Hiking in Alsace is a unique experience as you explore a part of the region that is nestled between the beautiful Vosges mountains in France and the borders of Germany and Switzerland. Alsace is a combination of cultures and therefore charm. The famous Route du Vin (wine route) encompasses at least 100 wine producing villages between Strasbourg and Colmar, creating some of France's best wines.
Alsace also offers gourmet cuisine and has more Michelin star restaurants than any other region. Experience gastronomy in refined and traditional dishes like the famous baeckeofe. The beauty of its traditional architecture will surprise you with village after village of pretty half timbered houses decked with brilliantly colored flowers. On this tour, you will mainly walk on GR trails, which are well maintained and marked.
Day 1 Arrive in Strasbourg. This city has easy rail access from Paris with the newly opened TGV line. Rail access from Frankfurt is also possible. Train from Strasbourg to Obernai (30min) Orientation by phone at 6pm at the hotel. Overnight in Obernai in a charming 4 star hotel with dinner included. (D)
If time, some sites to visit in Strasbourg:
Petite France: The popular corner of the Grand Île (the Main Island) is where theÎle river splits up into a number of canals, and cascades through a small area of half-timbered houses. Ponts Couverts: Towers and footbridges situated at the end of Petite France Cathedral, built from 1190 to 1439. Quartier Allemand (German District), the showcase of German neoclassical architecture in Strasbourg.
Day 2: Your first hiking day; you start from your hotel and go to the Mont Saint Odile. You will then walk on to Andlau, hiking on the GR 5 trail. Along the way, you will see the chateau de Landsberg and the chateau du Haut-Andlau. Nice 3 star hotel for the night and dinner included. (B,D) 20 km hiking
Day 3: Andlau-Dieffenthal 22km. Today you will pick up the GR 5 trail and walk to Dieffenthal. You will walk through the vineyards and the Foret d'Andlau. You will also have the opportunity to see the remains of the château de Bernstein, among the oldest in Alsace! Legend has it that the castle was built on the rock where a bear family was living. This is where its name come from, as Bernstein (or Bärenstein) litterally means bear's rock (Bär, bear and Stein, rock in German). Overnight in Dieffenthal (3 star) and dinner included. (B,D)
Day 4: Dieffenthal-Ribeauville 11km. Your destination today is Ribeauville. In the Middle Ages, the town was the seat of the Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre - the Lords of Ribeaupierre (hence the town’s name of Ribeauvillé). Our driver will meet you in the morning at the hotel and transfer you to the château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. The castle is nestled at a strategic location on a high hill overlooking the Alsatian plain. From there, you will have a scenic hike back to Ribeauville, through the Forest de Ribeauville on the GR5 path. (B) Hotel 3 star, dinner on your own.
Day 5: Ribeauville-Turckheim 20.5km. Your destination today is Turckheim, a charmingly petite village known for its Gewürztraminer, traditional Alsatian cuisine, and stunning surrounding scenery. Turckheim is probably most well-known for its surrounding medieval wall. It is the only such surviving wall in Alsace. Another attractive feature of Turckheim is the Night Watchman. The traditionally dressed Turckheim native, cloaked in black and carrying a halberd and lamp makes the rounds at 22.00 (10pm) each night from May to October. As he strolls the protected city, he sings a number of Alsatian favorites. Overnight in Turckheim (3 star) and dinner on your own. (B)
Day 6: Turckheim-Colmar 14km. Walk to Colmar, one of the more charming of all the Alsatian villages. Today the hike is a little shorter and leaves more time to explore this town and the many restaurants. Of interest are the various museums: (Unterlinden, Bartholdi, du Jouet), and the old town architecture (Old Customs House, Pfister House, Cathedral, etc.). Walking enthusiasts will enjoy Petite Venise, a typical quarter with very well-preserved old Alsace homes, the yacht harbour and the pedestrianized old town with its many shops. Overnight in (3 star) and dinner on your own. (B)
Day 7: Departure after breakfast. Trains to Paris and Strasbourg from Colmar possible. Extra nights in Colmar or Strasbourg possible. (B)