19 Free Things to Do in Strasbourg, France (from a Local)

Looking for the best free things to do in Strasbourg?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve been living in Strasbourg since 2019 and explored every corner of this quaint Alsatian town. I’ve wandered around La Petite France, browsed the flea market in Place Kléber, and toured the Strasbourg Cathedral.

Best of all, these activities didn’t cost me a single penny.

In this post, I’m going to share with you the top free activities and attractions in Strasbourg so you can plan a budget-friendly trip.

Let’s get started!

Here are the top free things to do in Strasbourg.
Free Activities in Strasbourg

19 Free Things to Do in Strasbourg

There are so many wonderful sites to explore in Strasbourg that won’t cost you a dime.

From historical landmarks to scenic parks, here’s a look at the free attractions and things I recommend you do while visiting.

1. Wander through La Petite France

This is Strasbourg's Pont Saint Martin. There are four half-timbered houses stacked side by side. Then there is the River Ill running below them. The halft-timbered house on the far left is covered in flowers and vines.
Pont Saint Martin

La Petite France is the most charming district in Strasbourg. It’s also one of my favorite places to go for a stroll. There’s a fairy-tale-like feel here that I find irresistible.

The cobbled streets, timber-framed houses, and picturesque canals add to its charm.

I have a few spots that I always find myself going back to.

There’s Place Benjamin-Zix, which is known for its white half-timbered houses. It’s also where you’ll find La Maison des Tanneurs, a beautiful 16th-century building that was once a tannery.

But nothing beats the colorful buildings near Pont Saint Martin. There’s even a walkway below the bridge where you can see them up close.

This is a photo of me, Jen Ciesielski, standing on Quai des Moulins in Strasbourg. I'm wearing shorts, jacket, and gym shoes. Behind me is La Maison des Tanneurs and Place Benjamin Zix. It's full of white half-timbered houses.
Me in La Petite France

Last but not least is Rue des Moulins.

Here you’ll find charming half-timbered houses, colorful window sills, and cafés.

It leads to Quai des Moulins, which is where I’m standing in the photo above.

2. Enjoy Parc de l’Orangerie

This is a bird's eye view of the lake in Parc de l'Orangerie. There is the lake in the middle of the photo and there are a few canoes. The lake is surrounded by trees and there is a walking path that goes around it.
Parc de l’Orangerie

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, there’s no better place than Parc de l’Orangerie.

This park is the oldest in Strasbourg and has a mix of gardens, walking paths, and activities.

One of my favorite things to do here is walk around the lake.

There’s a small bridge that divides it in half. From there you’ll see two small walkways.

One follows a set of stairs to an outlook (photo above) while the other leads to a view of the Temple de l’Amour.

Both are worth stopping by.

This is Fontaine de l'Orangerie in Parc de l'Orangerie. There is a grassed area with colorful flowers leading to the fountain. Behind the fountain is a building called Pavillon Joséphine.
Fontaine de l’Orangerie

There are also benches throughout the park where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

I love grabbing a seat near the Fontaine de l’Orangerie. In summer, the gardens around it are so colorful.

3. Admire the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

This is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg at Night during the Christmas Market. You can see the front of the church and the spire. Then in front of the church there are decorations and lights. On either side, leading to the church, there are half-timbered houses.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg at Night

The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, or Strasbourg Cathedral, is one of the most spectacular churches I’ve seen in France.

This masterpiece of Gothic art was once the world’s tallest building (from 1647 to 1874) with its spire reaching an impressive 142 meters (465 feet).

Its construction dates to the period between 1015 and 1439, and, once you see it, it’s easy to see why it took so long.

The exterior is full of intricate sculptures, while its interior has gorgeous stained-glass windows. Even if you visit Strasbourg on a day trip, stopping by this cathedral is a must-do.

My favorite view of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is from Rue Mercière.

From here you can see the front of the church, including the rose window. And, if you go at night, it’s beautifully lit.

