Strasbourg (German: Straßburg, Alsatian: Strossburi) is the capital of the Grand-Est region of France and is most widely known for hosting a number of important European institutions. It is also famous for its beautiful historical centre - the Grande Île - which was the first city centre to be classified entirely as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Strasbourg is one of the nine largest cities in France with nearly half a million inhabitants in a metropolitan area spanning across the river into the German city of Kehl, on the eastern bank of the Rhine.
The city is the seat of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Ombudsman, the Eurocorps, the European Audiovisual Observatory and, most famously, the European Parliament, which also holds sessions in Brussels.
Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination primarily thanks to the beautifully preserved and pedestrian friendly city centre, which can be explored on foot or bicycle in a few days. Don't forget that Strasbourg's appeal now brings tourists to the city throughout the year, with large tour groups especially frequent during the summer months and during the annual winter market.
address: Place de la CathédraleIf you ask whether they have maps they try to sell you one for 1,50 EUR - be sure to ask if they have free maps, what you then get is basically the same as the paid one. They also sell a variety of self-guided walking tours through the town (Middle Ages, Renaissance, Modern and Contemporary) for €1 each, and can arrange bike tours through the Faubourgs (the suburbs of Neudorf and Neuhof).
A smaller tourist office
By planeStrasbourg has its own airport, however there are (relatively) nearby airports which have a wider range of destinations:
Strasbourg International Airportwith domestic as well as international flights. Air France is the principal operator. There are flights to London (Luton and Stansted), Madrid Barajas, Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol among others. A train runs to the town center (€4, including a tram connection, valid for 90 min. If you only need to get to the central station, buy your ticket not from the machines in the arrivals hall but on the train platform directly where the ticket will cost €2.30). The travel time is 9 minutes and the frequency is 15 minutes.
Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg AirportLocated in France, but jointly operated by France and Switzerland: there is a short bus connection to the railway station of Saint-Louis, which is one-hour twenty minutes by train, from the main Strasbourg train station. Low-cost companies offer flights from and to several other European countries, with flights to London (Heathrow, Luton, Stansted and Gatwick), Paris Charles de Gaulle, Berlin Schönefeld, Frankfurt and Istanbul (Sabiha Gökçen). EuroAirport serves as a base for EasyJet Switzerland, so there are many EasyJet flights to European holiday resorts.
Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden AirportLocated about away in Germany. There are flights to Berlin Tegel, London (Stansted), Warsaw (Modlin), Belgrade and Budapest. Ryanair operates from Karlsruhe following a court ruling that declared its subsidy arrangements at Strasbourg Airport a contravention of European legislation. The best way to get to Strasbourg is by bus from the airport to Baden-Baden Hauptbahnhof (Main Station); from here trains run to Strasbourg, normally with one change. From station to station the journey is about 45m-1hr. See the timetable for direct bus from the airport running to Strasbourg, this is tied into meet Ryanair flights from London. Flibco operates buses to from the airport and on to Strasbourg.
Frankfurt International AirportAbout three hours away from Strasbourg in Germany, and is one of the nearest inter-continental airports to Strasbourg. Lufthansa operates an Express Bus shuttle between Strasbourg and Frankfurt, Germany (but an indirect connection by train can be cheaper if booked online in advance, connecting in either Karlsruhe or Offenburg). The bus takes 2½ hours and costs €49 (one way). Reservation is necessary for the Lufthansa Express Buses from/to Strasbourg.
Due to the excellent train connection to Paris, it may make sense to fly into Charles de Gaulle airport and take the TGV from there. Air France and some of its partners offer combined tickets in an air rail alliance.
Strasbourg is well served by regional, national and international train services, predominantly by SNCF (French Railways), but also by Deutsche Bahn (German Railways).
Strasbourg is the eastern terminus of a major high speed rail line and thus served by numerous TGV and some ICE trains, most of which continue onwards to Paris or Germany respectively. Unfortunately this has also resulted in the end of many long running sleeper trains such as the original Orient Express.
Major destinations include the following major towns and cities with multiple daily departures. Journey times are approximate, some require TGV trains: Paris 1h 50m, Dijon 2h, Lyon 3h 40m, Metz 1h 15m, Nancy 50m, Marseille 5hr 30m, Besancon 1hr 40m, Luxembourg 1hrs 40m, Mulhouse 50m, Basel 1h 25m, Frankfurt 1h 45m, Stuttgart 1h 20m, Munich 3h 40m, Saarbrücken 1h 30m by direct local train, Brussels 3h 40m.
