In this article, we cover the “basics” you need to know before traveling/cycling to Alsace. Among other topics, you’ll learn about the various ways to travel to Alsace, things to see and do, and more…
For travel tips to France, we recommend you check:
How to get there: French International Airports
The best airports in France are Charles de Gaulle Airport (CGD) (sometimes called Roissy) in Paris, the Orly Airport (ORY) in Paris, and the Lyon St. Exupery Airport (LYS). An added bonus is that Charles de Gaulle and Lyon airports both have their own TGV stations. Therefore, it might be easiest to fly into Paris or Lyon, then take the TGV directly to a station in Alsace (Please see “Trains” below).
How to get there: Alsace Regional Airports
There are two airports in the Alsace region. You can actually fly directly into Strasbourg, the primary starting point of our Alsace tours: Strasbourg Airport (SXB),Ths airport is also known as Strasbourg-Entzheim Airport and is located in the Haut-Rhine (Upper-Rhine). The other regional option is the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (EAP, MLH, BSL) in the Bas-Rhine (Lower-Rhine region). International connections to Alsace can be reached through Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports in Paris, however the closest major airport with intercontinental flights is Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).
How to get there: Public Transport
Europe is known for its excellent train system, and France is particularly known for its high-speed TGV trains. There’s more good news: the train system is fairly friendly to bicycle owners.
If you wish to travel by train with your bike to Alsace, do read the following pieces:
Strasbourg Airport to Strasbourg Center
Strasbourg Airport is well serviced by public transport from 5am to 11 pm. They offer a TER/CTS combined ticket for 4.60 euros, meaning you can take the tram from the airport into Strasbourg Station, and then also switch to a local bus!
EuroAirport to Strasbourg
From the Basel side of the airport, take the local 50 bus to Basel SBB station. This should cost about 3 euros. From Basel SBB you can take a train to Strasbourg Station, which takes about an hour and a half, for about 25 euros.
Paris to Strasbourg
The quickest way to reach Strasbourg, where most of our tours begin in Alsace, is to take a high-speed train (TGV) from Paris CDG airport station or Paris Gare de L'Est station. From these stations, the travel time is around 2 hours. There are also a few regional trains (TER) connecting Paris Gare de l'Est to Strasbourg but it takes longer (nearly 5 hours), although this is a less expensive option.
Lyon to Strasbourg
There are direct TGV trains from Lyon Part Dieu station to Strasbourg which results in approx. 4 hours of travel time. If you fly into Lyon Saint Exupery Airport, you can also take a TGV train from the airport to Strasbourg but you'll need to change trains and train stations in Paris which results in approx. 5 hours of travel time. To transfer from Gare de Lyon to Gare de L’Est, there are plenty of public transit options such as the 65 bus, RER D local train, and the Metro 5 line.
You can check train schedules online at: https://en.oui.sncf/en
You may choose to rent a car in France for part of your journey. Dealers can be found at all French airports and at the TGV station in Strasbourg. You can find the best deals by comparing rental companies online: Avis France (www.avis.fr), Europcar (www.europcar.com), Budget (www.budget.com), Hertz France (www.hertz.com), SIXT France (www.sixt.com/), and CITER France (www.citer.fr). Note that drivers must be over 21 to rent a car (21-25 year olds may face extra fees) and they must possess a valid driver’s license (an international driver’s license would help).
When is the best time to travel to Alsace?
The busiest months for travel in Europe are July and August. These months in Alsace aren’t unbearable, but it’s more pleasant to visit the area in September and October. In late autumn, you will experience fewer tourists, the changing of the leaves, brisk weather, and the vineyard’s grape harvest which combine for an unforgettably enjoyable experience.
What is there to see and do in Alsace?
There are many cathedrals throughout Alsace, as well as Europe’s highest concentration of castles. The ‘Haut-Koenigsbourg’ is a must-see if castles are your interest; however, none of our standard tours include a visit as it involves a hill-climb that’s too challenging for most leisurely cyclists. If you rent a car, driving to the castle is a smart option, otherwise reserve a spot on the bus that runs 8 times a day between the castle and the Sélestat train station (more information here). Alsace offers a great mix of scenery. From the urban Strasbourg to pleasant getaways in the Vosges Mountains or along the Rhine River, there’s an enjoyable environment for everyone in Alsace. National parks provide thousands of miles for hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing. During the summer, a visit to one of the many vineyards is another enjoyable activity offered in the Alsace region.
To learn more about some things to do and to see in Alsace:
And if you are considering travelling with young kids, Alsace is definitely a great option! You can read more about how family-friendly this region is at:
As a cyclist, you’re in luck! Alsace is the most bike-friendly region in all of France with over 4,000 kilometers of bike paths! No matter where you decide to explore, you’ll more than likely be able to access it by bicycle. To the east, Alsace borders the Rhine River and to the west you’ll find the Vosges Mountains. The highest point in Alsace is the Grand Ballon (1,426 meters) in the Vosges. We decided this region would be perfect for various leisurely tours because much of Alsace consists of plains, forests and scenic rolling hills along the “Route des Vins,” or “wine route”. This route crosses nearly 70 different wine communes in Alsace. If you’re a wine enthusiast you’ll never have to leave this route!
