Visit Alsace – My TOP 35 things to do, see and taste

Updated on 2024-04-25
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What to do and what to visit in Alsace? I've put together a list of places to visit and things to experience when visiting Alsace. These are my favorite activities or sites, the ones I immediately think of when people ask me for my ideas for visiting Alsace. Follow the guide, and off you go!

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!

1. Road-trip along the Alsace Wine Route

The Alsace Wine Route is really a must in Alsace. The oldest wine road in France winds its way through the vineyards and across the slopes of the Vosges mountains, passing through villages, each more charming than the last, and offering magnificent views.

Impossible to get bored of it, personally I still marvel every time I pass by (I’ve been through it many times!). For what I think is an even more pleasant (and greener) experience, don’t hesitate to cycle the Alsace Wine Route!

2. Stroll through Alsace’s villages

You will see it quickly if you come to visit Alsace, the region is very flowery! When spring comes, geraniums and other plants overflow from the window boxes and majestically adorn the facades of the magnificent half-timbered houses. Stroll in the alleys of small towns of Alsace like Obernaior villages like Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg (to name only the most famous) is a joy. But above all, don’t hesitate to go and see other villages than these: they are the most touristic, they are very beautiful but there are a lot of very beautiful villages, and you will also be more quiet…

3. Visit a winemaker

It is impossible to come to Alsace without visiting a cellar, tasting good Alsatian wine and especially, taking the time to discuss with the winemakers! Winemakers are often passionate people who love their job and, of course, have a lot of knowledge. What better way to learn about the culture of the region? It would be a shame to miss a nice meeting around a glass of crémant, riesling, gewuztraminer or pinot noir, no?

4. Visit Strasbourg

Strasbourg is a dynamic city that is very pleasant to visit. Of course, the Petite France and the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Strasbourg are not to be missed, but the city has much more to offer. You can walk through its charming streets and enjoy its lively atmosphere: stores, bars, restaurants… The people of Strasbourg like to go out and the city does not lack animations! Visit my dedicated articles to find out more.

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5. Discover Colmar

Colmar is Alsace’s little postcard: you can hardly get more charming! It is very pleasant to walk there (especially for a romantic weekend!) and essential to make a small tour in a boat in the Little Venice. Its only small flaw: it is very quiet, do not expect crazy parties! 😉

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6. Visit the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar

The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar is a superb museum acclaimed by art critics around the world. It must be said that it hosts a collection of impressive wealth for such a small city, and that the building is beautiful! An ideal place for art lovers…

7. Discover Mulhouse

Mulhouse is a little bit the unloved city of Alsace. This is a big mistake, in my opinion. It may not have the charm of Colmar but it has many other assets. It is an extremely dynamic and creative city with an impressive industrial past that has managed to reinvent itself. Don’t miss a visit to one of the many museums in Mulhouse such as the Cité de l’Automobile, the Cité du Train or the Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes.

8. Treat yourself in a winstub

Alsatian gastronomy is rich and tasty. Not very light on the other hand, especially since, as you’ll see, portions are generous in Alsace, but it would be a shame not to enjoy them at least once during your stay. Sauerkraut or other Alsatian specialities there’s plenty to choose from… The important thing is to choose your restaurant carefully so that you can also enjoy the traditional warm atmosphere of a real Alsatian winstub (the local brasserie). Here are some of the best places to go for a treat.

9. Conquer the castles of Alsace

Alsace has many castles. Many of them are in ruins but, good news, many of them are also very well preserved! The most famous and the most impressive is without any doubt the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg which is really a must-see in Alsace, but other castles are also interesting, like the Castle of Haut-Barr, the Castle of Hohlandsbourg, Fleckenstein, Lichtenberg, etc. Not to mention the ruined castles that are also great places to walk.

10. The Route des Crêtes

The Route des Crêtes is the road on the crests of the Vosges, between Sainte-Marie aux Mines and Cernay. It can be explored on foot, by car or by bike, and is also accessible in summer thanks to the Crêtes shuttle. In any case, it is magnificent and offers beautiful panoramic views of the Vosges peaks! Please note that the Route des Crêtes is totally closed in winter.

