Despite not being a large city by any means, Strasbourg is still an incredibly important city. It has a rich history and it works as the official seat of the European Parliament. If you wish to visit Strasbourg, you have several great attractions to choose between.
Here’s an overview of the best ones. Located in Western France near the German border, you can easily visit Strasbourg as a one-day trip, but it also works incredibly well for a long, cultural trip.
Cathedral of Notre Dame
The Cathedral of Notre Dame is by far the most remarkable structure in Strasbourg. Standing in the central part of the city, you can’t really avoid looking at it. Not only does it take up a lot of physical space – it is also famous for its massive tower. For many years, specifically between 1647 and 1874, it was the world’s tallest building.
It took several centuries to build the cathedral, and the outcome is impressive. It’s considered to be a great example of Rayonnant Gothic architecture, although parts of the cathedral are also Romanesque. While construction started in 1015, it wasn’t completed until 1439, and particularly in that 15th century, a lot of ideas were added.
Seeing the cathedral from the outside can’t be avoided, so that part is easy enough. Try to fit the whole cathedral into a picture if you can. A visit inside is a great idea as well. It has some nice art on the inside, along with beautiful windows that filter the light, and it is of course very spacious. It’s possible to get a guided tour every day – something we highly recommend. Individual tickets for a normal visit are 4.40€ for adults and half price for kids and students. The first Sunday of the month is free. If you are not going for mass, but rather for sightseeing, we advice you to go in the afternoon.
Seat of the European Parliament
Although most of the EU politics take place in Brussels, it does occasionally happen in Strasbourg. The French city is home to one of the European Parliament seats, so every now and then, all the EU MPs are showing up for work here.
It’s a building complex with a very unique design, probably modeled after the Tower of Babel. You will notice all the EU flags on the outside. In total, there are five buildings, each of them named after a famous European politician. The main one is the Louise Weiss building, but as you attend, a guide can make sure you get to see the most important parts of the complex.
On the inside, it is absolutely huge, and visiting the European Parliament gives a nice insight into the daily life of the politicians.
You must show your passport or other valid ID to enter. There is a quick security check, and the people working there are not super friendly. However, bookings are not required, you can simply enter during any opening hours. Usually, you will join a group and a guide will show you through the most important parts of the building. The average visit takes between 1 and 2 hours. The parliament is located in the northeastern part of the city, a bit away from the center, so we recommend taking the tram to get there if you’re not traveling by car.
Address: 7 Place Adrien Zeller, Allée du Printemps B.P. 1024, 67070 Strasbourg
Quartier des Tanneurs
This area is probably the most charming in Strasbourg. It is also known as “La Petite France”, and it has become a UNESCO World Heritage sight.
Quartier des Tanneurs has a rich history and shows a classic look of France, or rather the Alsace region. There is a very distinct atmosphere: In the past, this neighborhood was home to fishermen and leather tanners. Nowadays, it’s mostly a touristic area where many houses have turned into restaurants or museums. It is very romantic, and a stroll through the cobblestone streets in this neighborhood is a must if you are visiting Strasbourg. Take some time to appreciate the architecture, and be sure to visit Maison des Tanneurs, arguably the highlight of the quarter.
Interested in both architecture and art? Then you will love this attraction in Strasbourg!
Palais Rohan is a famous 18th century palace. Previously, it was the residence of the local elites. Nowadays, however, Palais Rohan hosts three different museums.
One of them is a museum of fine arts, and it has many highlights. The collection spans from the Middle Ages up until modern art, with a clear emphasis on Italian, French and Spanish artists. If you are into Botticelli, Goya, El Greco, Rubens or Delacroix, you can see several original pieces here. An absolute highlight of the city.
The second museum of the palace is the museum of decorative arts. It shows the old residential rooms, a classic library, along with several exhibitions focused just on decorations.
