One of the best things about Strasbourg is the location. This beautiful city is on the border between France and Germany which allows you to experience the best of both cultures. It is also along the Alsace Wine Route making taking day trips from Strasbourg to other towns possible. Here are five best day trips you can take from the city!
Colmar looks like it has been lifted straight out of a book of fairy-tales. So much so, that some believe that it was the inspiration for Belle’s village in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Take all of the beauty of Alsace, make it even more colorful, and distill it into a small town filled with canals. Add a smattering of lively cafes, historic churches and museums – that’s Colmar for you!
Due to its compact size, this place is quite easy to explore in one day. Stroll along the cobbled streets of its charming old town and marvel at the half-timbered houses. You’d also find medieval and and early renaissance structures all over the town, such as Maison Pfister. Walk along the riverfront neighbourhood of Little Venice, and enjoy the fairytale-like scenery. The tiled roofs on the Gothic Saint-Martin’s Church and the old Custom’s House are splashed with color, too.
How to reach: This is a smaller and even more fairytale-esque town, just 70km south of Strasbourg. You can take the local train, the TER Alsace. It costs 25 euro roundtrip and takes about 30 minutes.
Riquewihr is a wonderful and romantic little medieval city hidden between the Vosges mountains and some of the most famous vineyards in Alsace. Although in a very preserved area, Riquewihr is only few kilometers away from Colmar and minutes from other famous Alsatian villages like Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr, Eguisheim and Kaysersberg, which are a must-visit as well.
Medieval ramparts enclose its walkable centre, a photogenic maze of twisting lanes, hidden courtyards and half-timbered houses – each brighter and lovelier than the last. A large producer of Riesling wine, the village is filled with wine shops, tasting rooms and winstubs— pub-like wine lounges that are typical in Alsace. Among its 16th-century houses you’ll come across several museums which examine medieval life such as the Tour des Voleurs torture museum, Dolder Tower weaponry museum, and the Maison de Vigneron which focuses on wine-making. After all that sightseeing, reward yourself with one of the town’s acclaimed Riesling wines.
How to reach: Travel to Riquewihr from Strasbourg by first taking the train to Colmar, from there you’ll need to take one of the few buses that run the route to town. It’ll take approximately an hour for you to reach the place.
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Alsace isn’t the only region of France worth exploring in this part of the country, as proven by the pretty city of Nancy in Lorraine. Nancy is France’s 20th largest city and owes a lot of its beauty to one man, King Stanislas, a huge architectural buff exiled from Poland. He remodelled Nancy into an architectural wonder and many of the buildings are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites now. The Old Town of Nancy, founded in the 11th century, has revealed itself to be a significant asset amongst visitors and amateur students of arts, with its narrow streets and the Ducal Palace. On your visit to the Lorraine city, don’t forget the city’s rich museums and Art Nouveau buildings designed by the “School of Nancy” as well. Also, be sure to explore the outer edges of the Old Town to find grand old city gates like the Porte de la Citadelle and Porte Stanislas.
How to reach: The journey from Strasbourg to Nancy by train takes 1½ hours, but has a limited number of departures.
Even though there’s plenty to see in France, Strasbourg is so close to the German border that it also opens up destinations like Baden-Baden. This 19th-century spa town on the edge of the Black Forest has been a getaway for French and German people for over 200 years. Take a relaxing day at one of the historic thermal spas, tour the art galleries and shops, and relax. You can visit grand colonnaded buildings like the beautiful Trinkhalle inside the Kurhaus complex with its arcade decorated with frescoes. At the heart of the complex though is the lavish Baden-Baden Casino, Germany’s oldest casino and one of its most exquisite. Afterwards, make sure to try some of the local delicacies, like Maultaschen (a sort of German ravioli, often served in broth) or Käsespätzle (cheesy egg noodles topped with fried onions) paired with a local wine.
How to reach: When it comes to easy train trips from Strasbourg, it doesn’t get easier than Baden-Baden. In an hour by train you’re across the border and in Baden-Baden, regular connections are available.
Freiburg Im Brisgau – the city of miniature canals and cobbled alleys, beautiful mountains and stunning architecture – is Europe’s best kept secret. There are plenty of canals, and little streams that appear out of nowhere, running down specially made channels in the streets and sidewalks. There’s a local legend that says that if you step in one accidentally, you are destined to marry a Freiburger. The medieval old town is full of sidewalk cafes, playgrounds, little courtyards, and holds the title of the sunniest spot in Germany. The city also housed a large contingent of the French army after the Second World War, so there’s a distinct French flavour to the cafes and restaurants, though you will still find it easy to get a glass of Baden wine, as there are many vineyards in this region. Take a stroll, stop at playgrounds, wander into little courtyards, or simply bask in the sun. After all, this town is also known as the sunniest spot in Germany.
How to reach: It takes about two hours on the train one way to get to Freiburg from Strasbourg.
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