Once part of Germany, the Alsace region offers a superb blend of both French and German culture, which can be seen in everything from the buildings to the food. This odd combination seems almost to be a nationality all of its own, but one that many tourists find to be a great backdrop for a holiday. Despite its small size, the region offers many fascinating towns and cities, not least of which is UNESCO-listed Strasbourg. Outside the major towns you’ll find beautiful countryside that offers lots of activities – all blessed with a climate that gives you hot summers and mild winters. Read on to discover what to put on your must-see list...
Places to Go in Alsace
While the region’s capital Strasbourg, located very close to the German border, will give you several days worth of things to do (including a Gothic cathedral and many pretty timber-framed buildings), there is much to enjoy in the smaller towns too. Colmar, having sidestepped many centuries of war, boasts a great town centre, populated with very old wooden buildings, such as the rickety-but-amazing Maison Pfeister. Historic Haguenau offers lots of impressive ruins, as does Saverne, with its fascinating Château des Rohan. Among these fine towns you’ll discover many square miles of lush forests and hills, which you can explore on foot or by bicycle. The region’s small area appears much larger once you discover how much there is to see and do!
Our Top Picks in Alsace
We want you to enjoy the best that Alsace has to offer and so here's a selection of our favourite things to see and do.
Colmar Town Centre
While Strasbourg’s Petite France is undeniably picturesque, if you’ve only got time for one ancient timbered town centre whilst in Alsace, we think it should be Colmar’s. It’s the high number of wonderful old buildings that makes this place so special – many of which look like they may not be standing for much longer! But these quaint streets will keep young and old occupied for a good while, offering as they do a selection of restaurants that offer some tasty treats – and gift shops selling high quality artsy souvenirs. Definitely one to put on your must-see list!
Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
The world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874, Strasbourg’s towering feat of high Gothic cathedral-making (with a smidgen of Romanesque for good measure) seldom fails to astonish. While it looks great from inside and out, if you really want to get a feeling for the height and dimensions of this building, take a deep breath and start climbing the high spiral staircase in order to get sweeping views of Strasbourg. To replenish your energy, try one of the many fantastic bistros found in the adjacent streets – offering delicious meals born of both French and German influence. Simply delicious!
The Wine Route of Alsace
Following the eastern foothills of the Vosges, the Wine Route of Alsace is a great way of getting an idea of the scale of wine production in the Alsace region – and doing some serious wine tasting in the process! The route is about 100 miles in length and gives you great views of the rolling green vineyards found here, together with lots of beautiful little villages that cluster round ancient church steeples. You won’t have to go far before you’re welcomed into a winstub (local café) or a tasting cellar, so you can experience what you really came for! Truly wonderful French wine, with a German twist.
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