Bicycling the Vineyards of Alsace Plus! the Black Forest
Alsace is arguably the most unique region of France. As a place that has changed hands 5 times between France and Germany over the last 150 years, it is now a cultural crossroads where French finesse meets German gusto. Tucked between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River the region enjoys a perfect balance between architecture, nature, and gastronomy. Although officially located in France, the Alsatians have a distinct identity and refuse to be grouped with neither the French from the "interior" or the Germans across the Rhine river. Join us as we explore the wine roads and villages of Alsace.Next we move into Germany and enjoy 2,000 year old thermal baths, the center of Germany's haute cuisine, wineries, beer gardens, and some spectacular rides through magical villages.
***If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full tour, check out our Cycling the Vineyards of Alsace tour, which features the first 8 days of this itinerary.View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Meet in Strasbourg
Highlights: Strasbourg, Capital of Alsace
We gather at our starting hotel this afternoon and fit bicycles. As host to many of the European Union's institutions, this town is alive with activity and has a UNESCO classified historic city center as well. A crossroads between Germany and France, we encourage you to arrive early to visit this historic and politically vibrant town. The Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral was started in 1015 AD and now stands as one of France's most famous architectural masterpieces. The glowing pink stone comes from the nearby Vosges Mountains and it was the world's tallest building until 1874. Strasbourg is full of architectural gems as well as quaint quarters such as the La Petite France, often called the little Venice of the north with its canals, revolving bridges, and typical Alsatian-style buildings. We'll suggest a warm up ride this afternoon after we fit bicycles and before we meet for introductions and a welcome dinner. Distance: Test Ride. Meals: Dinner (D)
Lodging: Hotel Maison Rouge-Strasbourg
Day 2: Ride to Saverne
Highlights: Alsatian Countryside, bike paths
We leave Strasbourg today via side streets, bike paths, and the serene Canal de la Marne au Rhin - part of the vast network of canals that crisscross Europe north of the Alps. Pedaling west over rolling hills, you'll pass through several beautiful villages including Bouxwiller and Dettwiller and where you'll want to stop for some pictures and perhaps an Alsatian lunch. Our route then leads us to the charming town of Saverne, laced by canals and the Zorn River. Saverne boasts an impressive Neo-Classical chateau formerly a fortress which was also once the residence of the bishops of Strasbourg. After admiring the quaint streets and half-timbered architecture.
Distance: about 60 km (about 37 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Chez Jean
Day 3: Ride the bike path to Molsheim and beyond to Obernai
Highlights: Marmoutier, Molsheim, Marlenheim, Alsatian "Wine Road"
We enter the heart of the Alsatian vineyards today as we leave the pasture lands of the north. First we pass through the village of Marmoutier with its 12th Century Romanesque Church and head on to Marlenheim and Molsheim. The majority of our ride today is on a bicycle path along the famous Alsace Wine Route. You are entering rich wine country today, so you'll have ample opportunities to taste at small family-run wineries, but be sure to save yourself for our guided winery tour in Obernai this evening.
Distance: 52 km (32 miles) plus hill rides for those who wish. Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Le Colombier in Obernai
Day 4: Rest day visiting Obernai or ride to Mont Ste Odile
Highlights: Alsatian wine villages and vineyards, views of the Vosges Mountains
We'll be back in the same hotel tonight so you can follow our recommended route to Mont Ste Odile, high in the Vosges Mountains with spectacular views, or enjoy a rest day off the bike. Obernai has a beautifully preserved medieval and Renaissance city center with plenty of sites to visit.
Distance: 37-58 km (23-36 miles). Meals: B Lodging: Hotel Le Colombier in Obernai
Day 5: Bicycle the Alsace Wine Road
Highlights: Wine villages of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and the Castle of Haut-Koenigsburg
We really are in the heart of Alsace today, with its festive villages in the midst of vineyards, Renaissance house facades, and expansive views across the Rhine River Valley, and the Haut Koenigsbourg castle. Those who want to can visit the castle, then explore any number of the sixteen villages of the local consortium on the way to our hotel in the center of Riquewihr (Bergheim is probably the best preserved). The villages have populations that range from 400 people to the 5,000 in the town of Ribeauvillé.
