The Alsatian wine route is in eastern France, across the Rhine River from Germany. This part of the country has passed from France to Germany and back again many times over the centuries and the architecture and food reflect that fascinating history. Imagine what it was like before the Euro gave the region a common currency. I met a man who said he used to carry two wallets – one for French francs and one for German deutschmarks. It’s much easier now that you can use the Euro in both countries!
The Alsace Wine Route itself stretches 170 km, starting in Marlenheim near Strasbourg in the north and ending in Thann in the south, although the Alsatian region extends further in both directions. Along the Routes des Vins, the vineyards benefit from the terroir available to them between the Vosges Mountains in the west and the Rhine river in the east. Alsace is famous for its white wines that are highly acidic and truly delicious. Tastings here are intimate, friendly, and generous.
How do you Get There & Where Should You Stay on the Routes des Vins Alsace?
You could take a day trip from Strasbourg, but it’s more fun to spend several days in the Alsace wine region to get a true flavor of the area. You could easily take the Paris to Colmar train or the Strasbourg to Colmar train, to get there, depending on where your trip originates. You could even arrive by train from Basel in order to visit Alsace. If you have a car, it’s even easier to get around and gives you more options on where to stay and explore.
Colmar offers some lovely accommodations and is a bit bigger than most of the other towns in the area. If you want more to see and do and the feel of a bit larger city, I recommend staying here. Ribeauvillé is smaller but also offers an idyllic village and a good home base, as does Riquewihr. Ribeauvillé has the added advantage of being accessible by train but the station is about 2 miles outside town, so plan to walk to get into town, or you can call a taxi. We stayed in Kaysersburg and found it to be one of the cutest towns ever. It has a beautiful fast flowing river running through the village. We could walk to the market, to bakeries, to wonderful restaurants and even to wine tastings. Each village holds its own charm. I recommend picking one and staying there for the duration of your trip. Then take day trips to the other villages. This will make your time in Alsace more relaxing, and will give you a chance to soak in all the region has to offer.
Take a Road Trip and Visit the Delightful Towns in Alsace
There are about 70 towns located along the Alsace Wine Route and 20 of these are among the top places to visit in the region. It’s really hard to narrow them down! Choosing one picture perfect town over another is tough because you never know what gem you might find around the corner! The colorful buildings in these towns look like they came straight out of Les Miserables. Concentrating on those that are most quaint and have the best wine is a good strategy. I find that those listed above as places to stay, Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, Kaysersburg and Colmar all make the list. Add to that Equishem, Turckheim and Hunawihr and any others that seem particularly intriguing.
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