4-day Alsace road trip itinerary
Visit the fairytale villages of the Alsace
Alsace is a region in northeastern France. It’s a beautiful place that you have to experience; it looks like it came straight out of a storybook.
We did a 4-day road trip through Alsace, including 1-day visit to Strasbourg, which is the capital of the Alsace region that includes a castle of an unpronounceable name and a few of the most beautiful villages in France. It is super picturesque and it is ideal to visit them on foot as you will be able to buy Easter eggs, visit flea markets, taste their chocolate and their wine. Where do we start?
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When to go to the Alsace?
The best dates to visit Alsace are Easter and in December. During these dates, you can observe the beautiful decorations that adorn the streets.
We went during Easter and as you can see in the photos, the whole village is decorated for the occasion with many Easter eggs and rabbits everywhere. It really looks like the setting for a story.
A bit of Alsace history
When you read the names of the villages it looks more like a German region than a French one and this is because it was once German territory. And well, it’s been about 300 years back and forth, but from World War II to the present day it’s been French territory.
Since 2016 the Alsace region has been incorporated into the new Region of the Great East. In France, they have made changes to the administrative division of their regions and have reduced their number, some are not very happy with these changes.
Originally, Alsatian was spoken in this area; a language composed of several dialects related to Serbian and Swiss German, but since World War II, French has been the most common language spoken.
The capital of the Alsace is Strasbourg and that’s where you have to start your visit.
Day 1 in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace and I loved it. It is a large city and is the location of the headquarters of the European Parliament, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is very beautiful.
If you are thinking about how to distribute your visiting days, my recommendation is that you spend at least one day and one night in Strasbourg. If you came from Paris, you can make a few stops, including Kirrwiller, a quaint little village, which is lovely for a walk.
- Tip: Take your free tour with an English guide in Strasbourg.
- Recommendation: Buy the Pass’ Alsace (only 25€)
The Best Places you have to visit in the capital of the Alsace region are:
The Cathedral Square and The Cathedral of Notre-Dame; impressive Gothic styles, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Casa Kammerzell; the home of wealthy merchants for generations, was built in the 16th century by a cheese merchant. The ground floor is from the fifteenth century andis made of stone and includes arcades, under which were the shops.
Ribera Del Ill; you can see very picturesque places in addition to historical places such as the Historical Museum of the City of Strasbourg, The Alsatian Museum, and the Church of St. Thomas.
The “Petite France”: It is a very picturesque neighborhood that was once inhabited by fishermen, millers and tanners.
- TIP: Strasbourg food Market Tour
The houses have exposed wooden beams and are painted in different colors. The tanners’ houses are almost all built with a loft, the first and sometimes the second floor protrude above the ground floor. The roofs are open with galleries under which they dried the skins after washing them in the canal.
You can’t leave without seeing the covered bridges and the Barrage Vauban.
Day 2: Beautiful Villages and 1 Castle
Visit Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle
We started this day with a visit to the Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. It is an iconographic symbol of the region as it has a neo-Gothic Mannerist reconstruction and has a very strange distribution.
At the beginning of the 12th century and during the thirty-year war it was severely damaged and completely destroyed by fire in 1633.
William II Hohenzollern funded its reconstruction (from 1901 to 1908), with the aim of turning it into a museum and, taking advantage of the occasion, into a symbol of the recovery of Alsace by Germany. Although newly built, the castle faithfully respects medieval architecture.
The refinement of its interior rooms is impressive, with wall paintings, Renaissance furniture, and huge iron stoves. In the basements there is a preserved collection of weapons from the Middle Ages that includes crossbows, swords of all kinds, and armor.
From here there are fantastic views.
Ideally, visit the castle as early as possible since it is one of the most visited monuments in France. The general ticket is 9 euros and there are discounts for young people (students, etc.).
What to see in Ribeauville?
It is a typical Alsatian town, of those that seem fairy tale-like, that make you smile just by walking through its streets.
In these locations what you have to do is let yourself be carried away and get lost in its streets and of course take many photos.
One of the highlights of Ribeauville is the House of the flutists, 16th-century Pfifferhes, the 18th-century Hotel de Ville, the 13th-century tower gate, the Gothic church, and the Renaissance fountain.
If you want you can also visit the Castle of St.-Ulrich which was the residence of the Countess of Ribeaupierre, one of the noblest families of the Alsace.
Buy Alsace wine in Hunawihr
When we arrived we had the village to ourselves and we decided to quietly walk around it. It is a very small town and we visited it in a very short amount of time. However, you have to go up to the church, where the practice of simultaneous is held, that is, a place of worship where both Catholics and Protestants practice their faiths in the same place. They must have had more than one or two fights; don’t you think?
