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 kilometres from north to south, passing through some of Alsace’s most beautiful wine-growing villages.
For the last 65 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.
If you are a fan of “Beauty and the Beast”, you might fall in love with Riquewihr. With a maze of twisting lanes, colourful 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. There are several attractions in the town, including the Dolder, a former defensive gate and the 16th-century Winemaker’s house.
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 kilometres from Riquewihr.
Bright and colourful, 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 centre, Petite Venise, where traditional houses in pastel colours 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.
- Both regional trains and TGV (fast trains) run frequently between Strasbourg and Colmar. It takes approximately 30 minutes. Regional trains also stop at Selestat.
- Self-driving or cycling is the most convenient way if you want 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 at the bus driver.