What’s so special about the Alsace wine route and food tour? Vineyards and medieval villages scattered over the Alsatian countryside. They make the province one of the most beautiful in France. Follow this independent itinerary to discover amazing landscapes and taste some of the best food and drink in France.
Nineteen towns along the route are home to 27 Michelin-starred restaurants. Visit or stay overnight in farmhouses (ferme-auberge) and visit wine producers who welcome visitors and offer tastings (dégustation). The outstanding vintages include 51 that hold the highest and most coveted designation of Alsace Grand Cru.
Nearly all of the area’s well-known winemakers are located in or near quaint villages set along the 106m/170km Alsace Wine Route (Route des Vins d’Alsace), which runs from just west of Strasbourg to a bit northwest of Mulhouse. Several of the designated towns also are on the historic Romanesque Road (Route Romane d’Alsace) and most receive a 3 or 4-star rating as a Flower Village (Villages Fleuris).
This itinerary flows south to north and includes the best-of-the-best villages and vineyards. The southern half of the wine route is marginally more picturesque, but if you visit north to south, you won’t be any less awed. Although the route covers a relatively short distance, it twists through the countryside, and you’ll be tempted to stop often. Allow at least two days for the journey.
A word of warning: Drinking and driving is against the law, and French police are on the lookout for lawbreakers. If you plan to stop at several cellars, designate someone to drive and abstain from tasting. Or consider a private or group wine-tasting tour with a guide. The blood alcohol limit in France is 0.05; in the UK and US it’s 0.08.
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Aimless wandering is highly recommended. But there are several towns on the wine route that you should not miss because, in addition to fabulous vineyards and wineries, they have remarkable historic sites, first-class restaurants, and stunning floral displays.
Depending on how much time you have, plan to stop, at least briefly, in Guebwiller, Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Sélestat, Obernai, and Molsheim. Allow extra time to visit the following, which are designated The Most Beautiful Villages of France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France):
Eguisheim is just 4.5m/7.4 km southwest of Colmar on D 417 and a convenient starting point for a tasting tour of French food and wine. It is home to 33 growers and two Grand Cru wines, Eichberg and Pfersigberg. Top restaurants include La Grangelière and Auberge des Trois Châteaux. In the nearby vineyards, try Au Vieux Porche, an 18th-century house where wine is made on site.
Riquewihr, 10m/16km north of Eguisheim on D 10 and D 1b, is a must-see historic village with extraordinary wines, including Grand Cru Schoenenbourg. Pick up a bag of macaroon cookies at Maison alsacienne de Biscuiterie to nibble as you walk the town. Cheese lovers will want to visit Les Caves d’Affinage to sample local Munster and see how it is aged. Enjoy lunch at the Michelin one-star La Table du Gourmet.
Hunawihr is a bit hard to find among the vineyards but well worth the search. Look for it on Rue du 5 Décembre, just 1m/0.6 km north of Riquewihr. If you’re traveling with kids, stop at the Butterfly Garden. Adults will want to visit Domaine Mittnacht Frères on Route de Ribeauvillé to taste the organic wines. The village is very small so dining choices are limited. Try Ô’Goutchi or drive 2m/3km to the Michelin one-star Maximilien in Zellenberg.
Mittelbergheim is 22m/35km north of Hunawihr on D 1bis and D 35. Stop on the way at Cave de Ribeauville, a large wine co-op in busy Ribeauvillé, and then continue on to Mittelbergheim to taste the dry white Sylvaner from the Grand Cru Zotzenberg vineyard at Domaine Albert Seltz on Rue Principale. Enjoy a meal prepared by Chef Vincent Reuschle at The GILG, located inside Hotel GILG at 1 Route de Vin, and choose a local wine to accompany your meal.
Pick up a copy of Michelin Departmental Map 516 or zoom in on the Google Map at the top of this page. Most tourist offices in Alsace offer free maps of the Wine Route as well as information on the main tourist towns along the way. While a GPS will get you from point to point, don’t let a goal-oriented mindset hinder your curiosity. Sometimes the most thrilling or charming places are found during unscheduled stops along uncharted back roads.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in, or near Colmar, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. To book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you are headed for a particular region, enter your preferred city/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.