Alsace, France Region Map
Use our Map of the Alsace Region of France to Plan Your Holiday
Below is a map of the Alsace region of France, the smallest French region, located in the northeast of France on the Border with Germany and Switzerland. Below the map you'll find information on the most interesting cities and things to do in Alsace.
The three major cities of Alsace are Strasbourg, Colmar (virtual tour) and Mulhouse. Outside of these cities, the region is very rural, with lots of small villages, vineyards, and castles to visit, as well as some large regional parks like Le Parc Naturel Régional des Ballons des Vosges, marked in green letter on the map.
Strasbourg and Colmar are both very interesting towns to visit. Colmar is smaller and more manageable. Mulhouse might seem industrial to you at first, but as such it contains many "technical" museums, including the Cité de l'Automobile, a car museum that's a must for auto aficionados and the French Railway Museum. All of Alsace' major towns are linked by the rail line shown on the map.
Saverne is on a mountain pass on the border with the region of Lorraine, and it is noted for the Chateau des Rohans, constructed in Neoclassic style at the end of the 18th century.
Selestat is a town of traditional Alsace buildings and interesting churches. It is on the Route des Vins (the Alsace Wine Route, see below) and a good base for exploring the Castle at Haut Koenigsbourg.
Getting to Alsace
The TGV Est links Strasbourg to CDG Airport in Paris; the ride takes around 2 1/2 hours. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is located between Mulhouse and Basel. Car rentals from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, National, and Sixt are available at the airport. Bus service is available to Strasbourg from the airport. You can Book TGV East tickets Direct online.
Weather in Alsace
Alsace, between the Vosges and the Rhine, has a fairly dry climate and relatively cold and harsh winters. In the wind shadow of the Vosges, Alsace has lower rainfall levels than the neighboring regions, and the area around Colmar is especially dry. To see historic climate and current weather conditions in Mulhouse, see Mulhouse Travel Weather and Climate.
Haut-Koenigsbourg, The King's Castle
Marked in red on the map, Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle sits high on a hill between Selestat and Ribeauville. Constructed in the 12th century and besieged during the Thirty Years War and burnt to the ground in 1633, the castle was restored by Wilhelm II between 1900 and 1908. Haut-Kœnigsbourg castle is 26 km north of Colmar, 55 km south of Strasbourg and 12 km west of Sélestat. Official Haut-Koenigsbourg web site in English.
Alsace Wine Route
The Alsace Route du Vin, or wine route, runs along the eastern foothills of the Vosages from just west of Strasbourg in the north to a point just west of Mulhouse. I suggest picking a place to stay near the midpoint around Colmar like Kaysersberg or nearby Riquewihr. You could easily rent a house or apartment to explore this fascinating countryside and take day trips into larger towns like Colmar.
The primary grapes grown in Alsace are white: Gewürztraminer, Pinot gris, Riesling and Muscat. Pinot Noir is also grown, and usually served chilled.
Riquewihr is a very well preserved medieval city, with many old houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. There are lots of winstubs in both Kaysersberg and Riquewihr, in which you can taste the local wine. An interesting option for staying in Riquewihr is the Remparts de Riquewihr self-catering apartments.
Nancy Parode, guide to Senior Travel, recommends the towns of Riquewihr, Hunawihr and Eguisheim in her article Wine Travel in Alsace.
Obernai is on the wine route, but it's also a beer destination. Kronenbourg is produced there.
Abundant trails through the vineyards in which the grape varieties are signed make an interesting diversion. There is a list of them here (PDF file). Be aware the trails are closed in the months of the harvest to allow passage for vineyard workers.
As with other wine routes in Europe, the food along the route du vin is a notch above. Alsace is noted for its cuisine in general.
Intelligent Travel offers a nice article about the route: Secrets from the Alsace Wine Route: Fromage Pilgrimage.
Maginot Line in Alsace
For those interested in war memorials and World War II fortifications, lots of remnants of the Maginot line are still visible today. Volunteers run them, and many are only "open" on Sundays.
According to Wikipedia,
Maginot Line (French: Ligne Maginot), named after French Minister of Defense André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defenses, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in the light of experience from World War I, and in the run-up to World War II. Generally the term describes either the entire system or just the defenses facing Germany.
You can visit these not-very-effective trench warfare fortifications along the border with Germany. The Maginot Line monument and museum at Hatten is a 20 minute drive from Strasbourg. The Fortress Schoenenbourg has been restored and has one of the best Maginot Line museums.
Where to Stay in Alsace
Hotels Alsace (book direct) offers user rated hotels you can choose from a map of Alsace.
If you are in Alsace for a leisurely vacation, you might wish to take advantage of the wine country atmosphere of rural Alsace and rent a vacation house or cottage. HomeAway lists over 700 properties in Alsace, from city apartments to large rural farmhouses: Alsace Vacation Rentals.