Traveling over the Vosges Mountains’ scenic foothills and through the Rhine plain is a lovely way to see Alsace. Every square inch of this place is protected as a natural regional park by UNESCO. From Molsheim, via the ancient settlements of Obernai and Colmar, and further to the town of Guebwiller, there is a road that travels through pristine countryside and follows the winding Rhine River.
The route takes you through quaint towns and villages in the countryside and beautifully preserved medieval cities, where brightly colored flowers spill out of window boxes in pastel-painted half-timbered homes and winding alleys of cobblestone encourage relaxing strolls through time.
Top 10 towns and villages in Alsace, France
Discover the greatest historic cities and quaint villages in Alsace with our travel guide.
The charming beauty of Colmar covers up its role as a center of culture from the 13th century (particularly during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century). With its medieval districts, winding pedestrian lanes, and evocative canals, Colmar has kept the magic of a bygone period. All of these amazing things about this small town have made it one of the best towns to visit in Alsace.
The city’s half-timbered burgher homes, typical of the area, include balconies decked out in spring and summer with potted geraniums. As a result of its beautiful flower displays, Colmar has been named a “Ville Fleurie” (Flowering City).
The city’s historic core is filled with beautiful buildings, such as the Renaissance-style Maison des Têtes and the Maison Pfister, one of the city’s best-preserved 16th-century residences.
The historic Krutenau District is a particularly good example of why this is the definition of an Alsatian town. Visit this neighborhood, often called “Little Venice,” to take a boat ride around the city’s picturesque canals.
Eguisheim (Haut-Rhin), not far from Colmar, is a fascinating place and one of Alsace’s greatest towns. The streets of this town are laid out in concentric rings, centered around the Château Saint-Léon, making it a really one-of-a-kind community.
A native of Eguisheim, Pope Leo XII was born to a noble family. Standing atop the stunning Renaissance fountain in Place du Château is a statue of the Pope.
Stroll the winding cobblestone lanes framed by the charming half-timbered homes that bloom with flowers from their balconies and windowsills. The center plaza, the Château Saint-Léon, and the Saint-Pierre-et-Paul Church, which houses the extraordinary Vierge Ouvrante, are not to be missed (14th century).
Kaysersberg’s status as a Free Imperial City is featured by the ruins of an old imperial castle. Kaysersberg has a charming sense of antiquity thanks to its medieval wall vestiges, Romanesque church (the Eglise Sainte-Croix), ancient half-timbered buildings, and Renaissance burgher residences. This small yet picturesque town is one of Alsace’s best towns to explore.
Kaysersberg should be at the top of any December itinerary through Alsace for anyone seeking the wonder of the holiday season. Beginning around Thanksgiving Day and continuing until New Year’s Day, the town is transformed into a magical wonderland by the twinkling lights and classic ornamentation of the holiday season.
The town’s Christmas market, known as the Marché de Nol, is a popular destination for holiday revelers because of its traditional decorations and upbeat vibe. Gift buyers have found the artisanal market, where merchants offer goods such as pottery, jewelry, Christmas tree ornaments, gingerbread, fruit jams, and more, to be an enjoyable experience.
The magnificent fortified Church of Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur was constructed in this picturesque town outside of Riquewihr in the 14th century. The graveyard of the church offers a breathtaking panorama over the Alsace plain and the Black Forest.
Hunawihr is full of interesting sights, such as its 18th-century stone fountain with two subsidiary basins and its colorful buildings. The scenery, history, and strategic location of this town make it one of the best towns to visit in Alsace.
Riquewihr, Beblenheim, Benwihr, Hunawihr, and Zellenberg are all part of the Grands Crus Wine Trail, a beautiful 16-kilometer journey through the vineyards of Alsace. This rural walk begins in Riquewihr and has interpretative panels detailing the vineyard’s and winery’s efforts (the complete tour takes 4.5 hours).
The charming atmosphere of this little town (only 4 km from Riquewihr) is incredible. Beautiful historic homes and public features like fountains and sculptures benefit from having flower pots placed on their window sills in the spring and summer. Ribeauvillé is, without a doubt, one of the best towns to visit in Alsace.
Due to its magnificent displays of flora, Ribeauvillé has been designated as a four-star “Village Fleuri,” the highest possible rating. Charming little squares and streets paved with cobblestones add to the ambiance of the town.
Pfifferdaj (the Fiddlers’ Festival) in September is the best time to visit Ribeauvillé if you’re interested in the city’s medieval history. The Count of Ribeaupierre, often known as the “King” of the region’s roaming musicians, ruled Ribeauvillé during the Middle Ages. The musicians paid him dues for his protection and held an annual minstrels’ festival at Ribeauvillé, which still takes place in this town annually.
This charming village is surrounded by hills covered with climbing vines and has numerous half-timbered homes brightened with colorful flower displays. From spring through fall, many people go to the Pays du Mont Sainte-Odile (Mount Sainte-countryside) Odile to enjoy the area’s beautiful walking and hiking routes. Rosheim is one of the best towns all over Alsace, with breathtaking scenery.
This ancient settlement was about six km from Obernai and was another Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire. The remains of the town’s medieval walls and gated towers, as well as the 12th-century Eglise Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, one of the finest Romanesque churches in Alsace, reveal the town’s history and culture.
Equally noteworthy is the fact that documents from 1215 point to the existence of a Jewish community in the area. Tourists may still admire the neo-Romanesque architecture of the Jewish synagogue, which was built in the 19th century but is now closed.
The countryside around this ancient walled town is picture-perfect, with rolling hills covered in vines. The town’s vividly painted half-timbered homes stand out beautifully against the stunning natural setting. Dambach-la-Ville is a charming town in Alsace that may be explored on foot by following its meandering, cobblestone lanes.
The beautiful walks don’t have to end when you leave Dambach-la-Ville. However, the surrounding countryside is laced with pathways perfect for exploring on foot.
Alternatively, you might go eight kilometers to the picturesque town of Epfig, which is set in a valley surrounded by rolling hills covered with vines. The Chapelle Sainte-Marguerite, a remarkable example of Romanesque architecture from the 11th century, may be seen in this picturesque town.
Every year in early December, the town gets into the holiday mood with the Marché de Nol, which features live music performances and a traditional craft fair. Unique Christmas decorations and gifts may be purchased at any of the hundreds of booths that have been put up in the Place du Marché, the Town Hall, and the Salle de la Laube.
Riquewihr (Haut-Rhin) is one of the loveliest towns on the Alsace Wine Route, and it also happens to be our favorite. It’s situated in the heart of vineyards about 15 kilometers northwest of Colmar. Riquewihr offers everything a potential resident may want. Time seems to have stopped in this walled community that was established in the 16th century.
In addition to its stunning half-timbered homes and winding lanes, Riquewihr is home to no less than 40 museums and other historical sites. Don’t miss the Rue du Général de Gaulle, with its 16th- and 17th-century winegrowers’ mansions, or the famed Thieves’ Tower, the ancient jail of Riquewihr. Next, go along the city walls to the village’s three towers for some of the oldest fortifications in all of Alsace.
This Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire is located about 25 kilometers south of Strasbourg, and it has maintained its medieval atmosphere, with a tower from the 13th century, ancient town gates, small pedestrian alleyways, and distinctive burgher dwellings. Obernai is one of the best towns in all of Alsace, with rich history and picturesque nature.
The winter holidays are among the most magical seasons to visit Obernai. Travelers will love the town’s authentically Alsatian take on the holiday season. The town is decked up in holiday cheer with a towering Christmas tree, twinkling lights, and a lively Marché de Nol (Christmas Market) filled with artisan sellers selling one-of-a-kind, handcrafted goods.
Andlau is a picturesque town nestled in a quiet valley close to the woods of the Vosges Mountains, where bears were formerly living. In Andlau, the bear represents both the Christian faith and the village itself. Andlau is one of the most picturesque and lovely villages in Alsace that is less crowded than other towns and villages in the region, which makes it perfect for a relaxing travel.
The legend of the abbey of Andlau’s construction in the 9th century states that Saint Richard was shown the site by a bear. This explains why bears sometimes visit the Saints-Pierre-and-Paul Abbey Church. A stone bear stands watch over the church’s crypt, while a smaller bear may be seen in one of the ornate bas-reliefs outside.