The TGV Est Européen provides direct services to: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 2h 25m, Lille 3h 20m (for same-station connections via Eurostar to London), Rennes 5h 15m, Nantes 5h 10m, Bordeaux 6h 45m.
From Saarbrücken, Saar-Elsass ticket can be purchased for €35 on weekends that enables round-trip for up to 5 travellers. More details are found here.
The main train station in Strasbourg is the
For details of all services, and to make reservations, contact SNCF. For regional travel, check SNCF TER Alsace who co-ordinate the efficient and well served regional train network. When planning trips east of Strasbourg into Germany or countries beyond, you could save money by comparing the fares offered by Deutsche Bahn to those of the SNCF.
- Eurolines provides bus services to the city. Services call at the new bus stop situated at the entrance of the center, few meters from the Etoile-Bourse tram stop.
- Deinbus.de serves Strasbourg on its route from Konstanz to Trier.
- Flixbus is by far the biggest player in the German market and a big player in the French market as well.
By tramThe German town of Kehl just across the border got linked to the Strasbourg tram network in 2017. It is one of only a handful of places worldwide where you can just hop on an urban rail service and let it take you across an international border. Both sides being within the Schengen Area, you don't need to take a passport or answer the question "business or pleasure" and you'll likely not be asked by customs agents how much booze you are carrying, either (and the limits are very generous at any rate). There are of course fare inspectors, so don't forget to get a ticket.
You can reach Strasbourg by various highways:
- from the west (Paris, Benelux) taking the A4 highway (E25). About 4 hours from Paris and 2 hours 15 minutes from Luxembourg.
- from the south (Switzerland, Lyon), taking the A35 highway (E25). About 5 hours from Lyon
- from the north and east (Germany), taking the A5 highway (E35).
Driving into Strasbourg's old city is relatively easy although there are a few streets off limits to cars. There are many large garages surrounding the old city if your hotel does not have its own parking facility. Some carparks are more expensive than other, especially for longer stays. The one at Petite France Ste Marguerite is the cheapest at €7.20/24 hour and €5.20 for each consecutive day.
Tickets P+R (parking for the day plus return fare on the tram for up to 7 passengers of the car): €4.10, P+R Rotonde: €4.60.
Strasbourg is most easily explored on foot, and the historic city centre can easily be explored in a day or two. To be able to cover more ground, you should consider hiring a bike or using the public transport network.
By bikeStrasbourg is ideal for cycling - the city center is flat and there are plenty of bike lanes and bike paths. You can rent bikes at:
- the automatic or manned bike sharing stations vélhop.
- rue du Maire Kuss, in front of the train station
- rue des Bouchers, on the south bank of the Ill river, near the rue d'Austerlitz and the Porte de l'Hôpital tramway station.
Bikes are allowed on trams except during peak hours.
More information on cycling in Strasbourg is available on the Strasbourg website.
By bus and tram
Buses and trams in Strasbourg are operated by the Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS). A few dozen numbered bus lines and six tram lines (named A to F) serve the city. A single ticketing system covers both bus and tram. Tickets are sold in 'tabacs' (newsagents), tourist offices, CTS boutiques or from vending machines at tram stops. Tickets should be validated before use, either in the machines on tram station platforms or in the machine by the driver when you board the bus.
Summary of fares (as of Oct 2018):
- Aller Simple (one way) €1.80 (€2 on board)
- Aller Retour (round trip) €3.50
- 10 x Aller Simple (1 contactless ticket suitable only for one person) €14.10
- 24H Individuel (24hr ticket for one person) €4.50
- Trio (one day ticket for up to three people) €6.90
Prices are slightly lower (e.g. €1.70 one-way) if loaded onto a Badgéo card, CTS App or topped up on contactless ticket. CTS App works only with French Sim cards (as of Oct 2018).
If using the buses and/or trams a lot, Europass tickets are available from all automatic ticket machines for either 24 hours or seven days. The Europass Mini is valid on all local tram, bus and train services, including those that cross the border to Kehl. The full Europass ticket also covers the local transport of the Ortenau Tarifverbund in Germany including Offenburg (information in German only).
