Munster Valley – 12 things to do

vallee-munster-schupferen

Ah, the Valley of Munster! This little corner of paradise nestled in the mountains of the Alsatian Vosges is a veritable jewel of nature where I love to spend my weekends. In this blog post, I invite you to explore the many facets of the Munster Valley: hiking in lush green landscapes, cultural experiences and, of course, a foray into the tasty world of Alsatian gastronomy, with the famous Munster cheese in the spotlight.

LaurĂšne
LaurĂšne
LaurĂšne 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. Hiking on marked trails

In Alsace, we’re fortunate to have the Club Vosgien, whose volunteers mark the trails to the delight of hiking enthusiasts! With over 400km of trails, the Munster Valley is a walking paradise: it’s easy to see why! To find ideas for itineraries, visit Visorando, for example, or On Piste, which offers trail/snowshoe routes that can also be walked!

For an easy hike, I tested the On Piste 3 circuit departing from Le Tanetwhich offers a lovely loop starting from the Ferme aux Rennes (an opportunity to visit it before or after the walk) and passes through theAuberge du Schupferen where you can stop for a bite to eat (and admire the view). It’s not long (4.5km and 160m ascent) and not particularly difficult, so you can plan to do it easily, especially with the family. Of course, you can also extend the hike a little by going as far as Lac Vert, for example.

For something a little more sporty, LĂ©a tried out the beautiful Hilsenfirst and Sidi Brahim hikes. The famous Sentier des Roches is also an option, but beware: it’s a dangerous trail that should only be done in the right season, when the weather conditions are right, if you’re well equipped and only if you’re used to walking! This trail is well known, but there are actually a thousand other options, so don’t insist on doing this one at all costs, as you’ll be much safer on the others…

rando-foret-vosges

2. Trail running

If you like running in nature, the VallĂ©e de Munster has a On Piste trail station . As a trail enthusiast, I appreciate finding such resorts because they have the advantage of offering marked trails adapted to trail running and of varying levels. Of course, you can always plan your own itinerary, but you have to admit that the convenience of selecting an itinerary on the app (which is free and can be downloaded here) and then be guided (via the app or GPX track) along a route that has been selected because it’s fun and enjoyable!

In the VallĂ©e de Munster, I tested the On Piste 11 circuit from Le Gaschney, which is a real favorite. The route is 7.5km long, with 250m of positive ascent, which I lengthened a little by making a mini-detour to the Schiessrothried lakeside (I really recommend you do the same) and then, at the end of the route, by climbing up to Le Schallern restaurant. We pass over it during the tour (at which point I thought “wow, what a terrace!”)… So having lunch there after your outing is a great reward, especially as the view is magnificent, the food very good and the staff friendly!

I also did the On Piste 3 circuit from Schnepfenried (which is normally a snowshoe circuit): it’s only 3km long, but the idea was to make a mini night outing for fun… That said, I’d advise you to do it on foot, as the viewpoints are great (yes, even at night I got a glimpse!).

3. Cycling and mountain biking

The Munster Valley is a great place for cycling and mountain biking. Several loops at different levels are offered by the Tourist Office, making the experience accessible to all.

I tested the “Between wine and cheese” itinerary, which starts in Turckheim, passes through Munster and returns to Turckheim. A beautiful loop that takes in a good part of the valley (at least in its lower reaches) and offers a variety of landscapes between mountains, villages and vineyards (yes!) as well as pleasant gourmet breaks.

4. Enjoy a Forest bath

For an activity that’s both active and relaxing, how about a “Forest bath and sophrology” outing? This is what sophrologist Carole Michel proposes in the VallĂ©e de Munster. I’ve tried one of these outings and can guarantee that you’ll come away feeling relaxed, disconnected and with the pleasant sensation of having taken a breath of fresh air in the trees. Carole proposes several different moments during the activity, allowing you to activate your 5 senses and appreciate different landscapes. I really enjoyed it!

5. Take a break in a restaurant with a view

The Munster Valley is home to numerous restaurants located at altitude, where it’s a good idea to take a break for lunch or a snack, either during the hike (in which case, I advise you not to eat too much to be able to set off again afterwards!) or at the end of the hike.

From farm inns and traditional inns to more modern restaurants, there’s something for everyone. What do they have in common? Generally serving good Alsatian food and offering a beautiful panorama of the Vosges mountains… To be able to have a drink on the terrace, have lunch or eat a blueberry tart with a view of the blue line of the Vosges mountains, that’s just great! You’ll find some good addresses at the end of this article.

