Strasbourg in December (Festive Christmas Travel Guide!)

When a city literally declares itself the capital of Christmas, you know that winter has to be a great time to visit–and it’s true that Strasbourg in December is a festive delight that you simply have to see to believe.

With its delightful half-timbered houses, endless glasses of vin chaud (hot wine), and Strasbourg Christmas markets around every corner, the city’s normally impressive beauty is taken to the next level during the holiday season.

We’ve visited Christmas markets all over Europe, and while they’re all wonderful, there’s no doubt that Christmas in Strasbourg is truly something special.

Considering a trip to Strasbourg in December?

Here’s what to know about visiting Strasbourg at Christmastime!

La Petite France neighborhood in Strasbourg in winter with half-timbered houses on either side
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

What to Do in Strasbourg in December

Visit all the Christmas markets.

We’ll get into this in more detail below, but suffice it to say that the Christmas markets in Strasbourg are the absolute best reason to visit the city in December.

31 Magical Christmas Markets in Europe

The markets are absolutely incredible, with wonderful food, shopping, decor, and atmosphere.

As far as we’re concerned, the markets in Alsace, in general, are right up there are Germany and Austria as some of the best on the planet.

Christmas market stall in Strasbourg selling Vin Chaud with a menu on the right side

Snap photos of the giant Christmas tree in Place Kleber.

The gigantic Strasbourg Christmas tree put up in Place Kleber is truly remarkable, and it immediately adds a festive air to this central square.

French Breakfast Guide: How to Enjoy Breakfast in France

The tree towers over the square and makes a phenomenal place for photos!

Place Kleber is also where you can find Strasbourg’s ice skating rink, which is located practically in the shadow of the tree.

For kids and kids at heart alike, ice skating while overlooked by the Christmas tree is definitely one of the best things to do in Strasbourg in December!

Christmas tree in Place Kleber as seen in Strasbourg in December

Climb to the top of Strasbourg’s cathedral for phenomenal views over the city.

From the roof of the Notre Dame de Strasbourg, you can see the entire, beautiful city of Strasbourg stretch out before you.

19 Best Things to Do in Strasbourg, France

No matter when you’re visiting Strasbourg, the view is absolutely phenomenal!

When visiting Strasbourg in December, though, you’ll have the bonus of being able to see some of the Christmas markets below.

Views from Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the best things to see in Strasbourg France

Have a cozy dinner in a winstub.

Essentially homey, delightful pubs serving delicious Alsatian food, winstubs are one of the best ways to escape the cold when visiting Strasbourg in winter!

Colmar in Winter: Epic Travel Guide + Christmas Market FAQ

Personally, we’re partial to a good rösti for dinner in Alsace in winter (think cheesy potato casserole), but other popular options include tarte flambée (Alsatian pizza) and choucroute garnie (meat, potatoes, sauerkraut).

While it’s tempting to eat at the Christmas markets throughout your trip, we highly recommend settling into a cozy winstub for at least one dinner.

Cheesy rosti served in a round cast iron pan--this is a typical food in Alsace and deserves to be on your list of things to do in Strasbourg France!

Stroll through La Petite France.

The neighborhood of La Petite France may just be the most picturesque in Strasbourg!

The Ultimate 3 Days in Paris Itinerary

In other words, if you’ve seen photos of Strasbourg that made you want to visit, they were probably taken here.

All canals, half-timbered houses, tasty restaurants, and–during December in Strasbourg–Christmas markets, no trip to Strasbourg could be considered complete without at least one afternoon stroll in La Petite France.

Kate Storm in a blue coat walking along a canal in La Petite France in Strasbourg in winter

Take a day trip to another part of Alsace.

We absolutely adore Alsace as a region, and a trip to Strasbourg can only be improved by spending some time exploring outside the capital.

How to Celebrate Christmas in Europe: Itinerary Ideas, Tips + FAQ!

Colmar is an incredibly easy and rewarding trip from Strasbourg by train (and like Strasbourg, it’s packed with incredible Christmas markets in December).

If you’d like to visit multiple villages in one day, consider booking a car for the day through Discover Cars and seeing what gorgeous spots you can find along the Alsace Wine Route and in the surrounding villages.

Kate Storm spinning in front of a clock tower in Riquewihr, one of the best day trips in Alsace!
Riquewihr is even prettier than it looks in pictures!

Hint: if you’re headed to Colmar, don’t miss nearby Eguisheim!

Don’t want to drive yourself?

This Alsatian villages tour will give you a taste of Christmas outside the capital!

Book your day trip through the Alsatian villages today!

Prefer to drive yourself?

