A visit to beautiful Alsace in France had been on our travel list for a very long time. And so, on a beautiful summer day, we headed to Alsace for a few days of exploring. The villages are mainly characterized by picturesque cobblestone streets & half-timbered houses and take you back to the time of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. That means at almost every corner awaited us dreamy postcard motifs 🙂 We show you in this post the most beautiful cities in Alsace and their sights and photo spots.
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Things to know about Alsace (France)
Alsace is a region in northeastern France, bordering Germany to the north and east and Switzerland to the south. It extends over a length of 190 kilometers and a width of 50 kilometers between the Rhine and the Vosges mountains over the two departments Bas-Rhin (Lower Alsace) in the north and Haut-Rhin (Upper Alsace) in the south.
With its unique culture, history and architecture, Alsace is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. The region is known for its picturesque villages, where half-timbered houses with flowered windows and narrow streets create a charming atmosphere. In addition, Alsace is famous for its excellent cuisine, especially its tarte flambée, sauerkraut and wines, as well as for its scenic beauty with rolling hills, wide plains, vineyards and forests.
One of the oldest tourist roads in France, the Alsace Wine Route, established in 1953, offers 170 kilometers of true pleasure for body and soul. At the foot of the Vosges Mountains, it passes through romantic wine villages and offers vineyards with a total cultivated area of 14,500 hectares along the entire route. This is a wonderful place to stop for wine tastings and learn all sorts of interesting facts about Alsatian wine growing.
Alsace is the region with the highest density of castles in Europe: more than 40 castles and castle ruins, impressive churches, first-class museums, monuments and UNESCO World Heritage Sites look forward to visitors interested in history. But active guests will also get their money’s worth here: there are numerous hiking and biking trails that lead to the most beautiful corners of Alsace, as well as many different other outdoor activities. A perfect basis for a varied vacation!
The most beautiful cities in Alsace
On our tour through Alsace we were able to explore some of the most beautiful places, which we would like to present to you here.
Strasbourg – Sights & the most beautiful photo spots
Strasbourg has about 280,000 inhabitants and is located in Alsace directly on the border with Germany. Strasbourg is known, among other things, for being the headquarters of numerous European institutions. These include the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. Because of this, Strasbourg often sees itself as the “capital of Europe”. Strasbourg is located on the Ill and Rhine rivers and is connected to the Canal de la Marne au Rhin and the Rhine-Rhône Canal, making it a destination for numerous river cruises and excursion boats. In addition to the well-preserved historic old town, the most famous sights include the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, the Palais Rohan, the Tanners’ Quarter, the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, the Barrage Vauban, the Maison Kammerzell and the La Petite France district.
Our detailed article on Strasbourg with many more photos and information can be found here.
Colmar – An old town to fall in love with
Colmar is a town in the Alsace region of northeastern France, about 25 km from the German border. It is – after Strasbourg and Mulhouse – the third largest city in Alsace and has about 70,000 inhabitants. Colmar is known mainly for its very well preserved architectural heritage, its countless cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses and medieval ambience. The town is located on the Alsace Wine Route, which is considered one of the oldest tourist routes in France, having been established in 1953. Over a length of 170 kilometers, it winds through the wine-growing region of Alsace and also passes through Colmar, which is considered the cultural center of the Alsace Wine Route.
You can find our detailed article about Colmar with many more photos and information here.
Kaysersberg – Sights, Old Town & Castle
The romantic half-timbered village of Kaysersberg is a French municipality with about 2,500 inhabitants and is idyllically located in the valley of the Weiss River on the Alsace Wine Route, about ten kilometers northwest of Colmar. Kaysersberg enchants with its beautiful medieval old town with remains of the old city fortifications, numerous ornate half-timbered houses and the ruins of Kaysersberg Castle and is one of the most visited cities in Alsace with its sights. You can stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town on foot, because they are traffic-calmed. There are many beautiful old buildings decorated with flowers and richly decorated half-timbered houses here.
