My dear friend and I decided that we need one last trip together before we graduate. We based in Switzerland and we chose Strasbourg as our destination. Strasbourg is a perfect destination in term of location and size for a weekend getaway. Strasbourg is only 4-5 hours away from where we used to live in Switzerland. The city itself is explorable in just one day or two.
We went to Strasbourg at the end of May 2017. It was perfect in term of weather and the amount of tourist. What I mean is that it’s not as crowded and the weather is not that bad, or in other term, shoulder season. Like I mentioned, it was our last trip together as a undergraduate university student and we want to chill and destressing. All we did was basically just strolling around, eating and enjoying our moments. I think Strasbourg is perfect destination with friends, family or your loved one. I do think that a weekend or maximum three days is enough for Strasbourg or it might get too repetitive. Unless there’s particular itinerary or activities you will do in there. Apart from the touristy spots and the city itself, a weekend is enough.
Where and What to Eat in Strasbourg?
Where to eat is a very crucial part for each of my trip because I want to taste the right food before judging it. And first impression is everything (or so they say). Strasbourg is still part of France but let’s be honest here, all the French food, you can find it everywhere. I wanted the real dishes or cuisine of Strasbourg. I figure out that Strasbourg is part of Alsace and therefore the food is a combination of French and German. Also, I just know that Strasbourg is known for its gastronomy. Based on my experience (in eating) in Strasbourg, they certainly didn’t let me down.
You can expect sauerkraut (I love this), sausages, Alsace wine, and beer. But here’s the must eat when in Strasbourg: Flammekueche. Flammekueche or tarte flambée is like a pizza, but it’s in Alsatian style. It has this thin baked bread and you can choose the topping but it will mainly come with cream cheese, bacon and onion.
Another must-eat from Strasbourg is choucroute. It is a combination of pickled cabbage or sauerkraut, with sausage and ham/pork.
Lunch in Au Pont St. Martin
Once you are in Petite France, you can see a very stand out beautiful wooden building and it is where I ate my lunch. I already fall in love with the exterior of Au Pont St. Martin because wood and plant by the river is just my thing. In Strasbourg, I guess they are quite similar with Portugal, where restaurants mostly open around 12pm. I waited until 12pm to eat in Au Pont St. Martin. The restaurant is very touristic, which means there will be a lot of tourists eating there if you come a bit late during peak meal hour.
We tried our first flammekueche/tarte flambée, choucroute and Riesling wine. I have to say that everything was on point. The food, the view, the service (based on my experiences, waiters in France are not nice) and the restaurant’s ambiance were so perfect.
The Specialiste of Beef Carpaccio, Max Brasserie
Another place that I tried out is Max Brasserie. I was intrigued by their beef carpaccio signage where they mention they are specialist in Carpaccio de Boeuf for more than 30 years and decided to try it out. It was quite special, the way they serve the beef carpaccio. They literally stacked 4 plates of beef carpaccio in front of me and voila, bon appetit. The flammekueche/tarte flambée in Au Pont St. Martin was better compared to the one in Max Brasserie. The location of Max Brasserie is quite approachable if you stay near the center because it is nearby the shopping streets.
What to Do in Strasbourg?
I don’t know much about Strasbourg Cathedral because I wasn’t hiring any guide or renting any audio guide. What I do know is that they are a Catholic church and probably is a gothic architecture (am not a architecture/design student so tell me if I’m wrong). It is very different with the churches in Milan or Vatican, yet it has its own charm somehow. Is it because they are gothic, they tend to give this eerie feeling? Inside the church, there’s an astronomical clock that I found interesting because the one I saw in Bern or Prague are located outside. The astronomical clock in Strasbourg is inside the cathedral.
Nearby Strasbourg Cathedral, there’s Palais Rohan and also a tourist attraction. I went there briefly but didn’t go in.
Petite France is where my friend and I spend most of our time. Not only it is beautiful, there’s a lot of places to eat in there. There’s also the very photogenic Au Pont St. Martin, the place that I mentioned earlier in this blog post. Petite France is very lively from day to night. You can also do boat tour around along the canal.
Parc de l’Orangerie
A beautiful restaurant called Buerehiesel is in Parc de l’Orangerie. I was so stoked just by the pictures I found from Internet. When I went there, they told me that they are fully booked and I was so bummed out. So I only saw the outside appearance of the building and it is such fairy tale-like. I am very determined to go here if I ever get a chance to travel in Strasbourg again. If you are thinking or planning your trip to Strasbourg, GO EAT HERE! And then tell me what you think about the food, the ambiance and everything. I legit curious and really want to experience this. From their website and menu, the price range from €15-€50 and they also have set menu (around €100). I suggest you to book in advance just to secure your table and not get disappointed like me.
Apart from the Buerehiesel, Parc de l’Orangerie is like a typical European park I guess. It is very chill and gave me this friendly vibe. I saw people laying around in grass, having picnic and games. The location of the park is quite distant from the heart of Strasbourg, but it is worth the trip. I took a bus to get to Parc de l’Orangerie. See map itinerary below…
Walking around Strasbourg Cathedral and you can find stores and shopping centres in that area. I personally always, always, always shop a bit (or a lot) whenever I go out from Switzerland (where I was based in) because Switzerland is too freaking expensive and they have very limited brand in some stuff that I want. Wine like Riesling and Gewurztraminer can be souvenirs from Strasbourg, considering that Strasbourg is part of Alsace. As I mentioned earlier, Max Brasserie is nearby shopping streets and department store.
Explore Strasbourg Spontaneously
Although Strasbourg is smaller compared to Paris or other big European cities, it does have a lot of places to see. I went to botanical garden nearby the Strasbourg University, European Parliament Building, and random churches. Just walking around Strasbourg and see the architecture of the buildings is already pleasing enough for me. You never know what you will stumble upon when you are exploring. See map itinerary below…
Colmar is really close from Strasbourg and you can take train or bus to go there. I personally didn’t go to Colmar due to time restriction. If you are staying longer in Strasbourg or that area, you should give Colmar a look and maybe spend a day there. See map itinerary below…