Bicycling the Vineyards of Alsace Plus! the Black Forest

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.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jul 7-19, 2019
USD$5750
USD$650
Guaranteed to Go
Aug 11-23, 2019
USD$5750
USD$650
3 More to Guarantee the Departure

* 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.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 13 Days
  • Total Distance / 533-646km (329-399 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 48 - 59km (30-36 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 3.0
  • Countries / France, Germany
  • Begin/End / Strasbourg / Baden Baden
  • Price / From USD$5750
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  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Some of France's best cuisine, Parc Regional des Vosges du Nord, Alsatian villages, The Wine Road, Pedal from France to Germany, Saverne, Colmar, Wine tasting, Freiburg, Baiersbronn - Center of Germany's Haute Cuisine, Baden Baden
  • Includes
    13 days, 12 nights accommodation; 8 dinners with wine, 12 breakfasts; Gruyere cheese tasting; Baden Baden casino visit; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Paris (CDG), Zurich (ZRH) Paris (CDG), Frankfurt (FRA)
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    65km / 520m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    3
    50km / 463m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    4
    27km / 595m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 3.0
    5
    66km / 1066m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    6
    41km / 819m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    7
    47km / 404m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    8
    61km / 527m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    9
    46km / 972m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 4.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    10
    113km / 1487m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 5.0
    11
    85km / 1499m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    12
    31km / 489m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 2.5
    13
    Last day

    Tour Level Note:

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily 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.

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 once the residence of the bishops of Strasbourg. After admiring the quaint streets and half-timbered architecture.

  • Distance: 65km (41mi)
  • Gain: 520m (1706ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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.

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.

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 Ribeauvill?.

  • Distance: 66km (41mi)
  • Gain: 1066m (3496ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Pedal 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 if you want to 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: 41km (26mi)
  • Gain: 819m (2686ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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.

DAY 8: Freiburg

Highlights: 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: 61km (38mi)
  • Gain: 527m (1729ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 9: Freiburg

Highlights: Guided bike tour of Freiburg

We'll explore Freiburg by bike together on a guided city tour. You will explore the green city Freiburg with an alternative concept of mobility and lots of renewable energy, 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: 46km (29mi)
  • Gain: 972m (3188ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 10: Baiersbronn

Highlights: Center of Germany's Haute Cuisine

After leaving Freiburg, we'll follow the Elz river deep into the Black Forest on our way to Baiersbronn. It's a long ride and you will be well rewarded tonight at dinner because Baiersbronn is famous as a center of haute cuisine. According to the New York Times, "Baiersbronn is now on its way to becoming recognized as the world's most unexpected restaurant capital." You can form your own opinions at our dinner together!

  • Distance: 113km (70mi)
  • Gain: 1487m (4877ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Baiersbronn

Highlights: Hike or Bike into the Black Forest

You could enjoy a spa day, or hike one of the great trails around Baiersbronn, but if you really want to challenge yourself we recommend taking the optional hilly ride along the Black Forest High Road also known as the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse - your legs will tell you how the road got its name! Enjoy the views, waterfalls, narrow hidden valleys and the spectacular ruins of the Allerheiligen Monastery.

  • Distance: 85km (53mi)
  • Gain: 1499m (4917ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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: 31km (19mi)
  • Gain: 489m (1604ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 13: Tour ends in Baden-Baden

Highlights: Baden-Baden

Stick around this morning for a special guided tour of Baden-Baden's casino, with its rich 250 year history. The tour ends around 11 a.m. You might also want to consider an extra day or two in this fabulous town. Whatever your plans - enjoy!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Meet in Strasbourg

Lodging: Hotel Maison Rouge

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Strasbourg Airport (SCB). Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is a 2.5-3.5 hour train ride away.

From Strasbourg Airport to the Day 1 Hotel:

  • Taxi (30 min/EUR 30-40)

Or public transportation:

  1. Airport Shuttle to the Strasbourg Gare (9 min/EUR 2.5)
  2. Tram to Longstross-Grand'Rue (6 min/EUR 1.7)
  3. Walk 10 min or taxi (5 min/EUR 12-17)

Look up French train schedules and book tickets, if necessary, SNCF.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.  

Day 13: Departure Information

Tour ends in Baden-Baden

Your trip ends on the final day after the guided tour of the Baden-Baden Casino around 11 a.m. back at the hotel

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

We recommend flying out of Frankfurt:

  1. Taxi from the ending hotel to the Baden-Baden train station (10 min/EUR 20)
  2. From Baden Baden to Frankfurt Flughafen - regular departures, seat reservations recommended (1.5 hours/fares vary)

Look up German train schedules at Bahn.de or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike & Barge/Boat tours) prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two) and a water bottle (or two) and a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • 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
  • 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
  • Beautiful bike paths, fantastic food, and wonderful small French and German villages!

    Carol D.,
  • You guys are the best.

    Bill H., Miwaukee, WI
  • Great tour! Beautiful routes, quaint villages, great food and wine.

    Cheryl P., Livonia, MI
  • Beautiful villages and scenery. Wonderful wine. Yummy pork dishes and some steep hills.

    Betsy I., Boulder, CO
  • I''m sure any trip could be improved but this one was superb beginning to end!

    Jack I., Boulder, CO
  • This was an amazing tour. The routes were just right, the climbs were lots of fun and the scenery was beautiful. Our guides took great care of us and the food and accommodations were great. I definitely liked the riding, but relaxing in a nice hotel and enjoying a great dinner at the end of the day was wonderful.

    Shelley M., Scottsdale, AZ
  • The tour guides were certainly a big part of the success of the trip. But the beautiful route you laid out was also a star of the show.

    Bruce S., Aliso Viejo, CA - July 2018
  • 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
  • This was a really great tour! ExperiencePlus! has done another great job in choosing leaders, location, routes...everything.

    Lori S., Edinburg, TX
  • A trip through beautiful French villages on the Alsatian wine route, followed by the Black Forest. Another great experience with ExperiencePlus! I love the longer tours which allow me to sink into the culture of a country over a longer period.

    Tom D., Scottsdale, AZ - August 2018
  • 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
  • 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
  • Alsace has history, little traffic, nicely paved roads and bike paths, and lots of vineyards. Keep doing what you''re doing.

    Charlie P., Los Angeles, CA - July 2018
  • 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
  • Wonderful combination of history lesson and white wine education. This tour takes you to the less touristy towns of the region . At every point, we were reminded of the area''s past switching from France to Germany and back again. We loved all the storybook villages on the Alsace wine route and the contrast of the Black Forest. The visit to the WWI battlefield and cemeteries was very moving. As with every ExperiencePlus tour, the least favorite experience is riding up to the final hotel and knowing that it''s over.

    Sari R., Glastonbury, CT - August 2018
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