Check rates and book a rental car with Discover Cars!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm wearing coats and standing in Eguisheim France surrounded by half-timbered houses
We adored visiting Eguisheim!

Learn a bit of history at the Alsatian Museum.

Dedicated to showing typical Alsatian life in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Alsatian Museum originally opened in 1902 as a display of the region’s unique cultural identity–at the time, Alsace was part of Germany.

Today, it’s still a fascinating look into Alsace’s history and is the perfect addition to your list of things to do in Strasbourg in winter… and they even decorate for Christmas!

Christmas at Alsatian museum (27896063449)Dmitry Dzhus from London, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hop on a boat ride to admire Strasbourg from the water.

On our first trip to Strasbourg, we took a boat tour in order to see Strasbourg from a different angle.

17 Best Things to Do in Colmar, France

It was a wonderful way to see the city, enjoy the canals, and hear about some local history while also taking a break from exploring on foot all day.

Highlights include the covered bridges, Barrage Vauban, and European Parliament (which, while interesting to take a quick look at, is far enough from the center that there’s a good chance if you’re short on time, you won’t wander all the way there on foot).

One Day in Strasbourg Itinerary: Canals

Admire all the Christmas lights.

Strasbourg has some of the prettiest Christmas light displays we’ve seen in Europe, especially near the Strasbourg Cathedral and in the La Petite France neighborhood.

Amsterdam in December: 11 Things to Do + Travel Tips!

Strasbourg–like much of France–also has a tendency toward decorating window displays and even buildings with oversized stuffed animals, particularly bears.

It’s a delight to see in person and gives the whole city an air of whimsy in honor of the holiday season!

Be sure to make time for at least one walk through town near sunset in order to snap all the Christmas lights and decor photos.

Strasbourg Christmas light display near the center of town, one of the best things to see in Strasbourg in December

Tips for Visiting the Strasbourg Christmas Markets

There are 10 Christmas markets in Strasbourg, and each one is amazing!

They’re also all quite different from each other, with some focusing on local handicrafts, some on food, and some on particular themes.

How to Travel Europe By Train: The Ultimate Guide (+ Tips!)

There’s one guest market hosted by a different country each year where you can sample international cuisine, as well as a Village of Sharing which is set up by numerous local charities and whose proceeds are then donated.

If you’re looking for the oldest Christmas market in France, the one that started way back in 1570, head to Place de la Cathédrale.

In 2023, the Strasbourg Christmas markets will be open from November 24 through December 24.

For a full list of Christmas markets in Strasbourg with updated hours and dates, check here.

Chocolate marshmellow being held up for the camera at the Strasbourg Christmas market

You should definitely eat a meal at the Christmas markets at least once.

It won’t be the most nutritious meal you’ve ever had in your life–think sausage, cheese, pretzels, and sugar–but it will be delicious and an incredibly memorable experience in Strasbourg.

Eating at the Christmas markets also tends to be easier on the budget than a sit-down meal, making it easy to justify (especially once you start inhaling the scent of sugar that lingers in the air).

A Splendid One Day in Strasbourg Itinerary

Show up at twilight for the best photos.

As the sun goes down, the twinkling Christmas lights come on, the markets fill up, and the food stalls start churning out tasty treats at a faster and faster pace, the atmosphere of the Strasbourg Christmas markets reaches peak festiveness.

Plus, this time of day is excellent for snapping beautiful Strasbourg Christmas market photos!

Crowd of people crossing the street in Strasbourg in December in front of a beautiful half-timbered house with Christmas lights

Don’t expect mugs (but definitely consider keeping a cup).

Unlike Germany’s Christmas markets, those in Strasbourg tend to have rentable plastic cups as opposed to ceramic mugs.

Paris Bucket List: 50 Fun Attractions + Things to Do in Paris

Not quite as adorable in our opinion, but they do get the job done and make excellent souvenirs.

Plus, they’re a bit cheaper than mugs–usually only a Euro or two.

Green cup with red writing stating "Strasbourg Capital de Noel" being held up in front of a Strasbourg Christmas market stall

Where to Stay in Strasbourg in Winter

When deciding where to stay in Strasbourg in December, the biggest thing to consider is simply location.

Paris in Winter: 31 Reasons to Visit (+ Tips!)

As long as you’re within an easy walk of the Strasbourg Cathedral, La Petite France, and several Christmas markets, you’re sure to have a great trip!

As hotels and apartments do book up far in advance for the Christmas market season, we strongly recommend booking as soon as you can confirm your travel dates in order to avoid being stuck with limited choices or excessively pricey options.

half timbered houses in strasbourg france christmas decorations


City Résidence Strasbourg Centre — I’ll be perfectly honest: Strasbourg in December is far from the most budget-friendly destination.

What to Buy at Europe's Christmas Markets (Gift + Souvenir Ideas!)

However, City Résidence Strasbourg Centre offers a (somewhat) budget-friendly choice with solid reviews and an easily accessible location.

This hotel is within walking distance of La Petite France, the Strasbourg Cathedral, and plenty of Christmas markets, making it a great option for budget travelers visiting Strasbourg!

Check rates & book your stay at City Résidence Strasbourg Centre!

Street in Strasbourg France decorated for Christmas at blue hour


Appartements Le 32 — This is where we stayed on our most recent trip to Strasbourg in winter, and we were completely satisfied with these suites!

15 Best France Road Trip Itinerary Ideas (+ Driving Tips!)

Complete with a small kitchenette and located down a quiet street only a few minutes from the Strasbourg Cathedral, these apartments are perfect for mid-range travelers in Strasbourg.

The rooms were impeccably clean and the customer service kind and responsive, and we’d be happy to stay again.

Check rates & book your stay at Appartements Le 32!

close up of souvenirs for sale in the historic center of strasbourg christmas season
Can you spot the bears being used as Christmas decor?


Hôtel Gutenberg — Featuring spacious, modern rooms, glowing reviews, and incredible views of the Strasbourg Cathedral from the hotel, Hôtel Gutenberg is the perfect place to check into in Strasbourg if you’re looking for a luxurious stay!

All of Strasbourg is at your fingertips from the Hôtel Gutenberg, making it an incredible choice for visitors to Strasbourg who don’t want to waste a single second of their time in the city getting into the city center.

Check rates & book your stay at Hôtel Gutenberg!

La Petite France neighborhood in Strasbourg France with a half-timbered house on the right and a canal on the left

December Weather in Strasbourg

High temperatures average around 37 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius).

… In other words, you’ll definitely want to bundle up!

The Ultimate (Cozy) Packing List for Europe: Winter Edition

Snow isn’t common in Strasbourg in December.

You’re much more likely to get rained on, so be sure to pack an umbrella!

Jeremy Storm in a blue coat holding gluhwein and standing in front of a Strasbourg Christmas market stall

Keep in mind that the days will be short.

During December in Strasbourg, the sun sets around 4:30 PM.

In other words, you certainly don’t need to be out late to enjoy the Strasbourg Christmas markets after dark.

Strasbourg canal at blue hour with lights lit up on the buildings

What to Pack for Strasbourg in December

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and a special festive trip to Strasbourg is definitely a case of better safe than sorry.

Christmas in Bavaria: Itineraries, Market Tips + Travel Guide!

Travel Adaptors for France — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely want to make sure you can plug in your electronics once you arrive!

christmas in strasbourg france market stalls at blue hour

A Fashionable Coat — As I often like to point out when discussing packing for anywhere in Europe in winter–be sure to pick a coat you like, because it’ll end up in basically all your photos!

When visiting Strasbourg in winter, I wore something similar to this and Jeremy wore something like this.

11 Things to Do in Annecy, France’s Lakeside Gem

Warm Boots — When choosing the right winter boots for your trip to Strasbourg this December, keep in mind that comfort is key!

I wore (and love) these boots on our recent trip, and Jeremy was very satisfied with these.

Christmas market stall with carousel and a couple walking in the background at night in Strasbourg in December

Reusable Water Bottle — Don’t waste money or plastic on plastic water bottle after plastic water bottle at the Christmas markets in Strasbourg–come prepared with a reusable one instead!

You’ll be so glad to have it after devouring your first salty snack of the trip–I love this metal one.

Umbrella — Winter in Strasbourg means rain is a risk–we broke out our umbrellas more than once during our trip.

How to Plan an Epic 2 Week Europe Trip (+ Europe Itinerary Ideas!)

Lotion — Winter in France can be rough on the skin–be sure to pack a moisturizing lotion.

Lip Balm — You know what’s not fun? Eating Christmas market food with chapped lips.

Portable USB Charger — Avoid having your phone die when you’re out exploring, and throw a portable USD charger in your day bag!

They also come in particularly handy on long flights.

La Petite France neighborhood in Strasbourg France with a canal in the foreground

Purell Hand Sanitizer — Christmas markets in particular tend to mean lots of finger foods, eaten outside, often not near a bathroom where you can wash your hands.

Bringing along hand sanitizer will make your life much easier.

Planning a Trip to Paris in 11 Easy Steps (+ First Time in Paris Tips!)