6. Visit a Munster cheese dairy

Wouldn’t it be a shame to visit the VallĂ©e de Munster without discovering the secrets behind the production of the famous Munster cheese? I recommend a visit to the Ferme du Versant du Soleil cheese dairy in Hohrod, which offers an authentic experience at a more than affordable price.

Guided by the farmer, you’ll discover the steps involved in making Munster cheese, as well as other local varieties such as Barikass. Tastings are an integral part of the visit, offering a chance to appreciate these artisanal and local cheeses….and buy a few to take home as a souvenir from Alsace!

What’s more, the farm is home to a variety of animals, making it a particularly enjoyable visit for families. A wonderful immersion in the region’s cheese-making tradition. For more details, you can read the full article about my visit here.

7. Wine tasting

Wine tasting? But we’re not on the Alsace Wine Route! You’re right, but there are also vineyards in the Munster Valley, in Wihr-au-Val to be precise. Slopes rising to an altitude of 550m make this a unique terroir, which you can discover by taking part in a visit and tasting at Domaine Schoenheitz. Not to be missed by gourmets!

wine-schoenheitz-alsace

8. Taste a valley pie in a farmhouse inn

An Alsatian specialty not to be missed in the Munster Valley is the “tourte de la vallĂ©e”, traditionally eaten in a local farmhouse inn. Tourte de la vallĂ©e de Munster, also known as tourte vigneronne, is a meat pie that’s truly a local classic, especially in the mountains.

It’s made with shortcrust pastry for the base, puff pastry for the top and a huge layer of richly flavored pork. Enjoyed with a salad, it is often served as an appetizer, but don’t be fooled, it can also be used as a main course, it’s a very rich recipe😉

tourte de la vallée-wistub brenner-colmar

9. Visit Reindeer Farm with your family

La Ferme aux Rennes, part of the Auberge du Schantzwasen in Stosswihr, is one of Alsace’s must-see family attractions. The farm is open to visitors almost all year round, and offers the chance to observe a herd of some thirty reindeer in a natural setting (the reindeer roam freely over 6 hectares), but also to learn more about their habitat, lifestyle and behavior thanks to educational panels set up along the trail.

10. Visit Soultzbach-les-Bains

This is a tiny village, but it’s one of my favorites! Far from the tourist circuit, Soultzbach-les-Bains is a little gem: it’s the smallest medieval town in Alsace, and boasts some magnificent half-timbered houses. Well worth the detour!

11. Visit the Linge Memorial

Located high above Orbey, between the Munster and Kaysersberg valleys, the Linge Memorial is an important place of remembrance in Alsace. It commemorates the 1915 Battle of the Linge, a deadly confrontation in the First World War. The site includes a particularly well-preserved battlefield and a museum with detailed exhibits. The tour takes visitors through the trenches of the battlefield, where they can see historical objects, weapons and uniforms from the period. A moving and interesting visit.

12. Climbing with Form’aventure

The accrobranche at Form Aventure is a favorite activity for families, groups of friends… or just thrill-seekers in general! I personally tested it with a friend and had a lot of fun (and a challenge!).

Located in Schnepfenried, this forest adventure park, suitable for all ages and levels, offers a variety of routes to explore the forest in a fun and dynamic way. With safe, well-designed routes, participants can navigate between the trees on zip lines, monkey bridges and other obstacles, while enjoying the beautiful natural setting offered by the forest and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It’s a fun and active way to enjoy nature, and one that children generally love!

And if it snowed?

In the past, snow was always present in winter in the Vosges Mountains, but unfortunately this is no longer the case due to global warming… So don’t count on it or you’ll be disappointed, but it’s also possible to be pleasantly surprised and have the chance to discover the snow-covered Vosges landscape! If that’s the case, there’s no shortage of activities either. Depending on the snow conditions, you may be able to do:

  • snowshoeing: marked trails are offered by On Piste from Le Tanet, Le Gaschney and Le Schnepf
  • downhill skiing at one of the three resorts in the Munster Valley (Schnepfenried, Gaschney or Tanet)
  • cross-country skiing in the previous resorts, as well as the Trois Fours resort.
  • introduction to ski touring: marked trails are offered by On piste from the Gaschney resort
  • dog sledding with Youk Valley at Schnepfenried

This article was written as part of a paid collaboration with On Piste and Vallée de Munster Tourisme . I have my writing freedom. This article contains affiliate links.