One of my favorite day trips from Stuttgart is driving about 1.5 hours southwest and just across the German-France border to the pretty town of Strasbourg, France. It is beautiful town to explore and is also the perfect spot to start exploring the picturesque Alsace Wine Route, or the Route des Vins d’Alsace.
Strasbourg is an interesting mix of German and French characteristics as it has spent time on both sides of the Rhine River and therefore it’s easy to pick out the German influences of the town while also enjoying the very French architecture of the city. The central area of the city, the Grand Ile, is a UNESCO-recognized island which makes the city an easy and compact area to explore.
Without a doubt, any trip to Strasbourg must begin at the Strasbourg Cathedral. It’s really the most logical option as the church is hard to miss and it is in one of the main squares in the city. Not to mention, the Tourist Information Center is right next to the Cathedral – so when you head that way, give yourself ample time to explore the ornate structure, then swing by the information center, pick up a 1E map of Strasbourg as well as a map of the Alsace Wine Route and start exploring the other parts of the city.
The Cathedral is one of the prettiest I have seen – my jaw honestly dropped the first time I walked in. The organ pipes, the stained glass and the astronomical clock are just a couple of the highlights, not to mention the plaque by the clock thanking the American Military for liberating the city during World War II.
After taking the proper amount of time in the Cathedral, start in the direction of “Petite-France,” district which is lined with timber-framed buildings and colorful flowers throughout. Here you can pick up a stuffed animal Stork, the popular bird prevalent in the Alsace area or just sit in one of the many outdoor cafes and people watch.
Take time to just wander the streets of the town, while stopping to enjoy the medieval bridge Ponts Couverts. Medieval is a common theme throughout Strasbourg as the town is dotted with such streets and churches.
As a side note – Strasbourg was one of my favorite Christmas Markets. The town was covered in lights and booths and it was a for real winter wonderland. If you get the chance, it is definitely not one to be missed.
Strasbourg – while not particularly large, is absolutely worth a spot on the itinerary. It is a quaint, easily explored city that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Quick Tip: A trip to Strasbourg could easily fill up your day, but give yourself enough time to drive at least part of the Alsace Wine Route. It is every fairy tale town come to life and you don’t want to miss it.
Necessities: Macarons! They are a French specialty and you must buy some while there. I’m not going to lie, I still haven’t had one that I thought was amazing – but it’s important to at least try them!
Time Needed: For Strasbourg, I would say at least 3-4 hours but if you will be visiting the Wine Route, give yourself the entire day.