Since you’re thinking of visiting Strasbourg in December, I want to congratulate you with your good choice! December is namely the PERFECT period to visit Strasbourg.
Because of their Christmas market, but that’s not the only reason. I’ve never seen a city that is so beautifully decorated for winter as Strasbourg. It’s definitely one of the most picturesque winter destinations in Europe with giant Christmas trees, teddy bears on the walls, cozy lights and an ice rink!
Let me start by showing you the Christmas market and then I’ll dive into other activities as well (since you can’t walk around the Christmas market forever). At the very end, you’ll also find suggestions to sleep and eat!
Top tip: at the end of this post I’ve included a map with all the locations I mention here! Use this to plan your trip!
Things to do in Strasbourg in December
Strasbourg Christmas market
The Strasbourg Christmas market is probably the number 1 reason why you should travel here in December.
The Christmas market runs from the end of November until the 24th of December. After that, parts of the Christmas market start closing, but some parts remain open a few days longer.
I’ve visited the period between Christmas and New Year and I can tell you there’s still a very large part of the Christmas market open for the public!
However, if you think of sipping jenevers at 22 in the evening, you’re wrong. The Christmas market closes at 8 p.m. on a weekday and a bit later on Fridays and Saturdays!
As you’ve probably concluded from my explanation, the market is very big. It includes several squares all over the city, so you can easily spend an hour or more walking around.
But what can you find on the Strasbourg Christmas market?
- Amazing comfort food
- All kinds of Christmas accessories
- Local crafts
- Hot drinks
What also contributes to the amazing atmosphere is the decoration and lights all over the city! Take a look at the pictures and convince yourself!
Cathedral of Strasbourg
In the middle of Strasbourg and the Christmas market you’ll find the cathedral of Strasbourg. This magnificent building is unlike any other church you’ve ever visited.
The architecture is amazing and you can visit the inside as well as climbing the tower to have a great view over the city!
Entrance is free, you’ll only pay for the presentation of the astronomic watch.
Most pictures you’ll see of Strasbourg (that are not the Christmas market) will come from this area of the town.
As you might know, Strasbourg is surrounded by water and this water is running straight through Petite France, making it the coziest neighbourhood of the city!
It often attracts lots of tourists and photographers (you can see why on the pictures ;)) and the atmosphere here is just amazing.
This is also a perfect spot to find a cozy restaurant, although I recommend you make a reservation because places will be fully booked otherwise!
Barrage Vauban is a bridge that worked as a defense wall when it was erected in the 17th century. You can walk through the building, but you should definitely go up as well!
On top of Barrage Vauban you’ll have a perfect view over Strasbourg (see picture)!
Place Kléber is the largest square in the center of Strasbourg, where there will be a huge Christmas tree in December as well as an ice rink!
The square itself has a lot of history (it’s named after general Jean-Baptiste Kléber), but in December it mainly functions as part of the Christmas market!
Neustadt is the German quarter of Strasbourg and is located a bit outside the city center.
Before you visit Strasbourg you should know that the city has a history of belonging to the Germans and the French, after centuries of belonging to both, it’s now become part of France.
However, when the Germans reconquered the city in the 19th century they decided to build a whole new city center (outside the old town) in Prussian style. This makes this area of Strasbourg so special.
You should walk through Neustadt after visiting Petite France and contrast the two quarters. You’ll see a clear difference between the French and German-style!
Saint Thomas Church
Saint Thomas Church doesn’t have the fancy architecture of Strasbourg’s cathedral but definitely has other assets. It’s not only a very old church (founded in the 12th century!) but also has a lot of ancient artworks in it as well.
You can enter the church for free and take a look at the famous mausoleum of Marshall Maurice of Saxony or the Sarcophagus of bishop Adeloch.
The church is open for visitors from Monday until Saturday, Sunday is reserved for the local people.
Strasbourg might be known for their Christmas market, but its mostly known as the city of the European Parliament.
If you’re interested in European politics you can take a visit to the European Parliament! Check out their website for opening hours.
Even if you won’t visit, the building is quite impressive! You can easily reach the European Parliament from the old city by tram.
Where to stay
As I visited Strasbourg, we didn’t stay in the city center, but right outside it in the completely renovated old harbour of the city. This place has been completely revamped to go from an old harbour to a trendy neighbourhood!
I was fortunate to stay on the docks at Okko Hotels. Okko Hotels is a wonderful, modern hotel chain with its own contemporary vision of a comfortable stay.
Rooms are unlike any other kind of room, breakfast is an option and free snacks are always available with appetizers before you go to dinner! The hotel even has its own gym and sauna!
I truly love the kind of atmosphere in the hotel which is so focused on the needs of its guests (I mean, free food!) and therefore it wasn’t my first stay at Okko Hotels (and definitely not my last!). They have hotels all over France!
I think I could go on forever about them, but why don’t you check it out yourself? When you book through their website (instead of Booking.com for example) you get an additional 10% off your stay!
Where to eat
First of all, you’ll find tons of creperies in Strasbourg where you can get delicious pancakes. Thus, definitely try one of them!
Second, you have to buy a typical French snack at the Christmas market when you’re visiting Strasbourg in December!
Then I also want to share with you two special places that really made an impression on me when I visited the city.
The first one is Pûr etc. This is a restaurant with a very original concept. You namely eat your food out of bocals! There’s not a tremendous amount of choice but you’ll be sure to eat very delicious local products.
The other place I want to share with you is the restaurant of a lovely lady who is obsessed with cheese. This means all her dishes are made with some kind of local cheese and it is DELICIOUS! Just take a look at Pour de Bon on Tripadvisor.
The weather in Strasbourg in December
Before you head over to Strasbourg in December you should be aware that the temperatures could come close to 0, but you probably won’t see any snow. This means you should definitely pack lots of warm clothes!
Especially if you’re planning to stroll around the Christmas market or the city, you should certainly bring a hat, gloves, warm shoes and a thick winter jacket!
Your personal Strasbourg map
Strasbourg in December is all about the Christmas market, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other fun things to do in the city!
December will be the perfect time for a visit as long as you don’t forget to bring warm clothes with you! I hope this post convinced you to visit wonderful Strasbourg and soak up its unique Christmas atmosphere!
Let me know in the comments, why would you love to visit Strasbourg in December?