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Gems of Paris by French Moments

For many wishing to discover Alsace, organising an itinerary is not an obvious idea. Which sites to visit? Which towns and villages are worth a visit? Having travelled through Alsace from north to south and from the Vosges to the Rhine, the region has (almost) no secrets for me. So I can help you to organise a beautiful trip to Alsace. This ambitious tour of Alsace will take you along an entire route around the region in 12 days. The 765 km long tour along the roads of Alsace will reveal the historical, cultural and architectural treasures between the Rhine and the Vosges.

 

An unforgettable Tour of Alsace

Route des Vins d'Alsace

Alsace Wine Route © French Moments

When Louis XIV passed through the Saverne Pass and discovered Alsace for the first time, he would have exclaimed: 

"Ah, what a beautiful garden this is!"

A tour of Alsace is truly inspiring for the variety of its landscapes between the Vosges and the Rhine.

The road winds through the vineyards and plays hide-and-seek in the forests, revealing itself at the bend in the fields and meadows, before entering prosperous towns with old roofs on which storks nest.

Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments

A white stork in its nest in Alsace © French Moments

Standing on the summits of the Vosges, the ruined castles still watch over the ancestral passageways.

Alsace is a region with a solid cultural identity, from the fantastic Gothic cathedral of Strasbourg to the charming half-timbered houses. It is this exceptional country that I invite you to discover by following this tourist circuit.

12 days starting from Strasbourg

Strasbourg Old Town (rue Rohan) © French Moments

Strasbourg © French Moments

I propose you discover the region through an exclusive itinerary starting from Strasbourg. This Grand Tour of Alsace (a 765 km/475 mi long tour) will allow you to explore many of the region's sights.

Of course, you are free to use this as inspiration to plan your itinerary. You can either :

  • Lighten the Alsace tour by reducing the number of stages
  • Spend more time on one particular stage

Here is the plan for the 12 Days (D) Tour of Alsace:

D1 - Strasbourg (night in Strasbourg)
D2 - Haguenau, Outre-Forêt and Wissembourg (night in Wissembourg)
D3 - The Northern Vosges (night in Saverne)
D4 - Saverne, Obernai and Mont-Sainte-Odile (night in Obernai)
D5 - Barr, Andlau, Dambach-la-Ville and Sélestat (night in Sélestat)
D6 - Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Saint-Hippolyte and Bergheim (night in Ribeauvillé)
D7 - Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr and Riquewihr (night in Colmar)
D8 - Colmar and Eguisheim (night in Eguisheim)
D9 - Turckheim and Kaysersberg (night in Kaysersberg)
D10 - The Route des Crêtes (night in Thann)
D11 - Sundgau, Jura alsacien and Mulhouse (night in Mulhouse)
D12 - The écomusée d'Alsace, Guebwiller, Rouffach and Neuf-Brisach (back to Strasbourg)

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Day 1 - Strasbourg

Itinéraire touristique d'Alsace - Strasbourg © French Moments

Tour of Alsace - District of the Petite France, Strasbourg © French Moments

This trip to Alsace starts naturally in Strasbourg, the capital of the historical and cultural region Alsace, of the Grand-Est region and one of the capitals of Europe. Strasbourg is a treasure trove of architecture, especially for its districts:

Don't miss the picturesque Petite-France and Ponts Couverts districts. Strasbourg is also home to several museums, including three in the Palais-Rohan. As soon as night falls, the beautiful illuminations of Petite-France, notably the cathedral, will dazzle you! 

Cathédrale de Strasbourg © French Moments
Le Palais du Rhin à Strasbourg en automne © French Moments
Le Parlement européen à Strasbourg © French Moments
Strasbourg rivière Ill
Palais Rohan Strasbourg, Strasbourg © French Moments

Day 2 - Haguenau, Outre-Forêt and Wissembourg

🚙 77 km / 48 mi

Seebach, Alsace © French Moments

Rue des églises, Seebach © French Moments

Head for the north of Alsace, passing through Haguenau, an old town bordering the largest forest in Alsace. After crossing the Haguenau forest, you enter the Outre-Forêt region.