Alsace Weather and Climate
Summers in Alsace are hot and dry in the lower altitude areas. If you find the summer weather slightly uncomfortable, head to the Alsatian mountains for a cooler alternative. The weather tends to be extremely pleasant in the late summer and the fall as Indian summers are frequent in the region. The winters are cold and snowfall is common in the mountains, while less frequent on the plains. Spring weather can be unpredictable, but for the most part temperatures are mild with few rain showers.
Produce found in local markets are always extremely fresh and typically organic. If you enjoy collecting wine you will not be disappointed by purchasing a bottle or two. More information on the local wine offerings can be found in the following section.
Gastronomy: Favorite Alsace Dishes and Food Products
Dining in Alsace is quite a pleasure. Alsace is known to have very hearty and German-influenced dishes, consisting mainly of meat and potatoes. Several local specialties include Backeoffe (pork, lamb and beef casserole with sliced potatoes, steeped in wine), foie gras (invented in Strasbourg), choucroute alsacienne (delicatessen meats with sauerkraut) and flammekueche (also known as tarte flambée, which is a mix between a pizza and quiche). Flammekueche can be found in dozens of different varieties.
One cannot visit Alsace without tasting the distinct white wines that are available. Due to the geographic location, Alsatian wines tend to be heavily Germanic influenced. Highly esteemed dry and aromatic varieties of wine can be found in this northeastern section of France. Alsace is most noted for its fantastic riesling varieties. A wine tasting adventure at one of the many vineyards will surely provide a memorable experience. For an extensive list of vineyards in the region check out:
Alsace is the primary beer-producing region of France, so if you’re in the Strasbourg region it may be worthwhile checking out one of the local breweries.
List of Links
List of Markets
We’ve organized some notable markets by location: date, type, and time. If you happen to be in the area, stop by to check out the local offerings! You never know what you’ll find.
Monday: Place de l'Esplanade general weekly market takes place from 07:00 until 13:00.
Tuesday: Place du Marché, Place de Bordeaux and Boulevard de la Marne food markets take place from 07:00 until 13:00.
Wednesday: Place de Haldenbourg, Rue de Reitwiller, Place de Zurich and Rue Watteau general markets take place from 07:00 until 13:00.
Brocante (flea market), Place de l'Etal, Place de la Grande Boucherie et Angle rue de la Douane take place from 07:00 until 16:00.
Thursday: Place de I’lle de France, Route d’Altenheim, Allée Reusse, Place d’Ostwald, Place du Corps de Garde, Place de l’Esplanade markets occur from 07:00 until 13:00.
Friday: Place de Haldenbourg general market takes place from 07:00 until 13:00. Place Broglie market occurs from 07:00 to 18:00 and Rue Virgile market from 14:00 to 18:00.
Saturday: Place du Marché, Boulevard de la Marne, Place du Corps de Garde, Place de Bordeaux, Rue Watteau, Rue de la Douane, Place du Maillon, Place Maille Irène and Place André Maurois general markets take place from 07:00 until 13:00.
Place de l'Étal, Place de la Grande Boucherie and Rue de la Douane bric-a-brac (brocante) markets take place from 07:00 until 16:00.
Place du Marché aux poissons’ market (“Marché de la Montagne et de l'Artisanat”) takes place from 09:00 until 17:00.
Monday: Place du Marché and Place du Général Leclerc general weekly market takes place all morning.
Friday: Town center organic weekly market takes place from 15:00 to 20:00.
Tuesday: Place de l’Eglise general market takes place all morning.
Friday: Place du Grun general weekly market takes place all morning.
Thursday: Place de la Cathédrale market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00. Place des Dominicains market takes place from 14:00 to 18:00.
Friday: Place des Dominicains market takes place from 14:00 to 18:00.
Saturday: Place de la Cathédrale market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00. Place des Dominicains market takes place from 14:00 to 18:00.
Friday: Place des Trois Églises market takes place from 8:00 to 12:00.
Saturday: Place de l'hôtel de Ville market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00.
Tuesday & Friday: Place de l'hôtel de Ville market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00.
Tuesday: Place d'Arles market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00.
Saturday: Square Ehm market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00.
Tuesday: Les Halles du Marché du Canal Couvert covered market takes place from 07:00 until 17:00 (more information at: www.marchedemulhouse.com). Place de la Réunion market takes place from 7:00 to 18:00.
Wednesday: Place de la Réunion market takes place from 7:00 to 18:00
Thursday: Les Halles du Marché du Canal Couvert covered market takes place from 07:00 until 17:00. Place de la Réunion market takes place from 7:00 to 18:00
Friday: Place de la Réunion market takes place from 7:00 to 18:00. Place du Rattachement market takes place from 7:00 to 13:00.
Saturday: Les Halles du Marché du Canal Couvert covered market takes place from 06:00 until 17:00. Place de la Réunion market takes place from 7:00 to 18:00. Place de la Paix market takes place from 7:00 to 13:00.
Saturday: Avenue de la Gare market takes place from 8:00 to 12:00.
Wednesday: Place du Marché general market takes place from 08:00 until 12:00.
Thursday: Place de l’Eglise and Place de la Mairie (city hall) general markets take place from 08:00 until 12:00.
Thursday: Town center market takes place from 7:00 to 12:00.
Thursday: Town center general market occurs all morning.
Saturday: Place du Général de Gaulle food market takes place from 8:00 to 13:00.
Monday: Place Gouraud market takes place from 7:00 to 12:00.
Friday: Town center market takes place from 8:00 to 12:00.
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