Home > Biking the Vineyards and Mountains of Alsace
With over 2,000 kilometers of cycle routes winding through the region, over 15,000 hectares of vineyards, and the Vosges Mountains looming over pretty flowered villages, biking through Alsace is perfectly rewarding. Combining hard work and pleasure, this tour will introduce you to the traditions, hearty cuisine, and history of this unique French-German region, as well as the breathtaking climbs and picturesque landscapes afforded by its mountains.
Beginning and ending in Obernai, our 5 night/6 day itinerary is a veritable highlights reel, following two major routes: the Route des Crêtes (in the mountains) and the Route des Vins (in the valley). You’ll pedal up challenging passes such as the col du Grand Ballon and the col des Bagenelles, down into fairytale towns including Riquewihr and Colmar, and past the seemingly endless vines where renowned Riesling, Muscat and Gewürztraminer are produced. We can guarantee that the cycling, the villages, and the wines will stay with you long after your trip comes to an end.
For travel and cycling tips to Alsace, visit our "Travel and cycling tips" section.
Your adventure begins in Obernai, where an early arrival will allow you plenty of time to explore this charming Alsatian town. Remarkable sites from medieval times abound, including the Kappelturm (belfry) and the house in which Sainte-Odile (the patron saint of Alsace) is said to have been born. In the afternoon, you’ll meet with our local representative, who will prepare you for the next few days of spectacular riding!
Make sure you eat a hearty breakfast, for today’s ride starts off with a bang—or rather, a climb. Work those legs as you make the ascent up to the Abbey of mont Sainte-Odile, a mythic climb for cyclists as well as a popular pilgrimage. The view makes it all worthwhile: from up here (764 metres/2,507 feet), a clear day can have you seeing all the way to the Black Forest!
Once you’ve gotten your breath back, you’ll follow the Route des Crêtes (Route of the Ridges) through the village of Hohwald and its unique sculptures before tackling the col du Kreuzweg (768 metres/2,520 feet). Finally, it’s time for a descent! Let the breeze cool you off as you wheel downwards via the col de la charbonnière, the col de la salcée, and the col de Steige before the route flattens out into the Val de Villé.
As you leave the valley, the famous Route des Vins of Alsace will lead you to Riquewihr, your destination for today. Officially designated a “Most Beautiful Village of France”, Riquewihr still retains its 16th-Century charm, with many medieval buildings including the Tour des Voleurs (Tower of Thieves) which holds a torture chamber! Don’t worry—you won’t be sleeping here tonight but rather in a nearby hotel…
A visit to the pretty village of Kaysersberg is the perfect way to start a long day of riding. Stop a while to visit the medieval monuments, including the high fortress that hearkens back to Kaysersberg’s past wartime importance. Don’t linger too long however, for the col des Bagenelles awaits! At its top, you’ll be treated to a spectacular panorama of the Rhine Valley and the Black Forest.
Following the Route des Crêtes, you’ll eventually find yourself in the shadow of Hohneck. At 1,363 meters (4,472 feet), it’s the third-highest summit in the Vosges Mountains. After an obligatory photo-stop, you’ll wheel through the Vallée de Florival to reconnect with the Route des Vins, allowing you time to catch your breath before pedaling into Guebwiller, where you’ll overnight. Rest well—tomorrow is a big day!
Regardless of which option you choose today, you’ll encounter the toughest col (average 6% gradient) of the whole trip as soon as you set off from Guebwiller—the Grand Ballon. The highest mountain in the Vosges range
(1,424 m/4,671 feet), the col has been used several times in the Tour de France, most recently in 2014. It’s daunting, but we promise the view is worth it (as well as the bragging rights).
If you’re feeling extra motivated, a westward loop will give your legs a real workout with the col d’Oderen, the col du Page, the Ballon d’Alsace, and the col du Hundsruck in succession. Either way, you’ll enjoy a descent back into the valley and the Route des Vins where you’ll wheel through pretty villages like Rouffach and Eguisheim until arriving at perhaps the prettiest of them all: Colmar. After parking your bikes at your hotel (and maybe a shower), take your time to wander through its Old Town. With its half-timbred houses, colourful storefronts and the canal-crossed “Petite Venise”, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a fairy tale!
Note: Extra nights in Colmar can be arranged upon request.
As you reluctantly cycle away from Colmar after breakfast, you may find solace in the gorgeous landscape: in the heart of the Alsatian wine region, villages seem almost to be wrapped in the surrounding vineyards. After approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles), you’ll then make the climb up to the historic Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, perched upon its rocky spur. Stop to enjoy the view and to explore the castle—if you’re a fan of French cinema, you may even recognize it from Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion. You will spend the night in Obernai, to get reacquainted with the lovely town from where your Alsatian adventure started.
After breakfast, depart at the time of your choice.
5 nights in 3-star hotels