Cathédrale Notre DameBuilt between 1176 and 1439 and with a 142-m tower (the highest cathedral tower in France), the Gothic cathedral is undoubtedly Strasbourg's finest architectural highlight. Check out the astrometric clock inside the cathedral.
address: place du ChâteauA splendid museum of medieval religious art related to the cathedral.
Maison KammerzellThe intricately carved half-timbered frames decorating the upper floors date from 1589.
Palais des RohanFrench-style palace, built after the acquisition of the town by the French (1681). Home to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Applied Arts.
phone: +33 3 88 52 50 01address: 23-25, Quai Saint-NicolasThis museum features articles from the daily lives of Alsatian peoples from the 13th to 19th centuries: clothing, furniture, toys, tools of artisans and farmers, and religious objects used in Christian, Jewish, and even pagan rites. The exhibits are in rooms connected by wooden staircases and balconies in adjacent multistory Renaissance-era houses around a central courtyard.
European districtUse bus lines #6, 30, 72 to get there.
Council of Europe's seatbuilt in 1977 by Henry Bernard.
European Court of Human RightsBuilt in 1995 by Richard Rogers
European ParliamentBuilt in 1999 by Architecture Studio. The parliament tends to meet in Brussels more and the arrangement with the parliament moving shop between Brussels and Strasbourg several times a year has been criticized as wasteful of money by EU skeptics and penny-pinchers.
Elsewhere in Strasbourg
Parc de l'OrangerieA beautiful classical park. It has a small free zoo featuring birds and a few other animals. Also has an excellent playground for young children.
StockfeldGarden city built in the early 20th century in the south-east of the Neuhof (southern part of the town). Use bus line #24 to get there.
ARTE Television headquartersaddress: 4, quai du Chanoine Winterer
B-line tramway terminus at HoenheimBuilt in 2001 by the contemporary architect Zaha Hadid.
Place de la RépubliqueA central crossroad encircled by neoclassical public buildings.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary ArtIt's recommended also because of the interesting building.
Historical MuseumMuseum of Strasbourg's history.
Even when there are no special events on in Strasbourg, walking around the old town is a very nice way to pass a day. And there are lots of good cafes to stop and rest in as you make your tour.
Boat tours along the Rhine offer views over both Strasbourg and neighbouring Germany. Batorama offer several river tours lasting from around 45 minutes to a few hours, costing around €10 per person. 45 min tours run around the town center and the European district. Boats can be found below Place du Marché aux Poissons.
Marché aux Pucesaddress: rue de Vieil-Hôpital
address: 24, place des HallesA shopping center with over 100 shops and restaurants north of the city center, but within walking distance.
Shopping centre Rivetoileaddress: Place d'etoileThis new development has shops similar to Place des Halles as well as higher budget shops and a selection of cafes.
Try Galeries Lafayettes at rue du 22 Novembre and Printemps at 1-5 rue de la Haute Montée. Rue Hellebardes and Gutenberg offer designer clothes and men's clothes. Bruno Saint Hilaire has designer clothes for men and a shop in 8, rue Gutenberg. There is a low-budget, secondhand clothing shop in 6, rue de la Lanterne, and various gadget shops can be found in rue des Juifs.
For cheap groceries, including local wines and beers, try one of the three outlets of NORMA, a German discount chain whose three outlets are conveniently located at the corner of rue St Michel and rue Ste Marguerite near the central train station; at 79, Grand'Rue near the center of Grand Île; and at 27, rue des Frères near the Cathedral. Open M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 9:30AM-7PM.
Alsatian specialties are numerous and can be eaten in many traditional restaurants, in the city or in the neighborhood. Particularly you shouldn't visit Alsace without having the sauerkraut (choucroute in French). Choucroute seems to have a standard price throughout Alsace of 14 Euros. Don't be too dismayed by this seemingly high price as what is brought to you is a heaping plate of Sauerkraut (big enough for 2 people) as well as sausages and other meats. This is usually translated as "garnished sauerkraut" on English menus, when in doubt ask your server. Other specialties include the Alsatian pork-butcher's meat, Flammeküche or flams (tartes flambées in French) which is a sort of wafer thin pizza made with onion-cream sauce, Baeckeoffe, beef and pork stew cooked, with potatoes and carrots, usually served for two or more persons and Fleischnackas, mixed beef meat presented like spirals and served with salads.
address: 22 Rue des VeauxThis a restaurant and microbrewery. Try one of their beers and a tarte flambé for about €10. Has a small children's menu.
