If you only have one day in Strasbourg France, you want to make the most of it! I share my itinerary for a quick 1-day trip below. With my Strasbourg one-day itinerary, you’ll see the best of Strasbourg, and get a good feel of the city.
Obviously, you can always come back for more!
Strasbourg offers typical Alsace cuteness, excellent food, and centuries of history, and it is literally at the crossroads of Europe and European history.
I visited Strasbourg on a day trip by train from Colmar, and I’ll share the highlights of my visit with you.
I paid for everything in full myself. I was not paid or sponsored. All my opinions and experiences are my own.
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One Day in Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg one-day itinerary
I agree, that Strasbourg deserves more than a day of your time, but sometimes, a day is all you can spare. Because there are so many other wonderful things to see in the region. I had to decide if I would stay overnight in Strasbourg or visit as a day trip from Colmar.
I decided to choose a day trip by train to Strasbourg and I had a great time.
Of course, your Strasbourg itinerary might look very different, because your interests are different or your travel companions are young children. That is why I stuck to the main sights to see, which offer a full range of what Strasbourg is like.
How to get to Strasbourg
As Strasbourg is so close to Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland it is easy to incorporate a visit to Strasbourg, even if you’re not staying in France.
Arrive by car
Strasbourg can be reached from all directions via the main motorways. But where to leave your car safely, without paying €25 per hour?!
Strasbourg has an elaborate network of park-and-ride-tram options. They are called “parking relais tram/bus”. You can park your car here the whole day, pay €4,10 – €4,60, and get tram/bus tickets for all people in your car! Super easy.
Arrive by train
Strasbourg is a major international hub. Trains from Germany and Switzerland stop in Strasbourg frequently.
It also has a direct high-speed connection with Paris. Trains from Mulhouse and Colmar run 2 times per hour.
Arrive by plane
The Strasbourg Airport (SXB) is only 18 km/11 miles from downtown Strasbourg and your first pick if you want to fly into Strasbourg.
The EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (MHL) is 130 km south of Strasbourg but caters to different airlines and international routes.
One day in Strasbourg – my itinerary
As always, I recommend that you arrive early. A city like Strasbourg really deserves a full day and like any other place in France, lunch, and dinner take considerable time.
Before you go, check if you have specific needs for museums or sites that might be closed or have limited opening times in winter.
I specifically wanted to see the market, so I picked Wednesday to visit Strasbourg for my day trip.
Market visit in Strasbourg
I always like browsing markets when I travel abroad. The wide variety of items on display combined with the chatter of market stall owners with locals. And the vibrant colors and fabrics are things I like about markets.
In Strasbourg, you can take your pick of regular and specialty markets on offer.
I visited on Wednesday and visited the bookseller’s market (Place Kléber on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays) and I browsed the flower market (Rue des Grandes Arcades on Wednesdays and Fridays).
Other famous markets in Strasbourg are the produce markets on Place Broglie Square and Boulevard de la Marne. Or the farmer’s market on Saturdays (Rue de la Douane).
Visit Rohan Palace and one of Strasbourg’s Museums
As I arrived at the central train station of Strasbourg, I just followed the main roads into the center. It seems like the cathedral of Strasbourg is the main focal point of the historic center and all main roads lead to the cathedral.
For now, as it is still morning, I suggest you pass the cathedral and continue towards the Rohan Palace. This building on its own is quite interesting, but it also houses 3 interesting museums of Strasbourg.
- Archeological Museum of Strasbourg
- Museum of Fine Arts in Strasbourg
- Strasbourg Decorative Arts Museum
Other great museum options, are located near the Rohan Palace and the Cathedral
- Museum of Oeuvre Notre Dame
- Alsatian museum in Strasbourg
For more information on all Strasbourg museums, opening hours, and visiting options, check this website.
I visited the Fine Arts Museum which had an interesting collection. The interior of the Rohan Palace is equally interesting so all in all, it was a good visit. I wouldn’t spend more than 1 hour in any of the museums (unless it is a very rainy day) as Strasbourg has so much more to offer.
Cathedral of Strasbourg and Astronomic Clock
By now, it was time to finally address the big bold building in the center of the square: the cathedral of Strasbourg.
I first took my time to walk the whole perimeter of this massive church on the outside.
I had a hard time capturing this elaborate building on camera as I could never get away far enough. It is that big!
I took my time to also explore the interior and sat down to admire the beautiful colorful glass stained windows.
Astronomic Clock at Strasbourg Cathedral
One of the main features of a visit to Strasbourg Cathedral is the Astronomical Clock. This Swiss masterpiece dates from 1842 and you can admire it free of charge.
