One of the many things I love about Texas is how you can travel to unique and fun places that feel like you have been transported a world away.
A perfect example is the small Texas town of Castroville, TX, known as the “Little Alsace of Texas.”
Castroville’s location in Central Texas makes it perfect for a weekend getaway or a quick day trip from San Antonio. Once you have arrived, you will feel like you have been transported to a little French town!
The heritage of Castroville, Texas, can be traced back to the mid-1800s when a group of immigrants from Alsace, France, moved to this area of the Texas Hill Country.
Noticing that the area around the Medina River had valuable, fertile farming land, the immigrants decided to set up a home, and Castroville, TX, was born.
When you visit Castroville today, you can witness the Alsatian heritage for yourself, as evidence of its French roots can be seen throughout the city.
But, Alsatian heritage isn’t the only thing you will witness in the historical sites of Castroville. As the first county seat of Medina County, Castroville also boasts a unique Texas heritage.
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1. Haby’s Bakery
207 Old US Highway 90 E.
Haby’s Bakery is a true gem in Castroville!
The bakery opened its doors in 1974 and is the perfect place to sink teeth into some delicious baked goods.
The exterior of the building fits the European feel of the town and seems to beckon visitors to step inside!
Once inside Haby’s Bakery, you are greeted with loads of dessert cases full of mouthwatering baked goods.
As I had difficulty deciding what to choose, I asked the owner for a recommendation. She stated that the iced cinnamon rolls, traditional strudel, and apple tart are customer favorites.
We left Haby’s Bakery with all of her recommendations and then some. It was just so hard to resist the beautiful pies, cakes, donuts, and pastries at Haby’s.
Honestly, I will drive out every time we are in San Antonio to have more of the delicious baked goods from Haby’s Bakery!
1. Steinbach Haus & Visitor Center
203 US 90
The Steinbach Haus & Visitor Center is easy to spot as you enter Castroville on Highway 90 in Medina County.
I mean, it isn’t every day that you find an authentic half-timbered Alsatian-style home sitting on the side of the highway near San Antonio.
This charming home, which was initially built between 1618 and 1648, was given to the city of Castroville, TX, as a gift from the people of Alsace, France, to honor the history and heritage of Castroville.
If you are like most people, you want to see the inside of the house, and luckily for you, you can!
The Steinbach House serves as the city’s Visitor Center, so a stop here only makes sense!
Step inside this piece of Castroville history to learn more about the town’s heritage.
The representative of the Castroville Visitors Center will provide you with a brief history of the home and the area before allowing you to tour the museum inside the home.
My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Alsatian decor throughout the home.
2. Landmark Inn State Historic Site
402 Florence Street
To learn more about Castroville’s history, visit the Landmark Inn State Historic Site just down the road from the Steinbach House.
The Landmark Inn State Historic Site originated as a roadside tavern and store in the 1840s before being converted to the inn and museum you see today.
During your time on the property, you can tour the historic inn and the small museum inside before heading outside to see their historic mill.
Book a stay at this historic Texas landmark if you plan to spend the night in Castroville, Texas. (By the way, I should probably tell you that it is supposedly haunted.)
3. Alsatian Architecture
The city of Castroville, Texas, contains numerous examples of Alsatian architecture.
The city is so proud of this architecture that they will even provide you with a map outlining where you will find the architecture throughout the town.
In my opinion, it is this architecture that makes the town of Castroville so charming.
4. Houston Square
Houston square, located in Castroville’s historical district, originated in the 1800s.
While the square has served as many things over the years, today, it is a charming green space with a lovely fountain and giant oak trees.
If you bought pastries from Haby’s Bakery, Houston Square is the perfect place to sit and enjoy them.
Numerous antique shops and Alsatian-style homes surround the town square, only adding to the historical atmosphere.
5. St. Louis Church
1306 Angelo Street
Across the street from Houston Square, you will notice the Castroville St. Louis Church.
Another of the historic buildings in the city, the St. Louis Church, was built between 1868 and 1870.
Like other places in Castroville, the church’s architecture has quite a European feel with its tall steeple and noteworthy flying buttresses on the side.
The Romanesque-style church is still an active congregation today and is well worth stepping inside if it is open.
Inside the church, the European influence continues as the church’s interior boasts a beautifully ornate altar and half-timbered ceilings.
My favorite part is the French fleur-de-lis that can be found in the gorgeous stained glass.
All of these elements combine and further accentuate the European heritage of the town.
6. Castroville Poppy House
606 Florence Street
If you are visiting Castroville, Texas, in the spring, you must add the Castroville Poppy House to your list of things to do in Castroville, Texas.
Located just down the road from the Landmark Inn, the Castroville Poppy House is the city’s oldest free-standing, one-room log cabin. You will also notice that one of the historic homes from the 1850s is also located on the property.
During the spring months, the property is overflowing with the blooms from the gorgeous red poppy flowers planted here.
The poppy season is also the only time of the year that the historic home is open for tours, so be sure to check it out.
If you are visiting outside the poppy season, you can still drive by and observe the log cabin from the road. This is one of the historic sites in the city, so don’t miss it!
7. Castroville Regional Park
816 Alsace Avenue
Spending time outdoors is one of the highlights of visiting San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country, and, of course, this applies in Castroville as well.
When ready to get your outdoor fix, head to Castroville Regional Park.
This beautiful park, located on the Medina River banks, is a tremendous outdoor recreation area.
You will find an amphitheater, a pavilion, an RV area, and a swimming pool!
A one-mile hiking trail provides excellent views of the Medina River, so be sure to check it out!
Another highlight of Castroville Regional Park is the butterfly garden and the numerous species of birds that frequent the area.
8. Paradise Canyon
Paradise Canyon is a fantastic place to visit in Texas. You genuinely feel as if you have been transported to a far-off land!
You will find Paradise Canyon about 20 minutes outside of town, but, trust me when I tell you, it is well worth the drive.
This little slice of Texas heaven is located on the Medina River. It offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy a day (or several days) enjoying the river and soaking in the Texas sun.
Surrounded by towering rock bluffs, the gorgeous river meanders through the park allowing plenty of room for visitors to find a space all their own.
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.