For me Alsace is one of the most beautiful regions in Eastern France. That delicate combination of colourful facades and charming houses decorated with geraniums, when drawing up this portrait of an authenticity. It is known for its Christmas markets, Medieval castles, its Wine road - La route des Vins d’Alsace, Vignobles & Découvertes the proximity to Germany and Switzerland makes it even more attractive, to allow yourself to be carried away by the idyllic charm of this delightful region.
Good food it is something of an institution in Alsace, one of the France’s leading gastronomic regions. Popular for its high-quality gastronomy with dishes in local sauces, Charcuterie, Sauerkraut, Flammekueche (tarte flambée), Coq au Riesling, Kougelhopf, Pretzels (traditional one coated with coarse salt), Munster cheese.
How to get there? https://www.visit.alsace/en/ By plane will be the quickest option-1h30min: Euroairport (Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport) is the airport of Basel, Mulhouse and Freiburg. It is located in the South of Alsace at the border between Switzerland and Germany. From there you can get a bus/train, which takes 45 minutes to the nearest city Colmar.
First thing before your visit I would recommend having a look at the Tourist office to see the main attractions. For wine producers visits try https://www.ruedesvignerons.com/en/ Colmar is very charming and picturesque little town, Its charm inspires lovers and its canals are ideal for the sweetest declarations, like a French-style Little Venice, something out of a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, every narrow lane is a delight to behold. https://www.visit.alsace/en/colmar/favourite-accommodations-in-colmar/
https://www.airbnb.co.uk/alsace-france/stays If you are only for the weekend there are plenty of options to spend wonderful time in Colmar (The Little Venice -La Petite Venise,La Maison Pfister, more than 5 museums especially the Auguste Bartoldi Museum> Auguste created the famous Statue of Liberty ,Unterlinden museum to see the altarpiece of Issenheim
L'arpège, La Petite Venise, Brasserie des Tanneurs, actually they are plenty in the centre with delicious local specialities, you should try the tarte flambée, coq au riesling, choucroute, baeckeoffe to mention few of their specialities, complimented with the famous Alsatian wines! Try Colmar La Krutenau for the best tartes flambeés" https://www.visit.alsace/en/restaurants/colmar
If I have to choose what is the best time to visit will be a difficult decision to make, because every season in Alsace is wonderful and magnificent. Imagine all of those colorful, flowery half-timbered ,like from the fairy-tale houses/ maisons de colombages/, cobblestones streets and picturesques views.
From January to March: It is an ideal time to ski either cross country or alpine or hike with snow shoes or to go dog sledding. The landscapes of the Vosges are wonderful with its small family friendly resorts. They are much more affordable than in the Alps and the winter food is delicious.
From April to June: Spring is splendid in Alsace. Villages are full of flowers. Vineyards are green again and the weather is not too hot. An ideal time to come to Alsace! July and August: It is the high tourist season. There are more people but it is beautiful. September and October: It is harvest time ! The vineyard turn golden. The colours are fabulous. The temperature is still warm. A very good time to visit. End of November and December: It is the time of the famous Christmas Markets. It is high season again. Alsace is magic around Christmas time . There are markets everywhere in cities and villages There are beautiful decoration in every house. The atmosphere is fabulous the houses and the villages are lit up.. Did I mention every season is suitable for a voyage of discovery..? 😊
Alsace Wine route has everything you could wish for a holiday, to get lost in the vineyards with unbelievably diversity of styles, range of grape varieties with exceptional terroirs. https://www.wineroute.alsace/wine-cellar-ideas/
Muscat for aperitif, Riesling with fish and shellfish, Pinot Gris with white meat and Gewurtztraminer with cheese and dessert. From the driest and most distinctive to the most powerful and mellow, the Wines of Alsace make for astonishing pairings with all sorts of food. The best option is to book directly with the wine producers. I would recommend to visit Maison Trimbach in Ribeauvillé, just around 37 minutes from Colmar by bus (you need to check the buses in advance, next to the train station) making an appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org
Also Domaine Famille Hugel in Riquewirh, they are based in the centre of the village and most of the time you can visit them without appointment or contact them through their website by preference.
Just an interesting fact, when in Alsace, it is not impossible that you will hear the locals speaking a language similar to German, in fact they are speaking Alsatian. This dialect bears a strong imprint of the region’s history and the German occupation. Indeed, under the occupation during the Second World War, the use of Alsatian was the most popular language. However, after the liberation, the old connection between Alsace and the Nazi regime changed the relationship of the Alsatians to their culture. Alsatian became a taboo language and it was considered inappropriate to speak it.
One of the flagship cities of Alsace and Europe it is Strasbourg, 40 min by train from Colmar train station/, full of authenticity and originality. Its cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg/ it is a genuine treasure of the gothic art. La Petite France is the most picturesque district. In the past, fishermen, millers and tanners used to work there.
If you have the evening ahead of you, I suggest to start by going to dinner in a typical Alsatian restaurant , a winstub like the Tire-Bouchon or the Pont du Corbeau or Au Vieux Strasbourg/ few steps from the Cathedral three very good addresses that I recommend (remember to book ). You will be directly immersed in the Alsatian atmosphere : traditional decoration as well as Alsatian specialties await you there. Sauerkraut is the best known of them, but Alsatian gastronomy is not just about that! For example, try a baeckeoffe, a bibalaskes or a braised ham, choucroute with fish or meat… Be careful, plan to be hungry, the dishes are rich and the portions generous in Alsace!
Lastly, but not least one must see The Historical Cellar of Strasbourg..The world’s oldest cask of wine is kept in this cellar, the Alsatian white wine, dating from 1472.This amazing cuvee is still drinkable, but is very special privilege to be able to taste it-one that has only happened three times in five centuries.
Alsace is full of charm and has everything for an incredible journey,endless source of surprises and variety,promising a truly exceptional time!