Address: Place de la Cathédrale

4. Take in the Views from the Barrage Vauban

This is the view from the Barrage Vauban. In the foreground there is the River Ill then in the distance you can see Pont Couverts, Maison Ponts Couverts, two towers, and the Strasbourg Cathedral.
View from the Barrage Vauban

The Barrage Vauban, or Vauban Dam, is a multifunctional structure that serves as a bridge and a dam. It also played a significant role in the city’s historical defensive network.

It was built in the 17th century and stretches 120 meters (390 feet) across the River Ill. It has 13 arches, a panoramic terrace, and an exhibit featuring replicas from the Strasbourg Cathedral.

Since moving to Strasbourg in 2019, I must have visited the Barrage Vauban a hundred times. I love the views from the terrace. They capture everything that represents Strasbourg.

You can see La Petite France, Ponts Couverts, and even the Strasbourg Cathedral.

Address: Place du Qur Blanc

5. Experience Place Kléber

This is Place Kléber at Christmas in Strasbourg. In the center there is the infamous Christmas tree and in the back there are half-timbered buildings. The Christmas tree is decorated with ornaments and lights.
Place Kléber at Christmas

Place Kléber is the most famous square in town.

It’s named after the French general Jean-Baptiste Kléber, who was born in Strasbourg.

At the center stands a statue of Kléber, and underneath it is a vault containing his remains.

The square is surrounded by elegant architecture and is perfect for strolls and people-watching.

My favorite time to visit is in December when the Christmas market is in full swing. There are festive decorations, colorful lights, and, of course, Strasbourg’s infamous Christmas tree.

6. Visit Église Saint-Thomas

This is the exterior of Église Saint-Thomas. You can see the round tower and the top of the church. It's surrounded by trees.
Église Saint-Thomas

Église Saint-Thomas is one of the most overlooked sites in Strasbourg. Construction began in the late 12th century and finished in the early 16th century.

It was built to be a Catholic church, but, in 1681, when Strasbourg became French, it converted to Lutheran.

Its architecture beautifully blends late Romanesque and Gothic styles.

But I found its interior to be far more impressive.

There are stunning stained-glass windows, including a rose window from the 14th century, and the mausoleum of the Maréchal de Saxe.

Then, there’s the famous 1741 Silbermann organ that was once played by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Address: 11 Rue Martin Luther

7. Tour a Museum

This is the drawing by Johannes Hültz at the Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame. It's a piece of parchment paper that shows a sketch of the tower of the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Sketch by Johannes Hültz

On the first Sunday of every month, I visit at least one of the municipal museums in Strasbourg.

Why?

Because they are all free!

The Musée Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg tells the story of the city’s past, while the Musée Alsacien gives a glimpse into traditional Alsatian life.

Then, there’s the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, which offers a diverse range of modern and contemporary pieces.

But my personal favorite is the Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame.

It features an impressive collection of medieval and Renaissance art. And every month on the first Sunday (from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.), the original drawings of the Strasbourg Cathedral are on display.

The most stunning sketch I’ve seen was by Johannes Hültz (photo above).

Helpful Tip: Private museums, like the Château Musée Vodou, are not included.

8. Explore Place de la République

This is the Palais du Rhin. It's a rectangular stone building. There is a dome in the center. In front of the building there is a small grassed area with flowers.
Palais du Rhin

Place de la République is the main square in Strasbourg’s Neustadt district.

It was designed by Johann Carl Ott and completed in 1887. At the time, it served as a symbol of the new German authority.

In 2017, along with the rest of Neustadt, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Today, it’s a popular meeting place, surrounded by beautiful buildings like the Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire, the Théâtre National de Strasbourg, and the Palais du Rhin.

I love strolling down the adjoining streets and admiring the architecture. Avenue de la Liberté is one of my favorites. It finishes in Place de la République with the best view of the Palais du Rhin.

