Alsace is the smallest administrative region in France and is a place that is historically important to the country. It was inhabited by nomadic tribes in pre-historic times and because it borders Germany and Switzerland, it has seen every important European event, from the Roman age to the Second World War. The area has always been popular, with many picturesque French villages and towns dotting the landscape as well as tons of castles and churches. Despite numerous wars, many of Alsace’s oldest structures still remain like Chateau Haut-Koengisbourg and Bibliotheque Humaniste de Sélestat, one of the oldest libraries in the world. If your next vacation takes you France, make sure to explore the beautiful area of Alsace and check out some of these amazing things to do in Alsace, France.
Alsatian wine is some of the finest in the region and on this tour, you’ll experience the wonders of its famous wine route. Starting in the town of Comar, you’ll visit a wine cave and sample some local varieties of wine before heading into a tour van and visiting the next town over to experience their wine. There are four villages and guests will stop to take some photos and indulge in a tasting of local wines all while taking in the magnificent sights of the Alsace countryside. It’s a great tour for those interested in wine culture and photography.
The 4 Wonders of Alsace Day Tour from Colmar
Duration: 8 hour
France is home to some of the best art museums in the world but not all of them are in Paris. Unterlinden Museum is a celebrated museum located in a historic building that showcases everything from local archaeological finds to fine art and popular art. What is even more impressive is that the museum has exhibits that span from the medieval to the modern and has art from such luminaries like Picasso, Renoir, and Monet. By booking this tour you’ll get access to the whole collection and because you’ll have an advanced ticket, you won’t have to worry about waiting in long lines to get in.
Musee Unterlinden Colmar Admission Ticket
Duration: 1 to 7 hours
Alsace might be small but as one of the denser areas of France, everywhere you go will be filled with amazing landscapes and history. This tour pass will grant you access to some of the best spots around the northern region of Alsace. You’ll have your choice of museums, castles, art galleries, parks and tons of other options and with the geo-location option you can see and visit other sites close by. Whether you’re into art, history, or wildlife, there is definitely something that will appeal to you. Organize your trip with this pass and have access to over 31 sites all around the northern Alsace region.
North Alsace Pass: The Best of North Alsace in Your Pocket
Duration: 3 day
This tour is perfect for the wine connoisseur but even if you’re not, it is still a great way to experience a little bit of history and culture in Alsace. Head to a family-owned winery that’s been in operation since 1778 and taste a few of their specialties while learning about what makes their wine special and why Alsatian is unique compared to other French wines. Savor a variety of wines and spirits and visit the wine cellar and wine barrels that have been in use since 1850, all while being guided by a professional sommelier.
Alsace: Guided Wine Tasting and Cellar Visit
Duration: 1.5 hour
5. Marvel at Strasbourg Cathedral
Strasbourg Cathedral is the everlasting landmark and symbol of the city of Strasbourg. Built in Romanesque-style, it is a perfect example of high Gothic architecture and is considered one of the finest churches in the world. The building of the church started in 1015 and only finished completion is 1439. Tor over 220 years it was the tallest in the world. During WWII, the church became a symbol for both the Axis and Allies and suffered some damage during the war until it was revitalized and rebuilt when it was over.
Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Website: Strasbourg Cathedral
Opening hours: 7am - 11:20am, 12:40pm - 7pm (daily)
A tour of Strasbourg Historical Center is a great way to get acquainted with the biggest city in Alsace. The tour is pretty flexible and allows guests to customize their experience to see the things you want to see. Being on the French and German border means that the city is a cool mix of both cultures and although some fighting has happened between the countries in the past over the region, Alsace and Strasbourg have become a symbol of peace and unity between the two. Marvel at the beautiful astronomical clock,13th-century covered bridges, and a wealth of old town squares and fountains.
Strasbourg Historical Center: Private Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hour
7. Catch a show at Théâtre municipal de Colmar
Even if you’re not into catching a show, simply visiting Théâtre municipal de Colmar is a pretty cool experience in itself. The building is located in Colmar right next to Unterlinden Museum and is in the historic center of the town. The theater was built between 1847 and 1849 in an Italian traditional style with a circular interior and French exteriors. Currently, Théâtre municipal de Colmar hosts shows and plays and has a yearly attendance of about 30,000 people.
Théâtre municipal de Colmar
Address: 3 Rue des Unterlinden, 68000 Colmar, France
Website: Théâtre municipal de Colmar
Petite-France is the colloquial nickname for the center of old Strasbourg and this tour will show you the ins-and-outs of the old city. This short tour will bring you and a group of other guests around town and show you some of the highlights that the historic center of Strasbourg has to offer. Learn about the people and the culture while checking out famous landmarks like Strasbourg Cathedral, Kammerzell House, and Petite-France’s beautiful canals and waterways.