Once a day (Monday to Saturday), at half-past noon (12.30 pm) the clock literally comes to life and a film and show are performed. Different figures come to live at the clock. The cathedral is closed during this time and tickets must be bought in advance from the south entrance of the cathedral.
The viewing of the Astronomic Clock and film are included in the Strasbourg Pass, get yours here.
Climb Strasbourg Cathedral for sweeping views
If you feel like working out or you just like a good viewing point, then Strasbourg Cathedral might have another surprise for you.
You can climb the spire of the cathedral, up to the platform at 66 meters for a view of the city. This does involve climbing 332 steps and an additional admission fee (€8) but the views are worth it!
Get a 50% discount to ascend the cathedral with the Strasbourg Pass, get yours here.
Lunchtime in Strasbourg
If you leave the cathedral behind and walk around Strasbourg, you’ll soon notice that lunch is a real thing. Basically everywhere in Alsace. I felt like lunch was an urgent need that must be fulfilled in any shape or form. Life grinds to hold after 12 p.m. and you hear the tingling of cutlery everywhere.
Most smaller shops close between 12 and 2 pm and some attractions close during lunchtime too.
So, do as the locals do. Try to find a spot to sit down and have an Alsatian lunch.
Make sure to do it on time, because most places close again after 2 pm (or 3 pm) and are jam-packed by 1 pm!
A lot of the places around the cathedral offer food around the clock, but these are usually packed (and probably more expensive and tourist-orientated).
Find a side street or nice terrasse that has a spot for you and check the menu. Always make sure to ask for the menu of the day, usually a starter and main or main and dessert for very affordable prices.
Another option is to ask for the specialty of the day, usually a few local dishes, often in Alsace-style.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with this, but you can always order off the menu of course.
I didn’t research my lunch option, so I just stumbled on a place and ordered the Tarte flamblée. The perfect easy lunch option, and also highly affordable!
Petite France area and Vauban Dam
After lunch, I just roamed around Strasbourg. I walked across some of the bridges, explored the wood-timbered houses along the channel, and found myself at the Vauban Dam and the covered bridges.
The historic center of Strasbourg (and the focus of your day in the city) is like an island, surrounded by water. In the west of the inner city, you’ll find some waterways coming together with several water locks regulating the water.
You can visit ‘Barrage Vauban’, the stone military dam built by architect Vauban in 1690. One of the main features is the terrace which offers you a panoramic view of the dam on both sides. Most attractive is the side where you can overlook the covered bridges and the city.
I returned to ground level to explore the covered bridges of Strasbourg. The bridge and her 4 towers are also part of the historic 14th-century defense works of the city.
The towers overlook the water and the bridge. It is still called the covered bridges, although the roofs have not been reinstalled after they were lost in the 18th century.
Petite France district in Strasbourg
If you’re looking for cute, picturesque, insta-fabulous views, then this is the place to be. The district once was home to tanners and fishermen who needed the water for their trades.
The houses are built level with the waterways and show some of the best wood-timbered houses of the Alsace region. Here you’ll find plenty of bridges, flower-covered window sills, wooden doors, tiny shops, and gourmet restaurants.
There is no point or direction needed in the Petite France district of Strasbourg. Just roam around, get lost, backtrack your steps, or follow the main crowds. Sit by the water to enjoy the view, take selfie pictures on one of the many bridges, or shop for local hand-made souvenirs.
Batorama Boat Tour Strasbourg
I can imagine you’re getting a bit tired by now. Whenever you visit a city for one day, you want to make the most of it and probably walk more than usual. I know I sure did!
I thought the Batorama boat tour would be an excellent way to see more of the city, without walking the extra miles.
You can reserve a spot for the Batorama Boat ride online or at the local tourist office (next to the cathedral). From there, it is a short walk to the quay where the boats leave.
The Strasbourg Island tour lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes and runs during the whole day. Just pick a time slot that works for you and show up on time.
They offer glass-domed boats and open boats, so you can choose. On the boat, you’ll get a set of headphones and the commentary is in 14 languages so the information is easy to follow.
I thought the boat tour was refreshing. Seeing the city from below the waterways gave a new perspective. You pass different water locks, which is always an exciting feature.
As you glide through the water, you’ll learn about the turbulent history of the region and Strasbourg as you admire grand buildings and see the city from a different perspective.
Optional: visit the European Parliament
The Batorama boat goes all the way to the European Parliament. This is located a few tram stops from the center of Strasbourg. So if you intend to visit, this is a perfect opportunity!
If you’re interested in the European Union and the European Parliament, this is an excellent way to see and learn more.
You can visit the Parliament on a self-guided tour. You can roam the halls, sit at the main debating chamber and learn about the formation, rules, and laws at the interactive Parlamentarium Simone Veil.
