Alsace Guide


Alsace in Europe map

Alsace overview

Alsace has been fought over by the Germans and the French for many centuries. As a result, although it is now French (it most recently changed hands in 1944), many of the town names and family names are German, the locals often speak Alsatian amongst themselves rather than French and the food is Germanic with a French twist.

The area has been a pathway for invaders since Roman times and today's visitors will find Roman wine presses, medieval villages and fortresses dating from the Renaissance through to the World Wars.

Alsace Topography

The Rhine flows south to north through Alsace with a large green valley along it.  To the west are the Vosges mountains which mountain bikers can struggle up to gain fine views of the Alps to the south.  The region boasts some fantastic local Alsace wines.  It divides into the Haut-Rhin (to the south including Colmar) and the Bas-Rhin (to the north including Strasbourg), with the best wines generally coming from the Haut-Rhin.

Alsace is very bicycle friendly with more than 2,700km of bicycle routes.  Some of them are challenging trails through the mountains, but we have selected for you a largely flat bike route which will take you through ancient towns, close to UNESCO World Heritage sites, beside canals and rivers and near local trains (in case you need a lift). You'll pass through pretty villages, many of them wine-producing, every 5 miles or so. 

Whether you are a regular cyclist or have never taken a cycling holiday before, Alsace is a good choice. It is well provided with multiple bike paths, pleasant places to visit and spend the night, bicycle hire and repair shops and some train support. Both Strasbourg and Colmar offer architectural delights and medieval buildings. Castles of various periods abound and wine tastings await the visitor, both in restaurants and wineries.

Not sure if an Alsace bike tour is for you?  Have a look at a typical day.

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Estimated costs

Holidays in Alsace are not generally offered by travel agents or tour operators outside of France.  If you do manage to find an organised Alsace bike tour, it is likely to be priced at about €1,200 for a six day trip, excluding food and drink.  Don't worry, you can organise your own self guided bike tour for much less!

Accommodation and other costs are average for France, and standards are generally high. Our estimate of the cost of a reasonably comfortable holiday (ie staying in medium quality hotels, and eating and drinking moderately well) and assuming you rent a bike, based on riding for 7 days and two people sharing a room for 6 nights is:

 Item Calculation  Cost in Euros 
 Bike hire    €10/day per bike for 7 days  140
 Hotels  €70/night for 6 nights  420
 Food and drink  €50 per person per day, for 7 days  700
 Public transport    20
 Extras  say €20 per person  40
      

 

 

 

 

 

making €1,320 in total, or €660 per person.

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Web translation

A lot of the smaller tourist web sites are written in French only.  This should be no barrier to you using them as Google offers a number of translation solutions.  Our preferred option is the Google toolbar which can be downloaded, as the quality of translation is reasonable and in most cases the web page will appear in English as you read down it.  This means it is always up to date and integrated with the website.
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