Located in the Alsace region in France, Strasbourg has a unique cultural mix that comes with being a border town. It only takes 15 minutes to drive to the neighbouring country, so naturally, you can see some direct influences. German Flammkuchen appears on the menu at nearly every restaurant, but it is just as easy to order from the huge variety of French pastries at a local patisserie. French language sings in the air, though it is not uncommon to hear German too! Strasbourg has an endless supply of charming streets, half-timbered houses and pretty canals, waiting to be explored.
Check out the Strasbourg Cathedral
This grand gothic cathedral towers above the town square and is the sixth tallest church in the world. It is remarkably impressive from the outside, especially during the golden hour. Make sure you take a peek inside too!
Take a boat tour around the canals
A boat tour is a great option if you have limited time and want to learn more about the history of the city. You can purchase tickets from the information centre and boats leave regularly.
Wander the streets of “Petite France”
This historic quarter of the city is full of colourful half-timbered houses, narrow streets, restaurants, bars and bridges. Take your time to soak in the atmosphere before finding a sunny table on the street to enjoy a wine!
Purchase a variety of indulgent desserts at a patisserie
The options are endless! Feast on creamy eclairs, soft croissants, mouth-watering macarons and savoury quiches. The French are unbelievably good at baking – it is almost enough to convince you to move to France!
Admire the Strasbourg Pont Couverts
This set of three bridges and four towers crosses the four channels of the River Ill and dates back to 1230, when the bridge began construction. Climb up the steps onto the turfed landing to soak in one of the best views in Strasbourg.
Eat Flammkuchen (or Tarte Flambee)
Flammkuchen is a bit like a pizza, though it is based on pastry instead of dough. Of course, the French have their own name, which sounds far more elegant! Whatever you like to call it and wherever it originated, it is hard to stop at just one, especially when accompanied by a local wine.
Climb the clocktower for sunset
It is always worth climbing up the clocktower in these European cities – the views are particularly magical at sunset and you get a decent view of the old town below.
Wander the streets by night
Afterwards, take a stroll along the river by night and enjoy the golden glow of the old houses and the gentle sound of water lapping against the channel walls.
Whilst the city has passed hands between France and Germany over the course of its complicated history, it is most certainly French today. I was quite surprised to find myself out of place. My German SIM card took a few days to adjust and, much to my dismay, I had forgotten nearly all of my French from high school and was spluttering a strange mix of German and English, trying to make myself understood. It was then that I realised how familiar Germany had become!
Have you been to Strasbourg? What was your highlight?