Best Things to Do in Alsace, France: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Saad Backup
Best Things to Do in Alsace
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Are you planning to visit Alsace in France soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Alsace. These enchanting sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Welcome to Alsace, where the fusion of French allure and German traditions forms a distinct cultural mosaic unlike any other. Resting between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River, Alsace unfolds as a haven for scenic wonders, historical marvels, and culinary treasures. Be it exploring Strasbourg’s half-timbered architecture or wandering the vine-draped slopes of Colmar, you’ll find a diverse array of things to do in Alsace that engage your senses and enrich your spirit.

But don’t be fooled by its storybook appearance; Alsace is also a hub of innovation and industry, home to some of the world’s leading companies and research institutions. Yet, it’s the region’s rich history and vibrant local culture that truly steal the show. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Alsace has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the captivating activities in Alsace, France, from savoring Alsatian wines and choucroute to wandering through medieval villages and exploring majestic castles. So, buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this enchanting region, where every turn reveals a new adventure waiting to be discovered. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Alsace.

The best things to do in Alsace right now
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Best Places to Visit in Alsace

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Alsace, France? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this quaint vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Alsace places to visit.

Are you looking to wander through charming villages with half-timbered houses and  savor exquisite wines? Or would you prefer immersing yourself in cultural treasures, culinary delights, and stunning landscapes? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Alsace can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Alsace that you should know about.

1. Riquewihr

Riquewihr embodies the quintessential Alsatian village, adorned with cobblestone streets, vibrant half-timbered residences, and an enchanting aura that graces the entire vicinity. It’s no surprise that this captivating village is frequently hailed as the “Jewel of the Alsace Vineyards,” offering among the best things to do in Alsace.

As you wander through the narrow lanes, you’ll encounter quaint shops selling local crafts, wine cellars offering tastings of the region’s famous varietals, and cozy cafés where you can indulge in a slice of tarte flambée. Places in Alsace don’t get much more idyllic than this.

But Riquewihr offers more than just visual delights. The village is steeped in history, evident in its well-preserved architecture and the Dolder Tower, a 13th-century structure that once served as a watchtower. Climbing to the top rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards and the Vosges Mountains in the distance.

For those interested in the region’s viticulture, a visit to the Hugel & Fils wine estate is a must. Here, you can learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the best wines Alsace has to offer.

Cobbled streets and half-timbered houses in Riquewihr
Cobbled streets and half-timbered houses in Riquewihr

2. Alsace Wine Route

Ah, the Alsace Wine Route, a paradise for oenophiles and anyone who appreciates the finer things in life. This scenic journey takes you through rolling vineyards, charming villages, and some of the best places in Alsace for wine tasting.

Starting in Marlenheim and ending in Thann, the route spans over 170 kilometers and offers a plethora of opportunities to sample the region’s renowned wines, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir. Each winery has its own unique charm, from rustic cellars to modern tasting rooms.

Coolest activities in Alsace? Well, you can’t beat a day spent hopping from one winery to another, learning about the intricate winemaking process, and of course, savoring the fruits of the vine. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two as souvenirs or gifts for the folks back home.

For a more immersive experience, consider booking a guided tour. Not only will you get to taste a variety of wines, but you’ll also gain insights into the history and terroir that make Alsace wines so special. It’s a must-see in Alsace for anyone with a penchant for good wine and beautiful landscapes.

Lose yourself in the serenity of the Alsace Wine Route and experience the best things to do in Alsace
Lose yourself in the serenity of the Alsace Wine Route and experience the best things to do in Alsace

3. Strasbourg Cathedral

If you’re wondering where to visit in Alsace, look no further than the awe-inspiring Strasbourg Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece, officially known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, is a testament to the region’s rich history and architectural prowess.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by an array of intricate sculptures, stunning rose windows, and the famous astronomical clock. This isn’t just a church; it’s an art gallery, a history lesson, and a spiritual experience all rolled into one.

One of the unique things to do in Alsace, France is to climb the cathedral’s tower. The 330 steps might sound daunting, but the panoramic views of Strasbourg and the surrounding areas are well worth the effort. From this vantage point, you’ll see why this cathedral is often cited as one of the most beautiful in Europe.

