Which city is for you? Bordeaux or Strasbourg
Are you having a tough time deciding whether to visit Bordeaux or Strasbourg for your next trip? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. These two French cities have so much to offer, and choosing one can be tricky. In this blog post, we’ll go over what makes each city special, from their attractions and culture to their food scenes. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of which city might be the perfect fit for your travel plans. So, let’s get started and see what Bordeaux and Strasbourg have in store for you!
A small city in southwestern France, Bordeaux is world-renowned for its wine, cuisine and architecture. If you mention Bordeaux to anyone, the first thing they think about is wine. But, there’s more to the city than just wine. It’s a beautiful city that is compact and walkable. We highly recommend visiting. It almost feels like a miniature Paris.
Located near the German border, Strasbourg is a beautiful city that has a unique blend of French and German cultures. Mostly due to the fact that both countries have been in control of the city at multiple points throughout history. Known for its unique architecture and pretty canals there’s plenty to see in this unique city.
Pro’s and Con’s of Bordeaux and Strasbourg
- World-class wine culture.
- Rich history and stunning architecture.
- Vibrant arts scene and diverse culinary experiences.
- Access to nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Saint-Émilion and the Cité du Vin museum.
- Proximity to picturesque regions like the Dordogne and the Bay of Arcachon.
- More laid-back atmosphere.
- Milder and warmer weather compared to Strasbourg.
- Fewer entertainment and shopping options compared to Strasbourg.
- Less emphasis on Germanic cultural influences and architecture.
- Christmas markets aren’t as good compared to Strasbourg.
Best for: Wine enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies, and those who prefer a laid-back atmosphere and proximity to vineyards and picturesque countryside.
- Unique blend of French and Germanic culture and architecture.
- Rich history, including the stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral and the picturesque Petite France district.
- Designated as the seat of several European institutions, adding an international vibe to the city.
- Famous Christmas markets that attract visitors from all over the world.
- Proximity to the Black Forest in Germany and the Vosges Mountains in France.
- Excellent public transportation network.
- Can be crowded during peak seasons, especially around the Christmas markets.
- Not as well-known for its wine culture and culinary scene compared to Bordeaux.
- Gets very cold in winter
Best for: Travellers seeking a blend of French and Germanic culture, history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and those who enjoy exploring a city with international significance and proximity to nature.
How long to stay in Bordeaux
Bordeaux isn’t a big city, but there’s plenty to do. You could get around most of the city in a day if you wanted but you’d miss all the best bits. Bordeaux is a city best enjoyed at a slow pace. Wandering around whilst stopping off at cafes and tourist attractions.
There are plenty of galleries, museums and shops to fill your time. Plus if you’re into your wine, there are all the local vineyards that you can visit. There are also some pretty local towns to visit like Saint-Émilion and Arcachon. We’d recommend staying at least two days in Bordeaux, three days would be better though. We could easily spend a few weeks here, although we’d probably be fat alcoholics by the end of it.
How long to stay in Strasbourg
Strasbourg may not be a huge city, but due to its history and unique location, we recommend staying for at least two to three days. If you have more time, its location on the German border means you can have lots of fun exploring both countries. The beautiful town of Colmar is worth a trip and Freiburg isn’t too far either.
How much is food and drink in Bordeaux?
The cost of food and drink in Bordeaux can vary depending on the establishment and the location. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Bordeaux:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Bordeaux will likely cost between €5 and €7.
Glass of wine: As Bordeaux is a wine region, wine is readily available and is often a better value than beer or cocktails. A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €3 to €10, depending on the quality and rarity of the wine.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Bordeaux will likely cost between €1.50 and €3.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Bordeaux will likely cost between €15 and €30 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is food and drink in Strasbourg?
Strasbourg is known for its delicious cuisine and the city has plenty of amazing restaurants and cafes to choose from. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Strasbourg:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Strasbourg will likely cost between €5 and €7.
Glass of wine: Strasbourg is located in the heart of the Alsace wine region, so you’ll find plenty of great wines to try. A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €3 to €10, depending on the quality and rarity of the wine.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Strasbourg will likely cost between €1.50 and €3.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Strasbourg will likely cost between €20 and €40 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is it to stay in Bordeaux?
It’s worth noting that prices may be higher in touristy areas.
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Bordeaux can cost anywhere from €200 to €500 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €80 and €150 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €40 and €70 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
How much is it to stay in Strasbourg?
The cost of accommodation in Strasbourg can vary depending on the location and the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation in Strasbourg:
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Strasbourg can cost anywhere from €150 to €500 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Strasbourg will likely cost between €70 and €150 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Strasbourg will likely cost between €40 and €70 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Strasbourg will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
Bordeaux has got it all: mild weather, world-class wines, and plenty of festivals and events. Here’s what you need to know:
Weather: The weather in Bordeaux is usually pleasant, with mild temperatures year-round. Summers can get a bit sticky, but winters are mild and rainy. For the best weather, plan your visit during the shoulder season of April to June or September to October.
