Hunawihr landscape

Alsace: On the Beautiful Wine Route

With soothingly green vineyards extending as far as the eye can see, the Route des Vins d’Alsace, or Alsace Wine Route is definitely one of the most picturesque drives in France. Established in 1953, this tourist route stretches over 170 kilometers from north to south, passing through some of Alsace’s most beautiful wine-growing villages.

For the last 68 years, the Alsace Wine Route has contributed to the fame and success of the regional wine. From Marlenheim to Colmar, this 170km route winds through the sloping valleys along the Vosges’ foothills, crossing about 70 wine-growing regions.

It allows visitors to catch a glimpse of this land of tradition, revealing its lush green vineyards, medieval châteux, and some of Alsace’s most charming hamlets, including Riquewihr, Hunawihr, and Colmar. The route also offers visitors, neophytes and connoisseurs alike, a wide range of activities related to wine and the vineyard.

1. Riquewihr

If you are a fan of “Beauty and the Beast”, you might fall in love with Riquewihr. With a maze of twisting lanes, colorful half-timbered houses, and hidden courtyards embellished by old wells and fountains, the village resembles Belle’s hometown in many details.

For centuries, the gem of Alsace has managed to preserve its authentic character behind its medieval rampart. The town has several attractions, including the Dolder, a former defensive gate, and the 16th-century Winemaker’s house.

The town of Riquewihr
Colorful houses in Riquewihr

2. Hunawihr

When visiting a souvenir shop in Strasbourg or anywhere in Alsace, you will probably see white storks, in various shapes and forms. Believed to bring luck (as well as babies), this graceful bird has been featured in Alsatian folklore for many centuries. It is Alsace’s most beloved symbol.

After spending winter in Africa, they return to Alsace during warmer months, feeding in the marshes and building/repairing their nests. One of the best places to spot white storks is Hunawihr, a peaceful hamlet just two kilometers from Riquewihr.

The village of Hunawihr
White stork – Alsace’s most beloved icon

3. Colmar

Bright and colorful, Colmar looks for all the world as though it has come straight out of a children’s storybook. The capital of the Alsace wine region is famous for its historic center, the Petite Venise, where half-timbered houses in pastel colors line cobblestoned streets and bridge-laced canals.

In spring and early summer, the whole area is turned into a flower carpet as countless bouquets of dahlia or marigold bloom, leaving most visitors in a permanent daze of neck-craning and photo-snapping.

Colmar Old Town
Petite Venise
Canal in Colmar

Tips for visting the Alsace Wine Route

  • Both regional trains and TGV (fast trains) frequently run between Strasbourg and Colmar. It takes approximately 30 minutes. Regional trains also stop at Selestat.
  • Self-driving or cycling is the most convenient way to explore the Alsace Wine Route thoroughly as many towns are uncovered by public transport.
  • Bus 106 is an alternative if you only want to catch a glimpse of the Alsace Wine Route. The bus runs between Colmar and Ribeauvillé, passing several beautiful towns such as Hunawihr and Riquewihr. The ticket can be bought directly by the bus driver.


13 thoughts on “Alsace: On the Beautiful Wine Route”

  1. avoyageonearth – I'm the writer behind travel site I'm based in Melbourne, Australia and I divide my time between my two greatest passions; art and travel.
    avoyageonearth says:

    Love all those vibrant buildings!

  2. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
    Bama says:

    What pretty French small towns! But to me Colmar really stands out for its vibrant colors, temptingly fresh produce, and colorful blooms. Yet another interesting post that makes me explore parts of France I’m not too familiar with.

    1. Thank you, Bama! Colmar is indeed a beautiful town. Did you know that the town is one of the Top 5 destinations for Christmas 2017? I think it landed at the 2nd position, after Zagreb in Croatia 🙂

      1. Bama – Jakarta, Indonesia – Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.
        Bama says:

        Actually I didn’t. That’s a very strong reason to go then!

  3. Megha's World – I’m a mother of a smart and energetic seven-year-old. I started expressing myself creatively since the last two years. Since then I have been continuously inspired by events in my life and around me which has helped me in penning my thoughts. I’m an avid reader, loves to sing, an ardent lover of poetry and sometimes can scribble few lines too. Loves to dance in the rain, have an undying love for nature, can watch the beautiful sunset for hours. Love to kiss and hug my loved ones. I have worked in the IT field for almost a decade as a manager, worked crazy hours and traveled around the world. In that busy schedule, I never got the time to creatively express my thoughts. Now every time I finish a poem, free verse anything it fills me with so much happiness and excitement and a feeling to have created something of my own. I’m planning to post at least one creation of mine weekly. Lastly, a million thanks to all who visit, like or follow my tiny bits of creation. Every time you do that, I get to know one more beautiful person in my life and get the chance to see their creation too.
    Megha's World says:

    You pictures are at treat for the eyes, Ken and your description does absolute justice to them.

  4. justbluedutch – Bavaria, Germany – Expat- lifestyle Blogger from the land of Lederhosen & Dirndls. A self-taught Aquarelle & Mixed Media visual artist.
    justbluedutch says:

    Beautiful photos as always! Thank you for bringing me to this idyllic paradise, this town looks amazing. Should really plan to visit this place.

    1. Definitely! You should plan visiting these towns during Christmas. They have some of the best Christmas markets in Europe 🙂 Autumn is also a good time because it’s the harvest season.

  5. I’m sighing longingly as I read your post and look at your gorgeous photos. This is such a beautiful region…like being in a fairy tale. We stayed in Hunawihr and loved seeing the storks.

    1. Dạ ko khó đâu cô. Colmar, Riquewihr hay Strasbourg đều là địa điểm du lịch nên mọi người hầu như đều biết nói tiếng Anh. Train information cũng đều được viết và thông báo bằng cả tiếng Pháp và Anh. Bus driver trên tuyến Alsace Wine Route cũng biết vài từ tiếng Anh, nhưng mà very limited 🙂 Nếu đi bus thì chủ yếu canh theo cái timetable thôi.

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      2. Nước Nhật đẹp và sạch quá đúng không cô. Châu Âu đẹp cổ kính nhưng facility thì khó có thể so sánh được với Nhật. Nếu có dịp cô đi thử những vùng khác xem. Hokaido hay khu vực Chubu cũng đẹp lắm, nhưng cháu chưa có cơ hội đi 🙂 Nếu chán Nhật rồi thì có thể qua Hàn Quốc, cũng có nhiều thứ để xem và facility cũng rất tốt. Chỉ thua Nhật một xíu thôi.

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