Alsace It is one of the most beautiful areas of France where at all times you have the feeling of being in one of the scenarios of Disney Land Paris. And it is that this region has inspired on several occasions the animated adaptations of the most magical tales. During three days we have made a route by car through Alsace, the so-called Alsace wine route, starting in Colmar and ending in Strasbourg. In this guide we will give you all the useful information to organize a three-day getaway to Alsace.
We took an Easyjet flight to the Euro Airport (Basel, Mulhouse and Freiburg). In the terminal you have to see if you have to leave through Switzerland or Germany / France, since they are different departures. We leave through Germany / France, an exit that actually leads to the same site. The difference in leaving Switzerland is that you have to go through passport control. By the way, Easyjet only allows one handbag, and almost gives us a dislike when boarding. We thought that, as RyanAir had relaxed his policy, Easyjet too, but no.
Flying over Mont Blanc.
We rented the car with Avis through Rentalcars. When making the reservation it is recommended that you reserve the car in Mulhouse airport (French zone), since it is much cheaper than picking it up in Basel (Switzerland area). Paying in euros is not the same as in Swiss francs. Thus, the three-day rental cost us € 105. And to move around the area we use the GSP offline Sygic.
In the parking of rental cars in the area Germany / France
From the Euroairport to the city of Colmar it takes about 40 minutes on the highway, which is free. If you park in the city center, you will have to pay the blue zone (it says payant on the ground), but we parked near the Rue des Brasseries. There is no blue zone and it is only 10 minutes walk from the tourist office. This will be your first stop in Colmar.
There you can request a city map with a marked itinerary and a map with recommendations on what villages to visit in Alsace. They also organize two guided tours. The first is at 11 in the morning and the historical center of the city is visited and the second is at 21.45 and the historical center is visited at night. Both visits cost € 4 and are only made in French or German.
The historic center is quite large and has many points of interest to visit so at least you will have to spend half a day. We start the route at the tourist office (which has Wifi free). From there we went to the Resistance Martyrs Square where we started our route that continued until the Protestant church of San Mateo. In the near and beautiful tanners' neighborhood We decided to stop to eat in a typical tavern, in the Brasserie des Tanneurs. There we ordered one of the typical dishes of the area, the choucroute Accompanied with four meats (€ 9.90, dish of the day) and an Alsatian cake (€ 15.90).
Colmar Covered Market
From there we continue our journey until Colmar covered market, which is a small but very flirtatious market and where we bought dessert: an Alsatian cheese cake (€ 2.90) and a éclair (€ 1.70) of vanilla.
Little Venice adorned
The covered market is next to the most beautiful neighborhood of Colmar and one of the most beautiful areas of Alsace: little venice (La Petite Venice), well known for the houses that are built next to the river. That area is beautiful, but that day they were filming a Canon ad and it was adorned with many flowers, balloons and colorful butterflies that made it even more beautiful. You can take boat trips on the canals (€ 6, thirty minutes).
Night walk through Colmar
We start this route in Colmar and finish it in Strasbourg. During the 85 kilometers we traveled, we visited seven villages and the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle. However, if you have more days you can visit many more charming villages.
In the television program of the France 2 channel, Eguisheim was chosen the favorite town of the French in 2013. And it is not surprising, because it is one of the most beautiful villages on the route. In addition, it is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. We were very lucky because we arrived there at seven in the afternoon and there was almost no one in the streets, so we could more calmly enjoy the beauty of their half-timbered houses.
This population preserves the old structure of the walled city and its streets are arranged concentrically, following the model of the old fortification. To make the visit you can follow some signs that will guide you in the order of the proposed visit. You will also find on the walls posters that will give you more information (in English, French and German), such as that the houses did not begin to paint colors until the end of the 20th century.
In Eguisheim we take another dinner of the typical dishes of the area, flambé tarts or Alsatian pizzas (€ 7.40) on the terrace of the small restaurant Le Dagsbourg.
If you go by car, at the entrance of the town there is enough parking area, which is paid from 9 to 19 hours. It only costs € 2 all day and can only be paid with coins. If you don't have a car, you can go to Eiguisheim by bus from Colmar. It takes 40 minutes and you can check the schedules here.
Perhaps the center of this town is the one that produced the least enthusiasm on the route, but we loved doing the dragon path, a path that takes us from the center of town to the outskirts to enter the wine area and to know the legend of the dragon. According to this legend, the quality of the region's wine is due to a terrible dragon that, when it died, fertilized the earth with its blood.
Anyway, do not think that Turckheim is not pretty, its small center also has the typical colorful painted houses with wooden frames and cobbled streets. So we recommend a stop in this town during the Alsace wine route.
By the way, during the summer months (from May to October) at ten o'clock at night the men of the clock start the round singing old ballads and are followed by local people and tourists. To consider if you visit the town at that time.
We parked at the main entrance of the town (next to the river) for free. The parking is not very large, so in high season it is surely complicated. You can also access Turckheim by train from Colmar, it takes 11 minutes and costs € 2. You can look at the schedules in this Web.
This was one of the towns that we liked the most. The Kayserberg tourist office is sold as the most beautiful villa in the world and they have no reason. The small population extends between the Weiss river and the castle of the same name of the city. What we liked most was the church and the square located on the Rue du General Charles Degaulle. We also take the opportunity to buy and taste another delight of Alsatian cuisine: pain d'espices. In the Fortwencer store we bought a bag of these cookies spiced for € 2.60.
As we arrived at noon, we took the opportunity to eat other typical dishes of the city on the terrace by the river of the restaurant Le Kaysersberg (Rue des Potiers, 2). We ask for a Baeckeoffa (€ 17) and a gratin of Munster cheese (€ 13.50).
There are several parking areas at the entrance of the village, paid from 9 to 19 hours, and costs € 2 all day (only coins). You can also visit Kaysersberg from Colmar by bus, line 145 takes about 20 minutes from Colmar and costs € 4.05. You can check the schedules here.
It had to be one of the stars of the trip, but it was a disappointment. The villa is very beautiful and is declared as one of the most beautiful villages in France and on the occasion. The problem was the tourist overcrowding. Being Sunday at noon, we find buses for organized visits and also, the entire town center is packed with tourist shops and massification. Surely if we had visited during the week and late in the afternoon we would have another opinion. Nor did it help that a market was held at the entrance of the town that day.
If we leave all this aside, Riquewihr is another of the charming villages of Alsace. Its half-timbered houses and brightly painted colors attract visitors. One of the things we liked was the wall that surrounds the entire old town. In short, although we were disappointed because of the crowd, we recommend it.
Being one of the most tourist villages and going on Sunday at noon, we found some problems to park. Finally we park in the area around the walls. Two hours cost € 2, and four, € 3 (you can only pay with coins). You only pay from 9 to 19 hours (every day). You can also access Riquewihr by public transport. From Colmar you have to take lines 106 or 107 towards Ribeauvillé. You can check the schedules here.