The cathedral also hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts and light shows, making it a dynamic hub of cultural activity. It’s not just a place of worship; it’s a living, breathing part of Alsace’s community and heritage.

A view of the majestic Strasbourg Cathedral, with intricate Gothic details against a blue sky
A view of the majestic Strasbourg Cathedral, with intricate Gothic details against a blue sky

4. Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is a must-see in Alsace, especially if you’re a fan of history and architecture. Perched atop a hill overlooking the Vosges Mountains, this castle offers a glimpse into Alsace’s medieval past.

The castle has been meticulously restored, allowing visitors to experience its grandeur just as it was centuries ago. From the drawbridge to the watchtowers, every detail is a nod to the past. And let’s not forget the panoramic views that stretch as far as the Black Forest in Germany.

One of the coolest things to do in Alsace is the guided tour of the castle. You’ll learn about the region’s history, the castle’s strategic importance, and the lives of the people who once called it home. The tour is both educational and entertaining, making it a perfect outing for families or history buffs.

And if you’re a fan of wildlife, the surrounding forest is home to a variety of flora and fauna. So, after your castle tour, why not take a nature walk? It’s a great way to round off your visit.

Step into a fairytale at Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, where history and architecture intertwine to create a mesmerizing experience
Step into a fairytale at Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, where history and architecture intertwine to create a mesmerizing experience

5. Vosges Mountains

If you’re yearning for a nature escape, the Vosges Mountains are where to go in Alsace. This mountain range is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering everything from hiking and mountain biking to bird-watching and picnicking.

The Vosges are a tapestry of dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and charming meadows. One of the best places to go in Alsace for hiking is the Route des Crêtes, a scenic trail that takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes you’ll ever see. The trail is well-marked, making it accessible for hikers of all levels.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, there are plenty of picnic spots where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty around you. Pack a basket with some local Alsace delicacies like tarte flambée and a bottle of Riesling, and you’re set for a delightful afternoon.

Don’t forget to bring your camera; the Vosges Mountains offer some of the most Instagram-worthy views in the region. From the towering peaks to the tranquil lakes, every moment here is a photo opportunity waiting to happen.

Scenic view of the serene Vosges Mountains landscape with lush green valleys
Scenic view of the serene Vosges Mountains landscape with lush green valleys

6. Petite France, Strasbourg

Petite France—a place that embodies the very essence of Alsace attractions. Nestled in the heart of Strasbourg, this historic quarter is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and canals that seem to have jumped straight out of a storybook.

Looking for Alsace things to do that’s captivating? Begin with a delightful boat tour along the canals of Petite France. En route, you’ll encounter landmarks such as the Covered Bridges and Vauban Dam, granting a distinct outlook of the city’s charm.

Foodies, listen up! The area is teeming with quaint cafes and restaurants where you can indulge in local delicacies. Think foie gras, Munster cheese, and of course, a glass of chilled Gewürztraminer.

But wait, there’s more! Petite France is also home to some of the region’s most talented artisans. From handmade soaps to intricate lacework, the local shops are a treasure trove of unique finds.

So, whether it’s romance, history, or gastronomy that tickles your fancy, Petite France has it all. A visit to Petite France is one of the coolest activities in Alsace, and a place you’ll want to return to, time and time again.

Scenic riverside view of Petite France with half-timbered houses
Scenic riverside view of Petite France with half-timbered houses

7. Colmar’s Little Venice

Colmar’s Little Venice is one of those unique places in Alsace that you simply can’t miss. Picture this: a maze of canals framed by pastel-colored, half-timbered houses, each more charming than the last. It’s like stepping into a painting, only better because you’re actually there!

Start your adventure by taking a flat-bottomed boat ride through the canals. You’ll glide past flower-bedecked windows and under stone bridges, offering a unique vantage point of this picturesque area. It’s one of the coolest activities in Alsace, especially for photography enthusiasts.

Hungry? You’re in luck. The area is dotted with cozy eateries serving up Alsace’s finest. From tarte flambée to choucroute garnie, your taste buds are in for a treat. And let’s not forget the local wines—Riesling, anyone?