Al Boustaneaddress: 31 Rue de la Krutenauon rue de la Krutenau. This Lebanese restaurant features sandwiches and kebabs.
phone: +33 3 88 36 36 90On rue des Frères near the Cathédrale. Serves a great variety of flams (tartes flambés) and has an amazing winelist for a budget joint.
address: 6 Rue du Vieux SeigleFeatures sandwiches "tartines" (about €4). Food from noon to night. Tables on street and inside.
Le Franginaddress: 33 Rue des Frèrestwo doors down from Flam's on Rue des Frères serves a wide range of home-cooked pasta and pizzas at reasonable prices. Pizza and pasta main courses range from €8-9, meat dishes €14-15 and an Alsatian beer €2.50. The owner is friendly and the food is good, satisfying Italian cooking.
address: 1 Place de l'UniversitéThe oldest university restaurant in France, in a 19th-century building, built by the Germans (which explains the ceiling decorations). It is the last French university restaurant that is managed by students. Not a culinary triumph, but very affordable.
Le Saladinphone: +33 3 88 32 12 32address: 41, Grand'RueTunisian/Algerian couscous and kebabs. No alcohol.
Le Zorbaaddress: 61 Rue de ZurichThis little Greek restaurant in the Krutenau area features sandwiches, souvlaki, and kebabs.
address: 4 Rue des DentellesVery friendly.
Chez YvonneUsually frequented by Jacques Chirac, when he comes to Strasbourg, because of its well-known tête de veau (cooked veal head). More expensive.
address: Les Docks, Presqu'île André-MalrauxThis chain restaurant is kid-friendly, with a small children's menu, highchairs, and a toy and coloring book for young children, and will satisfy a craving for red meat at a reasonable price.
address: 4 Rue du Saumonjust one block from the Vox cinema on rue des Francs Bourgeois in the center of Grand Ile. This local Alsatian favorite features Fischer brews for €2-3 and tartes flambés for €7-8.
Restaurant Avanosaddress: 20 Grand'RueSpécialités orientales: couscous, döner, grilled meats, fish. 3 plats du jour choices every lunchtime. 10% off takeaway meals every evening.
phone: +33 3 88 15 78 78address: 6 Rue de la Douaneon rue de la Douane, near the cathedral, next to the Ill river. A big restaurant for tourist groups. You are almost sure to find a place here even if you have no reservation. Mid-range prices.
address: 2 Quai de la Bruchein the Petite France district, serves well-prepared flams and Alsatian specialties in a small room with smiling waiters. The chef usually comes by at the end of the evening. Great terrace during the summer under a big tree on the bank of the river. No reservation, mid-range prices.
address: 17-19, rue du 22 novembreThe restaurant is above a fine Alsatian specialty food shop on the ground floor.
address: 13, place de la CathédraleTry the choucroute aux trois poissons; it is very fresh and a wonderful take on the traditional sauerkraut dish. They also serve the traditional choucroute garnie, with up to seven types of meat, including headcheese.
Le Sanglieraddress: 11 Rue du Sanglieron rue du Sanglier in the Carré d'Or district, near the cathedral. A small restaurant with a traditional setting. If you want a Baeckoffe, you must inform the restaurant 24h before. Mid-range prices.
Restaurant La Vigneaddress: 14, rue de SébastopolThis charming and friendly winstub has more moderate prices than its counterparts in La Petite France or near the cathedral, with choucroute garnie and baeckoffe under €15 and bottles of Alsatian wine for about €20.
Moozéaddress: 1 Rue de la Demi Luneon rue de la Demi-lune near Place Kleber: sushi restaurant. Sushi moves on a conveyor belt in front of you.
- Beer : Alsace is the first beer-producing region of France and Strasbourg has many breweries. Best known are Kronenbourg and Fischer, whose factories can be visited for free, with free drinks at the end of the tour.