If you have the energy for more, visit the basement. This is the archeological museum. It is mostly focused on France, as you will find antique items from pre-historic France up until more recent findings. It is considered to be one of the best archeological collections in the country.
The palace and all of its museums open at 10 every day except for Tuesday when it is closed. One ticket costs 4€, but you have the option of choosing a 6€ ticket which will give you access to all of Strasbourg’s museums for one day.
Address: 2 Place du Château, 67000 Strasbourg
Another place of importance is Maison Kammerzell. This classic building is a perfect example of the local Alsatian architecture. It has some interesting decorations on the outside, and you can also go inside – in fact, it works as a hotel nowadays, while also hosting a restaurant.
Maison Kammerzell has a central location, so it will be one of the easiest attractions to visit when you’re in Strasbourg.
Address: 16 Place de la Cathédrale, Strasbourg
Interested in the local history? Aside from Maison Kammerzell, you should also consider a visit to Musée Alsacien, or the Alsace Museum as we would call it in English.
It has thousands of objects and you can see rooms that depict the way Alsatian people used to live. This museum is absolutely charming, and even though it is not as large as Palais Rohan, it’s certainly interesting and there is no better way to dig deeper into the local culture than by visiting Musée Alsacien.
Address: 23-25 Quai Saint-Nicolas, Strasbourg
Eglise de Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune
If you love churches, a visit to Eglise de Saint-Pierrre-le-Jeune is an absolute must.
This is a beautiful church from the outside as well as on the inside. Founded in the 7th century, it has gone through some changes over the years, and it has a combination of different architectural styles. To support its diversity further, it is used as both a Catholic as well as a Protestant place of worship.
Beautiful carvings are found on the entrance as well as inside. As a tourist, you can definitely consider this church as one of the more spectacular sights in Strasbourg, so we highly recommend visiting.
Address: 3 Rue de la Nuée Bleue, Strasbourg
Eglise de Saint-Thomas
The history of this church spans back to the 6th century when it was first built. Unfortunately, it burned down later, but in the 12th century the locals decided to rebuild it. The result is the amazing church that we see today, often considered to be ‘the daughter’ or ‘the little sister’ by the locals when compared to the famous cathedral.
Eglise de Saint-Thomas was obviously dedicated to St. Thomas the apostle. The style of the church is Gothic, but the Alsatian kind of Gothic which makes it very unique. The size is impressive as well – it’s not a small church by any means!
Unlike many other churches in France, Eglise de Saint-Thomas is a Lutheran/Protestant church rather than a Catholic place of worship. It’s the only hall church in the entire Alsace region. It was once the center of the Lutheran movement and has some historic relevance. Conveniently, the street it is located on, is named after Martin Luther.
Address: 11 Rue Martin Luther, Strasbourg
If you are passing by the center of Strasbourg, be sure to take a few pictures at Place Gutenberg and enjoy the surroundings.
The famous Gutenberg, who invented the printing press, was once a resident of the city, and this square is named after him – you will also find a statue of him here.
The square has a lot of interesting places surrounding it. Most houses are traditional, and you will find restaurants as well as small tourist shops. The former town hall is a magnificent building and can be seen on the southern side of the square. You can even see a part of the cathedral from here, due to its huge size. There are many benches on the square, so it’s an ideal place to sit down for a break after a few hours of sightseeing. Hitting up a conversation with other people is also an option at Place Gutenberg!
A casual walk around Strasbourg
In general, we highly advise you to simply take a walk around Strasbourg and see the attractions casually as they appear to you.
The center of the city is very walkable. You will find beautiful squares, churches, classic attractions, interesting architecture – and also some great shopping opportunities.
If you don’t like walking too much, Strasbourg has a great network of trams that you can use. Tickets are affordable, and the network covers most parts of the city.
All over Strasbourg there are restaurants. Most of them serve typical French and German dishes. Prices can be a bit high, so be aware of that.
Enjoy your trip to Strasbourg!