One of the most picturesque regions of France, Alsace is also one of the most cycle-friendly. Designated bike paths and quiet country backroads provide a perfect passage along the Rhine, passing Hansel and Gretel style houses overlooked by imposing medieval castles. There is plenty of opportunity to explore the cobblestone streets of quaint villages and marvel at the impressive Romanesque and Baroque churches. Gastronomic delights are plentiful in this corner of France and you can sample some of the Alsace’s finest produce as you travel through undulating farmland, orchards and vineyards. The unusual and stunning ‘balloons’ or round topped hills provide beautiful vistas of the Alsatian region. This itinerary soaks up the relaxed and jovial atmosphere of what can only be described as a wine-lovers’ wonderland.
- Cycling through the heart of the Alsatian vineyards
- Exploring the authentic villages which are full of historical intrigue
- Experiencing the timelessness of the Vosges landscape
- Enjoying the culinary specialties and sampling some of the many excellent wines in local ‘caves’
Day 1: Arrival in Strasbourg
Arrive in the University and port town of Strasbourg and your hotel. There is free time to explore the town (*see below). Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and home to some great museums which are worth visiting. The old city is dominated by the Cathedral made out of pink sandstone from the Vosges. There are many interesting narrow streets where you can find some interesting churches, restaurants and shops and the city has a number of covered bridges which cross the Ill River. *Important: for Saturday arrivals, the welcome meeting and bike collection is at 3.30-4.30pm on day 1 Saturday (and closed on Sunday), at a location near the main train station. If you are planning to arrive late please let us know and we will arrange for your travel documents and rental bike to be delivered to your hotel. For Thursday arrivals, bike collection is on Friday morning at 8.30-9.30am and your luggage needs to be ready for transfer before you attend the welcome meeting and bike handover.
Day 2: Cycle along the canal de la Bruche to Obernai (40km/25mi)
The Canal de la Bruche was once a transport route for wine from the wine-growing areas to the capital. Today the cycle path runs along this canal from Strasbourg to Molsheim, along the wine route. It continues past the 12th century Romanesque church at Rosheim to Obernai. Wine sampling is the theme of the day interspersed with some great cycling in the shadow of the Vosges. Overnight Obernai region. Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 75km. Route notes – a short and easy stage allowing you to spend time in Strasbourg before you set out. A small climb from Rosheim to Obernai but otherwise flat.
Day 3: Cycle to Riquewihr surrounds (50km/31mi)
The cycle path runs through the famous vineyards and their wine-growing villages, which are among the most beautiful in Alsace: Barr, Andlau, Itterswiller, Dambach-la-Ville and Bergheim or Ribeauville. The route takes you past these villages with opportunities to sample wines, as you head towards the Middle Ages town of Riquewihr. Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 85km. Route Notes – 2 hard climbs, route mainly on dedicated cycle paths through vineyards.
Day 4: Continue through charming wine villages to Colmar (39km/24mi)
Continue your journey on the Wine Route, at the foot of the Vosges Mountains. Today you will discover charming villages famous for the region’s great wines. Among them, Eguisheim and Kaysersberg were each recently voted “Favourite Village of the French”. You will stop in Colmar, capital of Alsace wines. Do not miss a walk in its well-preserved historic centre and visit the Unterlinden Museum, which houses the Issenheim Altarpiece, a masterpiece of Western art. Colmar is the birthplace of F.A. Bartholdi famous for the Statue of Liberty of New York (1866). Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 82km. Route Notes – a hilly route with a few hard but short climbs (2 of 1km/0.6mi each, 1 of 500m from Wintzenheim to Wettolsheim). 1.5km/1mi of the route is on a good dirt road
Day 5: Rest day Colmar, or ride to Guebwiller or Mulhouse (50-78km/31-48mi), return by train
Today you can enjoy a rest day, exploring the pretty town of Colmar, or if you’re feeling energetic you can explore the surrounding area by bike. From Colmar you head south along the Alsace Wine Route, passing its typical villages. From Guebwiller, cycle to Bollwiller and take the train or continue to Ungersheim, until the Ecomusee d’Alsace. From there, the cycle path guides you directly to Mulhouse. Return to Colmar by train. (Train ticket costs are not included). Route Notes – little hilly until Guebwiller, then flat terrain to either Bollwiller or Mulhouse. Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 76km/47mi
Day 6: Cycle to Mulhouse and surrounds (65km/41mi)
Today you head east to Neuf-Brisach, then continue towards the south to reach the small village of Ottmarsheim with its 12th century church. Next you enter the Hardt’s forest then continue cycling along the Rhone-Rhine canal to reach Mulhouse. After enjoying the historic town centre of Mulhouse, you have a choice of numerous museums to visit this afternoon. Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 111km. Route Notes – flat route mainly on dedicated cycle paths, approx 7km on secondary roads)
Day 7: Continue along the Rhone-Rhine canal to Basel (53km/33mi)
Continue to follow the Rhone-Rhine Canal by the EuroVelo route 6 to Illfurth then cross the peaceful Sundgau region in the south of Alsace, characterised by its beautiful half-timbered houses. The city of Basel is located where the borders of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Although the main city is in Switzerland, some of the suburbs are in France and Germany. With a large number of theatres and museums (including the world renowned Fine Arts Museum), the city is a centre of culture. Optional longer cycle route (same night stop) – 82km. Route Notes – flat or gently undulating (30km/18.5mi), largely on cycle paths but also on low traffic roads.
Day 8: Trip concludes
Trip concludes in Basel after breakfast. There are regular direct trains (1hr 20mins travel time) if you need to return to Strasbourg (fare not included).
- 7 breakfasts – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, cheese, occasionally eggs and meats, coffee, tea and juices.
- 7 nights in 3 and 4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
- Luggage transfer
- 21 speed rental bike, equipped with panniers, pump, anti-theft device & repair kit (electric bike available on request – supplement applies). Option to do longer cycle route between each town of between 75-111km per day – standard bikes may be used, or road bikes (subject to availability – supplement applies) – advance reservation required. Road Bike routebook will be provided for the longer cycle route (per room).
- Welcome briefing day 1 (except on public holidays)
- Information pack including route notes & maps per room booked – GPS data available on request.
- Emergency hotline
- Bike insurance
UTX – ABB
Images Courtesy of UTracks