Alsace Travel - How to Get There


Getting to Alsace, either with or without your own bike, is going to involve one or more of:

See the bottom of this page for a map showing the principal options from the UK and Eire.

Planes

Flying to Alsace from outside Europe there are a number of possibilities:

  • Zurich Airport is only three hours by train by Strasbourg;
  • Paris (Charles de Gaulle) Airport, Amsterdam and Heathrow is a feeder to Basel/Mulhouse which is less than three hours to Strasbourg;
  • There are flights from both Paris Airport and Amsterdam to Strasbourg airport.

If you are flying from within Europe then the options include flying to:

From Dublin, we suggest you focus attention on Zurich and Stuttgart.

If you fly into Heathrow or Gatwick then you need to get across the English Channel by ferry or train.  Allowing time to get out of the airport and for meal stops, it could well be 11 to 13 hours after your flight lands before you arrive in Alsace, so it would make sense to build in an overnight stop.

There are many sources of cheap flights but we have found that cheapflights.co.uk offers consistently low prices. 

If you are flying with your bike, check the airline's terms of carriage (many budget airlines disclaim liability for bicycles) and your travel insurance.  We don't recommend transporting an expensive bike by plane.  Also, choose a direct flight wherever possible, as the more your bike is handled, the greater the chance it will be damaged.
 
Advice on packing your bike for a flight is to be found in the Cycling Tips.  
 
Don't forget to book an airport car park in advance, it will be much cheaper than just turning up.   Purple Parking has better coverage than most, with car parks at over 20 UK airports.  


Bus and bike

Bus mapEuropean Bike Express is a great way to get you and your bike, via a series of routes from within the UK, to various parts of France and Spain.  One of these routes stops at Nancy which is attractive for getting to Alsace.   Don't be put off by the thought of long distance coach travel, the Bike Express coaches are far more comfortable than most.

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Trains

Booking a train from the UK or Eire is not as straightforward as it could be because there isn't a booking web site that deals well with both the national and international legs of the journey.  You will find that you need one supplier to get out of the UK or Eire and a second supplier to get to Alsace.  The following should allow you to plan the journey:

  • The Man in Seat 61 gives by far the best, independent explanations of all things rail-related and we can only recommend that you check out his views on bike travel.
  • Travel with a bike inside the UK is relatively easy, as most trains will carry bikes as long as there is room (avoid commuting times and travelling in a large group of cyclists) and for free, but advance reservations are sometimes required.
  • For information, train times and ticket purchases, we find that trainline is better than most of the other commercial sites. 
  • Note that the London Underground (the Tube) does not take bikes, unless they are bagged and do not look like bikes. 
  • Crossing the channel by train means using Eurostar.  Tickets can be ordered from trainline.

 

 

  • Eurostar will take you to Paris.  Onward train travel to Alsace requires you to cross Paris and then catch the TGV to Strasbourg booked via trainline  

 

 

  • Travel from the other identified airports should be via SNCF or Swiss Rail.

 

 

  • For travel from Paris Charles de Gaul Airport we suggest booking by SNCF but it is not nearly as easy to use.

 

 

  • Bikes are seldom allowed on TGV unless they are in bag.

 

 

  • Tandems are tricky things to transport, they are just too long.  If you are tandem riders, you will need to do more research on the transport possibilities or, more simply, hire a tandem when you get to Alsace.  

 

 

  • Have a look at this bikes on trains article by a MyBikeGuide contributor.

The map below gives you the key transport points for getting to the Alsace.

 

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AirportsAlsace key points of travel

 

  1. Amsterdam
  2. London various
  3. Paris
  4. Frankfurt
  5. Baden-Baden
  6. Strasburg
  7. Basel-Mulhouse
  8. Zurich

 

Ferry Ports

 

See  Ferries below

 

Bike Route

 

The green marker

 

Ferries

There are many ferry options from the UK and Republic of Ireland.

  • Eire 
    • Rosslaire (Q) to Le Havre (M) or Cherbourg (N)
  • South Eastern England
    • Dover (E) to Calais (L) or Dunkerque (L) 
    • Newhaven (E) to Dieppe (L)
    • Harwich to the Hook of Holland
    • Ramsgate to Ostend
  • South Western England  
    • Plymouth (I) to Roscoff (P)  
    • Portsmouth (F) to St Malo (O), Caen, Le Havre (M) and Cherbourg (N)
    • Poole (G) to Cherbourg (N) and St Malo (O)
    • Weymouth to St Malo (O)
  • Northern England
    • Hull (B)  to Zeebrugge (J) (overnight)
    • Hull (B) to Rotterdam (C) (overnight)
    • Newcastle (A)  to Amsterdam (C) (overnight)
    • All these make great starts to any holiday as the tedious car drive down through England is replaced by a night time ferry journey.  P&O make the Hull trip very enjoyable.
  • Eurostar
    • St Pancras, Ebbsfleet or Ashford to Belgium, Lille, Paris or Calais
We like travelling by P&O and DFDS seaways and booking direct often gives you a good price.  For other routes we have found Direct Ferries to be a reliable ferry booking agent. 

If you want to take your car in the tunnel under the Channel then use Eurotunnel.

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Driving

 

The rules vary by country and you should double check current requirements before setting off.  If you are a member of a motoring organisation, it should be able to provide up to date information, as should the national tourist board web sites, or see here.  At the time of writing, the most stringent requirements required for all of France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are:
  • carry your passport, driving licence, vehicle registration documents and certificate of insurance
  • display a country of origin sticker (GB etc) on the back of the car
  • use mobile phones only with "hands free" kit
  • children should sit in the back
  • all passengers should wear seat belts
  • fit beam converters to the head lights of a right hand drive vehicle
  • carry a warning triangle and spare light bulbs
Just so you are aware the motorways in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Germany are free while in France they are toll based.  It is mandatory in France (and spreading to other countries) to carry a reflective vest, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
 
Fines are levied on the spot and must be paid in cash (Euros).

For further details, click here.

 

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