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Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

West Aussie
Level Contributor
306 posts
44 reviews
Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

We are really looking forward to gaining a tiny taste of what reads to be a beautiful and interesting region, and are travelling mid September this year.

Our plan/idea is to travel via train to Strasbourg (from the UK), spending 2 nights there, then to either:-

travel by train to Colmar prior to hiring a car and exploring the area in that general vicinity (staying in Riquewihr for 2 nights), returning the car to Colmar prior to travelling by train to Murren in Switzerland, or:-

hire the car in Strasbourg, still staying in Riquewihr, and dropping the car in Colmar prior to heading to Switzerland

My query is does anyone have some advice to which option would be the most logical, and also if there are any other recommendations we could use to optimise our short time there, instead of those ideas..???

We are not hugely into museums etc but love exploring the countryside/villages/towns, and generally just absorbing the ambience.

Could this type of journey be done without a vehicle?

Thanks for your help . . . . .

Chateaurenard...
Level Contributor
9,453 posts
93 reviews
1. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

If there is no additional drop off cost, rent in Strasbourg and drop off in Colmar. Otherwise "do" Strasbourg then take the train to Colmar & rent the car there. Don't rent the car in Strasbourg until you are about to leave it. You'd be paying rental and parking charges for nothing.

Alsace, France
Level Contributor
4,290 posts
138 reviews
2. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

My father in law travels regularly to see us in Alsace from the UK using the train and enjoys himself immensely each time.

I'd suggest that you take the TGV to Strasbourg and stay your two nights using the time without a car in the city.

I suggest that in addition to the usual recommendations I suggest you could do when spending a day there - boat ride, visit the Cathedral, climb the tower and see the Astronomical clock at midday, Petite France, the Alsacian museum, the Rohan Palace and the Fine Arts Museum (http://www.musees.strasbourg.eu), you contact the Council of Europe or the European Parliament now before the summer recess and see if you could join a guided tour on your day in Strasbourg. It's a very interesting tour if you've always wondered what the European Institutions consist of, and it's only a short hop to the lovely Orangerie Park.

I'd then get the train to Colmar and hire your car for the time you spend there. You can prebook with Avis and they are the only car hire company to have an office at the station itself. Otherwise the other majors are some distance out and I suggest you get a taxi to the car hire office from the station.

You will certainly need a car if you are staying in Riquewihr. Do drive across the vines to Sigolsheim, and along to Kaysersberg even if you get nowhere else. Just opposite Riquewihr is Zellenberg, and you can go down the route de vins very easily to Eguisheim ... although it means a slightly more urban section on the N83 around Colmar. If you are in the area on a Tuesday, I recommend a stop at 'Au grain de lait' which is at Hachimette, just before Orbey which is a cheese maker's specialising in the local Munster cheese with a good tasting opportunity afterwards.

You will be travelling during the grape harvest so don't be surprised if central Riquewihr - and other villages - smell a bit musty as the grapes are being pressed and start to ferment! Also, please be aware that there may be lots of little tractors on the roads sometimes towing big plastic vats full of grapes on route to the press. Give way to them. Also the police will be on the watch with their breathalysers because the grape pickers traditionally get good meals when picked washed down with liberal quantities of wine and the police find they have a lot of easy targets at this time!!

The fact that it's the grape harvest will not preclude you stopping for wine tastings, though there may only be one person serving as the others will be busy elsewhere!

Often we have a lovely warm September. I hope you have a lovely time and please don't hesitate to get in touch again if you have further questions.

Drop your car off before you head to Switzerland at Colmar.

France
Level Contributor
1,992 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

Great tips from Alsacienne, don't ignore Colmar itself though - half a day just to walk around and see the architecture etc plus more for the museums.

One alternative for car hire would be to rent in Strasbourg and drive through the northern section of the route des vins to Riquewihr. Do your sightseeing and then on the last day drive to Basel airport and drop the car there. You can drop the car on the French side of the airport, walk 100 metres through the terminal to the Swiss side and catch a bus to Basel train station (15 minutes, 8 times per hour) to continue the trip onwards to your destination. You normally get to park the rental car 20-30 metres from the terminal building so it is incredibly convenient.

2 posts
1 review
4. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

We are currently in Obernai and have two days left in Alsace. It is fantastic and we have loved the first few days here. We are looking to sample some great Reisling wines and also want to walk through the vineyards. We are finding it hard to work out how we can do tastings. Do we need to book at a tourist office or do any of you know of a website you can direct me to that can let us know which Caves would be open for tastings etc over the next few days.

Cheers...

Alsace, France
Level Contributor
4,290 posts
138 reviews
5. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

With the exception of a few 'prestigious' (in their own eyes) caves, you can stop and taste in any winery that's actually open.

Despite what some posters have written you do NOT need to book in advance. I personally can recommend the following wineries - Jean-Pierre Kappler in Ammerschwihr, Marcel Immelé in Voegtlinshoffen, Vins Jean Becker in Zellenberg, Cave Cooperative de Turckheim in Turckheim, Wolfberger in Eguisheim and on the N83 ringroad just west of Colmar, the Cave Vinicole de Pfaffenheim in Pfaffenheim and the Cave Cooperative in Wuenheim near Soultz which also has a charming museum.

I note that you are a bit north of where I've mentioned, but you should find plenty of choice in Heiligenstein where the Pinot Blanc is called Klevner and has a good reputation. The other wineries are a bit further south from you, but you will get to see a lot of beautiful Alsacian villages on the way and explore the villages where these wineries are. I hope that this will be helpful, and most wineries are open 8-12 and 2-6 every day.

2 posts
1 review
6. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

Thank you Alsacienne. This is perfect! We appreciate you information.

West Aussie
Level Contributor
306 posts
44 reviews
7. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

Thankyou for painting such a wonderful picture in your recommendations of how to best to enjoy our visit. Soooo exciting..!!!

We will be departing Strasbourg on a Monday, so will definitely look out 'Au grain de lait' in Hachimette on the Tuesday. I am currently in Tasmania, and whilst browsing through a wonderful store selling imported cheeses - am not sure of the variety, but it was definitely from France, I noted one delicious sounding cheese selling for just under $90 per kilo..!!! will look forward to trying many of these on our journey at hopefully a much lesser price ;-))

Our idea in staying in Riquewihr is that we can do our exploring of nearby towns etc during the day, and then be able to appreciate Riquewihr itself after the main flux of tourists have departed for the day. There are so many lovely sounding areas, it's difficult to make a choice when time is so limited.

I seem to recall reading somewhere, that in relation to the trip between Strasbourg and Colmar, that the southen portion is more scenic? I think that's one of the reasons we initially thought to train there prior to hiring a car.

Anyway, thanks once again for all the input . . . will absorb what's here further prior to asking any more questions

8. Re: Exploring from Strasbourg - Colmar, Riquewihr & surrounds..?

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