Distance: 51-71 km (32-44 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Le Shoenenbourg
Day 6: Pedal the Rhine Plain today or into the Vosges Mountains
Highlights: The festive villages of the Alsace Wine Road
You are in the same hotel again tonight so you can choose your ride today. We'll mark a beautiful ride going up into the mountains. Those who prefer a more challenging ride can continue on to the Col du Linge where you can visit the memorial of this World War I battlefield, which is a testimony to the "war of the trenches". An exhilarating downhill takes you through Orbey and back to Riquewihr.
Distance: 41 km (25 miles). Meals: B Lodging: Hotel Le Shoenenbourg
Day 7: Colmar
Highlights: Gorgeous Munster Valley, La Maison du Fromages
Perhaps the best known town on your route today is Munster, founded by evangelizing Irish monks in the 7th century A.D. They brought their cheese making skills with them and created one of the most famous cheeses in France. We'll stop at the Maison du Fromage and learn how Munster cheese is made. Plan on a lunch stop here, or continue on to Colmar to explore the canals, museums, and great shopping. Colmar has been a famous market and wine center since the 13th century.
Distance: 44 km (27 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Le Colombier - Colmar
Day 8: Freiburg
Freiburg is without doubt one of Germany's most beautiful cities. That's not only because of its splendid colorful houses, or the impressive cathedral, but because it is also is a gorgeous city for shopping. And of course everywhere you will find the old "Bächle" an unusual system of gutters that run throughout its center. These Bächle, were once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock. They have a constant flow of water diverted from the Dreisam River and were never intended to remove sewage, and even in the Middle Ages such use would lead to harsh penalties. During the summer, the running water provides a natural form of air conditioning, and offers a pleasant gurgling sound. It is said that if one accidentally falls or steps into a Bächle, they will marry a Freiburger, or 'Bobbele'.
Distance: 60-70 km (37-43 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Oberkirch
Day 9: Freiburg
Highlights: Explore town by bike
Today you decide whether you prefer to explore the Freiburg squares, cathedral, brewery with beer-garden or start your shopping tour at the Historical Merchants Hall. We'll explore Freiburg by bike together, and leave you plenty of time to explore on your own. Or for those who really want to pedal and climb we have the perfect ride for you to tackle on your own.
Distance: 0-62 km (0-38 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Oberkirch
Day 10: Wolfach
Highlights: Glass bowling demonstration
After leaving Freiburg, we'll follow the Elz river deep into the Black Forest. Sitting at the confluence of the Wolf and Kinzig rivers, Wolfach is a characteristic Black Forest village built on two of the traditional trades: rafters and glassblowing. Trades that also play an important role in the myths, legends of the Black Forest and in the tale of "The Cold Heart." Glass blowing was once an important craft in the Black Forest, but today the only glassworks producing mouth blown lead crystal is here is in Wolfach. We'll visit it together this afternoon. At dinner on your own, be sure to try the Black Forest Cake, perhaps with a glass of kirschwasser, the local brandy made from whole fermented cherries.
Distance: 60 km (37 miles). Meals: B
Day 11: Baiersbronn
Highlights: Center of Germany's Haute Cuisine
Baiersbronn is famous as a center of haute cuisine in Germany. According to the New York Times, "Baiersbronn is now on its way to becoming recognized as the world's most unexpected restaurant capital." Today's ride will build your appetite for a grand dinner in this tiny Mecca of haute cuisine. You'll bike the Black Forest and climb the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse also known as the Black Forest High Road - your legs will tell you why! Enjoy the views, waterfalls, narrow hidden valleys and the spectacular ruins of a the Allerheiligen Monastery.