But the charm of Little Venice extends beyond its canals and cuisine. The area is also home to vibrant markets, especially during Christmas. The air fills with the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread, making it among the cool destinations in Alsace during the holiday season.

So, if you’re wondering where to go in Alsace for a blend of scenic beauty, culinary delights, and a dash of romance, Colmar’s Little Venice should be at the top of your list.

Quaint houses along the water in Colmar's Little Venice, creating a magical atmosphere
Quaint houses along the water in Colmar’s Little Venice, Musée Unterlinden in Colmar a magical atmosphere

8. Route des Crêtes

If you’re in search of Alsace attractions that offer both natural beauty and a bit of adventure, look no further than the Route des Crêtes. This scenic drive stretches for about 60 miles, connecting Cernay and Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. It’s a road trip you won’t soon forget!

The route takes you through the heart of the Vosges Mountains, offering panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. You’ll pass by rolling hills, dense forests, and even some remnants of World War I fortifications. It’s a must-see in Alsace for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Feeling peckish? Pack a picnic and stop at one of the many viewpoints along the way. Trust us, dining al fresco with the Vosges as your backdrop is an experience you don’t want to miss. It’s one of those coolest things to do in Alsace that combines relaxation with a touch of adventure.

And for those who prefer two wheels over four, the route is also popular among cyclists. Just imagine the wind in your hair as you coast down these winding roads!

So, when you’re pondering what to do in Alsace, consider a drive through the Route des Crêtes. It’s a journey that promises awe-inspiring views and a whole lot of fun.

A winding road with breathtaking views along the Route des Crêtes
A winding road with breathtaking views along the Route des Crêtes

9. Musée Unterlinden in Colmar

Art enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Musée Unterlinden in Colmar is a treasure trove of artistic brilliance. Housed in a 13th-century Dominican religious sisters’ convent, this museum is one of the best places to go in Alsace if you’re a fan of art and history.

The museum’s pièce de résistance is the Isenheim Altarpiece, a stunning work of art by Matthias Grünewald. The intricate details and emotional depth of this masterpiece are sure to leave you spellbound. But that’s not all; the museum also boasts an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso and Léger.

What makes this museum one of the coolest activities in Alsace is its diverse collection. From medieval sculptures to 20th-century paintings, there’s something for everyone. And let’s not forget about the museum’s architecture. The blend of the ancient convent with modern extensions is a visual treat in itself.

So, if you’re wondering where to visit in Alsace for a dose of culture and art, Musée Unterlinden should be high on your list. It’s not just a museum; it’s an experience that enriches your soul and broadens your artistic horizons.

Exterior view of Musée Unterlinden, a historic building with intricate architecture, located in Colmar
Exterior view of Musée Unterlinden, a historic building with intricate architecture, located in Colmar

10. Strasbourg’s Gastronomy

Calling all food enthusiasts! If you’re in Strasbourg, one of the most captivating Alsace places to visit, exploring its culinary scene is an absolute must. This region is renowned for its exceptional fusion of French and German influences, crafting a symphony of flavors that’s nothing short of divine.

Embark on your epicurean voyage by venturing into a traditional Winstub, where you can relish local delicacies like choucroute garnie—a hearty medley of sauerkraut and assorted meats. And don’t miss out on tarte flambée, Alsace’s innovative take on pizza. It boasts a thin crust crowned with crème fraîche, onions, and lardons.

In Alsace, experiences aren’t just limited to sights; they encompass flavors too. Don’t forget to complement your feast with some of the region’s iconic wines, such as Riesling or Gewürztraminer. And as for dessert? A slice of kougelhopf, a delectable yeasty cake enriched with almonds and raisins, serves as a perfect conclusion to your meal.

So, if you’re contemplating the best things to do in Strasbourg to leave an indelible mark, make room for its gastronomic offerings. Trust us, your palate will be forever grateful!

