Alsace is one of the most popular regions in France, known for its wonderful cuisine, the famous Alsatian wine route, friendly locals and pretty towns and villages.
The Christmas markets are a huge drawcard in winter, but many visit in spring to see the beautiful flower-lined canals and colourful half-timbered houses.
In this guide, I recommend where to stay in Alsace, from the cuisine-focused capital to the picturesque villages.
Where to Stay in Alsace
The Alsace region is located on the northeastern border of France. The region borders Germany and Switzerland, so if you’re planning a longer trip, you might also consider visiting destinations in these countries.
The unique Alsatian history you’ll encounter in this part of the world developed partially due to the region being part of Germany and France at different times. It’s what makes this one of the most fascinating destinations in France.
If you’re planning a trip, these are my suggestions for where to stay in the Alsace region, one of France’s most stunning regions.
Strasbourg, the enchanting capital of the Alsace region in France, promises an unforgettable experience for both first-time and returning visitors. As the crown jewel of Alsace, Strasbourg should be at the top of your list if you can only visit one destination in the region.
At the heart of this captivating city lies the Grande Île, a picturesque island surrounded by charming canals and an array of half-timbered houses that showcase the region’s architectural heritage. As a visitor, you’ll want to make this central area your base to explore all that you can in Strasbourg.
The Strasbourg Old Town, or Altstadt, encompasses the Grande Île and the delightful Petite France historic district. Petite France is known for its quaint, winding streets and beautifully preserved timber-framed houses. This area is ideal for leisurely strolls and capturing postcard-perfect photos.
While in Strasbourg, don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The awe-inspiring Notre Dame Cathedral’s intricate Gothic architecture and the astronomical clock are a must-see.
Discover the charm of Petite France, the elegance of the Neustadt District, and the modern significance of the European Parliament, which showcases Strasbourg’s role in European politics.
Strasbourg’s cuisine is renowned as some of the finest in France, featuring a unique blend of French and German influences.
Be sure to sample traditional Alsatian dishes such as flammekueche or tarte flambée (akin to an Alsatian pizza), choucroute (fermented cabbage with sausages and other meats), kugelhopf (a dense, yeasted cake with raisins and almonds), and bretzels (soft pretzels).
To accompany your meal, indulge in the region’s signature Riesling wine or sip on the delightful sparkling cider that Alsace is known for.
Attracting more than 4 million tourists annually, Strasbourg is a popular destination for travellers from around the world.
The city is also incredibly visitor-friendly, with an extensive tram network and over 670km of bike paths. This makes navigating and exploring the city’s many attractions easy, regardless of where you choose to stay.
To help with planning, read my guide to boutique hotels in Strasbourg, where I share ideas on where to stay.
Colmar, often regarded as one of the most charming towns in France, is a picturesque destination nestled in the heart of the Alsace region. With its enchanting canals, vibrant squares, and remarkable historic architecture, Colmar is the perfect location for a leisurely stroll, allowing visitors to fully absorb the town’s captivating atmosphere.
Renowned for its Alsatian cuisine, Colmar is an ideal place to indulge in the region’s culinary delights. Take your time to enjoy leisurely lunches and delectable three-course meals in one of the many inviting restaurants, where you can experience the mouthwatering fusion of French and German flavours.
A visit to Colmar wouldn’t be complete without exploring the bustling markets and quaint boutique delicatessens that dot the town. These charming shops offer a wide variety of exceptional local produce, including artisanal cheeses, freshly baked bread, succulent charcuterie, and an assortment of jams and preserves.
Each of these delicacies represents the rich culinary traditions of the Alsace region.
To witness Colmar’s beauty in full bloom, consider visiting during the spring months. The vibrant colours and fragrances of blossoming flowers accentuate the charm of the town’s picturesque squares and cobblestone streets, creating a truly enchanting atmosphere.
However, don’t discount the magic of a winter visit to Colmar. The town hosts one of France’s most popular Christmas markets, which transforms the historic centre into a festive wonderland.
From November to December, the streets come alive with twinkling lights, charming wooden chalets, and the enticing aroma of mulled wine, making it a delightful time to visit and experience the festive celebrations.
For more information on visiting Colmar and where to stay, read my guide to boutique hotels in Colmar.
Ribeauvillé, a charming town in the Alsace region, is renowned for its rich history, relaxing spa and wellness retreats, and exquisite wine offerings.
Situated along the famous Alsace Wine Route, Ribeauvillé is the perfect destination for wine enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
The town’s most iconic landmarks are the ruins of the Three Castles of the Lords of Ribeaupierre. These majestic medieval fortresses, perched on the hilltops, offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and provide stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
A visit to these historic ruins is a must when exploring Ribeauvillé and the Alsace region.
In addition to its historical sites, Ribeauvillé is a haven for anyone seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The town is home to several top-notch spas and wellness retreats, where visitors can indulge in a range of therapeutic treatments designed to soothe the body and mind.
These luxurious facilities provide the perfect opportunity to unwind after a day of sightseeing and wine tasting.
As a key stop on the Alsace Wine Route, Ribeauvillé is well-known for its superb wines, which are a testament to the region’s unique terroir and centuries-old winemaking traditions.
The local tourism website has a wealth of information about the Alsace Wine Route, including suggested destinations, tips for creating your personalised itinerary, and details on the region’s numerous wineries and vineyards.
Ribeauvillé also plays host to a variety of exciting annual events, such as the Kougelhopf Festival. This popular celebration pays tribute to the region’s signature dessert, kugelhopf, a delicious, dense cake with raisins and almonds. The festival has a range of activities and tastings, giving visitors the chance to sample this delicious Alsatian treat.
