Self-Guided Tours in Alsace

On the border with Germany lies the Alsace region, along the Rhine river and stretching from Strasbourg to Colmar. 

Alsace has everything a wanderer will like: so many colorful half-timbered towns built along a scenic vineyards route. Always in the background, the Vosges mountains add to the picturesque scenery and you can reach the foothills in less than 30 minutes to have unlimited walking and hiking options. 

Munster and its cheese will give foreign travelers a real introduction to uncompromisingly tasty French cheeses, while the local pizza called Flammekueche as well as the famous Choucroute will get everyone to agree - food in Alsace is delicious! 

 

5.0
Martina & Simon from the UK
A fantastic well-planned self-drive tour We had the most amazing time on our 6 week self-drive tour designed by Laura, travelling through Brittany, Loire, Dordogne, Medoc, Basque …
Duration
10 days
Price
US$ 3980
Region
in Burgundy, Alsace & Champagne

On this itinerary, you'll go North-East ! Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne are all located East of Paris and near the Swiss and German borders. Quite unknown, these regions have a lot to discover !

Wine Tasting
Towns & Villages
Duration
16 days
Price
US$ 6480
Region
in Paris, Alsace, Burgundy, Lyon & Provence

This itinerary takes you to Eastern France from North to South. After spending a few days in Paris, you will enjoy the Alsace region on the German border and then drive your way south all the way to Provence. The best itinerary to discover l'Est de la France !

Heritage & History
Countryside
Duration
13 days
Price
US$ 5670
Region
in Paris, Somme, North, Verdun & Alsace

In 13 days, this tour will take you from Paris to the Somme region, and on to Lille at the Belgium border. You will then drive your way south-east to the Verdun area and the surrounding WWI sites. You will end your journey in Alsace, on the border with Germany. A great way to discover Northern France !

WWI & WWII Battlefields
Towns & Villages
Art & Museums
Duration
20 days
Price
US$ 6580
Region
in Alsace, Burgundy, Loire Valley, Normandy & Paris

From East to West, discover the Northern half of France at your own pace. Visit Alsace, Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Normandy, ending your wonderful adventure in Paris.

Wine Tasting
Heritage & History
Alsace

How to Get to Alsace

  • If you are driving, Burgundy is a 2hr45 drive south from Alsace, the Verdun region is a bit less than 3hrs west. We do not recommend driving directly from Paris or CDG Airport to Alsace, as it is about a 5hr drive on the highway.
  • If you plan on reaching Alsace via train and then rent a car, you need to plan for Strasbourg, which is the main city of Alsace. From Paris Gare de l’Est station, you can catch a direct TGV high speed train and in 1hr45, you will arrive in Strasbourg.
  • The train is the best way to get to Alsace if you don’t plan to stop over in Reims for Champagne or in Verdun for the World War I sites on the way.

 

Where to Stay in Alsace

  • Most of the sightseeing in Alsace lies between Strasbourg in the North and Colmar in the South. The 2 cities are 45 miles (73 kilometers) apart and the drive is about 1hr drive.
  • Parallel to this North-South road you will find the famous Alsace Wine Route with all the gorgeous typical little towns on the foothills of the Vosges mountains. It is easy to enjoy wine tours from Colmar, if you're interested in wine-tasting. 

Alsace Wine Route

Katzenthal vineyards - ©Tristan Vuano - CDT Alsace

 

  • For this reason, we have selected premium Bed & Breakfasts on the Colmar–Strasbourg axis, perfectly located to tour the Alsace region driving. 

 

Alsace Christmas Markets

Alsace Christmas markets make this French region very special. Nowhere else in the world will you enjoy such a charming, very special Christmas ambiance than strolling Colmar, Eguisheim or Riquewhir in Christmas market season.

