Alsace, nestled between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine River in Eastern France, is a region steeped in history, culture, and delicious wines. Famous for its stunning architecture, colourful half-timbered houses, and scenic vineyards, a wine tour through Alsace is a must for any wine lover or history enthusiast. In this blog post, we’ll explore the most picturesque towns and villages in the Alsace wine region, including must-see attractions and unique experiences you won’t want to miss. So, let’s embark on this enchanting journey and discover the best of Alsace!
Alsace: A Region Rich in Flavor and Beauty
What sets Alsace apart from other regions in France? Its vibrant blend of French and German influences, mouthwatering cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes make Alsace a true gem. With its unique architectural wonders and rich cultural heritage, this region is bound to leave you captivated.
Cuisine: A Feast for the Senses
Alsace, a region cradled between France and Germany, proudly boasts a unique gastronomic heritage that marries the best of both worlds. Savor the region’s mouthwatering meat dishes, such as succulent sausages, delectable charcuterie, and hearty pork knuckles. Fear not, vegetarians – Alsace offers divine delights like tarte flambée, a tantalizing thin-crust pizza adorned with cream, onions, and bacon or mushrooms. Warm your soul with choucroute garnie, a sumptuous stew brimming with sauerkraut, potatoes, and assorted meats.
Bear in mind that Alsatian restaurants may close between lunch and dinner, so time your culinary escapades wisely. Reservations are highly recommended, particularly during peak tourist season.
Wines and Brews: A Spirited Affair
Alsace is a haven for wine aficionados, renowned for its exquisite white wines such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer. Wander through verdant vineyards, indulge in tastings, or embark on a guided tour to uncover the secrets of Alsatian winemaking. If beer is more your style, fear not – Alsace’s vibrant microbrewery scene awaits. Quench your thirst with a refreshing pint at one of the region’s charming bars or breweries.
Architecture and Castles: Timeless Beauty
Alsace’s enchanting architecture weaves together French and German influences, creating a tapestry of half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets. Stroll through Colmar, where fairy-tale buildings transport you back in time.
Majestic castles adorn the Alsatian landscape, with the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg being a crown jewel. Immerse yourself in the region’s rich history as you feast your eyes on the castle’s awe-inspiring vistas.
Traditions and Symbols: A Rich Tapestry
Alsace’s cultural heritage is steeped in centuries-old traditions. The stork, an iconic symbol, can be found nesting on rooftops and in parks throughout the region. Celebrated annually in Munster, these regal birds are deeply intertwined with Alsatian culture.
Embrace the region’s other traditions, such as the Alsatian language, a melodic blend of French and German. Experience the vibrant colours and intricate patterns of traditional costumes worn during festivals and special occasions.
Alsace Wine Route
The Alsace Wine Route is a 170 km (105 miles) long route that winds through the picturesque vineyards and wine-producing villages of Alsace. The route takes visitors through the heart of the Alsace wine region, where they can enjoy wine tastings, visit wineries, and explore the charming towns and villages of Alsace.
The Most Picturesque Towns and Villages of Alsace
Now that you know what to expect in Alsace, here are some of the must-visit towns and villages in the region.
Colmar – A Fairytale Town
Colmar is the quintessential Alsatian town, with its narrow cobblestone streets, pastel-colored houses, and romantic canals. It’s the perfect destination for a Colmar weekend getaway, with plenty of places to visit nearby.
Must-see attractions in Colmar:
- Petite Venice Colmar: Also known as Little Venice Colmar, this charming area is famous for its picturesque canals and half-timbered houses. A boat ride through the canals is a must-do activity.
- Old Town. You can wander through the narrow streets lined with beautifully preserved buildings, churches, and museums. The Unterlinden Museum is a must-visit, featuring an impressive collection of artworks, including the Isenheim Altarpiece. For a panoramic view of the town, climb to the top of the 13th-century Collegiale Saint-Martin bell tower.
- Colmar Statue of Liberty. Did you know that the designer of the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was born in Colmar? You can find a smaller replica of this iconic symbol of freedom at the north entrance of the town.
- Chocolate Museum Colmar: Indulge in the world of chocolate by visiting the Musée du Chocolat. Learn about the history and making of this delicious treat, and taste some samples during your visit.
- Wine Tasting Colmar: As you explore the town, be sure to stop by one of the many wine cellars for an unforgettable Alsace wine tour experience. The surrounding area of Colmar is also worth exploring. The famous Alsace Wine Route passes through Colmar, offering an opportunity to visit vineyards, wineries, and taste some of the world-renowned wines of the region. Visitors can take a half or full-day wine tour, visiting local wineries, and learning about the winemaking process.