Distance: 83 km (52 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Sackmann
Day 12: Baden-Baden
Highlights: 2000 year old thermal baths
Baden-Baden used to be called the "European Summer-Capital" due to the number of nobles and wealthy that came to spend the summer here. But this international cultural center charms its visitors all year round. Be sure to visit its sophisticated thermal baths. The modern Caracalla Spa and the Friedrich's Spa offer wellness and relaxation while the "Festspielhaus" and the Frieder Brurda Museum are the cultural stimulants. And of course you should not miss an evening in the oldest and most beautiful Casino of Germany.
Distance: 45km (28 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Atlanta Parkhotel
Day 13: Tour ends in Baden-Baden
Stick around this morning for a special guided tour of Baden-Baden's casino, with its rich 250 year history. You might also want to consider an extra day or two in this fabulous town. Whatever your plans enjoy!
HighlightsSome of France's best cuisine, Parc Regional des Vosges du Nord, Alsatian villages, The Wine Road, Pedal from France to Germany and back to France, Saverne, Colmar, Wine tasting, Freiburg, Baiersbronn - Center of Germany's Haute Cuisine, Baden Baden
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 13 days, 12 nights accommodation; 8 dinners with wine, 12 breakfasts; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders; van support plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Begin/EndStrasbourg / Baden Baden
Arrive/DepartParis (CDG), Zurich (ZRH) Paris (CDG), Frankfurt (FRA)
Total Distance533-646km (329-399 miles)
Daily Distance48 - 59km (30-36 miles) average for 11 riding days
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Jun 28-Jul 10, 2015 $5350 $650 Book it Aug 16-28, 2015 $5350 $650 Just 2 Spaces Remain Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Bicycling Alsace - The Inaugural Journey
Traveler Bobbie Majka sent in this report from the first ExperiencePlus! ride in Alsace.
France Trip Planner
Read up on country customs, airport information, culinary specialites, and more!
Highlights of Alsace
A brief introduction to the many highlights the Alsace region has to offer
- Bicycling Alsace - The Inaugural Journey
Beautiful bike paths, fantastic food, and wonderful small French and German villages!Carol D.,
Beautiful villages, great local food, great local wines, great guides. The best way in the world to travel. Slow enough to stop along the way to see the sights that you want. Fast enough to cover more ground than just walking.William W., Mt Pleasant, SC
Variety of scenery from the charming wine villages of the Alsace to the broad vistas and dense forests of the Black Forest; mix of cultures; great cycling including lots of bike paths; interesting cities to visit.Linda M., Livermore, CA
Phenomenal, Wonderful roads, picturesque villages and great food.Peter K., Williston, VT
How would you describe this tour to a friend? Very well-planned, superior tour guides, beautiful area (Alsace), varied terrain, interesting participants.Lee and Sherrye C., Arvada, CO
This was a really great tour! ExperiencePlus! has done another great job in choosing leaders, location, routes...everything.Lori S., Edinburg, TX
The bikes are absolutely wonderful to ride, and the dinners were very good and varied. Do this ride, you will love it!Julie S., Blue Island, IL
One of the best tours in Europe. Beautiful countryside, charming villages, distinctive architecture, quiet roads and bike paths, culinary delights, good wines, varied terrain.David F., Columbia, MD
Truthfully, there were many favorite experiences on this trip. Let me see if I can give a few examples: the dinners were all unique and wonderful, and tasty; the wine tasting was fun and educational; picon beer and tarte flambe; the storks; the Maginot line tour & other historic stuff; the many charming villages we rode through that had the charms of Alsace--from flowers, to colors, to the squares, to people, etc. I loved Alsace, and would go back, and would encourage others to visit it.Patti F., Rochester, NY
Great tour! Beautiful routes, quaint villages, great food and wine.Cheryl P., Livonia, MI