With vineyards on rolling hills that stretch into the horizon, small medieval villages scattered in the region and castles and forts perched on top of small mountains, the French Alsace is among the world’s most picturesque wine regions.
When I first arrived in Alsace I couldn’t believe my eyes – the scenery and towns were the kind I didn’t think existed anymore; pastel colored half-timbered houses line the sides of cobblestone alleys with basement restaurants serving wine from the surrounding vineyards.
It’s like a storybook, only difference is that it’s actually real, and authentic. Unlike many places in the world that have become open-air museums, the towns of Alsace are real and alive.
During WWII many towns and cities in Europe were burned to the ground, and historic beauty was rarely a good enough excuse for a town to be spared.
Colmar, however, was an exception, and the American and British military were careful not to bomb the quaint cobbled town – while other villages in the Alsace region were destroyed, many are still intact and lovingly cared for to continue preserving its medieval beauty.
Today, Colmar is thriving, and the surrounding villages continue with their wine business as they have for hundreds of years already. Time really does seem to stand still in this part of the world.
The quiet atmosphere and pastel colored houses with overflowing flower boxes by every window make these little villages the perfect places to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine, harvested literally from around the corner.
Two very picturesque villages that are located close to the larger Alsatian town Colmar are Eguisheim and Riquewihr, but there are dozens more to choose from.
I’ve always been a red wine kind of girl, but since I was in the white wine capital of France I knew I should at least try some, and turned out loving the Riesling and Gewürztraminer, they were spicy and refreshing.
They do make one red wine though, Pinot Noir, which I highly recommend tasting!
The easiest way to get around is by car, but there is a bus going from Colmar to Riquewihr a few times per day so it is possible if you do some planning in advance (the ride takes 30 min, €6 return).
Alsace’s unique culture mix is one you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world, and I highly recommend you take some time when traveling in France (or Germany for that matter!) to check out the quaint Alsace region.