Our detailed article about Kaysersberg with many more photos and information can be found here.
Riquewihr – One of the most beautiful villages in France
The small medieval town of Riquewihr, with its 1,200 inhabitants, is tucked away between mountains and vineyards on the Alsace Wine Route, which takes you to Colmar in 7 kilometers. Due to its intact townscape from the 16th century, Riquewihr is one of the “most beautiful villages in France” according to an award – even the old city walls and towers are still intact. We could also convince ourselves of this beauty during our visit. Especially worth seeing are the many narrow cobblestone streets with their medieval half-timbered houses, which lead picturesquely and colorfully through the village. Everywhere you can see windows and balconies decorated with flowers or walls and courtyards entwined with vines. During a relaxed walk through the car-free old town, our camera was again in constant use, because we could discover numerous worth seeing corners and photogenic motifs.
You can find our detailed article about Riquewihr with many more photos and information here.
Eguisheim – Highlights of the medieval town
The picturesque village of Eguisheim is located in the middle of the Alsatian vineyards, about 15 minutes from Colmar. The medieval town was once built around an octagonal castle complex built in the 8th century and unfolds in a ring shape from the center. In this charming little village you can discover some beautiful sights, such as the neo-Romanesque Byzantine chapel of St. Leo, the castle with its defensive walls, the old town with its half-timbered houses and a parish church from the 19th century. In addition, Eguisheim is home to many wineries and with the “Eichberg” and the “Pfersigberg” two of the best wines of the region are produced here. Eguisheim, like some other towns in the area, is a true picture-postcard idyll: cobbled streets, narrow alleys, colorful half-timbered houses and numerous flowers awaited and impressed us here. No wonder then that Eguisheim was voted one of the most beautiful villages in France and even the favorite village of the French in 2013.
Our detailed article about Eguisheim with many more photos and information can be found here.
Turckheim – A day trip from Colmar
Just six kilometers west of Colmar, the small town of Turckheim lies at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, which here reach a maximum height of 840 meters. In contrast to Colmar, Turckheim is rather off the beaten tourist track – but is definitely worth a visit as well: colorful half-timbered houses, historic city gates and walls, cobblestone alleys and numerous vineyards characterize this city in Alsace. Turckheim’s economic base is based not only on tourism but also on several wineries, such as the Cave de Turckheim, which produce excellent wines.
You can find our detailed article about Turckheim with many more photos and information here.
Ribeauvillé – Sights & Photo Spots
The charming town of Ribeauvillé is a small French town with about 4,700 inhabitants, located about 18 kilometers northwest of Colmar in a scenic setting – the eastern edge of the Vosges Mountains and surrounded by vineyards – at an altitude of 185 meters. As part of a day trip, we explored Ribeauvillé and were very impressed by the historic monuments, narrow streets and the numerous half-timbered houses. Due to its historical heritage and medieval architecture, Ribeauvillé is a popular destination for tourists. Tourism and gastronomy are therefore one of the most important economic factors for the city. But viticulture is also significant and has an old tradition: in numerous wineries and wine cellars visitors can taste and buy local wines.
You can find our detailed article about Ribeauvillé with many more photos and information here.
Neuf-Brisach – town and fortress (UNESCO World Heritage)
The French commune of Neuf-Brisach is located about 15 kilometers east of Colmar and was once laid out geometrically as a planned town. It is a fortified town and was built in the late 17th century on the orders of King Louis XIV to protect the area against the threat of Habsburg troops. The city was designed by the famous fortress builder Vauban and is considered a masterpiece of military architecture. The fortress is laid out in the shape of a regular octagon and surrounded by a high wall reinforced by six bastions and four gates. The fortress was expanded and modernized several times during its history. Today, Neuf-Brisach is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved fortress architecture and charming alleys and squares. Since 2008, the fortifications have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Fortifications of Vauban” along with other structures in France.
You can find our detailed article about Neuf-Brisach with many more photos and information here.