Cycling From Strasbourg To The Wine Town Of Obernai

Obernai is one of my favorite wine towns in Alsace, so when I learned I could get there mostly on bike paths from Strasbourg, it went to the top of my rides-to-do list.  Little did I know that it would be one of my favorite bicycling rides in the region, despite a rocky start.

The rocky start happened because we couldn’t find the beginning of the path, unfortunately a common problem with many cycle paths in France:  connecting to them at the start of the day can be challenging.  As a result, we ended up using the Forts Trail (which I call the cycle beltway around Strasbourg) to connect to the cycle route.  The downside of this solution is that we missed the first 9 kms of the cycle path from Strasbourg.  The good news, the rest of the path was fantastic, and we rode the last 9 km into Strasbourg on our return!

The main treat along this route is the Bruche Canal, which was built by the famous French architect Vauban to transport the red sandstone of fhe Vosges for the forts to be built around Strasbourg.  This canal ride is so peaceful, through forests and by charming villages.  Except for occassional cross overs of small roads, the route is completely car free from Strasbourg, making the route perfect for for all levels of cyclists, including families with kids.

The canal is peaceful and serene

The canal is peaceful and serene

There are regular signs along the canal, so there’s not much chance of getting lost, once you get on the path.

Great signage along the Bruche Canal

Great signage along the Bruche Canal

Since I was headed for Obernai and the Alsace wine route, I left the canal near the small village of Ergersheim.  I was amazed to learn that the cycle route continued all the way to the outskirts of Obernai.  The cycle path wasn’t totally car-free, but in places where it wasn’t, it was low traffic local roads with great signage all the way to Obernai.

I fell in love with the town of Rosheim, on the way to Obernai

I fell in love with small towns like Roscheim

The road to Obernai, part of the Alsace Wine Route shares the same path as EuroVelo 5 as it passes through this part of Alsace.  You see this reflected in all of the signage along the way.

The Alsace Wine Route and EuroVelo 5 share the same paths in this part of Alsace

The Alsace Wine Route and EuroVelo 5 share the same paths in this part of Alsace

It’s less than 20 km to Obernai once you get off the Bruche Canal.  It doesn’t take long before you start to see the rolling hills and vineyards that Alsace is so famous for.

Almost before you know it, you’ve arrived at the wonderful town of Obernai.  Luckily for us, it was a holiday weekend and the whole town was celebrating, such a perfect way to end a perfect cycling ride to Obernai!

Obernai town square

Obernai town square

If you have the time, I would definitely recommend spending the night in Obernai, it’s an incredible treat.  But if you don’t have the time, you can hop a train back and be back in Strasbourg in around 30 minutes.  This is definitely a top favorite of mine in Alsace!

 

 

 

Posted by Maggie LACoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

  1. Hi Maggie, a fantastic blog. I’m doing the same trail this summer. However I was wondering is it easy to rent a bike a Strasbourg to take to Obernai?

    Thanks
    Paul

    1. Hi Paul!

      Lucky you! This is a fantastic ride! Velihop is the big bicycle rental company for city touring, and perhaps for exploring some of the Strasbourg-area bike paths, but I would not suggest using these bikes for any long distance touring. When it comes to bicycle touring, I found the options in Strasbourg surprisingly lacking, especially since there are so many long distance cycling paths that run through the city. I guess the assumption is that most of the cyclotourists are European with their own bikes!

      I rented Cannondale hybrids for my husband and myself from Esprit Cycles in Strasbourg. While Esprit has several stores in Strasbourg, you can only pick the Cannondales up at the shop at 47 rue du Faubourg de Pierre. The pick up/drop off is very simple, reservations easy, and the bikes of very good quality for longer distance travel. The e-mail address is: info@espritcycles.com. Be sure to double check the store hours, particularly in August. You would not be happy to get there and find the shop closed for lunch! The shop is in town, but be sure to map it as it’s not a street you would normally be on!

      Also, while the signage on the route is great once you get on it, as is often the case, the signage to the route is spotty at best. I would highly recommend that you go to the tourism office and ask them to provide you with directions to get to the beginning of the canal outside of town!

      Have fun and good luck. I love Obernai and wish that I had had more time to explore the surrounding vineyards!

      Maggie LaCoste
      Experience France By Bike
      http://www.experiencefrancebybike.com