Wine touring by bicycle, where do I sign up?
The Alsace Wine route covers a distance of 170km from Marlenheim to Thann and includes around one thousand wine producers. There are multiple picturesque villages dotted along the wine route with infinite views of the diverse and rich Alsatian scenery. The Alsatian Wine Route is one of the oldest and most popular wine routes in France proudly boasting charming villages, medieval chateaux’s and of course delectable wine. They predominantly produce white wine with one type of red grape being grown to create their charming Pinot Noir. Some of the most popular villages to visit along the route include Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Ribeauville, Riquewihr, Andlau and Obernai.
When to Visit
The Alsace Wine Route is open to visitors year-round but it is recommended to visit between the Spring and Autumn months (May to October). This is due to the landscape being its most beautiful at this time with the vineyards beaming with light greens and deep shades of orange.
Tip: During harvest, access to the wine paths is restricted. Visit the tourist office for up to date information.
How to visit the Wine Route
Hiring a car will be the most flexible option to explore the largest area of the wine region. It will however limit how much wine tasting you can enjoy, so definitely consider this before booking a car hire.
There are multiple options to visit the region with an organised tour. Most companies offer both full and half day tours, check some out here.
Whilst there are many ways to explore the Alsatian Wine Route, for me there was only one. I was so excited when I discovered that I could explore the region by bike. This way I could explore exactly where I wanted, at my own pace and literally ride through the French vineyards. I was bursting with excitement, because this sounded perfect for me.
Where to Hire Your Bike
I hired my bike from Lulu Cycles in Colmar. Bike hire costs €10 for a full day and you get equipped with a well serviced bike, a spare rubber tyre, a bike lock, and everything you need if you have any difficulties during your hire. The staff were also extremely helpful with directing me out of the city and onto the wine route and happily answered all my questions plus added in some recommended highlights to visit.
Where did I go?
I had been staying in the Alsatian wine capital of Colmar, which placed me towards the southern end of the route. I hired my bike from Lulu Cycles in Colmar, picked up the wine route map from the tourist office and planned a rough itinerary with some assistance from the bike hire staff. I planned on visiting the small village of Eguisheim. There is a cycle route which runs almost parallel to the wine route however it doesn’t start in Colmar.
My route had me riding partially on the road and partially through vineyards. The roads however, are well equipped for cyclists, with a dedicated cycle lane. I rode into the town of Ingersheim, where I connected with the wine cycle route. Continuing along the cycle path I found my way to Turckheim, where I came across some stunning vineyards. Taken aback by the beautiful landscape I made a wrong turn and ended up cycling up a giant hill before realising that I was meant to be going in the complete opposite direction. I wasn’t even mad though, because the view was just so incredibly beautiful! So down the hill I went, and into the villages of Wintzenheim and Wettolsheim I went.
Finally heading back in the right direction, I continued to admire the small villages and rode through their surrounding vineyards. With the village of Eguisheim in sight, I could already taste the delectable wine.
Tip: At times the cycle route doesn’t appear too well marked. Have Google maps accessible or download Maps.me to help in case you lose the trail.
I arrived in Eguisheim at 12:30pm, only to discover that most cellar doors are closed for a few hours at lunch. Making the most of the situation, I sat myself down for an incredible, relaxed lunch in a restaurant terrace on the main square. I dined at A Edel Maison and treated myself to an unforgettable Pork knuckle with Sauerkraut and potatoes. I also enjoyed myself a glass of Pinot Noir; I mean it would be rude not to!
Tip: Most cellar doors close between 12pm and 2pm. Try to factor this in when planning your itinerary.
After a spectacular lunch, I explored the picturesque town. The town is uniquely characterised by narrow, concentric, pedestrian friendly streets, colourful half-timbered houses and floral décor. It’s no wonder that it was voted as the Favourite French Village in 2003 and had since been listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages.
Where to part-take in Wine Tastings
The is a multitude of options for wine tasting, if you’re unsure of where to go, head to the tourist office for recommendations. There are plenty of tourist signs dotted around the town dedicated to directing visitors to all the cellar doors.
During my visit, I visited three cellar doors for tastings. The list of tastings was endless, staff showed visitors the list of wines and offered advice and recommendations tailored to each individual’s preferences. I tasted close to five or six wines at each cellar door and have mentioned my favourites below.
Pierre Henri Ginglinger
Pinot Noir Rubis
Joseph Freudenreich & Fils
After the most delightful day exploring charming French villages and tasting divine wine, it was time to cycle back to town. This was definitely an unexpected highlight of my trip to Colmar, as I hadn’t realised that it was home to one of the most popular wine routes. This is definitely a must on every itinerary to Colmar. To see what else there is to do in Colmar, check out my blog post here.