Strasbourg Christmas Market – Ultimate Guide (2023 Update)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and you want to visit the most fairy-tale-like Christmas market in Strasbourg, France?
Then look no further and let me help you plan your perfect trip to Europe’s Capital of Christmas! I have already been five times and going again this year!
From when to go and what to see, this Guide has all the secret tips to help you beat the crowds, find the best accommodation, and experience Strasbourg at its most magical time!
Let’s dive in!
Table of contents
- Is Strasbourg Christmas Market worth visiting?
- Logistics and Dates
- Planning your visit
- Final tips for your visit to Strasbourg Christmas Market
Is Strasbourg Christmas Market worth visiting?
Imagine a city taken over by a Christmas fever, the smell of mulled wine, cinnamon, and roasted chestnuts pretty much everywhere you go. Does it sound appealing?
Combine that with a city that without all this decoration and festivities is already beautiful with canals and half-timbered houses.
YES, the answer is that you should really see it for yourself.
So if you can manage to escape just weeks ahead of Christmas it is indeed a wonderful time of the year to visit Alsace and its beautiful capital of Strasbourg. Come with empty bags to stock up on French chocolates and wines and some rather special Christmas presents for your dearest.
CHECK OUR GUIDE TO COLMAR CHRISTMAS MARKET HERE
Logistics and Dates
When does the Christmas Market start and end?
- This year (2023) the Market will open on November 24th and it will close on December 24th. It is indeed quite confusing that the Christmas Market is closed before the actual Christmas starts, so don’t plan it wrongly!
- Strasbourg Christmas Market will be open from 2 until 9 pm on its opening day of 24th November, then until 24th December, it will be open every day from 11.30 until 9 pm. On Christmas day itself (24 December) it will close already at 6 pm.
TIP 1: Visit Strasbourg Christmas Market in the first two weeks after the opening. This applies to all Alsatian Christmas markets. The crowds really can kill the joy and make you want to hide in your hotel.
TIP 2: Try visiting during the week and avoiding the weekends. You will have fewer people, cheaper accommodation prices as well as more availabilities in restaurants.
Strasbourg is in the Eastern part of France, on the border with Germany. You have a few ways of getting there depending on your location, budget, and preference:
Strasbourg has its own (however small) international airport called the Entzheim Airport (SXB). That said there aren’t too many connections every day.
In case you cannot find a direct flight to Strasbourg or the direct flight is too expensive (which is often the case) try flying either to Paris, Frankfurt or Basel and then take the train to Strasbourg.
Strasbourg is very easy to reach by train from other cities in France, Germany, and Switzerland.
Yes, you can get to Strasbourg by boat! Choose a river cruise from a city along the Rhine River! That would definitely be the most memorable way of getting into Strasbourg!
Sure you could reach Strasbourg by car, but if you do I strongly recommend finding accommodation outside of the city center (ideally with free parking) and using public transportation to visit the Christmas Market. Parking in the city would be an absolute nightmare and close to impossible.
Planning your visit
Strasbourg has so much to offer so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices. Let me help you plan it well so you don’t miss a thing! See below my highlights and top recommendations.
What to see and do?
So now that you are already in Strasbourg and want to soak in the atmosphere to the fullest and come home with unforgettable memories, what should you do? With over 300 wooden chalets spread across the town, you will be able to get happily lost, but to give a bit of direction, try not to miss the following:
In total, there are eleven (!!!) Christmas markets spread out across the Old Town of Strasbourg. Make sure to cover at least these ones:
- Place de la Cathédrale – If you want to start with the oldest Christmas market in France (originating in XVI century), then head to Place de la Cathédrale. It really is a pure joy! All the decorations, market stands, lights, and smells are worth traveling the world for! I promise!
- The Christkindelsmärik on Place Broglie – If you feel like going back in time, visit this historic market as it is the oldest part of the Christmas Market! One not to miss!
- Place Saint-Thomas – If you feel like a small Christmas market then head to Place Saint-Thomas. Here you can enjoy some fine alsatian cuisine under the trees covered in lights.
- Place des Meuniers – Head here if you feel like tasting some food from small local producers from all over Alsace. It has a bit more of a local feel than the other markets.
TIP: As I previously mentioned, the distances are short, and you can explore all that the Christmas markets have to offer without once using a taxi. And walking is in itself a pleasant experience given the plenty of Christmas lights installations everywhere you go. Just don’t forget to look up.
You simply cannot come to Strasbourg and not see the grand Cathedral. You fill find it at the very heart of Strasbourg and convineintly also directly in front of the Place de la Cathédrale Christmas Market. Make sure to climb to the top of it and enjoy the vast views over the city and its Christmas market stalls. Additionally, don’t forget the Cathedral’s Christmas crib, it really is worth the visit.
A grand thirty-meter tall Christmas tree will await you in Place Kléber. It really is the pride of the city! You can also do some ice skating here!
This is my secret tip! Do not only stick to the Christmas markets and obvious big squares. Carré d’Or is Strasbourg’s slightly hidden old gold quarter and I would dare say has the prettiest decorations in the whole city.
