We stumbled on the Alsace Wine Route, or La Route des Vins, while looking for a weekend trip from Stuttgart, Germany, where I was working for the week. The Alsace region of France has quickly become one of my favorite places, maybe in all of Europe? Let me show you why…
The Alsace region lies on the border of Germany and France which gives it a unique blend of both cultures.
In fact, many times throughout history that the Alsace Region was ruled by Germany instead of present day France. The architecture here is largely German-influenced, but the language and food is heavily French. I couldn’t believe that each town we visited was more charming than the last. Flowers were spilling out from every window, and every building we passed was a different pastel color.
The Alsace Region is not only stunningly gorgeous, but also ranking as one of the best wine regions in France with the likes of Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy.
The Alsatian Wine Route weaves its way through France’s thousand-year-old wine producing area, passing picturesque villages, and offering breathtaking views of the Alsatian landscapes and castles. This wine route is the perfect day trip if spending a long weekend in Strasbourg.
There are 70+ small towns that line the Alsace Wine Route, so to help maximize your trip, I have compiled the best villages and wineries for you to visit.
In this post, I will share the ultimate one day itinerary to the Alsace Wine Route in France!
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Alsace Wine Route in France: The Ultimate One Day Itinerary
Alsace Wine Route Map
Located in Eastern France, the Alsace Wine Route starts by Strasbourg and ends just south of Colmar. This wine region is long and thin, like its Southern neighbor Burgundy, and is divided into North and South (Bas Rhin and Haut Rhin). Find my favorite towns in the Alsace region tagged in blue, and some notable Alsatian wineries tagged in purple.
Feel free to click the star next to the map title to save this map to your personal google maps. This way it will be visible on your mobile phone as well!
What Makes Alsace Wine Special?
Alsatian wine can pretty much be summed up in two words: “Dry Riesling”. However, the region also produces many Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and the traditional German Gewürztraminer.
The traditional Alsace wine glass can be spotted a mile away thanks to the green stem. While many towns in the Alsace region are still serving their wines in these traditional glasses, many of the wineries and vineyards are starting to move away towards more modern glassware.
I think the Alsace wine glasses are hideous, but I don’t own them, so I enjoyed the traditional experience while drinking out of them at the time!
When to Visit the Alsace Region
The months of September through November are high season for the Alsace Region due to harvest. Unlike the Bordeaux region, producers in Alsace open their wineries to visitors during harvest, which can make for a really unique experience.
Weekends during the summer months are also more crowded than during the weekdays.
We visited on a weekend in September and loved exploring this area in the late summer. It wasn’t too crowded, but could enjoy the last of the European summer vibe!
The Best Place to Stay to Explore the Alsace Wine Route
If you are looking for charm, there is no shortage of quaint inns to stay along the Alsace wine route. Colmar is the largest of the towns in the Alsace Region and would make a wonderful place to call your home base for exploring this region. However, the smaller towns are going to have more limited restaurant options and will have limited hours.
Here are some of the best places to stay in Colmar:
If you are looking for a more modern hotel for your time in France, check out the new L’Esquisse Hotel and Spa by M Gallery. Guests cannot stop commenting about the perfect location and all around great experience at this property.
One of the highest-rated properties currently on Booking.com, if you find this available do not hesitate to book it!
Guests favorite part of their stay is the host’s recommendations and the private balcony overlooking the bridge and river which was perfect for enjoying enjoy nights outside.
If you are looking for a more lively city, Strasbourg has more going on at night as it is a university town, but still has the Alsatian charm in the Petit France area. Here are some of the best places to stay in Strasbourg:
Maison Rogue is located in the pedestrian area around Place Kléber, the historic Maison Rouge features ancient stained-glass windows and rooms decorated with individual character.
With a 24-hour reception desk. there is no need to worry about checking in late if arriving from an international flight.
Guests favorite part of their stay here are the modern updates, while retaining historical character, and the amenities (ie. comfortable beds, coffee in room, and black out shades).
Each of the rooms at Hôtel Régent Petite France & Spa offer a view on the picturesque neighborhood of La Petite France, either overlooking the river Ill or the traditional half-timbered houses of Alsace.
Guests favorite parts of this property are the view, the friendly staff, and the stellar location in the heart of everything.
If you can find this spot with availability, I would book it immediately for the charm. While it only has one bedroom, it is a private one-bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and a balcony overlooking the canals of Petite France.
This is THE spot to blend in with daily life and feel like you are living among the locals.
The Best Way to Get Around the Alsace Wine Route
Renting a Car to Drive the Alsace Region
The Alsace Wine Route is best traveled by car. A car allows you to stop whenever you want, and explore any castle or winery that you come across. And you will come across many many castles and wineries in the area. As you can see the roads are very well maintained, routes are clear, and finding parking is super easy. In my opinion it’s the best way to go!
Join an Alsace Wine Guided Tour
If you don’t feel comfortable self-driving abroad, the easiest option would be to join an Alsace Village & Wine Tour via a day-trip from Colmar or Strasbourg. This way you have peace of mind that you won’t get lost or encounter any car troubles.