Colmar is a town that will leave visitors enchanted and captivated by its beauty and charm.
Eguisheim – The Circular Village
Eguisheim, with its concentric layout and narrow streets, is a delight for history and wine enthusiasts alike. This charming village is home to several wineries, offering the perfect opportunity for wine tasting Alsace.
Must-see and things to do in Eguisheim:
- Wander through the winding streets and admire the half-timbered houses adorned with colourful flowers and quaint storefronts.
- Visit the Saint-Leon IX Chapel, dedicated to the town’s patron saint and former Pope, in Chateau Saint-Léon, a castle built in the 11th century that now serves as a museum showcasing the history of the village and the surrounding area. The castle also offers stunning views of the vineyards and surrounding countryside.
- Stop by one of the local wineries for a tasting of the region’s finest wines.
Riquewihr – A Wine Lover’s Paradise
Riquewihr a beautifully preserved medieval village, surrounded by picturesque Alsace vineyards. With its cobbled streets, historic architecture, and stunning views of the vineyards, Riquewihr is a must-visit destination on any Alsace wine tour.
Must-see and things to do in Riquewihr:
- Stroll through the town’s main street, Rue du Général de Gaulle, and admire the colourful half-timbered houses. Here you’ll find an array of shops selling local handicrafts, wines, and gourmet food products. And if you’re looking for a sweet treat, don’t miss the chance to try the local specialty, Kugelhopf, a delicious Alsatian cake.
- Visit the Dolder Tower, a 13th-century fortified gate – an impressive remnant of the old town fortifications, and take in the panoramic views of the village and surrounding vineyards. You can also visit the Thieves’ Tower, which used to serve as a prison for the village’s criminals in the Middle Ages.
- Sample the region’s wines at one of the many local wine cellars.
One of the main attractions in Riquewihr is undoubtedly its wine. The village is surrounded by vineyards that produce some of the most prestigious wines in Alsace. You can learn about the local wine-making process at one of the many wineries and cellars that offer tours and tastings. Don’t miss the chance to try Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris, the flagship wines of the region.
Ribeauville – A Town with a Rich History
Ribeauvillé is a historic town that offers a fascinating glimpse into Alsace’s past. From its medieval castles to its lively festivals, Ribeauvillé is an essential stop on any Alsace wine tour.
Must-see and things to do in Ribeauvillé:
- Explore the town’s three castles: Saint-Ulrich, Girsberg, and Haut-Ribeaupierre, all offering breathtaking views of the valley.
- Visit the historic town center with its charming half-timbered houses, fountains, and vibrant squares.
- Attend the annual Fête des Ménétriers, a medieval-inspired festival celebrating the town’s rich musical history.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the region’s wines at one of the local wine cellars.
Kaysersberg – A Picture-Perfect Village
Kaysersberg is yet another enchanting village that boasts a rich history, beautiful architecture, and an idyllic setting amidst the Alsace vineyards. Its colourful streets and scenic views make it a must-visit destination on any Alsace wine tour.
Must-see and things to do in Kaysersberg:
- Wander through the charming streets, lined with half-timbered houses and artisan shops.
- Visit the Kaysersberg Castle ruins, offering stunning views of the village and surrounding vineyards.
- Cross the iconic fortified bridge over the Weiss River, a perfect spot for capturing beautiful photos.
- Visit the Sainte-Croix Church, with its impressive stained-glass windows and Renaissance-era altarpiece, and the Albert Schweitzer Museum, which celebrates the life and work of the famous philosopher and humanitarian who was born in the town.
- Taste the region’s finest wines at one of the local wineries or wine cellars.
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg – A Castle with a View
Though not being a part of any of the villages mentioned here, the castle is worth visiting if you have the opportunity. Located on a hilltop overlooking the Alsace plain, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a medieval castle that offers some of the best views in the region. Visitors can explore the castle’s towers, ramparts, and courtyard, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Unravel the Magic of Alsace with Wine Tours
Discover the world-famous Alsatian wine region through an array of curated wine tours. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or simply curious about the picturesque villages and landscapes, these tours offer an unparalleled opportunity to taste the region’s finest wines and glean insights into the winemaking process from local experts. Choose from a diverse range of options, from half-day excursions to full-day adventures and intimate small-group tours that provide a personalized experience with knowledgeable guides. Embark on a journey along the Route des Vins d’Alsace and uncover the unique flavors, sights, and traditions that make this region truly enchanting.
