Want to plan the perfect trip to experience the Strasbourg Christmas markets?? I’ve got your full guide right here!
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2022 update: Strasbourg’s Christmas market will be open November 25 – December 23! So far, they’ve announced no requirements for COVID vaccinations or masks. Make sure to confirm this on their official website before you go!
On my two-week Christmas market trip, Strasbourg may have been my favorite! The city is the perfect blend of being packed with beauty and history, shopping and restaurants, but still very walkable. Most of the old town area is pedestrian-only, especially during Christmas, so it’s not hard to get anywhere!
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Strasbourg Christmas Markets
Strasbourg Christmas markets are scattered through the city. The major sites are around the Cathedral, Place Kleber and Place Broglie. Several of them specialize, so here are the ones with themes:
Place du Partage is located in Place Kleber because many of its booths are fundraising for various charities. It’s also one of the biggest markets and has a giant Christmas tree, so don’t miss it!
The Palais Rohan terrace (facing the river) is focused on food, both ready-to-eat and shopping for goodies for later. There’s a music venue set up in Place Grimmeissen. It usually kicks off around 5pm.
The Strasbourg Christmas markets are some of the best I’ve seen for crafts! There are a ton of things for sale, and the vast majority are clearly handmade by the men and women selling them. No generic holiday junk here.
Another major draw of Strasbourg Christmas markets has to be the decorations. Strasbourg takes Christmas decor very seriously. All the main streets are hung with elaborate light displays, unique to each road. The vast majority of shops also decorate their storefronts, usually themed to their wares! It’s the cutest little scavenger hunt to try and guess the shop based on their decor.
The Alsatian region has a long history with Christmas. They display plaques with a lot of info are set up in the Village de l’avent market (in Square Louise Weiss) and in the Alsatian Museum. This region was one of the first to have Christmas trees as part of the holiday traditions, and decorating with glass baubles originated in the nearby town of Meisenthal.
Don’t have time to venture there? Glassblowers from the town set up a booth near the Place Benjamin Zix market in Le Petit France.
What to Eat and Drink at the Strasbourg Christmas Markets
Naturally, crepes are big here and you can find them everywhere. So are Christmas market staples like sausages, waffles, and candied nuts.
One local favorite is tarte flambée, or flammekueche. It’s an Alsatian flatbread pizza, made with a light, almost cracker crust and topped with cream sauce, lardons, and onions. It’s delicious and a must-eat!
I always like to try the local versions of gluhwein, here called vin chaud. Alsace loves white wine gluhwein and that’s worth a try – it’s full of warming spices and not too sweet.
One booth at the corner of the cathedral offers a fruit-forward one, called rouge aromatiche framboise. It’s not very sweet, but very fruity. By far one of my favorite mulled wines ever!!
Where to Stay in Strasbourg
Keep in mind that during the Christmas season, hotels often double their rates! Travel during COVID season often doesn’t help with this, but it makes figuring out what each town’s average prices are tough.
To that end, I highly recommend checking out hostels. You can research them through sites like Hostelworld to have a good grasp on if it’s safe or has the amenities you want. Or you can often still find them on aggregators like Hotels.com. Either way, they’re a cheaper way to travel, especially solo!
I stayed in The People Strasbourg and loved it. The rooms were big enough to not feel crowded in a 6-person bunk room. The bunks themselves had curtains (nice to have the privacy) and small lockers to keep valuables. It’s also a nice way to meet other travelers – you can hang out with folks as much or as little as you feel like that day, which is gold for me.
Hostels often have double or family rooms that still clock in cheaper than an average hotel room, so it’s worth checking even if you want your own room!
Planning Your Time
If you’re coming specifically for the Christmas markets, you probably want a day and a half to soak them in and still get a feel for the city. If you want to do any major city fun, give another half day or so.
I also recommend planning a day trip to Colmar! It’s only 30 minutes away by train and the whole town feels like its been lifted straight out of Beauty and the Beast. It’s a miniature Christmas wonderland you should definitely see if you’re in Strasbourg.
You can grab my guide to Colmar here on the blog, or on Thatch if you’d prefer an interactive map-friendly version!
COVID restrictions at the Strasbourg Christmas Markets in 2021
At this point, COVID restrictions for the Strasbourg Christmas are really clear-cut but not stressful. Nearly all the markets are situated on the “island” of Strasbourg, which is surrounded by rivers and connected with a series of bridges. Therefore access to the markets is regulated on each bridge, so once you’re in the city center you’re fine!
Additionally, if you want to enter the designated eating areas (separate from the booths) you have to show your vaccination or pass sanitaire. They are taking it seriously, but Strasbourg was way less stressful to enter and move around than Heidelberg or Cologne.
Want more of Christmas in Europe? Check out my Christmas market HQ for my favorites.