Alsace

Alsace Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

If you would like to see a map of our different French routes, it is here.
And, for a comparison of our Alsace route with our other French rides, see here.

 

We love Alsace, home to picture-perfect scenery of infinite variety, and to one of France’s most luscious and elaborate cuisines.  Those of us who work at Blue Marble class it as one of our favorite vacation destinations.

To outsiders, Alsace at first seems germanic.  Half-timbered architecture, many beers, a not-very-latin precision in the way things get done (and a sense of order in how they are kept), a local language far closer to German than to French... all contribute to seeing Alsace as a natural part of the land beyond the Rhine.  Indeed, this is a case the Germans have often tried to make....

But just as many signs point the other way.  A focus on, not to say obsession with, food and wine; a love of art, design, and aesthetics more generally; humanistic and entrepreneurial traditions; and above all, an unquestioned patriotism (“La Marseillaise” was written by an Alsatian).

Today’s Alsace is quintessentially European. Cross-border relations with Germany (and also with Switzerland) are increasingly fluid, and Strasbourg is home to the European parliament.

Highlights include Strasbourg and Colmar, the Route des Vins through the prettiest of the vineyards, the Munster Valley (source of the cheese, not Herman), and the Route des Crêtes, a forest road along the spine of the Vosges mountains, built to strenthen the French cause in wars gone by.  But there are many others, less-known but no less memorable, in this wonderful, surprising and proudly French region of Europe.




The following trips visit Alsace:

Tour de France (3 weeks)
Visits Alsace plus two other French regions

White Wine Roads (2 weeks)
Visits Alsace and Switzerland — not offered in 2017

Two Week France Trips (2 weeks)
Visits Alsace and either the Jura or Northern Burgundy

Adventures in Alsace follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures table, below

 

Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips


Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


Trips by Length / Title


 
 
 
 
 
or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 

Daily Itinerary:  Alsace
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Saturday
Access Package” TRAIN to STRASBOURG
Strasbourg has an airport, but without meaningful international service.  The Access Package includes tickets from Basel, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Zurich, or Paris, the last served in 2 hours by TGV.   For a small additional cost, they are available from Geneva, Brussels or Munich.

Trip Meeting, Strasbourg.
BLACK and WHITE VILLAGES of PROTESTANT ALSACE
The trip assembles in Strasbourg at 1p on Saturday.  A country train clears us of city traffic.   Don your bike togs at the station for an afternoon bike ride amongst the characteristic black-and-white villages of the lands to the north.  Hunspach is our favorite, and a must-see (work it in tomorrow if you can’t get there today).

If you have just flown in from Mars, and the idea of doing anything but crawling into bed is revolting, a few minutes more on the train can bring you directly to our night's destination, Wissembourg, on the German border.  Curiously, Wissembourg was long home to the King of Poland, who must have been seriously lost.  It is still home to an old salt warehouse that looks remarkably like the Hogwarts sorting hat.

Evening welcome dinner in a local tavern.
25 - 40 optional k
Sunday
The “MAGIC SQUARE” of the LOWER RHINE
Go for a spin in the hills along the border.  The 12th century Château de Fleckenstein is a pretty destination:   rooms carved out of rock, views of the surrounding valleys, and a goofy name.  Charming villages abound:  Lembach, Niederschlettenbach, Burt Bacherbach.... and beautiful hiking is on offer in the forest around the castle.

Back to Wissembourg, where the sorting hat will tell you what route you have to do tomorrow.

40 - 60 k, often hilly
Monday

The PIEDMONT of the VOSGES
Today we set out along the foot of the mountain range that separates Alsace from the rest of France.  Skirt the hills you played in yesterday, following country lanes through sleepy farm towns, far from the urban centers that define the region to most visitors.  Short, middle and long route options let you head into Strasbourg when the city lights beckon more strongly than the sleepy farms.

The long route finishes on the tow path of the Saverne-to-Strasbourg canal.  Burn some kilometers on a Leclerc-like dash into the city, following the general’s WWII path out of the hills.

“Half”
Baggage

40 - 110 k
Tuesday
CANALS and SAUERKRAUT
A morning to explore the capital.  Admire the cathedral, wander along the Petite France’s canals, leave town when you’re ready.

Today’s route takes us through fields of cabbage, and to the northern end of the Route des Vins (Wine Road).  The direct route is only 35 k of flat riding, but those looking for more may head up the Bruche valley into the Vosges, for different scenery and a different level of effort.