From 18 EUR per person
Join us for the ultimate Crémant experience at our family-owned winery! Great Sparkling tour will take you on a journey from the vineyard to the cork burst, where you will learn about the many steps required to produce our outstanding sparkling wines. Available in English and French, expert guides will provide a full guided tour of our winery, sharing their knowledge and passion for Crémant.
After the tour, we invite you to indulge in a tasting of five of our finest sparkling wines, paired with delicious pretzels on the side. This is the perfect opportunity to savour the flavours of our region and truly experience the essence of Alsace. Children are welcome to join in on the fun as well!
With our private guide, you can relax and enjoy a personalised experience tailored to your preferences. Come discover the magic of Crémant with us and leave with a newfound appreciation for the art of sparkling wine production.
From 25 EUR per person
Get ready for a unique experience as we take you on a hike through the beautiful vineyards of Alsace. Our Winegrower’s Walk is a 2-hour 30-minute adventure that will give you an insight into the soul of our vines. You’ll be guided by a local expert who will show you the cultivation practices of our Estate and share interesting facts about our Grand Cru Mandelberg terroir.
This scenic walk is full of surprises and picturesque views of the plain of Alsace, the Vosges mountains, and the medieval cities of Riquewihr and Zellenberg. Along the way, we’ll also stop by streams and almond trees to take in the stunning surroundings.
After the walk, we’ll take you on a tour of our cellar where you’ll learn about the winemaking process and the profession of a winegrower. From thunderbolts to barrels and stainless steel vats, we’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we create our delicious wines.
The highlight of this experience is a tasting of our exquisite wines paired with a traditional Kougelhopf pastry. You’ll get to savour the flavours of our Estate and understand the passion and hard work that goes into making each bottle.
From 150 EUR per person
Join for an unforgettable day exploring the picturesque Alsace wine region on our Full Day Wine Tour from Colmar. Relax in the comfort of our air-conditioned minivan as we drive along the legendary Alsatian wine route, taking in the stunning countryside scenery and visiting traditional villages along the way.
Our knowledgeable English-speaking driver guide will take you to three local wineries where you’ll have the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines produced in this region of France. Meet the winemakers and learn about the winemaking process while enjoying the personalized experience of a small-group tour.
With bottled water and free wifi on board, all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of the Alsace region.
From 95 EUR per person
Embark on a small-group tour of the Alsace region and discover the beauty of the French wine route. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you’ll visit carefully selected wineries and charming villages, including Hunawhir, Riquewihr, and Eguisheim.
Taste the prestigious wines of an authentic Alsace winery, while learning about the wine-making process from passionate winemakers. Along the way, admire the picturesque landscapes of Alsace and uncover the region’s rich history. With a maximum group size of eight, this tour offers a personalized and intimate experience. Choose from five different languages to suit your needs, and get ready for an unforgettable half-day adventure.
From 98 EUR per person
Embark on a half-day wine adventure through the breathtaking Alsace wine region, and discover the secrets of winemaking in this part of France. Your knowledgeable driver-guide will take you along the famous Alsatian wine route, passing by beautiful countryside scenery and traditional villages. Along the way, you’ll visit two local wineries, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines produced in Alsace, and learn about the different grape varietals used in the winemaking process, such as riesling, pinot gris, and gewurztraminer.
This small-group tour is limited to only eight people, ensuring a personalized experience as you explore the vineyards, meet winemakers, and taste their prestigious wines. The tour also includes complimentary bottled water and free Wi-Fi access on board, making it an easy and convenient way to discover the beauty and charm of the Alsace wine region. So come join us for a half-day Alsace wine tour, and discover the incredible landscape and delicious wines that make this region so special.
When to Visit Alsace
Alsace is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own unique charms. The summer months are perfect for exploring the region’s charming villages and enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling. In the fall, visitors can enjoy the region’s famous wine festivals and sample some of the new vintages. Winter is a magical time in Alsace, with Christmas markets and festive decorations adding to the region’s charm. And in the spring, the region comes alive with blooming flowers and trees, making it an ideal time for nature lovers.
No matter when you choose to visit, the picturesque towns and villages of Alsace offer a unique and unforgettable experience for wine enthusiasts, history buffs, and those who appreciate stunning landscapes and charming architecture. An Alsace wine tour is the perfect way to immerse yourself in this region’s rich history, sample its world-renowned wines, and create lasting memories amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in France. Cheers to your next adventure in Alsace!