Travel Journal — We can testify that travel memories that aren’t written down quickly can often fade–especially the small details that may not seem special now, but will mean a lot more five or ten years down the road.

If you don’t want to commit a lot of time to writing each night, I’m a big fan of this One Line a Day Journal that allows you to easily track your experiences over five years.

I’m almost 7 years into mine now (into my second volume) and adore it!

Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use a money belt, but if you’re more comfortable having your passport with you at all times in France, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints.

Street in Strasbourg France decorated for Christmas at blue hour, with the Strasbourg Cathedral in the background

How Long to Stay in Strasbourg in December

Strasbourg is one of Europe’s top destinations for Christmas markets and holiday cheer, and we recommend setting aside at least 2 full days to explore the city and markets in Strasbourg itself.

25 Wonderful Destinations for Winter in Europe (Sun, Snow, or Christmas!)

If you’re not going to be traveling anywhere else in Alsace as part of your December trip, we recommend taking at least one day trip from Strasbourg to a gorgeous village (or two or three) to get a taste of the region outside of the capital city.

Colmar is an incredibly easy and delightful day trip from Strasbourg by train, and is just as magical as Strasbourg in December!

Kate Storm in a brown coat standing with a white Christmas tree in Colmar. A decorated pink house is in the background--this is a classic photo spot in Colmar in winter!
This popular photo spot is right in the center of Colmar!

Read More About Visiting France (and Beyond)

Planning a trip to Europe this Christmas season and want to keep planning?

We’d love to help!

You can browse all of our blog posts about Europe in winter here, or check out these guides:

[convertkit form=3386241]

Photo of La Petite France with black and red text that reads "Strasbourg in December: Christmas Markets and Beyond!"
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

12 thoughts on “Strasbourg in December (Festive Christmas Travel Guide!)”

  1. Wonderful escape clause!! My wife, 9 year old triplets and I are heading there in less than 2 weeks (12/2021) and have read your clause several times to plan accordingly!

    Recommend any (specific) restaurants?! Wife and I enjoy a good beer and also trying to consider something the kids will eat (besides the French McDonald’s up the street from the apartment we are renting) lol

    • Thanks, Eric!

      Honestly we mostly eat at the markets in December! LOL.

      We can recommend Le Clou, though–had a great, cozy meal there.

      On our first visit to Strasbourg, we also used a Tasty Trips pass to pick up local snacks at 10 different shops and restaurants. We loved it and as I remember most stops were pretty kid-friendly (pretzels, cheese, meat, etc.). We talk more about it here:

  2. Hi! My family and I are planning a trip this winter to Paris and I want to visit Strasbourg – I was wondering would Christmas Eve or Christmas Day still have stalls open? What day would be the best to visit to enjoy the market as much as we can?

    • Hi Doris!

      I don’t see the updated schedule online yet, but according to last year’s schedule, the markets were open for limited hours on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (from 2-6 PM on Christmas Day).

      I imagine it will be similar this year, though I’m not sure how many people will be out then!

  3. Are there shippers on site for sending purchases home? And Will there be German Nutcrackers available? What is the best market in Strasbourg for handcrafted Christmas decorations? Thank you🎄

    • Hi Patsy!

      Shipping is up to the independent stalls, so it won’t be the same across the whole market. Generally speaking, the larger and more expensive an item is (clocks, paintings, etc), the more likely it is that shipping is available.

      You’ll find handcrafted gifts in at least some stalls at most of the markets, but I’d recommend checking out Place du Temple Neuf in particular.

      I can’t specifically remember seeing Nutcrackers in Strasbourg, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find them there!

    • Hi Miha,

      I wouldn’t say all, but you can definitely have a great trip to Strasbourg with English as your only language.

      Smiling, a friendly attitude, and learning just a few phrases in French (hello/goodbye/please/thank you are a good place to start) can go a long way!

      English menus in restaurants are fairly common in the center, though not a guarantee. Google translate on your phone can help with translating menu items as well.

  4. Thanks for this great blog! We are going this year. London > Brussels > Cologne > Strasbourg > Paris. You mentioned bringing a Nalgene bottle.. I assume this means there are safe to drink from water fountains around? Also, any restaurant recommendations? If you’ve done a wine tour, which one did you like?

    Thank you!

  5. Hi again
    I’m almost accomplish to design my trip to christmas Strasburg
    What do u think ,if I find best fly deal to brussel
    Is it wise to take a train to Strasburg after night in brussel but with spending full day in Cologne and with night train to strasburg?

    • That’s quite packed, and I don’t think you’ll find overnight trains for those routes (they’re too short).

      You might want to consider trimming Cologne or adding another day there.


Leave a Comment