Tourism in Alsace
With its characteristic distinctiveness and its time-old traditions at the crossroads of France, Germany and Switzerland, Alsace is a region sure to be mentioned whenever the French talk about their gastronomy, art, history and culture. This is a land of adventure, a land of color and warmth, with a surprise around every corner.
At 190 km long and 50 km wide, Alsace spans two départements: the Lower Rhine (Bas Rhin) to the north and the Upper Rhine (Haut Rhin) to the south.
- Strasbourg, the European capital
- Colmar, the main center for Alsatian wines
- Mulhouse, Museums capital
- Surface area: 8280 km²
- From north to south: 190 km, making Alsace the smallest region in France
- Population: 1.7 million inhabitants
The Alsatian climate is semi-continental. The winters are hard and the summers are very warm. Rainfall is low (Colmar is the "driest town in France"), with the Vosges shielding the region from extreme weather conditions.
Alsace... the Heart of Europe
In Alsace, you'll discover ruined castles and cosmopolitan cities... Taste wine from centuries-old vineyards and savor gourmet cuisine... Explore Gothic churches and friendly, half-timbered villages. Long considered a microcosm of Europe, Alsace has a unique French and German heritage that is evident in its food, folklore and festivities.
View Alsace's lush foothills and valleys from a "hot air balloon." Venture into Alsace's many enchanting "natural parks". Watch the sun set over the Vosges mountains. Take a leisurely tour through the "Routes des Vins", or historic wine roads.
No trip to Alsace would be complete without a walking tour of historic "Strasbourg", home of the majestic "Cathedral Notre Dame" and "La Petite France", the oldest and most beautifully preserved area of the city. And don't miss the beautiful town of "Colmar", with its medieval architecture, sculptured gables and fairytale houses. For car afficionados, the "Schlumpf Car Collection" at the "National Car Museum" is a must-see. And be sure to make time for the "Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle", one of the most popular attractions in Alsace, renowned for its sheer size and medieval magnificence, this towering fortress offers some of the most breathtaking views in all of Alsace.
Food in Alsace
Alsace, the region with the most gastronomic stars, has a wealth of great chefs, talented and experienced in local dishes as well as those with a modern twist. The secret ingredients to their celebrity-status come from drawing their inspiration from a vast array of resources in the region.
Restaurants in the region offer traditional and refined cooking combined with cozy atmospheres that are a perfect way to celebrate joie de vivre.
For starters, spoil yourself with a local special, foie gras, while sipping a Grand Cru selection from a local vineyard. If you are a traditionalist and in search for a flavourfull, hearty dish, be sure to ask for a fish or beef version of Beackaoeffa. Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with a taste of Kougelhopf, a traditional Alsatian cake, and be sure to sample one of the many unforgettable cheeses. For instance, Munster, also known as the King of Cheese, may date back to a 9th century process, but its pleasures can be enjoyed at the end of any meal or as a picnic snack on the Route des Vins any time in the present.
Alsace, the Land of Fine Wines...
At the foot of the wooded slopes of the Vosges, overlooked by mysterious chateaux, the Alsatian wine producing villages with their outer walls, their friendly inns with ancient historical signs and their inimitable houses grouped around the church spire never fail to seduce those taking the time to stop off here. The Alsatian wine route snakes its way through the region from the north to the south across the vineyard covered hills, for more than 170 km. Along the way, wine trails, winstubs and friendly wine merchants (where you can taste some of the region’s treasures) invite you to discover the seven Alsatian grape varieties, embodying the taste and fragrances of the land which gave birth to them. Hiking or cycling here also offers a wonderful opportunity to soak up the region’s history, traditions or mysteries.
Seven traditionnal grape varieties : This is also the only French wine region to continue the age-old tradition of the grape varieties. Numbering seven in total, they have given their names to the area’s wines, which must always be bottled in their region of origin: Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Muscat d'Alsace, Sylvaner and Gewurztraminer.
From castles to cathedrals, wineries to walking tours, there's so much to experience in an Alsace adventure that you'll want to allow plenty of time to savor it all. For more information: Alsace Tourist Board and ABC France.
Courtesy of CRT Alsace, © CRT Alsace.