Alsace is famous for its quaint mix of German, Swiss and French cultures, nations which throughout the centuries all controlled part of the region.
The combination of rolling hills, vineyards, medieval half-timbered houses and stunning Gothic cathedrals transports visitors back through time.
If you want to learn a little about each culture while still getting all the great food and wine that France offers, Alsace is the perfect destination.
Here are the 15 best things to do in Alsace, France.
1.) Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
This incredibly famous cathedral is considered one of the best pieces of Gothic architecture in the world.
It’s also the highest building created in the middle-ages that still stands today. It’s so high you can see the Cathedral even form the distant Vosges Mountains.
If you climb to the astronomical clock, the platform also offers fantastic views of the city. You might think this one is a little touristy, but it is for a reason! Visiting the cathedral is definitely one of the best things to do in Alsace.
2.) Grande Île
The historic city centre of Strasbourg is full of life and still incredibly quaint at the same time, partly because it is contained on an island. The whole island is heritage listed, and for good reason!
In the centre, you’ll find the Place Kléber and the L’Aubette, also called the “Sistine Chapel of abstract art”.
Another place to visit is the Kammerzell House, a building of beautifully ornate Gothic architecture. While you’re here, try the food on the ground and 1st floors!
3.) Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
As a major tourist site, this castle attracts many visitors every year. It offers stunning views all the way to the Black Forest in Germany.
While it’s not a completely accurate representation of the time it was built in, considering it had to be rebuilt, it’s still beautiful. To get here, catch a shuttle bus from Sélestat.
There’s also a great restaurant called Auberge de la Paix nearby that you should check out when you’re there.
4.) Château de Saint-Ulrich
This castle towers over the Ribeauvillé, giving spectacular views of the villages and vineyards below.
After having a tour of the historic monument, visit the nearby Cave de Ribeauvillé for an excellent selection of the local wine.
When you’re done with the hike to the castle, reward yourself with a meal at the Restaurant Aux Trois Châteaux and explore the lovely town of Ribeauvillé.
5.) Lac de Kruth-Wildenstein
For some outdoor time, have a hike around this lake and explore the scenery. There is a beach to go swimming and nearby waterfalls to explore.
The local watersports centre offers canoes, kayaks and pedalos for you to get around the lake. This is a great place to relax and enjoy some of the lovely nature Alsace has to offer.
6.) Écomusée d’Alsace
This is a reconstructed village to show you the way of life in 1800’s Alsace. It is a completely interactive, living museum.
Local craftsmen can show you what work as a potter, baker or blacksmith might have looked like. The village is made up 74 traditional homes and hosts activities, exhibitions, workshops and events detailing life in the past – and glimpsing into the future.
While it might not be the fanciest of places, visiting the village is one of the best things to do in Alsace.
7.) Le Parc du Petit Prince
This theme park is built around the iconic book of the Little Prince, which is a childhood favourite of many Europeans.
The park is described as poetic and sweet and offers not only entertainment to children but and insight into the local culture.
The nearby towns of Pulversheim, Ensisheim and Feldkirch also offer a great opportunity to discover small-town living in the idyllic Alsace.
This idyllic city is famous for its La Petite Venise or Little Venice neighbourhood – it really does feel like you accidentally ended up in Italy!
The commune offers historical attractions like the Eglise Saint-Martin church and Unterlinden Museum, together with fantastic local wine.
If you’re around in winter, the atmospheric Colmar Christmas market is delightful and worth a visit.
9.) Cite de l’Automobile
This automobile museum has the region’s largest collection of historic cars, including the largest collection of Bugatti motor vehicles.
The cars are presented through audio-guided tours and films, making it an interesting and lively experience. This is also one of the few places one can see the world-famous Bugatti Royale.
While not everyone is interested in cars, learning about the history of transport is actually quite interesting!
Another of Alsace’s trademark quaint historical towns, Riquewihr features a weapon museum and expansive butterfly gardens.
You can get great local wine at the Famille Hugel and see the botanical gardens of Park Schoppenwihr nearby. It is also a great town to explore by foot, as it is small and the unique architecture is fascinating.
If you’re staying overnight, get a fantastic local dinner at the Restaurant La Grappe d’Or. Stopping over in Riquewihr is definitely one of the best things to do in Alsace.
11.) Cité du Train
One of the largest railway museums in the world, this museum is not only interesting to train lovers. It offers a remarkable collection of locomotives, rolling stock, audiovisual exhibitions and an insight into the history of public transport.
Right nearby you can also find the Electropolis Museum about the fascinating history of electricity, just to complete your learning experience.
12.) Follow the Alsace Wine Route
All the way from Marlenheim in the north to Thann in the south, the wine route winds through the sunny vineyards of Alsace.
Instead of visiting the common tourist attractions, take a gourmet holiday and explore the wines from each vineyard along the way.
From wine tastings to wine matching courses, you’ll definitely get a great taste of the region. Trying the local wine is definitely one of the best things to do in Alsace.
13.) Skiing at Schnepfenried
In wintertime, Alsace offers a variety of skiing and snowboarding activities. One of the resorts you don’t want to miss out on is Schnepfenried.
With sledding for those who don’t enjoy skiing, a chalet to warm up in, and 20km of cross-country pistes, there is something to do for everyone.
14.) Mont Sainte-Odile
Remember how you can see the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg all the way from the Vosges Mountains? Well, the perfect place to get that view is from Mont Sainte-Odile, a 760-meter peak on said mountains.
There’s a beautiful abbey at the top and on nearby trails, you can see parts of the Pagan Wall, the peak’s famous stone fortification.
If you love getting out into nature and doing some hiking, visiting this mountain is one of the best things you can do in Alsace.
15.) Castle of Fleckenstein
Originally built in the shape of a 52-meter long boat in the Middle Ages, this fortress has since fallen into ruins. However, it has remained impressive and offers great views over the nearby valley.
There are a variety of paper guides giving details about the castle’s history and you can also start a number of day hikes from the castle.
If you have children, the castle offers a great scavenger hunt to make exploring fun for everyone.