Wine season: Wine lovers, won’t want to miss the grape harvest season from September to October. The perfect time to indulge in wine tasting and vineyard tours and sample some of the best wines in the world.
Festivals: Bordeaux loves a good party, and there are plenty of festivals and events to keep you entertained. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June, both of which celebrate the region’s rich wine-making culture.
Crowds: The summer months of July and August are peak tourist season in Bordeaux, which means the crowds can be pretty intense. If you prefer a more relaxed visit, consider travelling during the off-season when the crowds have thinned out.
When is the best time to visit Strasbourg?
Strasbourg is a city that can be enjoyed year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to experience. Here are some things to consider:
Weather: Strasbourg’s mild climate can be enjoyed all year round, but pay attention to the weather forecast before visiting. Summers are warm and sunny but winters can get very cold. Snow isn’t uncommon. Spring and autumn are the best times to be visiting for milder weather and smaller crowds.
Festivals: Strasbourg Christmas markets are a must-see if you’re visiting over the Christmas period. They’re the oldest markets in France and have been going since 1570! With over 300 Christmas chalets in various squares around the city, there’s plenty of food and drink to try. The mulled wine is especially good to warm up on a cold day! There are plenty of festivals during the summer months too including the Strasbourg Music Festival, which is held every June.
Crowds: Strasbourg can get crowded during peak travel seasons, especially during the Christmas markets. To avoid the crowds, visit in spring and autumn or during weekdays instead of weekends.
Average Monthly Temperatures
The average monthly temperatures for Bordeaux are:
The average monthly temperatures for Strasbourg are:
Getting around Bordeaux:
The city’s public transportation system consists of trams, buses, and a bike-sharing service. The trams are well-connected and cover most of the city’s major attractions. The tickets allow you to use any form of public transport for a certain period of time, (usually an hour). So if you needed to get one bus and a tram to get somewhere you’d only need one ticket if the journey was less than an hour.
Bike sharing is a good option for people that want to be a bit more active. Bordeaux has a lot of small windy streets so we spent most of the time walking, which I feel is the best way to see a city. Taxis and Ubers are readily available but you might struggle to get one right in the heart of the old town where a lot of it is pedestrianised.
Getting around Strasbourg:
Strasbourg has a really good public transport system like most French cities. You probably won’t need to use anything other than the tram, it covers pretty much all of the main attractions. But, for the places the tram doesn’t reach the buses will get you there. A single ticket costs €1.70 and is valid for up to 1 hour of travel, with transfers allowed within that time frame. If you plan on using public transportation frequently, consider purchasing a 24-hour ticket for €4.50 or a 3-day pass for €12.50.
If the weather is good try and walk as much as you can. It’s the best way to see all the city’s unique architecture and take in all the sights.
Top things to do in Bordeaux
Visit the Place de la Bourse: This square is an absolute must-see, with stunning architecture and a beautiful reflecting pool called the Water Mirror. Don’t forget your camera!
Explore the historic Saint-Pierre district: This area is so charming, with cobblestone streets, cute cafes, and lots of history. Take a stroll around and enjoy the vibes.
Go wine tasting in the nearby vineyards of Saint-Émilion: If you’re a wine lover, this is the place to be! Saint-Émilion has some of the best vineyards and wineries around, and the views are pretty stunning too.
Visit the Musée d’Aquitaine: Learn more about the region’s history and culture at this museum, which has everything from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary art.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Jardin Public: This park is seriously beautiful, with a lake, a rose garden, and tons of trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax.
Take a river cruise on the Garonne River: You’ll see all sorts of amazing architecture and landmarks, and the views are seriously good.
Visit the Basilique Saint-Michel: This church is up on a hill, so the views are even better! Take some snaps, enjoy the scenery and soak up the atmosphere.
Enjoy some of Bordeaux’s local cuisine: Bordeaux has got some seriously tasty food, including sweet pastries called canelés and a delicious steak dish called entrecôte bordelaise.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events: This city loves to party, so there’s always something going on. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June.
Take a day trip to the nearby town of Arcachon: This seaside town is seriously gorgeous, with sand dunes and beaches that will take your breath away. It’s an easy train ride from Bordeaux, so don’t miss out!
Top things to do in Strasbourg
Visit Strasbourg Cathedral: This cathedral is a must see when visiting Strasbourg. Try and visit on a nice day, you can climb the stairs to the top and get a magnificent view of the city! It’s also a good idea to go back at night and see it lit up. It’s very beautiful.
Explore Petite France: This beautiful neighbourhood is known for its canals, cobbled streets and half-timbered buildings. A UNESCO world heritage site, this area is so relaxing to stroll around on a nice day.
