Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or taking the family to the famous Christmas markets, Strasbourg has plenty to fill up a 3-day itinerary. You’ll have time to take in the city’s historic center, see its top sights, discover Alsatian cuisine, and explore the surrounding Alsace region. Here’s how to maximize 72 hours in Strasbourg.
Day 1: Tour the Grande Île
Strasbourg’s water-ringed Grande Île is the heart of the historic city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best way to get around is on foot, and a guided walking tour is the ideal way to get your bearings and take in the must-see attractions.
Begin in the atmospheric Petite France district, full of medieval half-timbered houses and winding canals, including the much-photographed Covered Bridges (Ponts Couverts) and Vauban Dam (Barrage Vauban). Continue to the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame and climb the tower for an impressive city view. Nearby, the grand Rohan Palace (Palais Rohan) houses three of Strasbourg’s most important museums: the Archaeological Museum (Musée Archéologique), Museum of Decorative Arts (Musée des Arts Décoratifs), and Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts).
Nineteenth-century Maison Kammerzell is a perfect dinner spot, serving traditional Alsatian cuisine and wines within one of Strasbourg’s most historical buildings. End the day with a nighttime city tour aboard a traditional pedicab and admire Strasbourg’s glittering illuminations.
Day 2: Explore the Alsace
With the Alsace wine region, Germany’s Black Forest, and the Rhine valley close by, you’re spoiled for choice for day trips from Strasbourg. Enjoy a half- or full-day tour of the Alsace Wine Route, visit traditional wineries, and sample the region’s celebrated wines. A popular choice is to combine wine tasting with a visit to regional highlights such as the mountaintop High Koenigsbourg Castle and the medieval town of Colmar, known for its picturesque canals and colorful buildings.
Alternatively, hop over the German border to explore the Black Forest’s historical villages and vineyards. A typical day trip itinerary includes the spa town of Baden Baden or medieval Freiburg, a scenic walk in the forest, and a stop at a local café for a requisite slice of Black Forest cake.
Day 3: Sightsee, Savor, and Shop
Get a different perspective on the sights with a boat ride along the Ill river. Cruise around the Grande Île, explore the city’s tranquil canals, and pass the Covered Bridges and other landmarks. Don’t forget your camera.
For lunch, tuck into typical Alsatian dishes like tarte flambée (German-style pizza) or choucroute (sauerkraut), then escape to the tranquil Jardin de l’Orangerie, a park with a network of walking trails, a boating lake, and even a small zoo. Bike or Segway tours are a popular way to explore the park as well as the nearby Neustadt district, known for its German-style architecture, and the European Quarter, home to the European Parliament headquarters.
Back on the Grande Île, browse the shops or enjoy a drink at one of the many bars around the cathedral. For holiday visitors, evening is the most atmospheric time to tour Strasbourg’s famous Christmas markets. The most popular are found on Place Kleber, Place Broglie, and outside the cathedral.