millers, tanners and fishers have now been turned into restaurants, and private houses.
There is only one hotel within the Petite-France area, but there is a wonderful range of accommodation options surrounding this area, with beautiful room views. Accommodation prices within this area are the most expensive, and booking far in advance is advised.
Petite-France is best explored freely on foot, starting from Point Martin and then roaming the few streets. After seeing this area, it is also well worth crossing Pont Couverts southbound and heading west to the Vauban Dam, which has a terrace to get panoramic views of Petite-France.
Dining out (especially outside) in this area is an exceptional experience as the streets and buildings only get more beautiful by twilight. Most restaurants are along Rue Des Moulins or around the water on Rue Des Dentelles: We recommend Chez L'Oncle Freddy or Corde A Linge for a reasonably priced local restaurant.
For those arriving by train, Petite-France is an accessible flat 15-minute walk. Parking in this area is restricted, so if arriving by car it is recommended to park in one of the long stay car parks near the train station.
Centre-Ville: Grande Île
The Grande Ile (Grand Island) is a great place to stay for those who want to be in the heart of the city.
Tourists can't go wrong staying virtually anywhere within the area of the Centre Ville district, as it only takes 15-20 minutes to walk the island.
The sights in this area are worth a couple of days to take in a walking tour and then focus on specific areas. Most tours depart from Cathedral square and then head out on foot via a mini train (great for little ones). There are also cycling and Segway tours too.
Tops sights to ensure you visit are the impressive Cathedral, which was the tallest building in the world at one time (free entry) and scaling the tower to see the vast views (8 Euros and under 5s free), Place Kleber, Place Broglie and the Opera National du Rhin, Palais Rohan, the shopping streets of Grand Rue, Grandes Arcades and Rue de la Hate-Montee (the list also goes on...).
Apart from the huge range of accommodations; the grand Ile is also filled with wonderful restaurants serving Alsace cuisine. We recommend heading south of Place Guttenberg towards the water for a fine selection and heading to the Grand Rue for a drink or night-time exploration.
This district of Strasbourg is a stone's throw from Petite-France and Grande Ile, but feels more modern and transient. The architecture of this district is grand, and surprisingly, the train station, encapsulated by a glass dome, is one of the finest architectural sights.
The biggest benefits of staying in this central district are the excellent transport links, a wide range of chain hotels and access to amenities.
Hotels within this district are often larger chains with more facilities. Prices are highly discounted compared to those within the Centre-Ville, perfect for those on a budget or travelling last minute. The proximity to car parks and the train station makes it easy for those travelling with children or lots of luggage.
For those needing items, it is well worth heading to Centre Place des Halles (10 am – 6 pm daily), a modern shopping centre, for a few hours to browse all the French brands. By night-time, the area directly around the train station becomes quiet but still feels relatively safe compared to other European stations.
Crossing the bridge into Neustadt feels like a complete departure from the fairytale into grand architecture, wide avenues, and impressive squares. This district was created to showcase Prussian significance and is one of the few areas displaying 19th Century German Architecture (that wasn't bombed in the second world war).
Unsurprisingly, the accommodation in this district is luxurious, grand, and very expensive. Visitors wishing for a high-end stay and to be out of the central hubbub of Grand Ile should stay here. Due to the small number of exquisite hotels, it is wise to book far in advance.
For those travelling by car, staying here is also beneficial as many hotels include parking in room rates.
Sights to be seen in this district are Avenue de La Liberte, Place de la Republic Square and Palais du Rhin. The sheer number of impressive and architecturally unique buildings in this area is so impressive that UNESCO status has been extended to this district. Therefore, it is wise to take a walking or guided tour of this area.
For the most romantic experience visitors should stay within one of the boutique hotels surrounding the Petite-France: This is the perfect setting for quiet strolls along the riverside and dining on local Alsace cuisine in the restaurants of the area.
Due to the UNESCO heritage status of this area, the nightlife is more intimate and romantic. Anyone wanting to impress their partner truly should book a table at the Bar Champagne, overlooking the waterways of Petite-France (Regent Hotel, Rue Des Moulins, open from 5 pm until 10.30 pm every day).
For those looking for more of a grand, lavish stay there are also several 4* hotels located near the colossal Cathedral and along the stylish Rue des Hallebardes.
Must-see sights and activities for couples include climbing the Cathedral, Dining in Petite France, and exploring local products at the Producers' Market (Rue de la Douane, Saturdays until 1 pm)
Strasbourg is a great holiday base for those travelling with children, and the Centre-Ville district is perfect for exploring the sights without long walks. The Centre-Ville is beautiful and well-equipped with hotels, shops and restaurants that are family-friendly.
The area of Grand Ile and Petite-France can also be explored on various interesting tours that will appeal to little ones. Our top recommendation is the Little sightseeing train that departs from the north of cathedral square (8 euros and under 6's are free) and only takes 40 mins.
Dining out in Strasbourg with Kids is an enjoyable experience too. Most restaurants feel relaxed and offer 'enfant' menus or delicacies for kids. There is also a wide range of cheesemongers, chocolate shops and bakeries for snacks on the go.
Strasbourg is also a wonderful base to explore the local area, with many family days out. Our top recommendations include Europa Park, Rulantica Water Park and the nearby chocolate tours at Les Secrets due Chocolat par Schaal.
The Nightlife of Strasbourg varies by the differing districts. However, as a tourist it is wise to stick to the Grand Ile bars and clubs, which are accessible on foot.
As a general rule the best night spots are clustered around Rue de l’Aile (East-West) and Rue de l’Epine. From here any streets to the south/south-east are filled with bars, restaurants, and a few clubs.
Strasbourg is ideally situated on the border of France and Germany, which makes it an excellent start for a touring holiday or a more extended base for a holiday exploring this fun-filled region, which includes the famous Europa Park and Rulantica waterpark for families. For cultural travellers, it is highly recommended to take a range of daytrips to the surrounding ‘Disney-inspiring’ towns of Riquewihr and Colmar.
The tourist districts of Strasbourg are all adjoining, and it is unlikely that visitors will stray into any residential or less desirable areas of the city. However, as with many European cities, it is wise to be extra vigilant about your belongings around the train station and Kleber Place.
It is also very wise to stay in the areas recommended as these are busy and populated at all times of the day.