“Around the Canal” cycling loop in the Sundgau (3h)

Updated on 2024-04-23
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How about discovering the Sundgau by bike? I'd already been to the area a few times, once on a mountain bike (the Sundgau has the largest mountain bike area in Alsace) and the other time for a several-day tour of southern Alsace. This time, I'm proposing a beautiful loop bike ride that will give you a good overview of this pretty corner of the south of the region. The Sundgau region is particularly well-suited to cycling: its landscapes range from gently undulating to more athletic, depending on where you choose to cycle (the Sundgau side, for example). Alsatian JuraThere are cycle paths and roads that are not too busy, and there are also several cycling routes for all levels have been fully signposted by the Tourist Office. Not bad, right?

Laurène
Laurène
Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!
ballersdorf-maison-velo

I tested the local loop 106 of Alsace Ă  vĂ©lo entitled “Autour du Canal, les Portes du Sundgau”, which is also the Sundgau bike circuit number 2 called “Autour du canal”. It’s a 40km ride , with 292 meters of ascent. There will be a few short climbs, but nothing too tough either! This cycling loop takes in a variety of landscapes: the hills of the Sundgau, the Rhone-Rhine canal, the town of Altkirch, pretty Sundgau villages and, of course, the chance to try a carp-frite, a typical local speciality!

Loop start

The walk can start from various locations: the Ill parking lot in Altkirch, the village of Wolfersdorf or, as I did, from Illfurth. I chose this option because it meant I could take the train to Mulhouse station and then go directly to Illfurth via the cycle path along the Rhone-Rhine Canal. This adds up to 20km round trip, but 20km of really easy flat 🙂

Sundgau hills and street art

From Illfurth, you leave the canal directly and climb small roads through villages, offering lovely panoramic views of the Sundgau hills. We then quickly reach Altkirch. The itinerary doesn’t include entering the center, but I invite you to do so, as it’s a pleasant little town that’s also known for its street art frescoes!

Fried carp for lunch!

We then arrive in Carspach, the Mecca of fried carp, the typical Alsatian speciality of the Sundgau! This is carp that is fried AND served with French fries. For my part, it’s not my favorite dish because it’s so fried, but it’s worth trying, and it just so happens that one of the best restaurants for it is La Couronne in Carspach… It’s worth getting organized to get to Carspach by lunchtime! Look around the room and you’ll see lots of people eating them. This is definitely not a dish for tourists – the locals love it!

Half-timbered houses and bicycle path

After lunch, it’s on to Ballersdorf, without a doubt my favorite village of this bike tour: take the time to wander through the village streets and admire the half-timbered houses, each one more beautiful than the last! Yes, it’s not only on the Alsace Wine Route that you’ll find beautiful, typically Alsatian houses…

After more country roads, we reach the Maison de la Nature du Sundgau in Altenach. Don’t hesitate to stop here, where you can treat yourself to a good local apple juice or other drink in the “autonomuble”: you help yourself and pay in a little box, as is often done in Germany (on the schnapps trail in Salsbachwalden, for example). Picnic tables in the shade of trees are also available.

Next, the route along the Largue trail, a greenway that was once the railroad serving the Largue Valley. Surrounded by trees, this bike path is particularly shady, which is great on a hot summer’s day!

Along the Rhone-Rhine Canal

You’ll then reach Dannemarie, where you’ll find the Rhone-Rhine canal, which you’ll have to follow all the way to Illfurth to complete this gentle stroll. It’s a very pleasant ride, but don’t hesitate to take a break along the way. There are some great places with waterside terraces, such as the Relais du Port in Dannemarie, the delightful Guinguette d’Illfurth and its tasty homemade tarts, or the Sun pub.

  • Variety of landscapes on the loop
  • Houses in Ballersdorf
  • Plenty of options for gourmet breaks!
  • Quite a few roads (but they’re not too busy in general)

My photos of the “Autour du canal: les Portes du Sundgau” cycling tour