Which Alsace Village to Visit: Get Local Advice for Your Trip
Trying to narrow down which Alsace village to visit on your next trip to France?
Or maybe you're just looking at all the pretty photos wondering which village is the prettiest or most interesting...
By now, you may have seen hundreds of photos of colorful Alsatian houses and a million flower boxes.
If not...you will...
But I know you need more info than just pretty pictures to put together your travel plan.
And maybe you're a little curious about what makes each village special, unique and different...or are they all the same?
When you know as much as I do about all of them...well...I can promise you they all have something unique to offer you.
Now you just have to decide which ones are right for you.
20 Adorable Alsace Villages to Check Out for Your Next Trip
Here in Alsace, it's all about the villages.
Sure, we have a few larger towns and cities, but most of the adorable photos that you have seen are from our villages.
And the good news is: We have so many of them!
Each one has something to offer. Maybe you're into tour buses, souvenir shops and over the top decorations.
Or you may like quiet villages. fascinating stories, great food, great wine...or something else. We've probably got a village for you (probably more than one).
Here are 19 different ones for you to check out.
1. Saint Hippolyte
Want to visit Lorraine for a few minutes?
Saint Hippolyte was (for about 700 years) the personal property of the Duke of Lorraine.
Yes, there are a few bits of the former Lorraine duchy in modern day Alsace.
Although most of them are culturally distinct from the rest of Alsace.
This little village of less than 1000 people has a more Alsatian culture (so you might not notice it unless you know where to look).
Oh...and there's a castle!
Tiny village of less than 400 people in the Alsace wine region.
You'd never guess that it had coal mines in the 1700s (and 1800s) when you see this cute little village tucked into the foothills of the mountains.
The small river that runs near Rodern was the original dividing line between northern and southern Alsace for many hundreds of years.
If you're looking for a quiet, inexpensive village to spend the night, Rodern may be perfect for you.
A pretty little Alsace village...
With fascinating stories. Some you would never imagine. Like the 84,000 square foot (7800 square meter) Roman villa they found over a hundred years ago.
You won't find any buildings from the 200s AD still standing of course.
But you'll be surprised how much has survived the wars and fires over the centuries in Bergheim.
And most of its medieval walls and towers are still standing!
If you haven't already heard about Ribeauvillé, well...you haven't looked very hard.
An ultra touristy village on the Alsace Wine Road where you can fight with 100s of other tourists for prime photo taking positions.
But there is more to this Alsace village than just flowers and teddy bears.
If you like squabbling and war-mongering nobility or medieval spies, for example, you'd swear they used Ribeauvillé's archives for Game of Thrones plot lines.
Although if you like over the top hearts, flowers and stuffed animals, this is also your town.
A charming little town named for a saintly cleaning lady...
Well...St Huna is known as the "saintly washer woman" and this village is clearly named for her (and her family).
Her family founded the village about 1400 years ago, according to the legend.
Don't come to Hunawihr looking for souvenir shops (or any kind of shopping really). Pretty photos, great stories, some wine and a good bit of uphill walking (because the village is mostly built up a hill).
A quiet village perfect for exploring...most of the time.
The story of this tiny Alsace village starts with a religious hermit and a chapel...
And to be honest, Zellenberg has not grown too much since it's origins back in the 800s. With still only 300 or so people in this peaceful town on the wine route.
And you will have all the quiet you want to reflect (because you won't find any shops here).
A great village for peace and quiet...and wine and food.
Be ready...because this village is THE most touristy of them all.
If souvenir shops, tourist trains, and made-for-tourists food is your favorite thing in the world, you will be delighted.
If not, you'll have to peel back a few layers of flowers and over the top "cuteness" to get to the fabulousness of the real Riquewihr.
And fight through the crowds of tour bus groups....
BUT Riquewihr is a worthy stop (if you know where to look).
Walking around this small town of nearly 1000 people on the wine road in Alsace...
You'd never guess that it was heavily damaged during World War Two. But believe it or not about 90% of the buildings in Beblenheim were hit.
That's what happens when you're right next door to some very serious fighting between the Allies and the Nazis.
Fortunately they were able to repair most of the damaged buildings in Beblenheim.
You'll find some shops, restaurants, wine and food in this little village.
9. Mittelwihr and Bennwihr
As you pass Mittelwihr and its next-door neighbor Bennwihr...
You are still on the Alsace wine road, but if you look closely, you may notice something odd. Something is missing in these villages
No historic buildings. Well...no extremely old historic buildings.
These two villages are historic, but not because of their charming medieval town centers. They are historic because they no longer have them.
But you will find some wine makers, restaurants and even people selling fruits and vegetables from their homes here.
A village that managed to survive hundreds of years of war...
And still has its medieval walls and a castle (well...not a medieval one) is impressive.
Especially when you know that there was some very hard fighting going on just next door in World War Two.
Kientzheim isn't too far away from what some World War Two soldiers referred to as the "hill of blood." And some of its neighboring villages were not as lucky.
You won't find much shopping here, but there are some restaurants and wine makers.