Another highlight of Ribeauvillé’s event calendar is the enchanting Medieval Christmas Market. Each year, the town’s historic centre is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with costumed performers, traditional music, and an array of festive stalls selling handmade crafts, regional delicacies, and warming beverages. The market’s captivating atmosphere is perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.
Riquewihr, a captivating medieval village nestled in the heart of the Alsace region, is a must-visit destination for those who appreciate the allure of rustic charm and centuries-old architecture.
The village is renowned for its beautifully preserved half-timbered buildings, idyllic natural landscape, and exquisite wines crafted from the sun-drenched hillside vineyards.
As you wander through Riquewihr’s cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by the enchanting atmosphere of this well-preserved medieval gem.
The town’s vibrant colours and intricate architectural details are a feast for the eyes, making it a delightful destination for photographers and history enthusiasts alike.
Riquewihr’s position in the heart of the Alsace wine region ensures that visitors can sample some of the finest wines produced in the area.
The hillside vineyards yield a range of exceptional varietals, from crisp and refreshing whites to rich and robust reds. A visit to Riquewihr wouldn’t be complete without savouring a glass of the local wine while taking in the picturesque surroundings.
If you happen to visit Riquewihr during the winter months, don’t miss the opportunity to experience the town’s magical Christmas market.
This festive event transforms the village into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, charming wooden chalets, and the enticing aroma of seasonal treats. The market is the perfect place to sample local specialties and soak up the festive atmosphere while shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs.
Affectionately known as the Manchester of France, Mulhouse has successfully transformed from its industrial roots into one of France’s most innovative and creative cities.
Located in the Alsace region, this vibrant metropolis has a unique blend of culture, history, and contemporary flair that is sure to captivate visitors.
As you explore Mulhouse, you’ll be delighted to discover a diverse array of street art, murals, and art installations adorning the cityscape.
Local and international artists have left their mark on the city, turning it into a dynamic open-air gallery that reflects the area’s creative spirit.
In addition to its thriving street art scene, Mulhouse is home to several unique museums catering to various interests.
The Cité de l’Automobile has the world’s largest collection of automobiles, and the Cité du Train, showcasing France’s rich railway history, are must-visit destinations for transportation enthusiasts. The Musée de l’Impression sur Étoffes, dedicated to the city’s textile printing heritage, provides fascinating insights into Mulhouse’s industrial past.
Mulhouse also has an abundance of charming open spaces, perfect for leisurely strolls or picnics. The city’s parks and gardens provide a tranquil escape from the urban bustle, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy the region’s natural beauty.
As you wander through the city, you’ll find an array of cool cafes and bistros that cater to every taste. These trendy establishments serve up delicious cuisine, artisanal coffee, and an inviting atmosphere, making them the perfect spots to unwind and refuel during your visit.
Situated near the Swiss and German borders, Mulhouse is an ideal base for exploring the neighbouring cities of Basel and Freiburg.
Both destinations are just a short train ride away, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the tri-border region’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
Stay at one of my preferred Mulhouse hotels for a comfortable break in Mulhouse.
Places to Visit in Alsace
The Alsace region is full of picturesque cities, towns, and villages that are well worth a visit. Here are a few more destinations to consider exploring during your trip to Alsace:
- Eguisheim: Known for its colourful, half-timbered houses and narrow, cobblestone streets, Eguisheim is a charming village that has also been awarded membership in the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. Its circular layout and stunning floral displays make it a unique destination in the region.
- Kaysersberg: This picturesque town, nestled in the heart of Alsace’s wine country, is famous for its historic centre, half-timbered buildings, and the majestic Kaysersberg Castle ruins. The town also hosts a popular Christmas market during the holiday season.
- Obernai: Situated at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, Obernai is a charming town that has a rich historical heritage. Key attractions include Market Square, the picturesque old town, and the ancient ramparts that surround the city.
- Rosheim: This quaint town is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, including Romanesque buildings like the Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Visitors can also follow the Rosheim Wine Trail to explore local vineyards and sample the region’s wines.
- Hunawihr: A small village surrounded by vineyards, Hunawihr is known for its 16th-century fortified church and charming half-timbered houses. The village is also home to the Centre de Réintroduction, a wildlife park dedicated to the conservation of storks and otters.
- Turckheim: Located on the Alsace Wine Route, Turckheim is famous for its medieval city gates, vibrant half-timbered houses, and the tradition of the night watchman, who still patrols the streets in the evening. The town is also known for its wineries and gastronomic offerings.
- Bergheim: This picturesque town is surrounded by medieval walls and features well-preserved half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and a historic town centre. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore its charming shops, restaurants, and wineries.
- Saverne: Situated at the foot of the Northern Vosges Mountains, Saverne is a historic town with a mix of cultural influences. Key attractions include the Château des Rohan, a stunning 18th-century palace, and the Marne-Rhine Canal that runs through the city, offering delightful boat trips and scenic walks.
- Wissembourg: A charming town located near the German border, Wissembourg has a rich historical heritage and beautiful architecture. Explore the picturesque old town, visit the stunning Abbey Church of Saints Peter and Paul, and enjoy leisurely strolls along the Lauter River.
- Guebwiller: Nestled between the Vosges Mountains and the vineyards of Alsace, Guebwiller is known for its beautiful landscape and unique mix of architectural styles. Visit the Church of Saint Léger, explore the Dominicains de Haute-Alsace cultural centre, or follow the Guebwiller Wine Route to sample the region’s exquisite wines.
Explore France is an excellent resource for planning your trip to France. Here you can find information on places to visit in Alsace and things to do in the region.
Recommendations are independently chosen by our experienced travel editors. If you have any questions about where to stay in Alsace, please do so in the comment box below.