Here are a few highly rated options that I would consider:
Notable Wineries in Alsace
Domaine Paul Blanck – 29 Grand-Rue, 68240 Kaysersberg, France
In 1610, Hans Blanck acquired his first vines in the Alsace region. Today Domaine Paul Blanck is led by cousins Frédéric and Philippe Blanck. The estate spans 86 acres and includes five Grands Crus and four lieux-dits which are highly regarded for the region.
Jean-Baptiste Adam – 5 Rue de l’Aigle, 68770 Ammerschwihr, France
The Jean-Baptiste Adam family has been working relentlessly in the vineyards and in the cellar since 1614, which makes us one of the rare family estates who can claim 400 years of history in wine making. Numerous wineries find their identity in the deepest roots of history, but few can claim four centuries of passion and tradition in wine making.
Maison Trimbach – 15 Route de Bergheim, 68150 Ribeauvillé, France
The wine-growing history of Maison Trimbach dates back to 1626. Since then, twelve generations of winemakers have tirelessly drawn on their passion for Alsace wines, ensuring the wines they produce stand out for their quality and authenticity. Trimbach wine acquired true international acclaim in 1898 when Frédéric Emile Trimbach received the highest distinction at the International Wine Fair in Brussels.
1 Day Alsace Wine Route Itinerary
We decided to leave our home base in Strasbourg very early in the morning and start the day at the furthest town on our list, Colmar. Then we decided to work our way back to Strasbourg, weaving between the most charming villages I have ever seen. Below I take you through those villages and tell you which ones are a must, and which you can skip if you are short on time.
Colmar – Morning
Colmar was the largest of the Alsace wine route villages that we visited. We arrived by car from Strasbourg around 8am and spent about 2.5 hours exploring the cobble stoned streets and candy-colored buildings. Strolling the streets with no particular agenda is the perfect way to discover the quaint side-streets of Colmar.
I would highly recommend making Colmar your first stop because it is a more well-known town so it will get crowded with tourists. Arriving before many of the other tourist allowed us to stop for breakfast and a cappuccino at a peaceful café without feeling rushed and explore the streets in peace.
Eguisheim – Mid-Morning
An absolute must-stop town along the Alsace wine route is Eguisheim. This beautiful town was the inspiration for the Beauty and the Beast movie. It is truly out of a fairytale. Colorful half-timbered houses with flower baskets pouring out into the streets. Every turn you can’t believe that the next street is more gorgeous than the last.
Here we enjoyed a quick stop for a wine tasting in the town square and the pup got some much needed water.
Kaysersberg – Afternoon
Kaysersberg is another must-see town that was first mentioned back in 1227 when Emperor Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire over-took the castle in present day Kaysersberg. In 2017, Kaysersberg was named as France’s friendliest village due to its kind locals, extremely walkable streets, and storybook architecture. Make sure to check out Domaine Weinbach winery for an exceptional Alsatian wine experience complete with food and wine pairings.
Riquewihr – Afternoon
Riquewihr is not just one of the medieval villages along the Alsace Wine Route, it is said to be one of the most beautiful as well. This is another must-stop on your Alsace Wine Route itinerary. When you visit Riquewihr, make sure to admire the half-timbered houses dating back to the 15th – 18th centuries and the Dolder, a 13th century defensive gate in the town center.
If you are back in this area during Christmas time, make sure to check out the amazing Riquewihr Christmas Market that takes over the Place Fernand Zeyer and along the Esplanade des Remparts near the town hall.
Ribeauville – Early Evening
Ribeauville is one of the oldest medieval towns in Alsace. It was one of our favorite stops because of the over-whelming character with a castle atop a hill as the backdrop. Not to mention quaint cafes are hidden down discrete alley ways, and flowers adorn most window frames. Ribeauville is another must-see town and it conveniently located very close to Riquewihr.
The entire drive in between Colmar and Ribeauville produced the most scenic views of vineyards on rolling hills and medieval castles perched up on the top of mountain sides. You can pull over along the side of the road and take in the view of rolling hills and vineyards for days.
Mittelbergheim – Early evening
Mittelbergheim was a very small town that didn’t have as much to look at as the other stops, but the center square was extremely picturesque. Flowers poured over each railing and the town hall is painted a bright coral-pink to match. We stopped here for a quick stroll and a glass of Alsatian wine across from the town square and were quickly on our way.
The drive between Mittelbergheim and Barr was the second best drive on the route for the scenic view. Barr was an extremely beautiful, old medieval town, but was so small we drove through it before finding a suitable parking spot, so we just kept driving. If you are short on time by this point, a quick drive past Mittelbergheim and Barr on your way back to Strasbourg would give you the sense of the area.
Contrary, if you are looking for more off the beaten path towns to explore, these towns are for you!
Obernai – Evening
Obernai was our last stop on the Alsace wine route before returning back to Strasbourg. There was a lively band playing in the city center when we arrived and a crowd gathered around listening. The architecture resembled that of Colmar or Strasbourg but there was a different feel to Obernai.
My honest opinion would be to skip Obernai if you are short on time. Obernai was much more lively than Mittelbergheim or Barr, but if it was me, I would have spent more time exploring one of the first five towns: Colmar, Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, or Ribeauville.
I am so glad I got to share one of my favorite areas of France with you! It was such a happy accident that we even planned a trip to Alsace in the first place.
I hope this guide helps inspire you to plan a trip here as well, and to sort out which of the 70+ villages to visit! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!
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