Kaysersberg is right next to a popular trade route through the mountains used for centuries by the Romans and throughout the Middle Ages.
So it's no surprise that a thriving town would appear, right?
Well, the big surprise is how long it took for this interesting village to appear. It's one of the "youngest" Alsace villages on the wine route.
And if you like shopping, well, you will have plenty to buy in Kaysersberg.
In addition to all the shops, restaurants and cafés, you will also find a lot of tour bus groups and large crowds of people.
And if you love history, Kaysersberg has some great stories too!
In many books over the centuries, writers gushed about the beauty of Ammerschwihr.
And then World War Two happened.
And now some of that beauty can only be found in pre World War Two picture books. This charming village is more a mix of modern and renaissance (with a touch of medieval).
Which only make it more interesting.
A mostly quiet village on the Alsace Wine Road...with some shops, restaurants and wine makers.
A "huge" village of nearly 4000 people amongst the vineyards on the wine route.
The old town of Turckheim is quite small and quaint.
And full of interesting stories inside its medieval walls.
One of the only Alsace villages who continues the tradition of the medieval nightwatchman during the warm seasons (and the Christmas season as well).
You'll find plenty of shops, restaurants and wine makers in this village.
You might think that Munster is the town to visit if you're curious about Munster cheese.
And you can find our most famous Alsatian cheese in this town (and in many other villages and towns too).
But if you're looking for cheese makers, you'll have to go outside of Munster to find the farmers. The cows just don't do well living in towns. And one of the many rules for making this cheese requires the cows to graze in the mountains.
If you're wondering if the town is named for the cheese, it's the other way round. The cheese is named for the town.
The legend says that it's named for a big and powerful monastery (and the town is named for the monastery).
You might pass through this village without even realizing that you've left Colmar.
Part suburb and part historic village, you're more likely to stop here for grocery shopping or gas. Mind you, you're still on the wine road in Alsace.
And you can find some inexpensive and convenient hotels here if you're looking for a little peace and quiet on a budget.
Wintzenheim has a good bit of the practical shopping that you need to do wherever you are.
Larger grocery stores, gas pumps, and other stores for everyday needs.
A quiet wine making village here in Alsace of less than 2000 people.
You'll find what you need with a few nice hotels and restaurants (don't expect any souvenir shops or tour buses here).
But you can easily get turned around in the twisting and turning streets of Wettolsheim.
Just be careful to not get in an accident when you suddenly see an enormous grotto as you pass by it (the first time will surprise you)!
Probably one of Alsace's prettiest villages...
And a bit unusual too. But most tourists walk right past the best parts.
They're too busy taking photos to stop and discover the intriguing stories hidden behind the kitschy souvenir shops and flowers.
You will have to deal with large crowds and tour bus groups too.
You'll also find some shops, restaurants and wine makers here in Eguisheim.
18. Husseren les Chateaux
With a name like Husseren les Chateaux, there's got to be a castle right?
Well, yes, this little village (which is also the highest one on the Alsace wine road) does have a castle. Kind of.
As long as you don't mind an uphill hike of around 30-45 minutes.
But you do get three castles for your effort, if that helps motivate you.
You won't find much to eat or drink in Husseren les Chateaux (other than wine). Not too much shopping here. Just pretty views.
How about a cute little Alsace village with a secret natural spring.
And they still don't know where it is. Somewhere underneath the church. There are quite a few natural springs in Gueberschwihr. But there's only one that they can't locate precisely.
This is one village with many interesting stories and it's adorable to boot.
And we're still on the wine road too!
You'll find only a few shops, restaurants and wine makers in this little town (that doesn't even have a bakery, shocking isn't it?)
This is an Alsace village where the women held the place of honor during the Middle Ages. And for very good reason.
Well, at least until the Witch Trials started much later (yes, we did that in Alsace too).
Rouffach has so many great stories...if you know where to look...
A charming small town on the wine road in Alsace worth discovering (unless you prefer souvenir shops).
Frequently Asked Questions about Alsace
If you are just getting started with Alsace vacation ideas, you may have a few questions.
These are the most common questions I get from people who are brand new to Alsace and are not even sure what it is, where it is and what's so great about it.
Alsace France: What Is It?
Alsace is one of the smallest regions in France.
Well, it was until France decided to merge all of its historically (and culturally) distinct regions.
Now Alsace is part of the Grand Est region (which includes Lorraine and Champagne).
But don't expect anyone in France to refer to these unique and interesting regions as the Grand Est We all just ignore that.
Alsace is Alsace. Lorraine is Lorraine. And Champagne is Champagne.
And Alsace is one of those unusual French regions with a very different culture (and history) from most of France.
An Alsace France Map to Help Plan Your Trip to Europe
Where is Alsace, you might be wondering...
It is the easiest region to find on a map (even with no labels). Just look for the north eastern corner of France.
You know, the part that's cutting into Germany a little bit? Right next to Switzerland (the little oblong shaped country on top of Italy).
You've found us!
Seeing our little region on a European map should get you pretty excited...
Just look how centrally located we are. And all the other countries that are so close to us here in Alsace (I can tell you that we definitely take advantage of it).
