Castroville is known as the “little Alsace of Texas.”
It has held on remarkably to its unique history and culture despite years of historical change.
The city was established in 1844 along the Medina River.
Immigrants from Alsace, France, and Baden, Germany, populated the city.
Despite a few challenging years, the farms these first settlers built flourished, and they became prosperous places.
However, the city remained somewhat insular.
You were more likely to hear Alsatian than English in the area for the first century of its existence.
The locals still happily and proudly preserve the language and culture they inherited from their European ancestors.
This complex history woven into its fabric makes the city an excellent destination for curious tourists.
Here are the best things to do in Castroville, Texas:
Stop and Smell the Poppies at Castroville Poppy House
Among many other monikers, Castroville is also known as the poppy capital of Texas.
This city is the only place in the state where you’ll find Alsatian red poppies.
Visit the poppy house at 606 Florence Street and snap a few pictures along the way to preserve the memories and the flowers' distinctive colors.
The flowers bloom every spring, certainly a sight to behold.
Wander through the flowers with your friends, or maybe a special someone, as the smell of fresh flowers lulls you into serenity and relaxation.
Stay at the Hillside Hotel
One of the things you have to consider when going on a trip is where you’re going to stay.
Why settle for second best when you can go with the best?
The Hillside Hotel at 1651 US Highway 90 W is often called “the best-kept secret of Texas” due to its out-of-the-way location.
The place has a warm, small-town atmosphere whose charm is hard to resist, and it’s a great introduction to the vibe of Castroville in general.
The place offers a great restaurant and bistro; you’ll never go hungry, and the food is to die for.
And if you want to escape your stressful everyday life, let the in-house spa ease your worries one step at a time.
Visit the Alsatian Steinbach Haus
When visiting Castroville, the Alsatian Steinbach Haus, more commonly known as simply the Steinbach Haus, should be your first stop, especially if it’s your first time in the area.
The house was built between 1618 to 1648 in Wahlbach, France and then relocated to Castroville in 1998.
The house results from the hard work of residents who wanted to make the place as beautiful and elegant as possible.
Now, the house symbolizes Castroville’s deep connections to France and the ingenuity and creativity of its residents, making it a destination worth a visit.
Wine and Dine at Julianna’s Restaurant
If nachos aren’t your thing, then there are other options you can pick once your stomach goes a-rumbling.
Head to Julianna’s at 1339 County Road 4516 to get a unique dining experience as memorable as the sights you’ve seen.
Share a stuffed salmon with your traveling friends alongside stories and laughter around the dining room table.
You should also try out their fried shrimp, a dish that’ll show you what heaven tastes like while your feet are still firmly planted on the ground.
And if seafood isn’t what you’re looking for, there are other options on the menu you can consider.
Try the chicken napoleon or the grilled quail if you love poultry.
Whatever your preferences are, remember that food is love, and Julianna’s is a place determined never to let you forget it.
View the St. Louis Catholic Church
Another place you may want to visit is the St. Louis Catholic Church, facing Houston Square on Angelo Street.
It’s a small, old, and lovely church that’s very much part of the city’s history.
The building you’ll see when you visit dates between 1868 to 1870.
The builders used native limestone and hand-hewn cypress, making it truly a piece of the city it inhabits.
In 1908, the builders replaced the original spire.
The church underwent a significant renovation that re-plastered the walls, installed a new roof, and tiled the floors.
The church still celebrates Mass every Sunday, so try to attend if you’re of that faith.
Otherwise, pay a visit to marvel at the building’s history and beauty.
Try the Pastries of Haby’s Alsatian Bakery
Pastries are best shared with friends.
Haby’s at 207 Us Highway 90 East Castroville is the place to visit if you and your traveling companions want to try Alsatian treats in Texas.
Haby's opened in 1974 with a mission to sustain high quality.
Stop by and try their pastries, specifically the donuts and the cinnamon rolls, served fresh each day.
You can also try out some of their bread; they even have tortillas and dinner rolls.
Share the treats with your friends, maybe even with a special someone.
There's nothing more romantic than eating together inside a quaint little bakery, sitting too close, and sharing pastries with gentle smiles.
Enjoy a Romantic Date at the Castroville Cafe
If bakeries aren’t your preferred date location, then maybe try out a cafe.
Savor the French vibe that flows through the city and fall in love with being in love as you sit with your special someone at the Castroville Cafe, located at 309 Lafayette Street.
Just picture this: you order one of their unique dishes, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs served with a side of salad.
You and your partner are sitting across, sharing a plate.
Bask in the face of your loved one and the atmosphere of love all around you.
Learn the History of the Landmark Inn State Historic Site
As the name suggests, here’s another historic site in this city that’s already overflowing with history and romance.
