On the lovely Ill River, sheltered by the Vosges and Black Forest Mountains, lies Strasbourg, the city of two cultures. Having been alternately part of France and Germany across many centuries, the city’s cuisine and architecture fuse the strengths of these two countries. Along with quaint medieval houses, cobblestone streets, covered bridges, and fortifications, Strasbourg’s Old Town (Grande-Ile) also features a Gothic Cathedral and a series of canals in nearby ‘La Petite France’.
As the capital of Alsace, Strasbourg is the ideal place to sample the unique cuisine of the region. The distinctive local dishes include choucroute – a plate of Sauerkraut with mixed meats and sausages – and tartes flambées, extremely thin-based pizzas with a creamy onion sauce. At the local taverns, you can dine on these and other dishes at communal tables with chequered tablecloths.
Thanks to the protection of the mountains that surround it, Strasbourg adds to its fairy-tale vibe with lovely warm summers and plenty of snow in winter. A mix of historic architecture and designer boutiques, cosy winstubs and outdoor cafés, this is the perfect city to view at a stroll. As the second-largest river harbour in France – and thanks to its proximity to the Rhine River – Strasbourg is the gateway between French and German river cruises.
Cruise ships dock in Quai des Belges, almost three kilometres from the city centre. Passengers are typically transferred into town via bus.
The cruise port is part of an industrial estate with few facilities nearby.
Facilities near the port in Strasbourg include:
- Public toilets.
How To Get Around
Almost all of the city centre is for pedestrians only or consists of tricky, narrow one-way streets. The Old Town in particular is better navigated on foot or via bicycle. Self-service Velhop bicycle hire stations are placed throughout Strasbourg (be aware that you will need your own helmet). Strasbourg’s public transport network comprises five tramlines and numerous buses. The same ticket is valid on buses and trams, and a 24-hour pass is an affordable option if you plan to hop on and off around the city. A minitram for tourists runs a circuit of the historic Old Town and La Petite France. Taxis are also available.
Travel times from Quai des Belges in Strasbourg:
- It is a 31 minute journey to Rohan Palace
- It is a 33 minute journey to Strasbourg Cathedral
- It is a 42 minute journey to La Petite France.
- It is an 11 minute journey to Rohan Palace
- It is an 11 minute journey to Strasbourg Cathedral
- It is a 13 minute journey to La Petite France.
- It is a 20 minute journey to Rohan Palace
- It is a 21 minute journey to Strasbourg Cathedral
- It is a 24 minute journey to La Petite France.
Currency – The currency in Strasbourg is the Euro (€). Notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent and €1 and €2 denominations.
Time Zone – Like much of Europe, Strasbourg clocks are set to Central European Time (CET), which is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In the daylight savings months of March to October, clocks are changed to two hours ahead of UTC.
Weather – Strasbourg enjoys a warm continental climate with hot summers for Western Europe and cool winters. July is the hottest month in Strasbourg, with temperatures averaging at 20 degrees Celsius. January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 2 degrees Celsius.
La Petite France – Once home to millers, tanners and candlemakers, this charming region of Strasbourg comprises half-timbered 16th century houses, narrow laneways and charming waterside parks, cafés and restaurants. It’s a lovely place to taste unique Alsatian cuisine. Completely surrounded by canals and locks, La Petite France is an island connected to the rest of Strasbourg via several bridges.
Rohan Palace – Built in 1732, this grand stone building was once home to Strasbourg’s bishops. Filled with artefacts and treasures, the palace is now a museum with exhibits across several floors, including an archaeological exhibit, an exhibit of decorative items (such as porcelain and silver items) and an art gallery displaying works by Botticelli, Rembrandt and Renoir.
Strasbourg Cathedral – This stunning cathedral was completed in 1439. It is a perfect example of both Gothic and Romanesque architecture, with its laced, red sandstone façade, gargoyles and flying buttresses. Stunning stained-glass windows light the five chapels that surround the transept in which services are still held. The cathedral also houses one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world.