Right before the madness of leaving Belgium and the holidays, I was invited to visit the Alsace area. On the schedule were several Christmas markets and way too much delicious wine. The area is well known for its crazy Christmas markets and you’ll find plenty of articles online about them everywhere. Nonetheless, I will share a bit about my journey during Christmas time anyway. Because the markets are so well-known, they were also super busy. I would love to visit the area when it’s more quiet. Whether you’re coming in for the pretty houses or the wines, there are plenty of reasons why you should put the Alsace area on your bucket list!
Reasons to put the Alsace area on your Bucket List
Reason 1: Wine, wine, wine
The Alsace wines are world famous for a reason. Driving through the area, you’ll see vineyards left and right and the cellar doors that accompany them. From Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer to Pinot Noir, the area grows plenty of grapes to make lovely wines. The Crémants of the area even rival the best Champagnes in the world. We also came across plenty of Rieslings and tasted a bottle of 1996!
After visiting several vineyards and cellar doors, my favorite was definitely Domaine Hering. It was right around the corner from our hotel, 5 Terres Hotel and Spa, in Barr. Other visit-worthy houses are Domaine Bott-Frères in Ribeauvillé which offers a great view over their vineyard and Dopff au Moulin in Riquewihr.
If you want to learn more about the Alsatian wines, visit their website. I also found this great guide that explains it all very well for us wine lovers who don’t know that much about wine.
Reason 2: Beautiful Medieval Villages and Houses
Tasting all this wine is even better in a beautiful setting. The village of Ribeauvillé is one of the eldest medieval villages in the area and is worth a visit. The beautiful and colorful houses with a castle in the background was pretty dreamy. Accompanied by the medieval entertainment that they offered at the Ribeauvillé Christmas market, we felt like we were thrown back into time.
Another favorite was the village of Riquewihr. We escaped the madness of the Christmas markets for a little bit and were amazed by the beauty of this lovely place. This really made me want to revisit the area without all the Christmas market tourists!
Reason 3: The food!
As you all know I absolutely adore food. We had the chance to visit the most amazing restaurants during our stay. If only for the great food, you should put the Alsace area on your bucket list. As a pescetarian (a vegetarian who sometimes eats fish), I’m not the biggest fan on the classic French kitchen. It’s often too much meat and butter sauces for my liking. The more you travel to the south of the country, the more the kitchen becomes my style. Lots of cheese, amazing fish and great vegetable dishes. Accompanied by amazing wines of course! Below a quick list of the restaurants I loved and where to find them.
Caveau La Folie Marco, Barr
A great favorite amongst locals and tourists. I still think about their baked cheese dish!
La table du Brocanteur, Colmar
A quirky little restaurant filled to the brim with great food. They served us a salmon tartare which was a bit unconventional for the area, but oh so good!
L’Ami Fritz, Obernai
Oh wow, this restaurant. Every single dish that they served us here was so amazing everyone ate way too much. It’s definitely a restaurant for more special occasion, but if you have to chance to make it here, it’s a must. I mean, EVERY SINGLE DISH!
Reason 4: The Christmas Markets
There is no way around it, the Alsace Christmas Markets are among the best of the world. They are filled to the brim with wine, food, souvenirs and full of Christmas spirit. You can do as many as your heart desires because every little town has their own famous market. Ribeauvillé is famous for its medieval entertainment, even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of all the live animals being used for entertainment. Riquewihr the same pretty houses and that amazing downhill view of the whole market. Colmart is also a must when visiting the Alsace Christmas markets. Several christmas markets are spread out across the city and all have their own unique charm.
Reason 5: The accommodation
Because of all the incoming tourists for the Christmas markets, the Alsace has beautiful luxurious accommodation that provides you with much needed rest from the Christmas madness. It’s a good idea to look for a hotel somewhere central to the wine route so you can visit all from a central location. Another great option is booking separate hotels as you move around the area. This will minimize the driving and maximize the tastings. All that matters, right!
We stayed in the newly opened and absolutely amazing 5 Terres Hotel and Spa in Barr. It was honestly one of the nicest hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in (sometimes us blogger are so lucky!) and I would recommend it to everyone!
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