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Walking in Alsace
Nestled on the borders of Switzerland and Germany and separated from the rest of France by the Vosges Mountains, Alsace is one of France’s best kept secrets. It is a world-renowned wine region and its famous “Route du Vin” (wine road) encompasses more than 100 wine producing villages between Strasbourg and Thann. As well as producing fantastic wines, Alsace is also France’s best beer brewing region and a centre of culinary excellence, so you know that your efforts will be well rewarded!
Our tours start in the midst of the Alsace vineyards near the superb city of Colmar, famed for its paintings and sculptures. Our tour will lead us through Grand Cru vineyards and flower decked wine villages with cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, straight from the pages of a Brothers Grimm’ fairy tale book. You will visit some of the most beautiful villages in France, such as Riquewhir, Turckheim and Eguisheim. You will also visit Glenn’s home village of Voegtlinshoffen, which he thinks produces the best white wines in France! You will certainly have the opportunity to taste them and make up your own mind. The forests and hills of the Vosges Mountains of Alsace are celebrated for their unspoilt beauty and numerous castle ruins. We will learn about some of their myths and legends that surround these as we proceed on our leisurely way.
At the end of each full day we can relax and enjoy the excellent Alsatian wines and cuisine. Alsace is a wonderful place for gourmets as it offers more Michelin star restaurants than any other region of France! Great wines, too. Forget any preconceived ideas about rieslings being sweet and nasty (perhaps you recall Black Tower or Blue Nun), as Alsace produces an excellent range of sophisticated white wines and some great champagne styles too. Some of these wines are so good that they never get the chance to leave Alsace and, of course, we will do all we can to maintain this tradition by tasting one or two...(or three or four!)
A fascinating aspect of Alsace is its intriguing complex history. Since 1870 Alsace has changed nationality five times. We will learn how this has influenced everyday life in Alsace. Even today, Alsatian newspapers have a German edition and many of the older generation speak Alsatian.
Come and discover this fantastic region the best way possible – on foot.
- Return standard class Eurostar and TGV from St Pancras or Ebbsfleet to Paris and onwards to Strasbourg
- Return transfers from Strasbourg train station
- Area maps and regional information
- New water bottle, filled daily with mineral water
- Daily morning briefings given by your guide
- Detailed itineraries specially prepared for your tour
- Daily energy snacks
- 6 nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast, throughout the tour, staying at local 2-star hotels which are very comfortable with private facilities
- 4 dinners of at least 3 courses as per the itinerary (drinks not included)
- One gourmet picnic
- Baggage transfers between each hotel on the tour's circuit
- One wine tasting
- Assistance of guides and a support vehicle
- Single room supplement
- Holiday insurance
- Upgrade to Standard Premier/First Class on Eurostar and TGV. On the Eurostar this constitutes upgraded seating and light meal with complimentary drink with upgraded seating only on the French railway leg.
- Porterage, gratuities and personal items such as drinks, meals, laundry, telephone calls
Overnight Gueberschwihr. Dinner Gueberschwihr.
Day 2: After breakfast we walk through vines and forest to the Chapel of Notre-Dame de Schauenberg built on prehistoric “Ley Lines” just like Stonehenge. Pick up the good vibrations from this mystical energy source. From here we cross the Strangenberg hill, home of many protected rare species of flowers as well as an ancient pagan chapel. We will discover the market town of Rouffach, its stork park (the stork is the emblem of Alsace), Witches’ Tower and discover why one of the towers of its cathedral is only half built? (18 km)
Challenging Option: The “Druid’s Table” Challenge. We must clamber up to these enchanted rocks where “Midnight Masses” may still take place! (+2 km)
Overnight Gueberschwihr. Dinner Gueberschwihr.
Day 3: We walk through the Grand Cru vineyards with splendid views of the Vosges Mountains, the Plain of Alsace and the Black Forest Mountains. We can stroll through the gardens of the ancient Abbey of Marbach. It is then downhill through the vines to one of Alsace’s closely guarded secrets, the magnificent village of Eguisheim, amazingly for such a small village, home to Pope Leon IX in the 11th century. At Glen’s home village of Voegtlinshoffen you can test for yourself if they really do produce the best white wines in the world. (15 km)
Challenging Option: The "Trois Châteaux" (3 Castle) loop. It is well worth the effort to climb up to these castle ruins if you can. They are great fun, have great views, usually there is no one else there and have a fascinating history. (+2 km)
Overnight Gueberschwihr. Dinner not included.
Day 4: A wonderful relaxing walk along the River Lauch into the centre of Colmar, a small city that is full of beauty, culture and history. The maze of cobbled streets give the impression that one is walking in a bygone age. Perfect picture postcard spots such as “Petite Venise” (Little Venice) and Grunwald’s 15th century masterpiece at the Unterlinden Museum are must-see sights. You are then transferred to Riquewihr, justifiably classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. (12 km)
Overnight and dinner in Riquewihr.
Day 5: We walk through the narrow cobblestone streets of Riquewihr, admiring the half-timbered buildings. Exiting by the Dolder tower, vineyard and forest paths lead us by 'Crow's Rock' to the grand castle overlooking the medieval town of Kayserberg, home of Albert Schweitzer. After exploring the town we stroll through vineyards to the picturesque village of Kientzheim, with its wine museum, before arriving back at Riquewihr. Here you may enjoy a wine tasting or a beer tasting at a local micro-brewery. (12km) Overnight in Riquewihr.
Challenging Option: Kaysersberg Castle Challenge. Run up the 113 steps to the top of the castle that dominates the town for some great views. (+1 km)
Day 6: Walk up through the famous Schoenenbourg Grand Cru vineyards for superlative views of Riquewihr. You then continue trough forest and vineyards to Hunawihr with its unique fortified church dating from the 8th century and learn why it has a segregated cemetery. Walking on to the medieval town of Ribeauvillé you may visit the factory outlet of Beauvillé, renowned for its high class printed fabrics. On returning to Riquewihr you will enjoy an end of tour dinner at a famous gourmet restaurant and overnight. (16 km)
Day 7: Our tour ends after breakfast after which we transfer to the station for return TGV and Eurostar to Paris and onwards to Ebbsfleet or St Pancras.
Walking Conditions: The paths and tracks are mainly undulating with some gentle hills. There is an average of 5 hours walking per day.
NB: Exact order of itinerary may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.
Relais du Vignoble, Gueberschwihr
A friendly family hotel set in the heart of the Alsace vineyards on the edge of the medieval village of Gueberschwihr. The hotel offers comfortable bedrooms with private bath, TV, telephone and hairdryer. Rooms have views of either the Vosges Mountains to the west or the Black Forest Mountains of Germany to the east.
La Couronne, Riquewhir
Set in the heart of the village of Riquewhir, one of the most beautiful villages in France, this family run hotel built in 1550 offers traditional Alsation hospitality, a stone spiral staircase and a labyrinth of corridors (Arno Claudel, the owner, assures us that the hotel isn't haunted!) Bedrooms offer traditional surroundings with private bath/shower, TV and telephone.
This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6761.
Very pleased overall and impressed that Glen "tweaked" the itinery a bit as the week progressed to suit comments made by group members. Would definitely do a similar holiday again.