Here you will find two of the most beautiful villages in the area: Seebach and Hunspach. Wissembourg, on the border of the Palatinate in Germany, will charm you with its historic centre.

Autour de Strasbourg - Le village de Mulhausen dans le Pays de Hanau © French Moments
Autour de Strasbourg - Le Pays de Hanau © French Moments
Pays de Wissembourg © French Moments
Belles maisons blanches à Hunspach (rue de l'ange) © French Moments
Wissembourg © French Moments

Day 3 - The Northern Vosges

🚙 111 km / 69 mi

Petite Pierre

La Petite-Pierre in the Northern Vosges © French Moments

Take the Pigeonnier pass to reach one of the most beautiful ruins in France: the Fleckenstein castle.

Vauban fortified La Petite-Pierre and its castle. Enjoy magnificent views over the countryside and the high wooded hills. Don't miss the troglodytic houses of Graufthal carved into the pink Vosges sandstone cliff.

On the way to Saverne, linger in Neuwiller-lès-Saverne to admire the beautiful St-Pierre-et-St-Paul church. Once in Saverne, discover its castle and its marina. Spend the night there.

Escapade dans le Bas-Rhin
Escapade dans le Bas-Rhin
Château des Rohan à Saverne © French Moments

Château des Rohan, Saverne © French Moments


Day 4 - Saverne, Obernai and Mont-Sainte-Odile

🚙 70 km / 44 mi

Obernai

Obernai © French Moments

Leaving Saverne to the south, head towards Marlenheim, the northern gateway to the famous Alsace Wine Route. Note the beautiful Romanesque church of Marmoutier shortly after leaving Saverne.

You'll be spoilt for choice when visiting towns and villages with beautiful half-timbered houses: Wangen, Molsheim, Rosheim and Bœrsch are among my favourites.

Autour de Strasbourg - Porte fortifiée de Wangen © French Moments
Autour de Strasbourg - L'église des Jésuites à Molsheim © French Moments
Autour de Strasbourg - l'église romane de Rosheim © French Moments

Before heading to Obernai, where you will spend the night, climb Mont Sainte-Odile to admire one of Alsace's most beautiful panoramic views. From the convent of Sainte-Odile, you can see the city of Strasbourg and its cathedral and the Black Forest in the distance.

Mont Sainte-Odile © French Moments

Mont Sainte-Odile © French Moments

Of course, don't miss a walk through the streets of Obernai, the most visited town in the Bas-Rhin département after Strasbourg. You will spend the night there.

Autour de Strasbourg - les remparts d'Obernai © French Moments
Autour de Strasbourg - Obernai © French Moments

Day 5 - Barr, Andlau, Dambach-la-Ville and Sélestat

🚙 32 km / 20 mi

Sélestat © French Moments

Place du marché aux choux, Sélestat © French Moments

Today, you will drive along the Alsace Wine Route to Sélestat. You will pass through some very beautiful sites: Barr, Andlau, Mittelbergheim and Dambach-la-Ville. You will find the same atmosphere everywhere, that of cities flourishing thanks to the culture of the vine.

Then go to Sélestat, ideally situated between Strasbourg and Colmar. Discover the rich architectural and cultural heritage of the city (Humanist Library, Gothic church of St Georges and Romanesque church of St Foy). Stay overnight.

Autour de Strasbourg : Andlau © French Moments
Enseigne dans le village © French Moments
La Tour de l'Horloge © French Moments
Découvrir Sélestat : mon itinéraire de visite © French Moments

Day 6 - Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Saint-Hippolyte and Bergheim

🚙 31 km / 19 mi

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg © French Moments

Haut-Kœnigsbourg Castle © French Moments

In the morning, climb to the Haut-Kœnigsbourg to be among the first to enter the castle at its opening.