You will enjoy tasting fresh pretzels with hot mulled wine while walking around, or you may sit in a traditional winstub to taste sauerkraut or braised ham. For beer or wine lovers, Alsace has a lot to keep you busy !

christmas markets in Alsace

Alsace Christmas Markets - ©Lois Moreno - CDT Alsace

 

Maybe what we enjoy the most about Alsace Christmas markets are the nice decorations all over the places: on the streets, in the windows of all the homes . . . everywhere you look! And if you get lucky with a bit of snow, it is magical! 

 

Now, visiting Alsace Christmas markets requires some logistics and you need to be an early bird for reserving. While the Christmas market season starts in late November and ends on the first days of January, most accommodations are fully booked a year ahead. Thus, based on this, please plan ahead and do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Self-drive wine-tastings Alsace: The Alsace Wine Route by Car

The vineyards of the Alsace wine region are postcard landscapes with the half-timbered towns and the Vosges mountains in the background. It makes a really pleasant drive with gorgeous photo stops. Several of the Alsatian towns are “most beautiful villages of France” and we also recommend exploring less famous, less touristy towns that we have selected for our travelers.

Most Alsace wines are white wines, in the German tradition. Alsace's vineyards are famous for the Sylvaner, Riesling and Gewurztraminer varieties. These are wines that are not produced anywhere else in France. Along the Alsace Wine Route, there are lots of wineries you can just walk into and taste the wines.

Wine Tasting in Alsace

Wine Tasting in Alsace - ©Lez Broz - Visit Alsace

 

Alsace has long been known for Gewurztraminer wines, especially those known as “vendanges tardives”, meaning late harvested grapes which produce strongly savored wines that are excellent as an aperitif. Tastes tend to change and people now drink wines with less sugar and Alsace also makes some nice dry Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris wines. So every traveler should find a wine they like !

 

Alsace's Very Special History

Being located along the German border, the Alsace region has had a very eventful history. It was torn between Germany and France many many times in history. So while Alsace is a French region, you can get a real taste of Germany in Alsace through the architecture, the gastronomy, and the traditions.

It makes the region very special and unique. To the west of Rhine river, from Strasbourg to Colmar there are so many wonderful historical, gastronomic, and cultural self drive experiences in Alsace for you to discover!

One great witness of this history is undoubtedly Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, which stands on the top of the hills between Colmar and Strasbourg. There are lots of other medieval castle ruins in this area but Haut Koenigsbourg was rebuilt in the early 20th century by William the 2nd of Germany, so it is “complete”.

Haut Koeningsboug Castle

Haut Koenigsbourg Castle - ©JL.Stadler - CDT Alsace

Made in Alsace

  • Storks are the symbol of Alsace. While they almost disappeared in the 70's, the repopulation efforts are working and you will see stork nests everywhere. Legend says that if a stork flies above a house, then a baby will come soon. If you want to see the storks, come during the summer season, in winter, they are in Africa.

White storks of Alsace

White Stork Nest in Alsace - ©Marc Solari - CDT Alsace

  • Pottery is traditional in the Alsace region, with colorful and generous shapes. While Soufflenheim is famous for its clay and potteries, you can find shops selling these all over Alsace. In Kayserberg, a local workshop makes gorgeous pottery decorations for the Christmas tree . . . just saying!
  • Alsatian traditional costumes are also part of the culture. They are no longer worn in the streets since the end of WWII but in all the festivals, you will see people with the Alsatian costumes. 

Wine Festival

Wine Festival in Eguisheim with traditional costumes - ©V.Muller - Visit Alsace

 

  • Alsatian gastronomy is very rich: you can tell this is a cold region in winter: pork meats, potatoes, cabbage make delicious baeckeoffe, sauerkraut, spaetzles. Apple strudels or cherry bettelmann should definitly be on your list to taste, while the Kougelhopf brioche is a must for breakfast or teatime.

Alsatian Backeoffe

Alsatian Baeckoffe - ©Klaudia IGA - Visit Alsace

FAQ about Alsace

  • What is Alsace known for?