Visit the Palais Rohan: Once the residence of a noble family from Brittany. This 18th century is now home to three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a great way to learn about the history and culture of the region.
Take a Boat Tour: The boat tours here are well worth a visit, you get to see all the main attractions from the river and learn about the history of the city.
Explore La Grande Île: Grande Île literally means Grand Island. This island in the centre of Strasbourg has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. It’s a beautiful district filled with amazing buildings, relaxing squares and cute shops and cafes.
Visit the European Parliament: This impressive building hosts the European Parliament. You can go inside at certain times, there are exhibits to see and a recorded guide. It’s interesting but might not be for everyone.
Explore the Strasbourg Christmas Markets: Strasbourg’s markets are very famous. Definitely don’t miss them if you’re visiting over the festive period. There’s a reason Strasbourg is regarded as the ‘Christmas Capital of the World’.
Visit the Jardin des Deux Rives: Translated to ‘Two Shores Garden’ this park actually covers both sides of the river Rhine. Meaning one side is in France and the other is in Germany. There’s a bridge connecting the two sides so you can quite literally walk into Germany.
Explore the Musée Alsacien: This museum takes you on a tour through old Strasbourg homes and helps you see what life would have been like for residents hundreds of years ago.
Eat like a local: Due to its unique location, this city has both French and German influences in its cuisine. Make sure you try local favourites like Baeckeoffe, Spätzle and Lewerknepfle.
How to spend three days in Bordeaux
To begin your day, head to the Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror reflecting pool. Take some time to check out the beautiful architecture and take some pictures. If you want a really special experience, try and get up early to visit during the sunrise. It’s so worth it! After that, visit the Musée d’Aquitaine to explore the history and culture of the region. The museum has a fascinating collection of artefacts and exhibits. End your day with a dinner in the Saint-Pierre district, it’s probably the prettiest area in Bordeaux. There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from, make sure you sit outside if the weather is good too!
Spend your morning taking a day trip to the nearby town of Saint-Émilion, famous for its vineyards and wine. It’s only 35 minutes by train. Go for a wine tasting in one of the local vineyards then get a lovely French lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, return to Bordeaux and take a river cruise on the Garonne River. There’s something about river cruises that we love, the water is so relaxing and it’s a good way to see a city from a different perspective. For dinner visit Les Halles Bacalan, a market hall full of food vendors and bars. There’s so much food to try and wines to drink! After dinner, take a walk along the Quai des Chartrons to enjoy the views of the river and the city lights.
Start your day with a visit to the Jardin Public, one of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux. It’s a great place to relax and people-watch. In the afternoon, head to the Basilique Saint-Michel to enjoy the stunning views of the city. There are loads of cool shops close by if you fancy looking around too. Finally, attend one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events in the evening, such as the Bordeaux Wine Festival or Fête le Vin. If none of them are on, why not visit Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux. This museum takes you through the history of winemaking in the region and even has wine-tasting sessions! It’s well worth a visit.
How to spend three days in Strasbourg
Morning: Begin your day at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, try and get there early to beat the crowds. If you’re feeling fit, climb to the top of the tower to see the amazing view.
Afternoon: Take a stroll through Petite France. This picturesque neighbourhood is full of beautiful old houses and cute cafes. It almost feels like stepping back in time. Make sure you stop off for lunch and try some traditional Alsatian cuisine.
Evening: Spend the afternoon relaxing in Place Kléber, the main square in Strasbourg. This central square is lined with cafes, restaurants and shops. Perfect for people watching and shopping.
Morning: Spend your morning admiring the work of famous artists like Rubens and Botticelli in the Palais Rohan. This stunning 18th-century palace houses three museums, so you’ll have plenty to see!
Afternoon: After grabbing a nice lunch from a local restaurant, take a boat tour of the city’s canals. It’s a relaxing way to spend the afternoon, especially if you’ve eaten too much for lunch and want to let your stomach settle.
Evening: Have a romantic walk down the River III. This river runs around the historic centre of Strasbourg, and there are plenty of lovely bridges and weeping willows to admire along the way. Once you get tired stop off at a riverside restaurant for some good food and drinks. Just be sure not to drink too much and fall in!
Morning: Visit the Musée Alsacien. This museum showcases life in the Alsace region over the last few centuries. It’s very interesting and has lots of exhibits on traditional clothing, crafts and architecture.
Afternoon: Head over to the Jardin des Deux Rives and spend the afternoon exploring the park. If you walk over the bridge to the German side, there’s a really cool observation deck that offers great views of the city and down the Rhine. You could even stop off for some German food and beer!
Evening: Head back to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg to see it lit up in all its splendour. Get some food at a local restaurant then go and enjoy one of the city’s fabulous beer gardens!
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 9
Total score: 61
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 9
Total score: 61