Strasbourg transportation is well organized and it is served by a very modern looking tram system that has been operated since 1994 by regional transit company. You can go in tram and have good sightseeing of Strasbourg.
Strasbourg has an ultra modern tram system – quiet and efficient with trams running continuously. Covered convenient stops seem to be everywhere you need them and the system will take you to many parts of the city. The tram (or walking) is definitely the way to go into the city center since there is little street parking and the parking garages we saw typically had lines to get into them. I suggest you park outside the city near a tram station and take the tram into town.
The tramway has plans for extensions with work being completed by 2015. For now, the tram maintains six lines. These trams are very quiet, with large windows to see out. In some parts of the lines, the trams ride over tree lined grassy areas, leaving the city with a beautiful green space instead of hard tarmac.
A single ride is €1.60 but an all day ticket (24 hours) for up to three people is only €5.70 – a very good deal for a small group. You can buy your tickets at the stations and be sure to validate them before you board the tram (for the group ticket, validate on the first usage).
A map of the system can be found on the tram’s website (website only in French).
Strasbourg has an excellent network of public transportation.
The tramway is fast and comfortable with three lines. All three crosses at the Place de l'Homme de Fer (Steel man Square), which makes connections easy
There are many bus lines that complete the system (same tickets)
The first photo gives the view from the tramway, across the pilot's place.
You can either buy one way tickets or buy a pass that will allow you to travel all day long on busses and tramways. My advice is to have the pass (second photo)
We drove to Strasbourg since it was an easy drive from our house. The Autobahn A5 in Germany runs in a north-south direction along the border of Germany and France; Strasbourg is just over this border. Driving in the city to our hotel was easy, but we had a GPS. I think it might be a bit more difficult if you are using a map and signs. There was a good bit of road construction as we were entering the outskirts of Strasbourg, but it was clearly marked which way to go. The roads were wider than other towns we’ve been in, which made it very nice with other vehicles on them.
There is a train station in town just outside the city center and the tram goes direct to it. We opted to drive rather than take the train because it was cheaper for us. Once in town, we parked and walked everywhere.
Strasbourg is a very walkable city! Hubby and I clocked in more than 35,000 steps on our pedometer in just two days. And Strasbourg has planned the city with walkers and cyclists in mind. Wide, open sidewalks with bike paths clearly marked, a wonderful trail along the river that surrounds the city, pedestrian zones without cars, and pathways along the canals make for some pleasant excursions on foot or two wheels. We typically walk most places we go and Strasbourg was no different. Our hotel was a little farther from town, which we purposely chose so we could walk off all the good food we would be eating. At one point the weather turned really bad and we considered hopping onto the nearby tram, but the storm quickly passed and we continued on our way.
The Tourist Office sells self-guided walking tour maps, but we made up our own walk using the map given to us by our hotel. Through research, we knew the places we wanted to see and created a circular walk to get us to all of them.
On Sunday morning, we took a three hour walk through the city and along the waterways that surround the area. We walked past a bunch of house boats, interestingly decorated and surrounded by swans in the water. The pathway on a quiet morning was peaceful with just us and some runners and cyclists. As the pathway turned to follow the water, we came up to the European Parliament building and other buildings connected to the European Union. Our pathways gave us the option to cross the streets either underneath the bridge or over top the bridge. Crew teams practiced their rowing in the water beside us as we watched storks, the Alsace mascot, fly overhead.
We had a wonderful weekend in Strasbourg, but this Sunday morning walk stands out in my mind as the best part of the weekend. It would be worth revisiting Strasbourg just to walk this over again.
If you drive to Strasbourg, you need to park your car someplace. If your hotel does not have parking, then you need to look for a place to put your vehicle. Beware of thinking you can just park in residential areas since these often require permits. And, as usual with cities, the closer you are to the city center, the more you are going to pay.
Because Strasbourg has a great tram system, you will most likely be better off parking farther out in one of the Park and Ride lots then taking the tram into town. The tram is inexpensive and has frequent trams running back and forth. An all-day ticket for 1-3 people costs only €5.70 so it is also economical.
Strasbourg is divided into zones, with the parking in the closer zones more expensive. After you have gone beyond the zone areas, you may find free parking near the tram stops like we did. The Parcus website maintains a map of the parking zones and the current hourly rates.