Here, we bought a box of Alsace wine, which I would have liked to remember its name, because it was very attentive and because it was from a small winery.
Riquewihr, best things to do
This small population of colorful half-timbered houses, is located in the center of the Riesling wine region (you definitely have to try it) and very often is full of visitors.
In the sixteenth century castle is housed the Museum of History of the PTT. Which is about the history of the postal service in the Alsace region dating back to the Roman times all the way to the present day.
At one end of the central street is the Dolder. The 13th-century tower gate located on the first wall, inside you can visit the small museum of local history and archeology.
What to do in Kaysersberg?
It is a fortified city with 13th-century walls and dominated by the ruins of a castle whose homage tower is circular.
You have to let yourself be carried away by its streets, it is a very picturesque village. You have to visit the Church of the St.-Croix, which shows a Romanesque-Gothic style from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries.
Tour Rue de Gaulle; with its old half-timbered houses, gaze at the Weiss from its fortified 1511 bridge. Stop at number 30 and visit the Verrerie d’Art de Kaysersberg, an old art glassware. Today it continues to manufacture glassware according to the artisan tradition. At 126 on the same street is the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize.
If you have more days, it is ideal to visit the castle and two villages. If not you have to take it easy. But you can visit everything without problem, all these villages are very close to each other.
Day 3 Turckheim, Eguisheim, Colmar
We have not been bored of the picturesque villages of the Alsace, with their colorful half-timbered houses and fairytale-like environments. So we used our third day to visit Turckeim and Eguisheim, the most beautiful villages of the Alsace region, and at night, we had dinner and made a night tour in Colmar.
What to see in Turckheim?
It is also located on the Alsace wine route. This town has been populated since Gallo-Roman times as evidenced by the coins, tombs and ceramics found on the site. Its moment of greatest splendor and growth was in the ninth century around Munster Abbey.
In the fourteenth century it became the empire city of the House of Austria. It has suffered much damage from the wars between France and Germany, but has never lost its elegance.
Without a doubt a must in your trip to Alsace and the Wine Route.
Eguisheim: one of the most beautiful villages in the Alsace Region
It’s a beautiful village with half-timbered houses and one of the villages of the Alsace wine route. It is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The distribution of streets is quite curious as they follow a pattern of concentric circles. So you cannot miss anything, you enter the village, it will tell you to go left and you will literally be given a spin of the entire village.
The village is very well maintained and decorated. Let yourself be carried away by its cobblestone streets, visit the central square with its 16th century fountain, the castle of the Countess of Eguisheim, and the chapel of Saint-Leo IX.
The best time to go is at Easter, in August with the stork party and the festival of the winemakers, and in December for the Christmas decoration and its markets.
Colmar at night
We arrived for dinner in Colmar and visited Little Venice at night. Totally recommendable. The next day we dedicated the whole day to Colmar; to walk through its cobblestone streets, to enjoy the decoration of Easter, and to let us be carried away by its beauty!
Day 4. Visiting Colmar
I didn’t plan on getting so wrapped up in this post of the Road trip through the Alsace region in 4 days, but I have not been able to avoid it…
Our last day is dedicated to Colmar, a rather large city, with cobblestone streets and medieval and early Renaissance buildings. Here we will also see colorful half-timbered houses, the Collegiate Church of San Martin, and a Gothic church of the thirteenth century. Of course, it is part of the Alsace wine route, I repeat, taste the wines, they are very good. If it can be from small producers, even better.
You have to visit the area they call ‘Little Venice’, it is very beautiful. The good thing about Colmar and all the localities I have mentioned to you is that you can visit on foot. You drive, you leave it outside, and then you walk quietly.
I promise you that I will make a post of Colmar shortly so that you have all the information.
My recommendation is that you have at least three nights’ sleep here and use it as a base of operations to make the rest of your visits. Check out these accommodations.
How to get to the Alsace
You can do as we have gone from Madrid and the route through the Alsace was part of a longer road trip or you can go by plane to Strasbourg and rent a car there. This I think is the best option to get to know this area on a 4-day getaway.
How to move around the Alsace
The most comfortable way to move from one village to another is in your own vehicle, whether it’s car, van, motorbike, etc. Once in the town or city the best form of transportation are your feet. You’ll get everywhere by walking, the only bigger city you might want to use the car is Strasbourg, but believe me you can walk.
There are many charming villages that deserve a visit, but depending on the days you have, you will have to choose. We loved these villages and I would like to go back for Christmas and see their famous markets and to visit more of their storybook-like villages.
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