Alsace, France

INDEPENDENT WALKING HOLIDAY

 

Alsace - Vineyards and Mountains

grade moderate guided walking jura+

6 nights - £765/€825 - 5 days independent walking between guest houses

This independent walking holiday explores the famous Alsace vineyards and the Vosges hills in Eastern France. As well as their vintage wines the area features some remarkable chateaux and pretty unspoilt villages, their cobbled alleyways lined with typical Alsace houses. The Vosges offer panoramic views over their rounded summits. Hotel accommodation and night in mountain auberge. More holiday details

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Alsace vineyards and vosges independent walking holiday

 

Alsace

Our independent walking holiday in the French region of Alsace explores two distinct areas: the famous Alsace vineyards and the Vosges hills and valleys that border them. The Alsace vines are rightly famous for not only producing a number of unique wines, but also for their rich architectural and historical heritage. You'll get the chance to explore a number of medieval castles atop striking outposts and pretty unspolit villages decorated with beautiful floral displays and cobbled alleyways lined with typical Alsace houses. All this set in a perfect decor of timeless valleys covered in vines, orchards and woods.

Rising to the west are the Vosges mountains, their slopes providing memorable views across their rounded summits and valleys, known as Ballons. The highest summit in the Vosges is the Grand Ballon at 1426m.

The Alsace region of France is the smallest of the 26 French regions. Adjacent to the west bank of the Rhine river in Eastern France, Alsace became established as an important wine region during Roman times. Today the Alsace is known largely thanks to its world renowned dry riesling white wines. (It is the only French region to title its wines by the grape variety). The Alsace is also France's main beer producing region thanks mainly to the breweries in the Strasbourg area such as Fischer and Karlsbrau.

In spite of five centuries of war between France and Germany, Alsace is home to a large number of historic villages, churches and castles. Some of the prettiest villages in the region which you can visit during your independent walking holiday are Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and Eguisheim. One of the oldest concentric villages in France, Eguisheim centred around its 8th century fort, has hardly changed in the last five centuries. The village was first fortified in 1257 and narrow alleyways, built in the 16th century, wind in circles with large stone ramparts and give Eguisheim a unique character and charm. There is a lovely small square in front of the castle and church in the middle of this wine-making centre. The Grand Rue leads from it and is lined with multi-coloured half-timbered houses.

The Alsace is famous for the pretty half-timbered houses that fill its towns and villages. This type of construction is common in adjacent parts of Germany and can be seen in other areas of France, but their particular abundance in Alsace is due in part to the availability of timber from the Vosges forest and the rapidity with which wooden houses could be taken down and rebuilt in times of flood.

The Alsace is an ideal destination for French walking holidays during late spring and autumn. Alsace has a semi-continental climate with cold, dry winters and hot summers. The Vosges hills protect the Rhine Valley to the east, giving the region a dry and sunny micro-climate. For example Colmar is the 2nd driest city in France.

If you go on our independent walking holiday in Alsace you will have a culturally distinct experience from most other parts of France due its German links. Over recent centuries, Alsace has passed between the hands of France and Germany, after a period of independent rule. There is a strong bias towards German culinary traditions using plenty of Pork such as the well known dishes of sauerkraut (choucoute in French) and flammkveche or tarte flambée. 40% of adults still know how to speak Alsatian, the local dialect. However it is gradually dying out.

In summary, the French region of Alsace is a distinct region of France for a self-guided walking holiday, with an important cultural and historic heritage, picturesque countryside and fine wines.

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