Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Follow the Wine Route – Alsace’s Best Road Trip
The Alsace Wine Route (Route du Vin Alsace), in Eastern France, is one of the best things to do in Alsace. One of the most famous wine trails in France, this Wine Route Alsace between Colmar and Strasbourg invites visitors to discover beautiful landscapes and lovely Alsace villages while tasting some of the region’s best wines.
The proposed Alsace Wine Route itinerary by car takes five days, and it is a good itinerary for those who love sightseeing, outdoor activities, and wine.
This Alsace Wine Route by car is one of the best road trips in France. Read more about road-tripping in France:
Alsace Wine Region
The Alsace Wine Region produces dry white wines, sparkling sweet varieties, and rosés. Just like in Southern Germany, you can find delicious Rieslings, Gewurztraminers, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. There are also wines made from the Pinot Noir grape – which are pale reds, often rosés. Sparkling wines, known as Crémant d’Alsace, are also made of Pinot Noir.
The Alsace wines are aromatic, floral, and spicy. Since they seldom have any oak barrel aroma, they tend to be very varietally pure in their character.
READ MORE: Best Wine Regions in France
Unlike in the Bordeaux Wine Region, wine producers in Alsace open their wineries to visitors during the harvest, from September to November, and most other times of the year (including weekends). Usually, wine producers in Alsace speak French, German, and English, and chatting with them while tasting their wines is a good opportunity to learn more about Alsace’s wines.
TIP: If you plan to bring a few bottles home (who could resist?!), make sure you pack your wine properly, so it arrives safely home!
Alsace Wine Route by Car Overview
- Start: Colmar
- Finish: Strasbourg
- Duration: 5 days
- Suggested route: Colmar – Riquewihr – Obernai – Strasbourg
- Total distance: 104.5 Km, 1 hr 30 min drive in total
- Region covered: Grand Est
- Best for: history, sightseeing, nature, small towns, food & wine.
Alsace Wine Route Map
Route du Vin – Alsace Wine Route Itinerary
This Alsace Wine Route by car starts from Colmar, one of the main cities in the Alsace Region. If you don’t have a car, you can travel to Colmar by train and then rent one in Colmar. The chances are that car rental in Colmar is cheaper than in Paris, plus you avoid the hassle of driving from Paris or any other city to the east. Check out our best tips for hiring a car in France.
DAY 0 | Arrival in Colmar
Arrive in Colmar the day before the start of this Alsatian wine route. For your stay in Colmar, book three nights at the charming Hotel Le Colombier. This hotel, located in the picturesque district of Little Venice, has spacious and stylish rooms, a bar, and a garden in which to relax.
DAY 1 | Colmar
Colmar is the most popular city to visit on this Alsace wine trail. The Old Town of Colmar is the city’s main highlight, with half-timbered houses, cobblestone lanes, and quaint canals.
A signposted walking trail leads visitors in a 6.1km loop around the city (estimated time: 2.5 hrs). The route is outlined on the free Colmar Old Town Map from the tourist office, but you can just follow the golden triangles along the way (embossed with Lady Liberty) to the top Colmar sights.
The list of fun things to see and do in Colmar includes:
- The Unterlinden Museum
- The Bartholdi Museum
- The Little Venice
- The Food Market (consider having lunch inside for a super local experience)
- The Toy Museum
- The Choco-Story Colmar
FUN FACT: Artist Auguste Bartholdi – The man who created the Statue of Liberty – was born in Colmar in 1834. As a Colmar claim-to-fame, Lady Liberty appears throughout the city, and you will find a replica of the famous statue in a roundabout.
DAY 2 | Colmar – Eiguisheim – Colmar
Morning in Eguisheim
From Colmar, consider a day trip to Eguisheim and its surrounding vineyards. Eguisheim is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, and it is a wonder. Located at only a 10-minute drive from Colmar, Eguisheim is one of the most popular day trips from Colmar.
Eguisheim has a unique layout, where the streets are arranged in concentric circles around the Eguisheim Castle. Don’t miss its beautiful architecture of half-timbered houses and the central square with its magnificent stone fountain and the colorful Saint Léo Chapel.
Obviously, one of the best things to do in Eiguisheim is to visit one of the many cellars in the Old Town. Testing, tasting, and refining your knowledge are all activities around Oenology that await you in Eiguisheim. Learn more about the local grape varieties and the wines’ subtleties. After some research, we recommend the wines from Eichberg and Pfersigberg, which reveal aromas of fruit, honey, and wood.