9. Watch the Sunset at St. Paul’s Church

I took this photo of Saint Paul's Church at sunset from Pont Royal. The church has two spires and a rose window. There is a bridge in front of the church and the River Ill running below it. On either side there are leafy trees.
St. Paul’s Church from Pont Royal

St. Paul’s Church is my favorite site in Neustadt.

This Protestant church was built in the late 19th century. It features twin spires and a beautiful rose window.

But the real magic happens as the sun starts to set. The warm, golden light hits the front of the church and creates a stunning contrast against the blue sky.

I’ve watched the sunset from several different spots around St. Paul’s church and the panoramic view from Pont Royal is unmatched. That’s where I took the photo above.

Address: 1 Place du Général Eisenhower

10. Walk along Ponts Couverts

This is Ponts Couverts at sunrise. You can see two towers and the middle bridge. The River Ill is passing below the bridge. The sky is bright pink and orange.
Ponts Couverts at Sunrise

Ponts Couverts is a defensive work that dates to the 13th century. It comprises three bridges and four towers that once were a vital part of Strasbourg’s fortifications.

Today, it’s a picturesque area with stunning views of the river and surrounding architecture.

This is where I like to walk early in the morning, often at sunrise.

The combination of the sun’s rays hitting the towers and the peacefulness is something to see. I usually have the place to myself, which is very different from what it’s like during the day.

11. Check Out Strasbourg’s Ramparts

This is the Porte des Remparts. There is a stone wall with towers on top and a opening that was once the door. There is a biker riding through the gate.
Porte des Remparts

Strasbourg has quite a few fortifications that remain from the Middle Ages. The most famous are Ponts Couverts, but there are others worth checking out.

There’s the Porte de l’Hôpital from the 13th century, which is, now, part of Strasbourg’s Civil Hospital.

And, my favorite, Porte des Remparts.

It’s located in front of Église Sainte-Madeleine and is very unassuming. I almost missed it the first time I went to see it.

12. Enjoy the Astronomical Clock

This is Strasbourg's Astronomical Clock. It's a tall device with several dials, each indicating something different. You can see three of the dials. Then there are figures all around the clock.
The Astronomical Clock

The Astronomical Clock is, actually, located in the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. But it’s so spectacular I wanted to give it a separate section.

To date, there have been three different clocks. The first was built in the 14th century and the one you see today is from the 19th century.

This engineering marvel features a planetary calendar that illustrates the positions of the sun and moon. It also displays the date and the solar time.

But the biggest attraction happens every day at half past noon.

A rooster crows when the clock chimes. Then, there’s a parade of figurines representing different aspects of life.

I’ve watched it several times and I still find it fascinating. It’s a popular attraction, so I recommend getting there at least 15 minutes in advance to secure a good spot.

Address: Place de la Cathédrale

13. Stroll along the River Ill

This is Quai des Bateliers. There are several colorful half-timbered houses side by side. Then there are two trees on the right and left edges of the photo. There are also people walking along the quay.
Quai des Bateliers

The River Ill runs through the center of Strasbourg, making for a beautiful natural setting in the heart of the city.

Stroll along the banks and soak in the picturesque views of historic buildings, bridges, and canals.

My favorite area to go walking is Krutneau. It’s a charming neighborhood with cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and quaint cafés.

I particularly love Quai des Bateliers.

There are so many shops to browse, and the colorful buildings are stunning, especially 22 and 23 Quai des Bateliers (photo above).

14. Hang Out in Place Gutenberg

This is Place Gutenberg during the Christmas market. There is a statue of Gutenberg on the right then a brightly lit blue tree on the left. In the back there are buildings decorated with Christmas lights.
Place Gutenberg at Christmas

Place Gutenberg is dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press.

While he was German, he spent time in Strasbourg, where he developed his prototype.

Today, you can find a statue of Gutenberg in the square, as well as various cafés and restaurants.

It’s a great spot to people-watch and appreciate the surrounding architecture.

I, personally, love visiting when the Christmas market is in full swing. There are usually a few wooden chalets selling pretzels, festive lights, and a blue tree.

It’s less crowded than Place Kléber and the decorations are incredible.

15. Tour the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg

This is the oldest barrel of white wine in the world at Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg. It's a wooden barrel withe date engraved on it. It's sitting behind metal bars.
Oldest Barrel of White Wine

The Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg is home to the oldest barrel of white wine in the world.

It dates to 1472 and has only been opened three times (1576, 1718, and 1944).

Today, you can tour the cellar, learn about its past, and visit this infamous barrel for free.

I didn’t think I would learn as much as I did, but the information boards describing the history were very detailed.

It’s easily one of the best free activities I’ve done in Strasbourg.

Helpful Tip: The entrance is hard to find. Look for a small set of stairs and a sign with the name of the cellar.

Address: 1 Place de l’Hôpital

16. Admire the Egyptian House

This is the Egyptian House. This is a small section that shows a painting of two people from ancient Egyptian.
The Egyptian House

Built in the 20th century, the Egyptian House is a stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture.

It was designed by Franz Scheyder who wanted to blend ancient Egyptian culture with German architecture.

Its eccentric style reminded me of the buildings I saw when I visited Nancy.

The only downside is you can’t tour the interior, but it’s still worth checking out, especially if you’re already exploring Neustadt.

Address: 10 Rue du Général Rapp

17. Stop by the Fontaine de Janus

This is Fontaine de Janus. It's the head of Janus surrounded by water and the are brick walls that lead up to a part of the fountain that drips water.
Fontaine de Janus

The Fontaine de Janus was designed by Tomi Ungerer and unveiled to the public in 1988.

It sits at the western end of Place Broglie and features the two-faced Roman god, Janus.

He often represents two sides of something. Here, it’s Strasbourg’s French and German identity.

Over the years, I’ve stopped by this fountain more times than I can count. It’s a great spot to take a break and people-watch, especially during the warmer months.

It also adds a unique touch to Place Broglie’s already beautiful square.

Address: 18 Place Broglie

18. Discover a Local Market

This is a sample of cheese you would find at the Marché de Strasbourg Neudorf. There are cheese lined side by side and they have a round label indicating the price per kilogram and the type of cheese.
Marché de Strasbourg Neudorf

Strasbourg is known for its markets, and there’s no shortage of them to explore. From the famous Christmas market to the weekly farmer’s market, there’s a lot to discover.

One of my personal favorites is the Marché de Strasbourg Neudorf.

It’s a smaller market, but I found the selection much better than the bigger markets.

There’s tons of fresh produce, delicious pastries, and local specialties.

I, actually, do most of my grocery shopping here.

But you don’t have to buy anything to visit. It’s fun just to browse and chat with the local vendors.

Helpful Tip: The Marché de Strasbourg Neudorf is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Address: Place du Marché de Neudorf

19. Take a Photo of Maison Ponts Couverts

This is Maison Ponts Couverts in spring. There is a walkway leading to the half-timbered house and its covered in lilacs. Then, on either side of the house, there is the River Ill. In the distance you can see the spire of the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Maison Ponts Couverts in April

One of the most beautiful times to visit Strasbourg is spring, particularly in April. The weather starts to warm up, and the city’s flowers are in full bloom.

While you’ll find a ton of things to photograph, one of the most picturesque spots is Maison Ponts Couverts.

This house sits on a small island, perpendicular to Ponts Couverts. And, in April, the walkway leading to the house overflows with lilacs.

I have yet to find a more beautiful spot in spring.

Address: 3 Ponts Couverts

Conclusion: Free Things to Do in Strasbourg

Exploring Strasbourg on a budget doesn’t have to be limiting. In fact, some of the city’s best attractions are completely free.

From historic landmarks to beautiful gardens, there’s no shortage of things to do without spending a single euro.

My favorite activities are visiting the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg and walking along the River Ill.

Now that you know all the free things to see in Strasbourg, it’s time to plan your trip. Why not start with the weekend itinerary I put together?


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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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