Bicycling the Vineyards of Alsace
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. The rides are beautiful, the villages delightful and the combination of French and German food perfect for cyclists.
***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Cycling the Vineyards of Alsace Plus! the Black Forest tour, which extends this itinerary by 5 days.***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: 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 where you'll want to stop for some pictures and perhaps and 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 a residence of the bishops of Strasbourg. After admiring the quaint streets and half-timbered architecture.
Distance: about 60km (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: Trip ends in Colmar
Our ride ends today in the wonderful town of Colmar. Famous as a market and wine center since the 13th century, Colmar has rich art and architecture. If you have the time you may wish to spend an extra day to enjoy the rich, historic city center. Trains will take you from Colmar to Strasbourg or Geneva or Zurich where you can catch your international flight. Alternatively, you may wish to pick up a rental car and head on to the Black Forest just across the Rhine. Bon voyage!
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
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; 5 dinners with wine, 7 breakfasts; 2 to 3 bilingual tour; Gruyere cheese tasting; leaders; van support plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Begin/EndStrasbourg / Colmar
Arrive/DepartStrasbourg Int'l Airport (SXB) or Paris (CDG)
Total Distance252 - 343 km (156- 212 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage distance per riding day 42 57 km (26 - 35 miles)
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
* 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
2015 Tours With a New Twist
In 2015 we're thrilled to report we've made a number of exciting enhancements to a few destinations.
Bicycling Alsace - The Inaugural Journey
Traveler Bobbie Majka sent in this report from the first ExperiencePlus! ride in Alsace.
Highlights of Alsace
A brief introduction to the many highlights the Alsace region has to offer
Meals on Your Bicycle Tour
Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours
- 2015 Tours With a New Twist
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