Close-up of a plate filled with traditional Strasbourg dish, highlighting the intricate presentation and local ingredients
Close-up of a plate filled with traditional Strasbourg dish, highlighting the intricate presentation and local ingredients

11. Eguisheim

Eguisheim, a picturesque village in Alsace, is like a scene straight out of a storybook. With its cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and vibrant flower displays, it’s no wonder this charming locale has been voted one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Alsace attractions often boast a rich history, and Eguisheim is no exception. The village is built in concentric circles around a castle, giving it a unique layout that’s fascinating to explore. As you meander through the winding streets, you’ll come across St. Peter and St. Paul Church, a stunning example of Romanesque architecture.

Where to go in Alsace for a romantic getaway or a peaceful retreat? Eguisheim is your answer. The village is also a gateway to some of the region’s most exquisite vineyards. So, if you’re a wine enthusiast, you’re in for a treat.

Unique things to do in Alsace often involve immersing yourself in local culture, and Eguisheim offers plenty of opportunities for that. From wine tasting to attending the annual wine festival, your days here will be filled with authentic Alsatian experiences.

Colors of tradition and culture paint the town of Eguisheim
Colors of tradition and culture paint the town of Eguisheim

12. Mont Sainte-Odile

If you’re looking for cool destinations in Alsace that offer a blend of history, spirituality, and breathtaking views, Mont Sainte-Odile is your go-to spot. Perched atop the Vosges Mountains, this ancient monastery is a pilgrimage site that has been drawing visitors for centuries.

Things to do in Alsace often involve a mix of the outdoors and cultural enrichment, and Mont Sainte-Odile delivers on both fronts. The site offers several hiking trails that lead you through lush forests and past ancient ruins. One of the trails even features mysterious pagan walls whose origins are still debated by historians.

Best places in Alsace? Well, the panoramic views from Mont Sainte-Odile are second to none. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Black Forest in Germany. It’s a photographer’s dream and a perfect spot for those Instagram-worthy shots.

Coolest activities in Alsace include exploring the monastery’s library, which houses ancient texts and religious artifacts. Don’t miss the chapel, adorned with stunning frescoes that tell tales of the region’s rich spiritual history.

So, if you’re wondering where to visit in Alsace for a day of adventure and reflection, Mont Sainte-Odile should be high on your list.

Finding solace in the serene beauty of Mont Sainte-Odile
Finding solace in the serene beauty of Mont Sainte-Odile

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Alsace

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Alsace? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Alsace:

What’s the best time to visit Alsace?

The ideal time to visit Alsace depends on what you’re after. For wine enthusiasts, autumn is a dream come true, as the vineyards are in full swing. If you’re all about those Christmas vibes, December’s holiday markets are not to be missed.

What is the most beautiful village in Alsace France?

Alsace is home to numerous picturesque villages, each with its own charm. Here is one village in Alsace that definitely tops the list: Eguisheim. Here’s why:

  • Historical Significance: Eguisheim is a medieval village that has preserved much of its original architecture and layout. The village is built in concentric circles around its central square, which is a unique feature.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: With its narrow cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses adorned with flowers, and vibrant town squares, Eguisheim looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale. The colorful facades and ornate balconies add to its charm.
  • Recognition: Eguisheim was voted the “Favorite French Village” by the French in 2013, a testament to its beauty and charm.
  • Wine Production: Eguisheim is also known for its wine production, being part of the Alsace wine route. The village is surrounded by vineyards, and visitors can enjoy wine tastings at various cellars.

While Eguisheim is one of the most beautiful villages in Alsace, other villages like Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, and Ribeauvillé are also renowned for their beauty and charm.

How do I get around Alsace?

Navigating Alsace is a breeze. Efficient train networks connect major towns, including Strasbourg and Colmar. Buses and trams are excellent for exploring urban areas, while renting a car offers flexibility for rural exploration. Cycling paths are abundant, providing a scenic way to uncover the region’s beauty at a leisurely pace.

Are the Alsace villages as charming as they look?

Absolutely! The Alsace villages exude enchantment just as they appear. With cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and a captivating atmosphere, places like Riquewihr and Eguisheim are picture-perfect. The charm extends to their welcoming locals, artisanal shops, and rich cultural heritage—creating an authentic and captivating experience.

Immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes and rich culture of Alsace, where history meets beauty at every turn
Immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes and rich culture of Alsace, where history meets beauty at every turn

Is Alsace Family-Friendly?

Certainly, Alsace is a fantastic family-friendly destination. Its quaint villages, like Colmar and Obernai, offer a safe and inviting atmosphere. Engaging museums, such as the Alsace-Moselle Memorial and Cité du Train, cater to all ages. With its blend of culture, nature, and gastronomy, Alsace provides memorable experiences for families.

What is Alsace, France famous For?

Alsace is renowned for its picturesque villages, world-class wines, and rich history. It’s a blend of French and German cultures, making it a unique place to visit in Alsace for its architecture, gastronomy, and vineyards.

How many days do you need in Alsace France?

The number of days you need in Alsace, France, depends on your interests and the depth of your exploration. However, for a well-rounded visit that covers the main attractions, here’s a general recommendation:

3 to 5 Days in Alsace:

Day 1: Strasbourg

  • Explore the historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Visit Strasbourg Cathedral and climb its tower for a panoramic view.
  • Stroll through “La Petite France,” a picturesque district with half-timbered houses.
  • Enjoy a boat tour on the Ill River.

Day 2: Northern Alsace

  • Visit the town of Haguenau.
  • Explore the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park.
  • Discover Wissembourg, a charming town near the German border.

Wine Route (Day 3)

  • Start in Marlenheim and make your way south, visiting wineries and tasting the region’s famous wines.
  • Stop in towns like Obernai, Ribeauvillé, and Riquewihr.
  • Learn about the region’s winemaking history and traditions.

Day 4: Colmar and Surroundings

  • Explore Colmar, known for its well-preserved old town and the Unterlinden Museum.
  • Visit nearby Eguisheim, a circular village with a unique layout.
  • Explore other nearby villages like Kaysersberg and Turckheim.

Day 5: Southern Alsace

  • Visit Mulhouse, home to the Cité de l’Automobile and the French Railway Museum.
  • Explore the Sundgau region, known for its picturesque landscapes and ponds.

For travelers with specific interests, such as wine enthusiasts or history buffs, you might want to spend more time exploring the wine route or the region’s many castles and historical sites. Conversely, if you’re on a tight schedule, you can get a good feel for Alsace in a shorter 2 to 3-day trip, focusing on the main highlights like Strasbourg, Colmar, and a portion of the wine route.

Is Alsace, France worth visiting?

Definitely! Alsace offers a unique blend of French and German cultures, stunning landscapes, and mouthwatering cuisine. It’s a must-see in Alsace for anyone who loves history, wine, and picturesque scenery. Here are some reasons why Alsace is worth visiting:

  1. Cultural Blend: Alsace provides a unique blend of French and German influences in its architecture, cuisine, and traditions. This duality gives the region a distinctive character.
  2. Picturesque Towns: Towns like Strasbourg, Colmar, Riquewihr, and Eguisheim are known for their half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and charming canals. They look like they’ve been taken straight out of a fairy tale.
  3. Wine Route: Alsace is renowned for its wines, especially its whites like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. The Alsace Wine Route is a scenic journey through rolling vineyards and quaint wine-producing villages.
  4. Gastronomy: Alsatian cuisine is hearty and flavorful, with specialties like tarte flambée, choucroute garnie, and kugelhopf. The region also boasts Michelin-starred restaurants for fine dining experiences.
  5. Natural Beauty: The Vosges Mountains offer beautiful landscapes, hiking trails, and panoramic views. The region also has several nature parks and reserves.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Alsace

So there you have it, folks! A whirlwind tour of Alsace places to visit that will leave you yearning for more. Whether it’s the rich history, the delectable cuisine, or the stunning landscapes that call to you, Alsace is a destination that caters to all. It’s not just about the postcard-perfect villages or the world-class wines; it’s about the experience that lingers long after you’ve returned home. Unique things to do in Alsace are around every corner, waiting for you to discover them. So pack your bags, set your out-of-office reply, and get ready for an unforgettable Alsace adventure!

The best things to do in Alsace for all types of travelers
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