Alsace is one of the most beautiful regions in France. Some of its villages consistently make the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ( “the most beautiful villages of France”). Bordered by Germany, this region is an eclectic mix of French and German culture, food and architecture. Tiny villages lined with colorful half timbered houses, brightly colored flowers pouring out of their boxes, rolling vineyards, and castles perched up on top of hills are a common site in the region of Alsace. It also happens to be the oldest wine routes in France! This post covers the 8 best fairytale towns and villages on the Alsace Wine Route.
Before I dive straight into the 8 best towns and villages on the Alsace Wine Route, let me tell you a little more about what now is one of my favorite regions in the world!
Where is Alsace?
Alsace is on the east side of France bordering Germany. Due its proximity with Germany, you may see a lot of similarities with Germany than with any other part of France. In fact, some of the places in Alsace (i.e., Strasbourg) has been back and forth between France and Germany.
What is the Alsace Wine Route?
The Alsace Wine Route spans over 170 km starting in Strasbourg in the North and ending a little past Colmar in the south. This route is dominated by lush vineyards and dotted with picturesque villages. Alsace produces mostly white wine and as mentioned before is the oldest wine route in France.
There are many towns and villages on the Alsace Wine Route that it may be overwhelming to decide which ones to visit. Here are the 8 best towns and villages you must visit on the Alsace Wine Route.
8 Best Fairytale Towns and Villages on the Alsace Wine Route
Situated on the southern end of the Alsace Wine Route, Colmar is more a town than a village. But is absolutely gorgeous despite being slightly bigger. There is a lot to see and do in Colmar in addition to wine. Colmar also makes for a perfect base to visit the villages on this list and is where I used as a base.
There are so many picture perfect places in Colmar but my favorites were along side the canal at La Petite Venise (Little Venice) and Quai de la Poissonnerie.
Eguisheim has consistently ranked as “One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France” since 2003. It’s one of the smaller villages on this list and is a must see even if you skip some of the rest. It has a main drag called Grand Rue and then 2 circular roads around and is easy to cover in a couple of hours.
This one was another favorite. A mid-sized village compared to Eguisheim, it also has a main drag and side lanes stemming from the main drag. Riquewihr is surrounded by vineyards and is pretty seen from above the vineyard. Fun fact, this is one of the two villages said to have inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and this is evident from the moment you step in. All the little wells and colorful houses sure makes you think you may be walking inside the movie itself!
The other village that inspired Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Ribeauvillé is one of the biggest true “villages” on this list. Brightly painted 15th – 18th century houses line the main drag in this village while a castle claims its place as a backdrop.
Bergheim probably is the smallest on this Best Fairytale Villages on the Alsace Wine Route list. However, it doesn’t lack charm! The fountain in front of the townhall, it’s walled ramparts and clock tower all add to its beauty. This was probably the most un-touristy on this list too. I went in the morning and was the only visitor for a long time.
Kaysersberg is home to a stone bridge, a ruined castle and lots of colorful houses. The Weiss river runs through this pretty town while vineyards occupy the land just outside this village.
Another pretty town on the Alsace Wine Route. Turckheim’s 13th century walls are some of the oldest in the region. This village was ruined in the 30 year war but was re-built in the 8th century.
Technically not a village but somewhere between a big town and a small city, Strasbourg is the unofficial start of the Alsace Wine Route if you start from the North. It has half timbered houses in certain sections and a historic city center with a impressive gothic cathedral. It’s also considered to have one of the best Christmas Markets in this region.
How Long Do You Need?
You are probably asking this question! I spent 3 days in this area and thought that was the perfect time. The villages are small enough and can be covered in a few hours. I will publish a detailed itinerary, including the wineries I visited soon! Stay tuned!
If you are staying longer, you may want to add the villages of Barr, Obernai, Hunawihr, Kintzheim and/or Dambach-la-ville.
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Love white wine? How about champagne? Check out my post on Reims and the region on Champagne HERE or below!