11. Explore Mont Sainte-Odile

The Mount Sainte-Odile is an old abbey erected in the Vosges, on the heights of Obernai. It is a magnificent place, very peaceful and offering a superb view on the plain of Alsace, the Black Forest and the Vosges mountains. An ideal place to recharge your batteries…

12. Visit the Ecomusée d’Alsace

The Ecomuseum of Alsace is an atypical museum: it is an open-air museum, conceived as a big village in which one walks. It includes authentic half-timbered houses saved from destruction (Alsatian houses have the particularity of being able to be dismantled: the houses of the ecomuseum were therefore dismantled and transported here in order to preserve the heritage) and many animations. The program is impressive and appealing for young and old: I love this place! Its visit is one of the best ways to dive into the Alsatian culture.

13. Enjoy a flammekueche (flambé tart)

You’ll see, the tarte flambée is everywhere in Alsace! But beware, they are often pale frozen counterfeits of the real flammekueche. Alsatians will tell you that to avoid being mistaken, you must go to the villages outside the cities. The best place to go is Kochersberg, the birthplace of tarte flambée, where you’ll find plenty of good restaurants to sample it, but you’ll also find good ones elsewhere in Alsace. Here are my good addresses.

14. Hiking in the Vosges

In Alsace, we are lucky to have mountains: the Vosges! Nothing to do with the high pointed peaks of the Alps, but the Vosges are nice mountains with forests that are very pleasant to walk, ride or ride a horse. There’s no shortage of hiking trails, signposted by the Club Vosgien: in the Hautes-Vosges, Vosges du Nord or Alsatian Jura, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to ideas for walks, and there are often castles to discover along the way!

15. Eat a marcaire meal at a farm inn

After the effort, the comfort… A good table is never far away in Alsace! 😉 In spring and summer, the farm inns of the Vosges open their doors and welcome hikers (or others).

The marcaire meal is one of the great classics of the farmhouse, and includes a winegrower’s pieThen roïgabrageldi (potatoes in strips, onions and butter, all cooked slowly in a cast iron pot) served with smoked pork (collar or chuck for example) and finally a dessert, traditionally Siesskass (fresh cheese of the day with sugar and kirsch) or a homemade pie.

16. Take your children to visit wildlife parks

Alsace has some really nice animal parks to visit with your family: the Monkey Mountain and its free roaming Barbary macaques, the Eagles’ Volley and its impressive birds of prey or the Naturoparc which has been at the initiative of the protection of storks, otters and hamsters of Alsace. Your kids (and yourself) should love it!

17. Play jump borders

One of the things I love about Alsace? Its location in the heart of Europe, which allows easy access to many countries. This is of course particularly true for Germany and Switzerland. You only need to take one of the bridges over the Rhine to cross into Germany, and this can be done easily by car, bicycle, foot or even by streetcar in Strasbourg! On the Swiss side, the border is south of Alsace and it is easy to get to the beautiful city of Basel, for example, during a stay in Alsace. I love this mix of cultures!

18. A family trip to an amusement park

Alsace has a number of theme parks, including the Parc du Petit Prince. But above all, it is located just a stone’s throw from the famous Europapark located in Germany and elected many times best amusement park in Europe and even in the world! Yes, just that!

19. Visit Alsace’s memorial sites

Alsace has had a rather complex history: its proximity to Germany made it one of the strategic locations for the two World Wars, the scars of which remain. To dive into this painful part of history through the tourism of memory is very useful in my opinion: to know is the way to understand and thus not to reproduce! Among the most visited places of remembrance, we can mention the former concentration camp of Struthof, the Memorial of Alsace-Moselle, l’Hartmannswillerkopf and the Linge Memorial Museum.

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20. Discover the biodiversity of the Ried d’Alsace

The Ried d’Alsace is a natural region located in the plain of Alsace. It is an area often shunned by visitors because it is less “typical” of the image of Alsace that we often have in mind, with half-timbered houses and vineyards. It is however a corner which also presents a great interest and which I like very much, for its calm and its incredible biodiversity. If you love nature, go for it!

21. Cycling on Alsace’s cycle paths

Did you know that Alsace is one of the areas in France with the largest network of bicycle paths? It would be a real shame not to take advantage of it, asAlsace by bike is a real treat!

22. Visit a microbrewery

We love beer in Alsace and the region has many microbreweries. Some breweries are open to the public, provided you book a visit in advance. Another great opportunity to meet a passionate person who will talk to you about his job!

23. Lounging in a spa

Want to bubble? We’re fortunate to have a number of top-quality spas in Alsace, my favorite being the spa de la Cheneaudière. Don’t hesitate to go and have a look at Germany, there are beautiful spas at very affordable prices (just don’t be bothered by the naturist areas, very common in Germany).