Molsheim was home to the Bugatti auto maker, now a manufacturer of aircraft landing gear. It is a pleasant town, with an ornate butcher’s guild as its centerpiece, and surrounded by vineyards.  Michelin poetically describes Obernai as “infused with a golden glow and surrounded by vineyards.” It is also infused with tour buses.  But you find yourself alone with the spendor when they go home at night....

25 - 65 k
Wednesday
The ROUTE des VINS
This is what most non-Alsatians know of Alsace.  And it is a legitmate source of pride for the locals.

We give our day over to cycling through the vineyards, sheltered as the grapes are by the Vosges hills to our right.  The villages are beautiful,, and bustle with viticultural activity:  Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg (birthplace of Albert Schweitzer)....

A full day of riding, and one of those special ones that reaffirms your faith in your metal horse.  2 nights in one of the wine towns near Colmar.

“Half”
Baggage 
50 k
Thursday
COLMAR and the MUNSTER VALLEY
Use a loop day to visit Colmar, another aesthetic treat.  Walk amongst canals and medieval alleyways, and join in the festivities at one of the local taverns.

Colmar has many things to hold your interest.  Perhaps most curiously, it is the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor of (and driving force behind) New York’s Statue of Liberty. A small museum commemorates his works, some of which grace the town.  It also offers a museum of toy trains, but unless they have toy cyclists stuffing 14 toy bikes into toy baggage cars, we aren’t interested.

If you prefer the open road, head up the Munster valley.  Munster is one of France’s greatest cheeses (one of few from Alsace).  The eponimous town is also a favorite of the local storks.  A pretty cycle route follows the valley from top to bottom, and you can shorten the ride by training up and biking back.  30 k of easy scenery, easy to combine with a Colmar visit.

“Half”
Baggage 
20 - 90 k
Friday
The ROUTE des CRÊTES or more ROUTE des VINS
Two routes exist to get to our night’s destination:  over or around the Vosges mountains. Colmar is at sea level, the peak of our “hill route” at circa 1,300 m / 4,000 ft... so there is some real effort involved in option 1.

But it may be worth it.  The Route des Crêtes runs along the spine of the mountains that separate Alsace from the rest of France.  It was built by the French High Command in the First World War, to allow communication between troops stationed in the different valleys.  It’s path is perfect for a beautiful bike ride, once you have taken on the climb to reach it:  it traces a line from ballon to ballon (the rounded summits characteristic of the Vosges), approaching but skirting the crown of each.  The views are stupendous, fermes-aubèrges (farmhouse inns) pop up to refresh, and when you tire of the whole business, you can drop into the Thur valley for a pleasant ride through 19th century industrial villages (how did they get charming, all of a sudden?), to our night stop in Thann.

Not up for the mountain goat routine?  Go around!  Rejoin the Route des Vins
for the trip on south.  More harvest scenes, more wine villages, more trouble getting the handlebars to point in the right direction.

Guebwiller is the theoretical highlight, though we have faith in you to find your own.  On St. Valentine’s day, 1445, a woman named Brigitte Schick, hanging out on the ramparts for reasons that are none of your business, scared off an entire army by screaming a lot.  This is the source of the modern English word “shriek.”  We made that last part up.

Our final night is in Thann, where the Christmas tree (“tannenbaum”) was invented.  We did not make that up, though people in the Baltics dispute the story.

60 - 90 k
Saturday
CONNECTION DAY
A morning bike ride to the Mulhouse railway station, from whence on to your next project. Our pod disaggregates at noon, though those catching a same-day flight can skip the bike ride and catch an early train directly from Thann (in general, a Sunday flight will be a more comfortable solution...).

The “Access Package” offers trains from Mulhouse to Zurich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Luxembourg or Paris.  Tickets to Brussels, Munich or Milan are available for a small additional cost.

Guests continuing to connecting trips (Switzerland, the Loire Valley, Tuscany or Burgundy) depart Mulhouse at midday.
20 k

Adventures in Alsace — Facts & Figures
2017 Dates
Baggage Services
Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride

August 19 - 26
Last Spaces,
enquire before booking

$1,995 US
$2,495 C
1,595 €
Half
Moderate

Rolling hills on some parts of the route.  Other days are flat, but with longer distances.  Extra work abounds, in the form of distance or hills, should you be in the market for a challenge.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.

Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service in order for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question. Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$374
$198
$380
$C
$480
$250
$498
€uros
324€
175€
340€
190€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Strasbourg
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Mulhouse