The seat of the European Parliament is chockablock with timbered houses, traditional taverns, cobblestoned streets, and spired churches positioned alongside picturesque canals. Bordering Germany in eastern France, Strasbourg is a cross section of the two countries’ cultures and is a popular stop on Rhine River cruises.
What We Love
Winstubs: Serving up hearty meals, these rustic taverns are a Strasbourg tradition. Pair the popular “choucroute” (sauerkraut with sausages and salted pork) or “baeckeoffe” (a terrine-cooked stew with marinated mutton and beef) with a glass of Alsatian riesling or gewürztraminer (a local white wine).
Christmas Market: There's a reason why river cruises stop at Strasbourg in the wintertime: The holiday market here is among the most enchanting in Europe. Expect the air to be filled with the scent of hot mulled wine and “pain d'épices” — gingerbread — as you wander among the sloped chalets strewn with sparkling lights.
Best Known For
La Petite France: Part of the UNESCO-designated Grand-Île, this cobblestoned quarter, crisscrossed by canals, is where millers, tanners, and fishermen plied their trades in the Middle Ages. Don’t miss the Ponts Couverts, a series of defensive towers and bridges located downstream.
Notre Dame Cathedral: The pink-hued facade of this landmark is so ornate that you might not guess it's made out of Vosges sandstone. Inside, there's a marvel of stained glass windows and tapestries dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Once a day, crowds gather at the astronomical clock for the parade of apostles.
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Who It's Best For
Francophiles: The regions of France are diverse, and a stop here promises a fresh perspective on one of the world's most stereotyped destinations.
Museum Lovers: Strasbourg has many beautiful institutions that celebrate the region’s cultural heritage. The 18th-century Palais Rohan, a former palace for the prince-bishops, houses three museums under a single roof.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Wear Walking Shoes: The cobblestoned streets are likely to cause some trips and falls if you don’t watch your step (and what you wear). Flat shoes with traction are best.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.