The Landmark Inn State Historic Site at 402 E. Florence street tells the story of migration, industry, and preservation on the banks of the Medina River.
But the place isn’t just a historic memorial.
It’s also a functional bed and breakfast with eight separate rooms to accommodate traveling visitors.
The tale starts with Swiss immigrants Cesar and Hannah Monod arriving in Texas in the 1830s before settling in Castroville in 1849.
They built a one-story limestone structure, which they used as their own home and general store.
Over the years, the property passed through multiple owners, each with their own exciting stories, before the latest owners finally donated it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The organization restored the building and declared it a state historic site on October 25, 1981, and that’s how we got to where we are now.
Eat a Scrumptious Meal at Sammy’s Restaurant
Sammy’s Restaurant, a third-generation establishment at 202 US Highway 90 East Castroville, serves a mean burger that any meat lover will want to try out.
The restaurant maintains a family-friendly environment and strives to satisfy all sorts of tastes, so you can be sure that this place will have something for you.
The steaks always come out to their patron’s specification, and the restaurant makes their seasoning and batter for their chicken and seafood, so you can be sure that every dish is cooked to absolute perfection.
Sammy’s also has a daily home-style special, which you can try if you’re looking for a meal that’ll surprise you.
Stop by Houston Square
Castroville is a historical city, and Houston Square has witnessed the many events the place has gone through over the centuries.
It’s been many things throughout its life: a baseball diamond, a football field of a nearby school, and a light softball field, among other things.
Stand in the square and feel the breeze of history.
Close your eyes.
Imagine existing a hundred years ago, then paint a picture of the city.
The city around you would look different.
The people are no longer dressed in a way you’re familiar with, but Houston Square remains the same and beautiful as ever.
Catch one of the many events hosted in the square and have a fun time mingling and celebrating with the locals.
Wander the Castroville Regional Park
In the southwest part of Castroville, you can find more than a hundred acres of woods on the banks of the Medina river, and once you spot it, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped into a magical wonderland.
That place is the Castroville Regional Park, and if you’re looking for some peace from the city proper, it’ll always be ready to welcome you with open arms.
A walking trail surrounds it, so it’s easy to lose yourself in the area’s natural serenity.
Use it to relax your mind and unwind; take in the sounds of the breeze and birdsong and let yourself exist.
You can also visit fishing spots if you’re looking for other calm and peaceful activities.
Grab a Meal at Cora’s 471 Grill
Now, it’s time to try out a few more treats.
Cora’s 471 Grill, located at road 471 North, serves the best Nachos in Texas, and any visitor to Castroville would be a fool not to want to try them.
Cora's opened in 1832, going strong ever since.
Besides the fantastic nachos, the establishment also serves steaks, chicken, and pork chops for something more traditional and familiar.
You can also try out their catfish dishes if you’re feeling adventurous.
Sip Fine Wine at the Medina River Winery
History and good food aren't the only things Castroville offers.
With the rolling hills and lovely climate of Medina County, it’s a perfect place to grow and start a winery, and that’s what this establishment did.
Located at 3179 Farm to Market 471, the wine of Medina River Winery seeks to warm, inspire, and make life worth living.
The wine here has a distinctive Texas taste and carries the warmth and hospitality of the home where it grew.
Fall in love with wines by heading to this place and popping open a bottle or two.
Try the Coffee of Magnolia Filling Station
Wine isn’t the only romantic drink out there; coffee can tell as many stories with its distinctive taste of sweet bitterness.
The Magnolia Filling Station at 1101 Fiorella Street is an excellent place if you’re looking to find coffee that tells its tales.
If you’re looking for your daily caffeine fix, stop by the cafe to enjoy the warm ambiance and friendly atmosphere.
The place also serves excellent pastries to complement their drinks, making it the perfect combination before starting a long day of sightseeing.
Grab Fresh Meat at Dziuk's Meat Market
It's time to think of looking for souvenirs and treats to bring your family and friends back home.
While not necessarily the most traditional, consider purchasing from Dziuk’s Meat Market.
Dziuks' opened in 1968.
The place has served quality fresh cuts and the city's best jerky.
The market sells specialty meats, such as venison, that may be hard to find.
Seize the opportunity while you’re there to try it out.
It’s not every day you get to visit a place that’s still so in touch with history and culture that they inherited hundreds of years ago.
It adds to the romance of the place and makes it feel distinct from every other area in the US.
Whether it’s through the language the locals speak or the Alsatian buildings that the locals have so lovingly preserved, it’s easy to tell that this heritage is something that the city is incredibly proud of.
It sets them apart and gives visitors a unique experience that they won’t find anywhere else, which is every tourist's dream.
Plan your Castroville trip today!