Southern Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Northern Italy (just to name a few).
Not to mention Paris, Champagne, Lyon, Burgundy and other parts of Eastern France.
An Alsace Villages Map: So Where Are All These Villages?
Here you can see the entire Alsace region (and where some of the villages are (just to give you a good idea of where things are here in Alsace).
I wish it was possible to put them all on one map (and keep it readable without a magnifying glass).
On each village's page, you'll find more details about which villages are close by.
Just click the button on any village to get more details.
As well as photos and other practical info (and reasons to make you want to visit them).
The Alsace Wine Route: Is It a Just Another Road in Alsace?
Here in Alsace, we just love to give cute names to areas and the Alsace Wine Route (or Alsace Wine Road) is one example of that.
The Alsace wine region is in a specific part of Alsace.
And we have around 119 villages in our wine region where wine making families live and work.
These villages are around 1000 years old (sometimes older) so there's no one road that connects them all.
It's also around 170 km or 106 miles.
So you may not want to do an Alsace Wine Route walking tour. Especially if you want to see a lot of it. And then you'll have to decide who is going to carry all the wine you buy!
Basically the Alsace Wine Route is a very winding, curvy, and extremely crooked line connecting most of the wine making villages (seriously...expect to get turned around a lot).
Speed limits are on average 30 to 50 kilometers per hour (19-30 mph).
And don't get me started on how many camper vans you are going to get stuck behind (that drive even slower...my biggest pet peeve)!
The Much-Talked-About Alsace France Christmas Season
Alsace has four fantastic seasons.
Choosing the "best one" is nearly impossible. They are each unique and beautiful.
One of them is the Alsace Christmas season (which starts around the end of November by the way).
The Christmas season in Alsace is the most unusual of our four seasons (we need at least one month to prepare for it) and it's also the shortest season.
And Christmas is a very old tradition here.
We have one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. And nearly every town and village in Alsace has its own market. Each one has its own unique look and style.
Of course you can visit the more touristy ones in Riquewihr, Eguisheim or Obernai.
These touristy Christmas markets are going to get crowded, so just plan double the time that you "think" you'll need. That tip usually works perfect for me.
Although I prefer to hang out in the lesser known villages....
Is Alsace Worth Visiting?
You may be asking the wrong person...because I am extremely biased.
But..the last thing I want is for someone to come to Alsace and not love it. So let me ask you a few questions:
Do you love trying new foods and learning about new cultures?
Do you love visiting historical sites and learning about the crazy stuff that happened there?
Do you love white wine?
Do you love taking photos of cute historic buildings overflowing with colorful flowers?
Do you love World War One or World War Two history?
The more times you say YES...the more clearly you will love Alsace. Because those are just some of what makes Alsace a fantastic vacation.
And you don't have to say yes to all of the questions.
Each question could be the focus of one visit to Alsace.
What is Alsace Famous for?
Alsace is famous for different reasons in different parts of the world.
So this is a tricky question...
It is probably most famous for its colorful historic wood-beamed houses with window boxes exploding with flowers.
They are just so cute...and as you can see in the photos, they are everywhere.
Alsace is pretty darned famous for Christmas too.
We love it. It is a very long and old tradition here (and let's face it, our Christmas markets are stunning).
And I'm not just talking about the famous ones.
People from all over the world come to Alsace in the month of December to experience our Christmas vibe.
Alsace wine is becoming more and more famous around the world.
Some parts of the world (mostly in Europe) have loved our wines for over 600 years. We do make some outstanding white wines.
Is Alsace a Town?
Alsace is a region in France.
It's one of the smallest ones (historically) after the region of Paris.
And we have some towns and cities in our region (although we have hundreds of small villages).
Alsace is easy to find on a map of Western Europe.
Just look for the north-eastern most point in France. The one next to Germany and Switzerland.
You have now found Alsace.
Is Alsace in Germany or France?
Well...that depends on which period in history you're talking about.
Because 125 years ago, my answer would be different.
But I'm guessing you mean now. Alsace is currently in France.
I'm hoping it will stay that way.
Because I know way too much about what happened here the last few wars (World War One and World War Two). And I really don't want to experience that.
When Should I Visit Alsace?
This is a hard question to answer...because I don't know what you like to do on vacation.
If you love Christmas markets, you should probably come in December. But there are some things that you can't do in December normally. Some historic sites are closed in the winter.
And if you love flowers, well, you can come anytime from April to October.
If you love talking to wine makers, you might want to avoid September (they are exhausted and sleep deprived during harvest).
If you hate crowds, spring is the best time to come.
Our high season in May to October and December (to give you an idea of our popular season).
What Do You Want Your Alsace Vacation to Look Like?
Even if your Alsace vacation is not starting tomorrow, you can still enjoy creating the right one for you and your family (or friends).
It's not just about pretty pictures, flowers and souvenirs.
The best vacations usually have many different types of moments.
And when you know more about where you are going, you can make better choices...and have a more magical time...(and enjoy the dreaming and planning too)!
So what villages have made your top 10 (or 20) list so far?
And more importantly what are the most important ingredients for a great vacation for you?