If you haven’t yet heard of the Alsace Region in France, then you’ve been missing out on some great history and food. Born and raised in Alsace, I grew up to appreciate food and history as part of my heritage. Taken back and forth between France and Germany, the French region of Alsace has gone through many changes in its history. All of this led to amazing culture, great monuments, and a rich history!
The Alsace Region’s main attractions
It used to be the world’s tallest monument for 227 years, so don’t ignore this gorgeous building’s history! With a platform that can be reached by narrow spiral stairs, the views of Strasbourg has breathtaking. You can also spot the Vosges Mountains on the French side and the Black Forest mountains on the German side. During summertime, visit the square next to the Cathedral to watch one of the beautiful annual light shows displayed on the facade.
Colmar’s Little Venice
Often pictured on destination photography as “Disney’s Belle’s village”, Colmar’s Little Venice will transport you back in time. In springtime, the flowers are hanging from the windows, surrounded by the timbered houses.
Being the first and best Christmas market in the world (I am biased though), the Christmas markets in Alsace are a big deal! All the cities and villages decorate their streets with seasonal festive lights, and the streets are filled with temporary wooden chalets. You can buy souvenirs, trinkets, local food, and warm wine.
On your way to the Alsace Wine Route, Eguisheim is often seen as one of the most picturesque villages on the route. With wineries, castles, and hiking trails nearby, it’s a great stop when exploring the Alsace region. The village has the typical Alsatian homes, timbered-houses with colorful facades and flowers hanging from balconies. Get lost in this medieval city, and remember that sometimes it’s good to enjoy a leisurely walk through a calm village.
If you’re looking for more things to try in the Alsace Region, check out these trips and activities!
The Alsace Regions’s best food and drink options
In my opinion, this is the best dish that the Alsace region has contributed to the world. This looks like a variation of a pizza, but it tastes completely different. With a thin dough, its “fromage blanc” paste, lardons and onions, a tarte flambée uses the typical ingredients used in Alsatian cuisine. It’s my personal favorite as I’ve been eating it and loving it since I was a child, and I can confirm that every person who has visited Alsace with me has had the same reaction: “Mmmm.”
Often eaten during wintertime, this heavy dish will also be found in traditional Alsatian restaurants. Also called sauerkraut, it’s served with sausages, charcuterie, and potatoes. Now you understand why we call this “heavy” food; once you start eating it, you will not be able to get out of your chair!
If you read some history on the wines originating from Alsace, they used to be the most famous and expensive ones in Europe at one point! Alsatian wines are known as some of the best wines in France, although this is not known by many foreigners. This is a great alternative to champagne and is produced locally. For those who are wine lovers, don’t forget to drive through La Route des Vins, the most famous wine road in the world!
Alsatian Christmas cookies
Bredele are the traditional Christmas cookies you will find everywhere throughout the markets during this festive season. There are many varieties to choose from, so you can always find one that you’ll like! One of my favorite kinds is baked with cinnamon, which goes really well with a warm orange juice infused with a cinnamon stick.
If the Alsace Region leaves you dreaming of European delights, why not plan a road trip?
Getting around Alsace
Trains are readily available in between some of the villages and the cities, however, I would still recommend renting a car whenever possible. This will enable you to visit the Alsace wine route and explore the small villages and other parts of Alsace as you wish. It’s also great to go over to the German side to visit the Black Forest region!
Places to stay in Alsace
Even though staying in Strasbourg’s city center is probably the best thing to do, you could also stay at a local hotel or bed and breakfast in one of the villages or smaller towns in Alsace. But you can easily access most people from Strasbourg as it is a central point to most attractions.
Don’t miss out on Alsace Region’s
I bet you didn’t know that the sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty is actually French?! Yes, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi is originally from Colmar in Alsace, and he is the one who had the idea to design and gift a statue from the French to the Americans in commemoration of the centennial of American independence. The museum is dedicated to his life’s works with different models and objects.
Château de Haut-Koenigsbourg
Perched at the top of the Vosges mountains, the Haut-Koenigsbourg medieval castle is one of the key tourist attractions in Alsace. It’s great for those who like to do some hiking and exploring, as the castle holds many secrets!
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Passionate about exploring, Kelly is a French traveler who grew up in France, Switzerland, and the U.S., and has also lived in the U.K. Having been an expat in the U.S. at a young age, and traveled to countries such as the Bahamas, Thailand, Australia, and a bit everywhere in Europe, Kelly shares her best destination travel tips.