Even if you drive to Strasbourg, once you are in the city, you have better forget your car and park it in the outskirts of the city or in one of the many parking buildings around the center. Strasbourg has a lot of traffic and most of the city center is car free (or allowed only for inhabitants). Moreover, there is very little parking space in the city center.
I travelled from Paris (Gare du l'Este) to Strasbourg aboard the IDTGV. Since I booked the ticket some time in advance I was able to travel First Class for 23 Euro (a huge saving).
It's a comfortable ride but there is not enough storage in some carriages for large cases. The carriage I was in was full whereas the other two first class carriages had many spare seats and thus more room for large cases which don't fit on the overhead racks. So it would appear a good idea to spread the seat reservations out more so that everyone has a better chance of getting storage space on the racks at the end of the carriage. Another point to be considered is that many travellers who have small cases or soft sports type bags tend to put them on the racks for the larger cases rather than on the overhead racks. It would be good if all travellers could be considerate in this area.
The tram system in Strasbourg is state of the art. You can get around very easily if you don't want to walk. They don't go everywhere (like to La Dome) but you can go to Petite France or if you are staying in an outlying hotel, this would be the best way to get into the Centre.
We stayed on the German side of the border (Gengenbach) and went to Strasbourg by public transportation. Very convenient!
Thanks to tini58 who gave the hint to a very helpful website (see below) we found out timetables. Usually you have to change trains in Offenburg, sometimes hop on a bus in Kehl, but this is no problem.
Purchase an Europass for 6.60 Euro per person, valid for 24 hours! This pass covers all the regional trains, buses and trams on the German side and also the trams in Strasbourg.
This is our first entry onto French soil! As I look back on the main train station, I do get a bit sad, knowing that inside this glass bubble is a historic original train station dying to come out. The bubble does create a nice warm area for people to sit while they wait for their tram or bus outside, but I would rather have the old world feel.
We were able to travel directly to this train station from Stuttgart Germany on a SNCF train called the TGV, which is a high speed train. It had us to Strasbourg a mere 1:15 minutes after departing Stuttgart.
At the airport theres a tourist info booth,some of them can be of no use,can't say that about this one.Very helpful,no need to fall back on my schoolbut french,just as well really....
In the tabac (newsagents) you can buy your ticket to Strasbourg city centre.The bus goes from outside the terminal,building, takes about 30mins then you change on to an electric tram,again hassle free.The ticket is valid for both bus and tram,and 20 minutes later,your there.The railway station is a wonderful old grand looking building,very similar to the one in Amsterdam,but without the 'unsavoury characters' hanging round.
Regularly scheduled TGV service began in June 10, 2007, on the new high-speed railway line from Paris to Strasbourg. The new trains go 320 kilometers per hour (that's nearly 200 miles per hour) on the newly-built section of tracks. So now it only takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to get from Paris to Strasbourg (instead of four hours), and by the year 2014 they are going to build another new section of tracks and get that time down to 1 hour and 50 minutes.
In the main photo the TGV train in the foreground is arriving from Stuttgart, Germany, and will continue non-stop from Strasbourg to Paris. The train in the background is the one I was on. I took it from Paris to Strasbourg, and now it is continuing on to Mulhouse (France) and Basel (Switzerland).
Second photo: A second class coach in the new TGV from Paris to Strasbourg.
Third photo: This is a huge poster that I saw on a building in Paris (Avenue de France), showing what the new high-speed railway line looks like from above.
Strasbourg's original tram system was phased out in the 1950s, at the height of auto mania, and it took them forty years to realize that they hadn't done themselves a favor.
In November 1994 the first line of a completely new modern tram system was opened. Lines B and C followed in the year 2000. They say passenger numbers on the tram and bus network increased by 85% between 1992 and 2002. Today, almost 200,000 trips are made every day by tram throughout Strasbourg and vicinity.
The square in front of the central train station is one big construction site at present [= June 2006], both because of improvements to the tram system and in preparation for the new high-speed rail line TGV Est, which will reach Strasbourg in 2007.
Train travel from Strasbourg to Paris will then take only 2 hours and 20 minutes, instead of four hours as it does now. And they are planning on 15 high-speed trains per day in each direction.
Second photo: The sign in the station says "2005-2007, Everything is changing in the Strasbourg Station. Two years of major construction to prepare for the arrival of the TGV East European."