Afternoon Hike Up to the Three Towers
From Eguisheim, there’s a beautiful and easy hike through the vineyards and the forest up to the Three Castles on Schlossberg Hill (1.5 hr uphill). The Three Castles were built during the 11th and 12th centuries by three local families. Today, all three castles are in ruins (they were destroyed in 1466 during the War of the Six Oboles), but the views from the top of the hill are great.
DAY 3 | Kaysersberg – Riquewihr
Morning in Kaysersberg
Day 3 of this Alsatian wine route explores two of the prettiest villages in Alsace. From Colmar, drive to Kaysersberg Vignoble, a small town nestled at the entrance of the Vosges Valley. Kaysersberg means “the Emperor’s mountain,” and the ruins of the imperial castle (13th-century) that dominate the city have an incredible charm.
You are going to love Kaysersberg, with its beautiful historic center and its many half-timbered houses from the 15th – 16th centuries. There is also a unique fortified bridge, which was built in the 16th century in pink sandstone from the Vosges.
GOOD TO KNOW: Alsace is the region in France with more fortified castles! Their distinctive pink color is from the Vosges sandstone used to build them.
Afternoon in Riquewihr
From Kaysersberg, drive to the picturesque town of Riquewihr, where you will spend one night. For your stay in Riquewihr, book the oh-so-charming Hotel à l’Oriel, located in the heart of the Old Town. The historic hotel proposes individually decorated beautiful traditional rooms, a good breakfast, and private parking.
You will likely fall in love with Riquewihr. This fortified village surrounded by vineyards was built in the 16th century, and it is as if time has slowed down in this town. Riquewihr is another Alsace village listed among the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
Apart from its beautiful half-timbered houses and picturesque alleys, Riquewihr has no less than 40 listed Historical Monuments. The Thieves’ Tower is the most famous, and it was the former prison of Riquewihr.
At the entrance of Riquewihr, you will find several wine producers offering wine tastings and their best bottles of Alsace wine. We bought a couple of bottles of muscat and crémant at Domaine Dopff au Moulin (2 Avenue Jacques Preiss, Riquewihr). Then, within the walls, you will find many wine shops.
DAY 4 | Riquewihr – Obernai – Strasbourg
Day 4 of this Alsace Wine Route itinerary starts with a morning hike. Beyond the limits of Riquewihr lies a stunning horizon filled with vineyards growing between the hills. This is the starting point of the Géovino Trail, which goes through the Alsace vineyards of the communal territories of Riquewihr, Beblenheim, Benwihr, Hunawihr, and Zellenberg. This rural 16km trail (which takes 4.5 hours for the full loop) includes information panels about the works in the vineyards and wine production.
We recommend doing the first part of the hike to the pretty village of Hunawihr and back (6km, 1 hr 15 min). Hunawihr is another of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, and it is best known for its unique fortified church, which is a wonder!
Afternoon in Obernai
On the way to Strasbourg, visit Obernai, a small city well-known for its historical monuments. Between mid-November to the end of December, Obernai also hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Alsace.
Admire the Place du Marché, with the imposing belfry, the Wheat Market, and the beautiful 16th-century well. Then, stroll through the picturesque Rue des Juifs.
After visiting Obernai, drive to Strasbourg, the last stop of this Alsace wine trail. Technically speaking, Strasbourg is not part of the Alsace Wine Trail, but the city is so beautiful that it is well worth the detour!
DAY 5 | Strasbourg
Day 5 of this Route du Vin Alsace explores Strasbourg, so you won’t need the car.
Strasbourg has an immense historical and architectural heritage, making it the wealthiest city in the region. Developed on the River Ill banks, its city center is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The list of fun things to do and see in Strasbourg includes:
- Notre Dame Cathedral
- The Petite-France, a picturesque district
- The covered bridges and the barrage Vauban
- Strasbourg river cruise
- History Museum
- The European neighborhood
Don’t miss Notre Dame of Strasbourg, a jewel of Gothic architecture. If the weather is good, climb up to the top of the tower to admire the city from above. During clear days it is possible to see the Black Forest in Germany!
And why not finish this Alsace Wine Route with a last wine tour? Don’t miss the prestigious Cave des Hospices de Strasbourg, the historic cellar of the Strasbourg Hospital, 6 centuries old! Although there’s a free visit possible, we recommend the audio-guided tour, as this is a place full of history and magic. No wine-tasting here (after all, this is part of a hospital), but we are sure you’ll find something-something to bring back home in their wine shop.
So, what are you waiting for? Book this Alsace Wine Route by car today!