After your visit, head back down to the plain and continue your discovery of the Alsatian vineyards and their charming villages: Saint-Hippolyte and Bergheim. If you have time, walk around the ramparts of Bergheim. Join Ribeauvillé and spend the night there.

Saint-Hippolyte, Alsace© French Moments
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg © French Moments
Saint-Hippolyte, Alsace© French Moments
Bergheim © French Moments

Day 7 - Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr and Riquewihr

🚙 22 km / 14 mi

Découvrir les régions du Grand-Est

The village of Riquewihr in Alsace © French Moments

Visit the historic centre of Ribeauvillé in the morning, then follow the Wine Route to explore the villages of Hunawihr and Zellenberg. Then head to Riquewihr, one of the most beautiful villages in France. Take time to stroll along the narrow streets that cross the Grand-Rue. Then head to Colmar to wander the streets of the old town at dusk.

Oriel, Pfifferhüss à Ribeauvillé © French Moments
Préparer son voyage : Hunawihr © French Moments
Zellenberg © French Moments
Façades de maisons alsaciennes à colombages, Riquewihr © French Moments

Day 8 - Colmar and Eguisheim

🚙 7 km / 4 mi

La vue du Pont Saint-Pierre, Colmar © French Moments

The Little Venice of Alsace in Colmar © French Moments

There is much to see in Colmar, the capital of Alsace wines. From the Little Venice to the picturesque Rue des Marchands, and from the Ancienne Douane to the Collégiale St Martin. Don't miss the beautiful collections of the Unterlinden Museum, including the famous Issenheim Altarpiece.

In the middle of the afternoon, you will go to the nearby village of Eguisheim, where you will spend the night. Awarded the title of the favourite village of the French, Eguisheim will seduce you with its narrow streets lined with beautiful half-timbered houses.

La maison Pfister à Colmar © French Moments
Cycliste à Colmar © French Moments
Colmar : la Petite Venise alsacienne © French Moments
Eguisheim, Alsace © French Moments

Day 9 - Turckheim and Kaysersberg

🚙 27 km / 17 mi

Coups de cœur dans le Haut-Rhin - Kaysersberg © French Moments

Tour of Alsace - Kaysersberg © French Moments

First stop: the historic town of Turckheim on the edge of a prestigious vineyard. Continue by discovering the small village of Niedermorschwihr, whose church spire is twisted. Next stop: the Sigolsheim cemetery, a place of remembrance where hundreds of graves recall the fierce fighting in the Colmar pocket in 1944-45. A stone's throw from there, here is Kientzheim, one of the only villages still entirely fortified in Alsace. Go to Kaysersberg and enjoy the nighttime atmosphere of the former imperial town.

Turckheim : Place Turenne © French Moments
Niedermorschwihr, Alsace © French Moments
Kientzheim en Alsace © French Moments
Photos de printemps en Alsace - Kaysersberg © French Moments

Day 10 - The Route des Crêtes from Kaysersberg to Thann

🚙 100 km / 62 mi

Grand-Ballon © French Moments

View of the Grand Ballon from the Route des Crêtes © French Moments

Stroll through the streets of Kaysersberg in the morning, then head into the Kaysersberg valley to join the Route des Crêtes des Vosges via Orbey at the Col du Calvaire pass. This road, laid out during the First World War, marks the border between Lorraine and Alsace. Spectacular panoramas await you along the route. Don't forget to take a break to admire the landscape: at the Gazon du Faing, the Hohneck and the Grand-Ballon.

Coups de coeur dans le Haut-Rhin - Vallée de Kaysersberg © French Moments
Hautes-Chaumes des Vosges au Hohneck © French Moments

Head back down to the plain, stopping at the Vieil Armand, a place of remembrance of the Great War. Before nightfall, visit the town of Thann and take advantage of being there to discover the splendid collegiate church of Saint-Thiébaut in Thann.

Thann Château de l'Engelsbourg © French Moments
La collégiale Saint-Thiébaut de Thann © French Moments

Day 11 - Sundgau, Jura alsacien and Mulhouse

🚙 135 km / 84 mi

Ferrette © French Moments

Tour of Alsace - Ferrette © French Moments

On the programme for this second to last day: Mulhouse and the Sundgau, the southernmost region of Alsace.