24. A taste of Alsatian sweets

Kougelhopf, gingerbread,bredele, cottage cheese pie, chestnut torch… There is no shortage of sweets in Alsace! Don’t hesitate to try these delicious sweet specialties for breakfast, snack or dessert!

25. Discover Northern Alsace

The north of Alsace is often shunned by tourists because it is less known. However, it is full of riches! Go for a walk in the Parc Naturel Régional des Vosges du Nord, stroll through the magnificent Wissembourg, take a tour of the villages ofHunspach and Seebach, go and see the amazing troglodyte houses of Graufthal, visit the castle of Lichtenberg, walk in the huge forest of Haguenau and visit the potters and the glass sites I mention below.

26. Watch Alsatian potters at work

The potteries of Alsace are famous for their quality. It is possible to admire the work of the potters and, of course, to shop directly in the two potters’ villages, Soufflenheim (which produces clay pottery, for firing) and Betschdorf (which produces stoneware pottery, for conservation). Be careful, if you buy them elsewhere, especially in very touristy villages, there are many counterfeits!

27. Discover the art of glass and crystal

The northwestern part of Alsace has a rich history in the field of glass and crystal making. There are still a few sites in activity in this area between Alsace and Lorraine. It is for example where the Lalique factory is located (which cannot be visited but where you can visit the beautiful Lalique museum), the Cristallerie saint-Louis or the International Center of Glass Art in Meisenthal. Really interesting visits!

28. Explore off the beaten track

Tourists in Alsace are generally concentrated in the same area, between Colmar and Strasbourg. If you like to go off the beaten track, I invite you to go and see other parts of Alsace, which are also very nice. These include the north of Alsace, which I’ve just mentioned, but also the pretty hills of the Sundgau (to the south), the delightful town of Sélestat, the Ried, and the northern and southern parts of the Alsace Wine Route (Couronne d’or vineyards, for example).

29. Discover Alsace’s mining history

Ok, it may not be a must-see, but it is unusual and super interesting! Alsace has in the past exploited potash and silver mines. You can follow in the footsteps of this mining history by visiting the Carreau Rodolphe or former silver mines .

30. Bringing back memories of Alsace

Fortunately, the region still counts a good number of craftsmen making objects with talent and love. What if you bought your souvenirs from Alsace instead of bringing back a stuffed stork made in China? 😉

31. Alsace without a car

We don’t always realize it, but it’s perfectly possible to visit Alsace without a car! In particular, we are fortunate to have a good rail network in the region. Of course, we won’t be able to do everything, but there is already plenty to do. Here’s a list of ideas for visits and activities to do without a car, as well as an entire weekend program.

32. Bathing in summer!

Ok, we don’t have the sea in Alsace… It’s true, but fortunately we have mountain lakes and gravel pits! There is nothing like diving into the water when the summer heat invades the region…I haven’t (yet!) listed them all but here are for example the swimming places around Strasbourg and, in the south of Alsace, the lake of Kruth.

33. In December, marvel at the Christmas markets

The Christmas markets in Alsace are certainly THE most famous thing. It must be said that this is a real tradition, which has absolutely nothing to do with the purely commercial side of the Christmas markets that have been flourishing for several years around the world. Of course, it is also commercial, but overall the quality and craftsmanship are still very well honored; As for the magical atmosphere of Alsatian cities and villages richly decorated for Christmas … I think you have to have experienced it once in your life, honestly!

34. In winter, explore the Vosges

Let’s be honest, winter isn’t a very cheerful time to visit Alsace: it’s gray, foggy, cold and pretty dreary. Everything but the Vosges! There is nothing like a little trip to the mountains, easily accessible from the plain, to cheer up! The sun often shines here, and you can sometimes enjoy the pleasures of the snow: downhill or cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding… All you have to do is choose! 😉 As a bonus, there are plenty of other fun things to do this season!

35. In March, attend a carnival

The carnival is a real tradition in Alsace, just like in Germany or in Basel (Switzerland). The number of carnivals organized between February and March is really impressive! I can for example advise you to go and see the one in Mulhouse, in Sélestat or Rosheim to get into the atmosphere (but there are many others!).

Bonus – Pronounce the names of Alsatian villages!

Here is a last experience to live in Alsace: pronounce the names of the villages. Yes, I know, it’s not easy at first, but I promise you that you will get used to it! Come on, a little training before your vacations to get you in the bath: Scharrachbergheim, Oberschaeffolsheim, Krautergerstheim, Voegtlinshoffen, Helfrantzkirch… Oh, the sweet melody 😉