Alsace is most famous internationally and in France for its Christmas markets in December! The whole region turns into a fairytale landscape, with Christmas decorations, lights, markets and the aroma of mulled wine wafting through the Alsatian villages and towns.

Alsace also has a fascinating history. It was fought over between France and Germany for centuries, and having belonged to one or the other at different points in history. Now, Alsace is part of France, but if you visit, you will notice the many German influences on the culture, architecture, food and traditions (including the Christmas markets).

The region is also famous for the Alsace Wine Route, with some delicious white wines for you to try. 

  • How many days do you need in Alsace?

At the very minimum, we recommend spending 3 days in Alsace. This will give you the chance to visit one of the region's main towns - Colmar or Strasbourg; enjoy a day driving along the Alsace wine road, including some stops in beautiful Alsatian villages with colorful half-timbered houses; and visit the gorgeous medieval Haut-Koenigsbourg castle.

  • Is Colmar France worth visiting?

Absolutely! It's worth spending at least a day in the beautiful town of Colmar, so you can enjoy a stroll or a boat tour along its canal and enjoy a delicious meal in a typical Winstub with a nice beer or glass of wine. It's true that many small group tours of Alsace include visits to Colmar - but we'll always explain how you can avoid the biggest tourist crowds!

  • What food is Alsace known for?

Alsatian gastronomy is known for being rich, and very warming during the winter months. Munster cheese is a tasty and strong-smelling French cheese. Another very cheesy dish is the local pizza called Flammekueche. The famous Choucroute is sauerkraut with sausages and other cured meats and charcuterie, and often potatoes. Baeckeoffe is a typical savoury casserole dish. You'll also find plenty of pretzels, apple strudels and 'Bettelmanns' (an Alsatian cherry casserole) to try. We recommend trying a Kougelhopf brioche for breakfast or tea-time; it is made from the yeast-based dough with added raisins, almonds and sometimes hazelnuts. Yummy!

Visit other French regions

Brittany

North

Lyon

Somme

Champagne

Verdun

Normandy

Provence

Dordogne

Loire Valley

Paris

Bordeaux

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Vania
Emilie did an outstanding job choosing ideal locations, charming B and B's and accommodating our requests. We went from Normandy to Aix to the Alps to Paris and were happy with the entire trip. She created a personalized itinerary that made our travels very easy and our experiences feel unique. No doubt I would recommend France Just for You and …
Lucelle
I was amazed when I came across the website that ALL the reviews were excellent. From the moment I started dealing with Emilie I received amazing service in planning our wonderful trip to France. I will not repeat all the details that are in the previous posts but highlight some of the exceptional service that I received. The booking of the …
Annie & Rob from Australia
We had the most amazing holiday visiting all the wine regions in France fully arranged by France Just For You. Those ladies thought of everything….from parking & fuel station options to fabulous restaurants & patisseries, scenic walks & some of the prettiest villages, chateaus & gardens you’ll ever see. They also shared such a lot of history & fun …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Alan & Lucelle
From South Africa
In Mont Saint Michel at the border between Brittany & Normandy
Georgia & Matt from Australia
Cooking fresh stawberries from Carpentras in Provence
Bruce from Australia
Cooking outdoor in Provence, bon appétit !
Patricia, Brandon, Alyssa & Anika
from Canada
in a cellar in the Loire Valley
Yvette & David
from the US
on the French Riviera, near Nice
Ginger & Tom
from the US
On the Eiffel Tower
Sue & Chris
Romantic night in Montecarlo
Ginger & Tom
from the US
At their B&B in the Loire Valley
Diana & Michael
A glass of wine in the Provence vineyards, what else ?
Maureen & Victor
from the US
Visiting an Abbey in the Loire Valley
Ashish, Kaushiki & Kailash
From the US
In Paris, across the Seine river from the Louvre Museum
Bonnie & her 2 daughters
from Canada
In Ménerbes, Provence