A visit to the European Parliament is free of charge and lasts about 1-2 hours. You can visit Monday to Saturday (closed on Sunday).
Find more information about visiting the European Parliament in Strasbourg here.
Batorama boat stop
The Batorama boat stops at the parliament. This saves you the hassle of walking there, taking a cab, or figuring out the public transport system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the option to return on a later boat.
Return by tram
Once you’ve visited the Strasbourg European Parliament, you need to return to the center of the city. You can buy a one-way tram ticket for tram E and return in a few stops to the main center of Strasbourg.
Shopping in Strasbourg
Probably, you already browsed some shops while walking around the city, but I was amazed at the fun, quirky and specific stores Strasbourg has to offer.
As most shops are open till the end of the afternoon, it is a great way to kill some time before dinner.
From large main department stores and international chain stores to small boutiques with hand-made clothes, bags, and accessories. I had fun browsing the Strasbourg Christmas store, trying on hats at a ‘chapellerie’ (hat store), and browsing for Alsatian souvenirs.
Gastronomic dinner in Strasbourg
Girls gotta eat so why not make it a special event? Strasbourg has several Michelin-star and gourmet-recommended restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner.
Restaurant Utopie caught my eye and I decided to make dinner reservations with them. They offer a seasonal set 6-course surprise menu and it was the best meal and dinner experience of my life!
Unfortunately, the success of Utopie forced them out of the city of Strasbourg. They have now opened a new restaurant in Gueberschwihr, which I’m excited to try on a new visit.
Of course, now that Utopie is no longer available in Strasbourg, you can settle at any of the hundreds of restaurants in Strasbourg. I recommend either booking ahead before you arrive or browsing some of the restaurants during lunch and enquiring about a table for the evening.
Money-saving tips for 1 day in Strasbourg
I don’t know about you, but when I visit a new city in one day, I always spend way more money than on a longer visit.
Obviously, when you have more time, you can space entrance fees out and don’t cram as much in one day.
So what are some money-saving tips for your visit to Strasbourg?
Free things to do in Strasbourg
In the above one-day itinerary for Strasbourg, I blended paid and free options to see the city. A visit to the market can be fun, enriching and is free (if you don’t buy anything!).
Also, a visit to the Strasbourg Cathedral is free of charge (you pay a fee to see the Astrological clock or visit the viewing platform).
At the time of my visit, the museums in Strasbourg were also free of charge. Check if they have days without entrance fees when you visit Strasbourg!
Almost all churches and parks in Strasbourg, as well as the European Parliament, are free too!
Pass Alsace or Strasbourg Pass
There are several discount cards and tourist passes for the region and Strasbourg city that can save you a lot of money!
Pass’Alsace tourist card for the region
Certain activities in the Alsace region and Strasbourg are free of charge with the Pass Alsace. This card offers you the following free options in Strasbourg
- Batorama Boat tour, save €9 on a boat ride
- Visit three of the 9 museums in Strasbourg for free (the average entrance fee is €6,50)
- Le Vaisseau science museum (save €7)
- One City Tours in Strasbourg (bike renting + geocaching (save €15)
The Alsace Pass comes in 24-hour, 48-hour, 3-day, and 5-day options. Ranging from €25 to €60. This pass can save you some serious money if your one day in Strasbourg is part of a longer visit to Alsace.
The city of Strasbourg also has its own pass that offers free visits and reduced prices for numerous attractions in Strasbourg. Especially useful if you’re not staying in Alsace but only visit Strasbourg for one day.
- Visit one museum for free (€6,50)
- Take a Batorama Boat tour (save €14)
- See the Astronomical Clock at the Cathedral (€3)
The card is €22 for adults, so if you do the above-mentioned 3 things, you already save money. On top of that, the Strasbourg Pass offers the following discounts:
- Viewing platform of the cathedral for half price (save €4)
- Visit a second museum for half price (save €3,50)
- Take a trip on the tourist train for half price (save €3,50)
And many other half-price or reduced-price options to save money. As the Strasbourg Pass is valid for 3 days, you’ll get your money’s worth from it.
More than 1 day in Strasbourg France
If you decide that one day is not enough to see Strasbourg, I can totally agree with that. I’d love to go back and explore more.
If you need a place to stay overnight in Strasbourg, book your hotel in advance. You can find the best Strasbourg hotels here.
Strasbourg in one day
Whether you have a lot of time or a little, I hope I was able to show you that Strasbourg is worth at least one day of your itinerary.
In one day, you can see the highlights of the city, snap a bunch of super cute images and have a great lunch and/or dinner in Alsace style.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Just drop them in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you.