One Day in Strasbourg: A Free, Self-Guided Walking Tour

Are you wondering what to do in just one day in Strasbourg? As I visited this gorgeous city on a day trip from Colmar this is where I can help you.

Hit the ground running with my Strasbourg self-guided walking tour. On a two-mile stroll, you’ll discover the best things to see in this historic city and I’ve included a free map to guide you.

half timbered buildings reflected in canal seen in one day in strasbourg free walking tour

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Why You Should Visit Strasbourg

Strasbourg is one of my favourite solo travel destinations in France and one of its prettiest cities.

Its historic city centre, the Grande Île, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Steeped in history, between 1681 and 1914 its ownership see-sawed between Germany and France, the legacy of which can be seen in its architecture, food and language.

two people sitting on bank of pretty canal in strasbourg france

Many streets have two signs: one in French, the other in German. The local Alsatian language, a Germanic dialect, is spoken by some residents.

A Strasbourg Self-Guided Walking Tour + Map

  • Walking distance: 2 miles
  • Walking time: 45 minutes

It’s easy to explore Strasbourg in a day on a self-guided walking tour. As the historic heart of the city is spread over a small area, it’s very walkable and the list of must-see sights is modest.

Here’s my Strasbourg walking tour map to guide you. For an interactive map with walking directions, or to send to your phone, click here or on the image.

free walking tour strasbourg france map
Strasbourg walking tour. Map data @ 2023 Google

Strasbourg Cathedral (Cathèdrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg)

From the train station, it’s an easy 15-minute walk to the Cathedral, the first stop on our Strasbourg walking tour.

gothic facade of strasbourg cathedral

Standing on the site of a Roman temple, Cathèdrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg is unabashed Gothic splendour. Its 142-meter tower rises above the city like an exclamation mark and for four centuries it was considered to be the tallest building in the world.

As Hitler had his beady eye on its magnificent stained glass windows, they were placed in salt mines during WW2. The rose window above the main entrance is particularly striking.

When you visit the cathedral, don’t leave without paying your respects to the sculpture of the dog in the pulpit. It is said that when the Geiler of Kayserberg preached from this pulpit, he was always accompanied by his faithful friend. As his sermons were often long and earnest, his dog would often have forty winks.

stone sculpture of sleeping dog

His hound now sleeps for eternity. Legend has it that if you rub his nose, good luck and blessings will come your way.

For a small fee, you can climb the 332 steps of a spiral staircase to a viewing platform for views over the city and beyond. The cathedral’s famed astronomical clock whirrs into action Mon-Sat at 12.30 pm.

Before moving on, step into Rue Merciere, the best spot for taking a photo of the cathedral.

La Petite France

Located at the western end of the Grand Île, La Petite France dates from the Middle Ages. This was once the city’s industrial heart, home to its millers, tanners and fishermen.

It is here that you will find the largest concentration of Strasbourg’s candy-coloured, half-timbered buildings, dating from the 16th and 17th Centuries.

people on bridge between half timbered buildings in strasbourg france

Take a break for lunch at Le Baeckeoffe d’Alsace for their tasty Tarte Flambée and a beer served with a smile.

Ponts Couverts

The Ponts Couverts is a set of four towers and three bridges dating from the mid-13th Century.

Originally built as a defence for Strasbourg, they were eventually superseded by the Barrage Vauban over 400 years later.

stone bridge reflected in water

Their name comes from the wooden roof that originally covered the bridge to protect the defenders stationed there. Although the roof was torn down at the end of the 18th Century, the name remains.

The Quai de la Petite France is one of the best places to capture that perfect Insta-worthy image of La Petite France.

Barrage Vauban

Barrage Vauban, the next stop on our Strasbourg walking tour, is a stone’s throw from the Ponts Couverts. This is a bridge, weir and defence which was built in the 17th Century.

To be honest, it is an unremarkable building and today houses artworks. But climb the 60 steps to its terrace for terrific views of La Petite France and the Ponts Couverts.

Strasbourg’s Street Art

On your way back to the station, keep an eye out for street art on the city’s walls and buildings. If you are interested in exploring this in more depth, take a look at this Strasbourg street art interactive map.

mural of two men on either side of a window

How to Get to Strasbourg

Strasbourg has excellent rail connections to cities in France and other European destinations. Thanks to a direct high-speed train link, it is possible to visit Strasbourg as a day trip from Paris in under two hours.

    Strasbourg has a small international airport, 10 km west of the city centre. It is also a popular stop on Rhine cruises.

    half timbered buildings reflected in canal in strasbourg france

    How to Get Around Strasbourg

    As Strasbourg‘s main attractions are close to each other, walking is your best option. For areas that are further out, there’s the city’s bus and tram system.

    canal and old half-timbered houses in strasbourg france

    When to Visit Strasbourg, France

    Strasbourg is a year-round destination and the best time to visit will depend on what you would like to do there.

    With warm and sunny days, summer is a good time to visit Strasbourg. The city hosts its famous Light Show in July and August. When I visited in September, the weather was perfect.

    Autumn brings cooler temperatures but fewer crowds.

    Winter in Strasbourg can be cold and frosty but visitor numbers peak again with the arrival of the Christmas markets.

    You have a greater chance of seeing rain if you visit Strasbourg in spring. However, the city is quieter and the flowers will be in full bloom.

    Strasbourg’s Christmas markets usually run from late November until Christmas. Spread across 11 sites in the city, its Christmas markets are amongst the best in Europe. After Christmas, only the stalls at Place de la Cathédrale, Place du Château and Place du Marché-aux-Poissons remain open.

    gabled roof house in the middle of a canal in strasbourg
    pretty canal in strasbourg with cathedral spire and bridge in background

    If You Have More Than One Day in Strasbourg

    More time in Strasbourg? Consider taking a 70-minute boat tour of the Rhine Canal. Or linger for longer in La Petite France, visiting a few of the winstubs.

    Take a day trip to Colmar, one of the most gorgeous towns in France.

    woman walking along street with gabled buildings
    Lovely Colmar

    Strasbourg is an excellent base for exploring the villages and wineries of the Alsace region. Take it easy on yourself, by joining an organised tour of the Alsatian wine route.


    Thank you for reading my guide to the best things to do in Strasbourg

    I hope that my walking tour helps you have the best day in Strasbourg. It’s a beautiful and interesting city.

    I visited Strasbourg as part of an Interrail trip through Switzerland and France, taking in the epic scenery of the Bernese Oberland, the Glacier Express train and the lakeside resort of Locarno. I’ve written this guide to using European rail passes and have weighed up the pros and cons of Interrail passes.

    If you are travelling around Northern France, take a look at a few of my other guides:

      bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

      About Bridget

      Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

      Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

      To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.