After visiting Alsace for the first time several years ago, I wondered why it had taken me so long to discover this mecca for cyclists! Since then, I’ve been back twice, but I’ve barely experienced even a small part of the cycle paths in this region!
Think I’m exaggerating? Take a quick look at my top reasons to choose the Alsace Region for your next cycling holiday and then you decide!
- Alsace has over 2500 km of safe, signposted short and long-distance cycle paths suited for every level from beginners to experts, from families to seniors. There are itineraries perfect for a one-day outing, a romantic weekend, or a longer holiday. There are itineraries along canals, along renovated train lines, through vineyards, through forests and mountains, along old Roman roads and in urban areas. Three EuroVelo routes-5, 6 and 15 travel through Alsace.
- Alsace is totally committed to making cycling information easily accessible to potential cyclotourists. Alsace a Velo is one of the best regional cycling resources with information on hundreds of short and long distance itineraries. A project of the Alsace Office of Tourism, this website has information on EuroVelo routes, waterway and vineyard routes, old railway and cross border routes, Vosges mountain routes and short and long distance circular routes. To make it easy for visitors to plan a cycling holiday, there is also comprehensive information on where to stay, where to eat and what to do. A newer cycling resource is Movelo Alsace, a new regional network offering more than 30 e-bike rental stations, perfect for exploring hilly areas a little too challenging for recreational cyclists. You can read more about this exciting e-bike network here.
- Alsace is easily accessed from Paris in under 2 hours. There are direct trains from Paris Gare de l’Est and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to Strasbourg and there is also service from Paris Gare de Lyon to Mulhouse. Once you are in Alsace, there’s great train service throughout the region.
- The region is home to Strasbourg, one of the most charming, cosmopolitan, manageable cities in France. It’s packed with historical and cultural attractions, restaurants for every budget and a city square filled to overflowing with cafe’s and wine bars to enjoy on sunny and not-so-sunny days. Above all these things, Strasbourg is one of the best bicycling cities in Europe. Simply everyone bikes here!! Wide bike paths, great signage and a positive attitude about cycling makes this city
a great destination for cyclotourists. There are over 600 km of cycle paths in Strasbourg, making it a cycling vacation destination on its own! The new Velostras Network will enable cyclists to get to the city center from anywhere in the urban area in 30-40 minutes. The city’s cycle paths are coordinated with the mass transit system making it easy for commuting to work by bike.
- The region is home to the famous Alsace Wine Route, a 180 km journey through hillside vineyards and picturesque, fairy-tale wine villages, one more charming and gorgeous than the next.
- Alsace is packed with historical attractions and things to do. There are more than 250 museums in Alsace, medieval castles like the 12th century Chateau du Haut-Koenigsburg, and the spiritual shrine of Mont St. Odile. This region is packed with so many things to do your biggest problem will be deciding which ones to visit!
- The region’s charming towns and villages: Obernai, Eguisheim, Mulhouse, Riquewihr, Ribeauville, the Alsatian wine capital of Colmar, the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach, just to name a few, are each more magical than the next.
- Local festivals from spring through fall are an opportunity to see a side of the region few tourists experience. My family will always remember the weekend we visited Obernai the weekend of its annual summer festival! We ate local specialties, drank local beer and wine and danced all night to the best of the local bands. It was definitely a highlight of our summer trip.
- Alsatian food is a real treat and is unlike anywhere else in France, French but with a definite German touch. Traditional dishes from Alsace like Quiche Lorraine, pretzels,
Kugelhopf, dumplings, onion custard tart, sauerkraut, Alsatian sausage, coq au riesling are hearty, reminding me of dishes my grandmother would prepare! Enjoy dinner in a winestub and you’ll feel like a local in no time. For those interested in more traditional French food, Alsace has the greatest density of Michelin-starred restaurants in France.
- Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, or you just enjoy learning about and drinking great wine, Alsace is the perfect place to be a wine enthusiast. Sample the 7 grape varieties of Alsace wine, including the prestigious grand crus of the Alsace Wine Route. Many of these wines are not exported to the U.S. so take advantage of enjoying them while you are there.
It would be easy to keep going with more and more reasons to consider the Alsace Region for your next cycling vacation, but hopefully by now you understand what a fantastic region this is! If you’d like to learn more or start planning a trip, here are some resources to help you start the planning process: