and now it's 6 years!
Between Strasbourg and Mulhouse, over 170km, the Route des Vins d’Alsace crosses several “plus beaux” villages. For our first day, we chose 5 of the very best villages to visit.
(For the detailed map, visit this website : http://www.tourisme-alsace.com/medias/pdf/brochures/carte-route-des-vins-et-velo-route-fr.pdf )
Our first stop was Eguisheim, elected as the preferred village of the French in 2013 and is one of the most beautiful villages in France.
The village was very quite in the early morning when we arrived. As our first stop in Alsace, we were not disappointed. Eguisheim is very pretty and is proud of its half-timbered colorful houses with pointed roof and floral decoration along the cobblestone streets.
After an hour or so in Eguisheim, we went on north to Colmar. Less than half an hour drive at only 8 km away, Colmar needs no introduction. The Petite Venice is famous to every single tourist and is very picturesque. It is also possible to take a boat trip on the canal.
And don’t forget to check out La Maison des Têtes, built in the 17th century with more than 100 heads decorating the 3 levels and La Maison Pfister, the oldest building in Colmar.
Colmar is the biggest of the 5 villages we visited, but a 3-hour stay should be enough for a quick visit if you are on a tight schedule.
After lunch in a typical Alsatian restaurant, we continued to head north, another 12km later, we arrived at Kaysersberg.
It is less well known compared to the other villages, but take the time to hike to the Castle of Kaysersberg. It is a short 10, 15 minutes walk uphill and another hundred or so stairs to climb the castle (it is more of a ruin these days but the climb is free of charge), the panorama view over the village and vineyards is well worth the afford.
A short 10km after Kaysersberg, we stopped in Riquewihr.
Again one of the most beautiful villages in France, Riquewihr may be the best among the 5 villages we have visited.
Surrounded by brick fortification, the village is very small with one main pedestrian street. The main street of Riquewihr is similar to that of Eguisheim, half-timbered houses along cobblestones street. The only difference is that in Riquewihr, it is much more lively and commercial with stores, wine cellars and cafes/ restaurants everywhere. It is the ideal village for strolling and talking to wine producers and bringing home a bottle or two Alsatian wines.
After visiting Riquewihr, if you still have time, you can go another 5km to Ribeauvillé.
At first glance, you may not understand why we stopped here. In fact, the village is dominated by 3 castles, the hiking trail to discover the ruins of the castles is about 12km and roughly takes 3 hours, so be prepared or you can admire them from the village like we did.
Finally, do look out for the storks, they are the emblem in Alsace, and they are everywhere, from souvenirs, decorations to real nests. By the way, according to myth, they deliver babies.
Bon voyage 🙂