This winter wonderland can be easily missed if you don’t know where you are going. All the lovely shops and restaurants put so much effort into dressing up their window displays and seem to silently compete for who can do it best.
TIP: Make sure to visit La Maison de Hanssen & Grettel on Rue de Chadron, it is my favourite little street! Also do your food and drink Christmas shopping on Rue des Orfevres, it has the best things to buy and is less touristy than the things you can buy on the markets.
There are also many concerts, some even admission free. To check the timetable go to the official website for the festivities available here.
La Petite France
This is also one of my favourite parts of the town. Imagine it as the French version of Venice with windy canals, cobbled streets, and half-timbered houses. they have various stands here, and the atmospehre is lovely!
What to eat at the Strasbourg Christmas Market?
The so-called ‘Marchés de Noël,” are really the best way to experience the festive holiday spirit through some traditional as well as seasonal foods and drinks. These are a few you just have to try!
- Tarte Flambée – The easiest way to describe it is to imagine it as the alsacian version of pizza. It is thinner than the usual pizza you know (almost paper-thin) and covered in creme fraiche, cheese, bacon, and onions. A must!
- Vin Chaud – is your so-called Mulled Wine. It will be served in a festive mug, it will be warm and flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest. It really is the perfect drink to keep you warm while wandering and exploring the Christmas Market.
- Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake): This French Christmas dessert goes back to the 19th century! It’s a rather sweet chocolate sponge cake filled with mascarpone cream. Who would say no to that?!
TIP: If you want to eat where the locals do, head to L’Atelier 116 – the best bakery in town on Grand Rue 116! You will thank me for it!
What to buy?
One of the reasons why I go every year to Strasbourg Christmas Markets is that you can buy really special presents for your loved ones.
But there are so many things to choose from! So what should you buy?
- Christmas Ornaments & Decorations: Strasbourg is famous for its decorations so what better place to buy the ornaments for your home and especially the Christmas tree than here! The glass baubles are particularly beautiful!
- Local Delicacies: I do not know a single person who would not appreciate a good Alsatian Champagne or artisan honey and jams? Last year I also bought a beautifully packed box with special types of cheeses. It was a big hit at the Christmas table!
- Wooden Toys: Looking for a present for kids? Then buy the beautifully handcrafted wooden toys, puzzles, and games!
Where to stay in Strasbourg for the Christmas Market
Strasbourg is a great base for exploring the whole of Alsace, especially if you don’t have a car with you. It is the center of the region and as such it offers trains to the other smaller towns.
As per choosing the location of your accommodation in Strasbourg itself – try to stay within walking distance of Strasbourg Cathedral and/or La Petite France to really soak in the atmosphere.
I really recommend staying at least one night in Strasbourg, because there is so much to see. The advantage of staying overnight is that you can beat the crowds and go for a morning stroll with a coffee and croissant in your hands and actually get to see all the decorations.
TIP: Book your accommodation and restaurants at least six months early, or even earlier if you can. I left it once until a few weeks before arriving and really regretted it. I had to choose between overpriced hotels without much charm and eating at very touristy restaurants.
CHECK OUR LIST BEST HOTELS & AREAS TO STAY AT IN STRASBOURG HERECHECK OUR LIST BEST HOTELS & AREAS TO STAY AT IN STRASBOURG HERE
- I stayed at Regent Petite France which has a genius location, in one of the prettiest neighborhoods, directly on the canal. See below the view from our window. Book here.
- Les Haras Hotel – was recommended by a friend who stayed there, and swore on the incredible breakfast. It is located at the entrance to the Petite France district, offering being central without being overwhelmed by all the tourists. Also, its Brasserie looks incredible. You can book it directly here.
- Hotel Cour du Corbeau – It’s the hotel you have probably seen on Instagram if you looked into Strasbourg. It is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture & old-world charm. Book here.
Airbnbs and apartments
- Airbnb flat with an amazing view of the Cathedral. I saw it on an Instagram post from a fellow travel photographer and fell in love with it. Please note it is quite famous so gets booked out weeks in advance.
- Charming traditional house with a terrace on the water. Located ideally in the heart of Le Petite France. That terrace on the canal really is its selling point.
- Rooftop flat with a balcony overlooking the historic center. Extra points for the exposed wooden beams and some rather special views.
*This guide contains affiliate links which means I can make a profit if you choose to book. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps me to provide high-quality content for free.
CHECK OUR LIST OF 10 BEST AIRBNBS IN STRASBOURG HERE
Where to eat?
- Winstub Le Clou – A traditional choice, with wooden walls and old paintings and regional on the menu.
- Chez Yvonne – Apparently Jacques Chirac’s preferred restaurant in Strasbourg. Please see the photo below.
- Utopie – Less traditional choice, but my friend Julia swears on it, saying she has gone twice during her short visit.
Final tips for your visit to Strasbourg Christmas Market
If you are already travelling to Strasbourg around Christmas it really would be a pity not to explore other Alsatian towns. So plan a litte road trip from here, it is very easy to visit other Christmas Markets by train in Obernai, Sélestat, and Colmar.
Enjoy the Christmas magic!