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7 days in Alsace... without missing anything

Do you have a week to devote to Alsace and its treasures? Let’s begin with a change of scenery in Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse but there’s more! Because Alsace is full of surprises: the Alsace Wine Route, its fortified castles, its traditional villages are waiting for you...

Day 1

Strasbourg (Zvardon)Begin your stay in Strasbourg, the European capital and host to many institutions. Its large island is a gem, which is listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site and deserves that you visit it. Go through the gates of the great doors of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a gem of Gothic art and linger under the astronomical clock: a challenge for meticulousness! For enthusiasts who wish to continue their visit, the Oeuvre Notre-Dame Museum, place du Château, will meet your expectations.

Stroll along the adjacent alleyways, which belong to the “carré d’or”: some of the shop windows already existed during the Middle Ages. At Christmas, these alleys are very popular for their extraordinary decorations!

Indulge in a visit of Strasbourg on a riverboat. Head towards the pier of Palais des Rohan, a remarkable building that accommodated Marie-Antoinette when she arrived in France. You will sail from the Petite France, a tourist area renowned for its half-timbered houses to the parliamentary district. The European institutions are built along the Ill River and you will discover them from the point of view of contemporary architecture.

In the evening, Strasbourg offers many outing ideas: in the town centre, you will find many traditional restaurants, bierstubs and winstubs whereas the students districts of Krutenau, of the Palais Universitaire or of the Esplanade are the settings of many cafés and bars with relaxed atmospheres.

For enthusiasts, the National Theatre of Strasbourg and the National Opera of the Rhine schedule quality shows. And at the Chroucrouterie, you can enjoy good food and a good laugh by attending one of their humorous shows.

Day 2

Jardin Botanique de Strasbourg (Moreau)Delve a little deeper into the discovery of Strasbourg! Head towards the parks where it is very enjoyable to have a stroll: the Botanical Garden shelters around 6,000 species of trees and plants and a small lake embellishes the very peaceful atmosphere… Not far from there, the large wooded park of the Orangerie is the perfect place for an improvised picnic.

Don’t leave Strasbourg without taking the time of doing a bit of shopping! The temple of window-shopping is home to many brands and small boutiques.

Day 3

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg (Zvardon)Head to Sélestat, a small charming town, which hosts the Humanist Library, a marvel listed by UNESCO! Come and wear out your shoe leather in its town centre and admire its half-timbered houses. Then, jump on a bus which will take you to the highest part of the town, to discover the Haut-Koenigsbourg!

It is a very renowned fortified castle, which offers a fantastic view over the entire plain of Alsace. Very nicely restored, this monument will make you travel back in time: back to a time when Alsace was hard-fought for. Such heritage means that it is the region with the most fortified castles: the Hohlandsbourg, Fleckenstein, Lichtenberg and Haut-Barr castles are also remarkable...

At the end of the day, go and have diner in the capital of Alsacian wines: Colmar. Many restaurants offer both traditional and sophisticated cuisine for you to choose from.

Day 4

Colmar (Phovoir)Start your visit of Colmar with the Petite Venise: it is a charming maze of small canals, which you can visit in a flat-bottomed boat. Then, don’t miss the old town’s Gothic or Renaissance gems, particularly the Saint-Martin Collegiate Church, where you can see beautiful terraces during summer or the Unterlinden Museum which displays the renowned Retable d’Issenheim (the Issenheim Altarpiece).

From Colmar, it is quite easy for you to tour around and discover the Alsace Wine Route. Totalling 170km from the North to the South of region, it offers many vineyard footpaths. The Eguisheim trail offers a superb panorama over the village and its three castles.

Not far from there, head to Munster Valley for the evening: that is where the Upper Vosges begin.

Day 5

Put your hiking boots on and discover the Vosges Mountains.

Ecomusée d'Alsace (Galy)The Grand Ballon is the highest summit at 1,424m. In winter, you will enjoy snowshoe hiking and in summer you will contemplate magnificent landscapes made up of passes, rounded summits and lakes. The Lac Blanc summit is also a very popular place to go for walks as it is close of the village Kayserberg. It is a gem of architecture!

If you want a bite: you must try eating in a farmhouse inn, which combines eating simple but good food and conviviality.

For the not so sporty, visiting the Ecomuseum of Alsace in Ungersheim is a must. It is a proper open-air museum and the setting of 70 buildings with remarkable traditional architecture, which were rescued from all over Alsace by half-timbering lovers. In both winter and summer, many activities bring this village to life.

Day 6

Mulhouse (meyer)Come to Mulhouse, nicknamed the “French Manchester” because of its well-known industrial history. Listed a Town of Art and History, it is the favourite playing field of enthusiasts of technical museums: don’t miss the Automobile Museum and the Railway Museum or the Electropolis Museum.

After lunch in the town-centre, at the top of the Tour de l’Europe or on the Place de la Réunion where the Renaissance town hall proudly stands, enjoy discovering the contemporary side of Mulhouse.

Visit the Kunsthalle, a contemporary art centre set in an old industrial vestige where locomotives used to be manufactured. When the day is over, spend the evening at the Filature, a nation-wide known venue, of which the programme reflects the region’s cultural dynamism.

Day 7

Hartmannswillerkopf (Naegelen)As the Alsace is a region which was tormented, don’t leave without having visited one of the many memorial places.

Not far from Mulhouse, the Veil Armand also called Hartmannswillerkopf is the perfectly well kept witness of the atrocities of the First World War. Many marks also remain from the Second World War such as the Struthof, the former concentration camp in Natzweiler, which was the only camp built in France during the 1939-1945 war. Its museum forcefully yet with some restraint relates the painful history. Still visible: the buildings of the Maginot Line that stretches from Lembach to the fortress of Schoenenbourg in the Land of Wissembourg, which leads you to discover Northern Alsace.