I’ve wanted to spend a weekend in Alsace for a while now, and originally I had hoped to go see it at Christmas time. They are famous for dressing up all the cute little towns for the occasion. But when we just couldn’t think of an Easter getaway that didn’t involve traffic or flights, I thought why not go for Easter instead (or as well… hehe)? I do hope to see it at Christmas some time, but I’m so happy we decided to see it in spring too!
A Spring Long Weekend in Alsace
Where to Stay
Alsace is a nice compact area so it’s easy to either base yourself somewhere central or book a couple of places along your route. We chose to base ourselves in Colmar. It’s only the cutest town I’ve seen in my life and also happens to be in the middle of the Alsace wine route (Route de Vin). I would definitely recommend going by car, as it’s the best way to get around the wine routes. You can do tours, but we prefer to have the freedom of our own transport!
Day One – Explore Colmar
Colmar is one of those towns that is straight out of a fairytale (I got lots of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ vibes)… you will have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. Think pastel houses, cute canals and perfectly decorated windows! It’s a very small town so doesn’t take long to explore, you could do it in half a day if you wanted to!
My top tips for Colmar
- Parking: Parking de la Montagne Verte has free parking in the front section of the lot, and it within walking distance to the rest of the town. We parked here overnight without any problems.
- Avoid the crowds: See Colmar without the crowds by starting your day early, we had the streets to ourselves from 8.30am to 10am.
- Do a self-guided tour: There is a great little self-guided tour set up in the town that you can do to see all the sights. Just follow the Tourist Trail signs that start at Unterlinded Museum.
- Make reservations: Keep in mind that the restaurants get quite busy and are often booked out, so make reservations or arrive before 7pm and try your luck!
My favourite spots in Colmar
- Jadis et Gourmande: The cutest little spot for a traditional French breakfast, filled with teddy bears and cute trinkets.
- Petite Venice: A cute little area by the canal, with cafes serving Flamkuchen – a pizza-like specialty in the area.
- The Fishmongers District: This canal-side street is the most iconic street in Colmar, made with cobblestone and lined with it’s cute pastel houses. We were even lucky enough to get a pink blossoming tree there on our visit!
- Covered Market: This indoor market is the perfect place to stock up on fresh supplies, like bread, cheese, fruit and cold cut meats, for your picnic in the vineyards.
- L’Epicurien: A lovely little restaurant with delicious food and wine, on the outskirts this place is less touristy and more authentic. Arrive early or book as it gets quite busy.
- Au Chaudron: Another great spot for dinner and an incredible creme brûlée! Arrive early or book as it gets quite busy.
Day Two – Sipping wine + vineyard picnics
Once you’ve collected your picnic supplies from the Covered Market in Colmar (fresh baguettes, fruit, cheese, cold cut meats and bakery treats), jump in the car and get ready for a leisurely day of sipping wine and a lazy vineyard lunch. We spent day two following the Route de Vin down towards Thann. Stop in any of the cute little towns that take your fancy and seek out the little wineries. Alsace is particularly well known for their Cremant (similar to champagne), Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat.
When you get hungry start looking out for a spot to picnic. I really wanted to have a nice view over the region. So when I spotted some flowering trees up high in the vineyards we went off the beaten track. We followed them up to the perfect little spot. Sitting under the pink blossoms, looking out over the vineyards and cute town below couldn’t have been a more perfect moment! We even had buzzy bees and birds chirping in the background.
The location of my secret little picnic spot
If you are wondering where this secret little picnic location is, it’s up above the town of Pfaffenheim and here are the co-ordinates – 47°59’07.9″N 7°16’33.8″E. If you end up going I’d love to see your photo!
Day Three – Fairytale towns, hilltop castles and Strasbourg
On day three we headed in the opposite direction on the Route de Vin towards Strasbourg. There are plenty of charming little towns and hilltop castles to stop at on the way. We decided to explore the town of Kaiserburg, which is home to Nuremberg Castle. Since visiting I’ve learnt of the two small villages that inspired Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. They are Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. So pretty please do me a favour and go for me! I was very sad to learnt I’d missed them!
You’ll also notice that stalks are a big thing in Alsace. They even incorporate little platforms for them to build their nests on the taller buildings. So keep an eye out for them!
Once you’ve had your fix of fairytale town (I know… never!!!), you can always jump onto the highway and fast-track your journey to Strasbourg for the afternoon. Follow the signs to Centre-Historique and you will find a big carpark within walking distance of the old town and Petit France. After having some lunch, we enjoyed an easy couple of hours strolling the streets and exploring without a schedule or must see list.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’ve just stepped into a fairytale this is one trip I would definitely recommend. If you have any questions about spending a weekend in Alsace or any tips you’d like to add I’d love to read them in the comments section below!
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