Strasbourg: Old District Guided Walking Tour
Duration: 75 minute
9. Learn about automotive history at Cité de l'Automobile
Cité de l'Automobile is located in the city of Mulhouse and has the largest displayed collection of cars in the world. A place like Alsace is a perfect spot for a car museum as the area has been known for its automobile industry for years. With French design and German engineering, many vehicles from the area were made as race cars. Cité de l'Automobile also has the largest collection of classic Bugatti race cars around. The museum is listed as a French national heritage site. A dedication to the Schlumpf brothers who started the museum can still be found here today.
Cité de l'Automobile
Address: 17 Rue de la Mertzau, 68100 Mulhouse, France
Website: Cité de l'Automobile
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
Price: From 15 USD
10. Stroll around the grounds of Orangerie Park
Orangerie Park is the city of Strasbourg’s oldest park and is a favorite destination for locals looking to hang out on a nice day, enjoy a picnic, bring the kids for some fun, or go for a jog. The park has a very regal feel to it with large lush trees and a pond but it is also filled with some fun stuff to see while you’re visiting. The park has a free petting zoo, a bowling center, and a car track. There is also Pavillon Joséphine that hosts events and exhibits throughout the year.
Address: Parc de l'Orangerie, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Opening hours: 7am - 8pm (daily)
11. Visit Castle of Saint-Ulrich
The Castle of Saint-Ulrich is one of the three castles that overlook the city of Ribeauvillé. Located high on a hill, the view from the castle is absolutely stunning. It is a great structure with many of its original features still standing. Dating back to the 11th century, the castle has been a residence for the lords of Ribeaupierre and up until the 16th century it has been the primary residence of several lords both French and German. Currently, the name is taken from the chapel dedicated to Saint Ulrich of Augsberg which is found inside the castle.
Castle of Saint-Ulrich
Address: 68150 Ribeauvillé, France
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
12. Feast on Alsatian cuisine at Skaechele
When it comes to fine dining and traditional food, it doesn’t get more authentic than Skaechele. Located in Strasbourg, this Winstrub (wine tavern) is cozy, snug, and run by a local couple Karine and Daniel. Serving authentic food from the region, Skaechele’s dishes are all made with love and attention to detail. Enjoy the warm atmosphere with the restaurants exposed brick walls, wood-beamed surroundings, and dim lamp lights while you enjoy dishes like pork knuckle braised in pinot noir and escargot with Roquefort.
Address: 8 Rue de l'Argile, 67000 Strasbourg, France
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:45am - 9:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
13. Be awed by Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is simultaneously one of the most popular castles and tourist attractions in Alsace while also being one of its most controversial. The medieval castle is located in the Vosges mountains and overlooks Upper Rhine Plains from a strategic distance. The view is amazing and the castle was used by several different powers until the Thirty Years War when it was abandoned. A reason for its controversy is that from 1900 to 1908 the castle was rebuilt at the behest of German Kaiser Wilhelm II who modeled it into a more German-style as at that point in time, Alsace was under German territory. After the First World War, the castle returned to France and has been an official historic monument since 1993.
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Address: 67600 Orschwiller, France
Website: Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 5pm; Mon: 10:30am - 5pm
Price: 10 USD
14. Explore the walled city of Ribeauville
Located near the town of Colmar and Strasbourg, Ribeauville is a beautiful French city sitting at the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. The town belonged to the Bishops of Basel who were among the most famous nobles in Alsace. The town looks like a fairy tale town with many old buildings and medieval-style architecture being found throughout the area. Ribeauville is also a walled city with large Gothic churches and a collection of antiquities hosted in town hall.
15. See the monkeys at Monkey Mountain
Monkey Mountain is one of Alsace’s more unconventional attractions but it is super fun nonetheless. Monkey Mountain is home to over 200 Barbary apes living freely in the hills outside Haut-Koenigsberg. The monkeys are all used to humans so you can get up close with them. If you’re done with Alsace’s more traditional things to do, a visit to Monkey Mountain might just be what completes your trip to the region.
Address: Wick, 67600 Kintzheim, France
Website: Monkey Mountain
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 12pm, 1pm - 5pm; Sun: 10am - 5pm
Price: 10 USD
Don't miss out on amazing Alsace
Alsace might be one of France’s smaller regions but it shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the country and are looking to get out the major tourist spots. With tons of castles, medieval towns, and some delicious food and wine, Alsace is a beautiful and unique region that should be on everyone’s France vacation bucket list.
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