- Alsatian white wine: usually drunk with Alsatian food, but also with fish. The main varieties are Gewürtztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris. They have a particularly floral flavour and are well worth investigating.
phone: +33 3 88 32 81 18address: 18 Rue des TonneliersBeer bar located on the Rue de Tonneliers in the proximity of la place Gutenburg. Spacious with an agreeable atmosphere.
phone: +33 3 88 16 22 03address: 3 Rue des Francs-BourgeoisBar with an intimate interior. Great place to enjoy a game of backgammon.
There are many hotels around the station, especially in the place de la Gare and in the rue du Maire Kuss, but this area does not offer consistent quality for accommodations. Most international hotel chains are represented with the usual 2- or 3-star hotels, many of which host the large tour groups who come on weekend breaks. If your budget allows, try staying on the Grande Île (city centre). Most of Strasbourg's hotels are fully booked during the Christmas Market period (December) and when the EU parliament is in session for a few days every month, usually for the period around the tenth. Book ahead if in doubt, as last minute accommodation can be difficult to find during these periods.
phone: +33 3 88 15 27 88address: 7 Rue Finkmattoffers a variety of hostel accommodation, with rooms from 1 to 8 beds. Rates start at €27/night, and there's a canteen.
phone: +33 388 45 54 20address: 9, Rue des CavaliersTwenty minutes bus ride from town and fifteen minutes from the European Institutions, this youth hostel is located in a leafy suburb close to the Rhine.
phone: +33 3 88 30 35 16address: 9 Rue de l'Auberge de jeunesseTen minutes from the city centre, this hostel offers a restaurant, bar and activities for guests.
phone: +33 891 70 54 01address: 55 Av. du Rhina budget hotel located 55 route du Pont du Rhin.
phone: +33 1 58 21 55 84Self-catering apartments situated in the heart of the historical quarter of the “Grande île”, just 10 minutes walk from the TGV station. Each of the 57 apartments sleep 2-4 people, are air-conditioned and completely fitted out: kitchen, television with international channels, etc. Located in the centre of the Alsatian capital makes this Aparthotel an ideal stopover location for business trips or for a long weekend. Car park less than 300 m away.
address: 17, rue du Maroquin
address: 12-13 Place de la CathedraleBest location of any hotel in Strasbourg, stylishly decorated, and more affordable for rooms without views of the cathedral.
address: 15, rue du 22 NovembreRecently renovated, with stylish bar and restaurant, facing a fairly quiet street.
address: 9, place de la Gare / 19 rue du Maire KussRecently renovated. 10 minutes from the Cathedral. Free wireless internet.
phone: +33 3 88 157815address: 14-15, place de la GareA 3-star hotel.
phone: +33 3 88 45 84 64address: 161, rue MélanieA 3-star hotel.
address: 8, avenue de la LibertéAn old building in the heart of the city.
address: 5, rue des MoulinsPerfect location.
phone: +33 3 88 154900address: 4, place Saint Pierre le JeuneNot far from both the Cathedral and Petite France.
Strasbourg is by a fair margin the safest of France's largest cities, being even safr than many mid-sized places, and tourists have little to fear. With that said, the standard precautions still need to be applied: watch out for pickpockets near the Cathedral (and even inside, according to the signs) during the high tourist season and throughout the old town. Some areas in the south (Especially the Neuhof neighborhood, which often ranked as one of France's roughest areas) and west (Hautepierre, Cronenbourg) might be iffy, especially at night. But otherwise, the city of Strasbourg is not known for violence.
Local mobile phone services are provided by Orange, SFR and Bouygues Télécom. Payphone kiosks are plentiful and international calling cards can be purchased in post offices and 'tabacs' (corner shops). Most of the internet cafés listed below are also equipped for making online telephony calls (Skype etc.).
- In most McDonald's in Strasbourg you get free WLAN.
Greecephone: +33 388-354024address: 49, Avenue des Vosges
- phone: +33 3 88-52-85-00address: 20, Place des Halles
- phone: +33 3 88 36 73 15address: 6, place Sébastien Brant
- phone: +33 3 88 35 39 80address: 26, Avenue de la Forêt Noire
- phone: +33 3 88 32 67 27, +33 7 64 20 33 33 (emergency)address: 13, Quai Kléber
- phone: +33 388 35 00 70address: 23, rue Herder
- phone: +33 3 88 353 104address: 15, Avenue d'Alsace