Start by heading to Altkirch, the capital of the Sundgau region. After a short visit, drive through the charming villages of Hirtzbach and Hirsingue towards Ferrette. Take a break in the count's town of Ferrette and climb to the castle ruins to enjoy a splendid view of the Sundgau hills, the Vosges and the Black Forest. Go to Lucelle, then to the Landskron castle before heading to Mulhouse. If you still have some time left in the late afternoon, you might be interested in one of the city's technical museums.

Hirtzbach Sundgau Alsace © French Moments
Les plus belles pistes cyclables d'Alsace ! © French Moments
Château du Landskron © French Moments
Autour de Mulhouse © French Moments

Day 12 - Ecomusée d'Alsace and Neuf-Brisach

🚙 152 km / 94 mi

Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments

Tour of Alsace - Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments

This last stage of the trip in Alsace will be the longest as the route will take you back to our starting point: Strasbourg. You can plan to cut the route in half and stay one extra night in Colmar.

You leave Mulhouse for Ensisheim, the former capital of Anterior Austria (until 1648). Worth seeing: the Palais de la Régence, in Renaissance style.

Nearby is the Ecomusée d'Alsace. Comprising a reconstructed village, the open-air museum showcases Alsace's rural and artisanal heritage at the end of the 19th century.

Arcades du Palais de la Régence © French Moments
Fontaine Rodolphe de Habsbourg à Ensisheim © French Moments
Noël d'antan à l'Écomusée d'Alsace © French Moments
Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments

Follow the road to Guebwiller, famous for its beautiful churches: Saint-Léger (late Romanesque), Notre-Dame (Baroque and neo-Classical) and the Dominican convent (Gothic).

Further north, Rouffach is a historical town renowned for its beautiful Renaissance stone houses and the Gothic church of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption.

L'Alsace à Noël (Guebwiller) © French Moments
Coups de cœur dans le Haut-Rhin : Rouffach © French Moments

On the way to Strasbourg, linger in Neuf-Brisach, Vauban's former stronghold facing Germany. Drive along the Rhine to Plobsheim. In the south of the village is an old, partly half-timbered chapel: Notre-Dame-du-Chêne (15th century).

Neuf-Brisach Haut-Rhin Alsace

Tour of Alsace - The Belfort Gate in Neuf-Brisach © French Moments


Pass Alsace: a good way to discover the region

If you plan to visit several cultural sites and attractions in the region, it may be worthwhile to buy a Pass Alsace.

You'll enjoy free admission to 58 sights, including nature parks, castles, museums and lots of other fun activities at reduced prices throughout Alsace.

Examples of places to see: castle of Fleckenstein, the rock houses in Graufthal, a choice of two museums in Strasbourg, the Haut-Kœnigsbourg castle, the humanist library of Sélestat, the écomusée d’Alsace, the zoological and botanical park of Mulhouse…

Please note: the Alsace Pass is valid for 3 days.


Other sites to discover on a Tour of Alsace

It is almost impossible to discover a whole region by limiting your Grand Tour of Alsace to 12 days. If you wish to continue your exploration, I recommend the following sites, which can be visited with a few small detours on the initial route:

  • The parc du Petit-Prince
  • The Alsace Wine Route from Eguisheim to Thann (Soultz-Haut-Rhin, Gueberschwihr, Husseren-les-Châteaux, Hohlandsbourg Castle...)
  • The natural region of Alsace Bossue
  • The Donon massif
  • The valley of Munster
  • The Doller valley and Ballon d'Alsace
  • Belfort, the lion and citadel
  • Trips to Switzerland and Germany: the Baden wine route from Basel to Karlsruhe, the Palatinate wine route and the imperial city of Speyer

Did this article help you plan your tour of Alsace? Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest: it will encourage me to publish future articles! 🙂

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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