Impossible to miss the visit of Riquewihr when visiting Alsace! This adorable village on the Alsace Wine Route is a must-see, and is one of the most visited villages in Alsace and one of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.
Rightly so, because it must be said that Riquewihr, nicknamed “The Pearl of the Vineyard”, is a very beautiful place. We can reproach it for its too touristy stores and the crowd that invades it regularly, but I sincerely think that a visit of Riquewihr is really worth it, it’s just beautiful! I don’t think I know anyone who wasn’t thrilled, by the way…
How long to visit Riquewihr?
Riquewihr is a small village but there are many things to see! I advise you to spend between a few hours and half a day there. If you want to take the time to walk around Riquewihr (which I would advise you to do, the Route des Vins is superb!), count more time.
What to do and visit in Riquewihr ?
Tourism in the historical center of Riquewihr
Riquewihr is an ancient fortified town nestled in the heart of the Alsatian vineyards. Inside the walls is the pedestrian center, where it is very pleasant to stroll. There is no risk of getting lost: there is a main street ( General de Gaulle street), from which other perpendicular streets start. You should not hesitate to go for a walk.
At the bend of the paved streets, you will find beautiful half-timbered houses with colors and flowers and very beautiful architectural details. If you were dreaming of seeing a pretty Alsatian village, here you are! Half-timbered houses, ramparts, entrance doors, paved streets… Riquewihr is probably what you dreamed of seeing in Alsace.
A Discovery tour of Riquewihr proposed by the Tourist Office will allow you to discover the rich historical heritage of the city, by discovering the different architectural and historical periods of the city.
Among the remarkable buildings of the city center,, you can find the neo-classical City Hall dating from 1809, the former castle of the counts of Montbéliard-Wurtemberg dating from the 16th century, the Thieves’ Tower (former dungeons of the city), the highest half-timbered house in Alsace (at number 14 of the rue du Général de Gaulle), the former Berkheim hotel (at number 37 of the street).
Admire the Dolder tower
The Dolder is the emblematic tower of Riquewihr. Built in the 13th century, it was used as a belfry, a defensive tower and a gateway to the city.
Today, the Dolder houses a museum that shows the functioning of a rural fortified town and its evolution from the 13th to the 17th century, with its passive and active defense means as well as the occupants of the tower and their function. From the 4th floor of the museum, you can also enjoy a beautiful view of the roofs of Riquewihr.
Taste the green sauerkraut of Riquewihr, a great discovery!
As for gastronomy, don’t miss the Riquewihrienne, the green sauerkraut of Riquewihr. It is a specialty of sauerkraut with grass cream that you can only find here (in 5 restaurants only!). A delight! I can recommend the restaurant Le Dolder.
Tasting Alsace wine in a cellar
Riquewihr being located on the Alsace Wine Route, it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to visit a winegrower and taste some Alsace wine!
Buy Christmas decorations
If you like Christmas decorations, here is a must-see store that is open all year round: Féerie de Noël (Käthe Wohlfahrt), where you will be truly immersed in the magic of Christmas all year round. Chances are you’ll leave with lots of beautiful things to decorate the tree…
Riding an electric scooter in the vineyards around Riquewihr
Here is an unusual activity in Riquewihr: an electric scooter ride with Riq’Ecotours! We tested it and liked it a lot.
Enjoy a locally brewed beer
In Riquewihr you can find the Brasserie du Vignoble (BRA’V for the intimates 😉 ). You can go there to buy the delicious craft beers brewed on site, but also visit the brewery by appointment and, in the nice season, enjoy the biergarten to taste a beer on site. Nice program, right?
Visit the surroundings of Riquewihr
Riquewihr is nestled in the heart of the Alsatian vineyards: there is no shortage of walks and you will be spoilt for choice!
My good addresses in Riquewihr
Where to sleep in Riquewihr?
Here is my selection of good hotels: the best hotels in Riquewihr.
If you are looking for a gîte, I can recommend the beautiful Gîtes des Remparts.
Restaurants in Riquewihr: where to eat?
Here are three restaurant addresses in Riquewihr that I like:
- To taste the green sauerkraut: The Dolder.
- For a quality traditional Alsatian restaurant: La Grappe d’Or
- For a more upscale French/Fusion restaurant: Le Trotthus
Visit Riquewihr or Ribeauvillé?
This is a question that often comes up, and to which I bring the following answer: both! The two villages are only 5km apart and you can easily visit both in one day, why not even in one afternoon.
Both villages are in my opinion really beautiful, but Riquewihr is a bit more touristic while Ribeauvillé has kept a real local life. But both are definitely worth a visit in my opinion!
Brief history of the village of Riquewihr
The origins of Riquewihr go back to Roman history. The remains of a wall, a tower, as well as an observation tower prove that a road passed through there, while the cultivation of the vine assumes that a fortified city already existed. Property of the Dukes of Alsace, Riquewihr is mentioned for the first time in 1049. The village then passed into the hands of robber lords, the noble family of Reichenstein. To restore order, Rodolphe de Habsbourg besieged and destroyed the Reichenstein castle, then raised the village to the status of a town, thus opening the first period of prosperity of Riquewihr.
In 1292, the city became a fortress with the Horbourg family, who had moats and ramparts built. Besieged, taken and plundered during the Thirty Years’ War, the city was nevertheless restored and consolidated in the 17th century. Because of its geographical location, Riquewihr miraculously escaped the bombings of the Second World War, allowing it to preserve its formidable heritage.
- Walk around the lovely pedestrian center
- Very beautiful half-timbered houses
- Location in the heart of the vineyard
I liked less
- Stores often very touristy
- It can be quite crowded in season
Riquewihr is located in:
- 16 km from Colmar (about 30 minutes)
- 55 km from Mulhouse (about 55 minutes)
- 72 km from Strasbourg (about 1 hour)