Headwater - Villages & Vineyards of Alsace, Self-Guided Walk

9 days
from
$2,535 AUD
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Trip code: 
W08AS
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Point-to-Point
Group size:
1–6
Min age:
8

Alsace is the best of Germany and France combined

This unique part of France provides a fantastic step back in time - an absolute must for the history buff and those who appreciate a good glass of wine. Having been fought over for centuries by Germany and France, this rolling, wine-growing heartland is now heavily characterised by an eclectic mix of cuisine, language, architecture and customs. Pristine German and French cemeteries offer a moving reminder of Alsace's history. 

Highlights

  • Walk through vineyards, ancient oak forest and unspoilt flower-filled gingerbread villages 
  • Try the regional wines
  • Visit romantic castles, Gothic churches, Mediaeval villages; Riquewihr and Colmar, the 'Venice of Alsace'

Key information

  • 8 nights in 3-star accommodation
  • 4 days walking
  • A choice of walks each day; one easier walk or a more challenging walk
  • Altitude maximum 650m, average 350m

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • Walking transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request - compulsory supplement)
  • Visa's & vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

4

Days of Walking & Trekking
Terrain:

Gentle walking, mainly through vineyards, woodland and heavily scented pine forests. No particularly challenging sections; however some paths are stony so protective footwear is advised.

Day by day breakdown
Day 221.0km/14.0miles
Day 412.0km/8.0miles
Day 619.0km/12.0miles
Day 814.0km/9.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Turckheim
to
Turckheim
  • Day 1

    Arrive at Turckheim

    Your first night is spent in a friendly Alsatian hotel in the heart of the village. With so many restaurants on your doorstep, we've left you free to choose where to dine this evening.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 2

    Turckheim to Kaysersberg

    Today it's time to explore Turckheim's Renaissance church and mediaeval gate where storks still nest. Your walk through the vines takes you past flower-filled Niedermorschwihr and Ammerschwihr where you can taste the local vintage, Kaefferkopf, in cosy wine cellars. It's then on to the fortified town of Kaysersberg and your hotel on a quiet cobbled street in the old town.

    Two options: 10km/6.5mi/2hr or 21km/14mi/4hr
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    At Kaysersberg

    In the morning why not stroll up to the ruins of the mediaeval castle for a bird's eye view over Kaysersberg's half-timbered houses decked with geraniums along the River Weiss? Afterwards, perhaps follow a valley trail to Kientzheim or visit Colmar, only 25 minutes by local bus. Known as the 'Venice of Alsace', it's a honeycomb of pretty canals and gorgeous pastel-coloured houses.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Kaysersberg to Riquewihr

    A gentle climb through oak and beech forest leads to Chapelle St Alexis hidden in the woods and with a great auberge for lunch. Your route then descends in and out of pine forest and before long, you get your first glimpses of the showcase of Renaissance houses that earn Riquewihr its nickname, 'Pearl of the Vineyards'. An easier route through the typically Alsatian villages of Kientzheim and Sigolsheim take you up to a war memorial with incredible panoramic views of the Vosges plains, then pick up the Camino de Santiago into Riquewihr. 

    Two options: 11km/7mi/2hr or 12km/7.5mi/3.5hr

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Riquewihr

    The town of Riquewihr is so enchanting it's been declared an historic monument in its entirety. You'll be fascinated by its cobbled alleys, galleried courtyards, fountains and colourful signboards.
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Riquewihr to Bergheim

    You pass through the heart of mediaeval Alsace via the Riesling vineyards nestling at the foot of the mountains. Hunawihr has a fortified church and stork sanctuary; you'll also find otters, butterflies and orchids in the reserve. Three ruined castles of the once-powerful Counts of Ribeaupierre loom overhead as you walk on through the vines to Bergheim.

    Two options: 11km/7mi/2hr or 19km/12mi/4hr
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    At Bergheim

    This colourful and ancient market town was a mediaeval refuge where criminals on the run were safe from persecution. There are lots of beautiful timber-framed houses and a decorated fountain in the old square. Be sure to take a short taxi ride or do the longer optional walk to the amazing Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle; it's a gentle downhill walk back too!
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Bergheim to Chatenois/Turckheim

    You continue parallel to the Route des Vins to a poignant WW2 German military cemetery with panoramic views over the famous restored castle at Haut-Koenigsbourg. At St-Hippolyte there's a Gothic church and fountain, while the ruined court of mediaeval Kintzheim Castle is the setting for spectacular flying displays by birds of prey. At Chatenois, where the walk finishes, we give you a lift back to Turckheim.

    Two options: 12km/7.5mi/2.5hr or 14km/9mi/3hr
    Standard hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Leave Turckheim

    If you have pre-booked a transfer, we will take you to Colmar train station in time for your journey home.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

Continental breakfasts and 2 evening meals are included in this trip.

Although traditional Alsatian cuisine is originally a peasant cuisine featuring potatoes, cabbage, beef and pork as the main ingredients, there are now some 30 Michelin starred restaurants in the Alsace region, offering visually spectacular and delicious, locally sourced, dishes. With two ‘starred’ restaurants in Kaysersberg, one in Riquewihr and one in Ammerschwihr, along with several others featured in the Michelin guide, there is plenty of top quality dining to choose from along your route. The cuisine features a lot of different pies, long simmered or stewed dishes like the traditional baeckeoffe. There is also the famous tarte flambée (flammekeuche in Alsatian dialect), a thin dough covered in cream, chopped onions and diced bacon. The influence of German cuisine and food habits is mainly marked in the important consumption of pork products and charcuterie.

‘Winstub’ is a traditional Alsatian restaurant. Originally it was a public space where the Alsatian wine-makers used to come to present and sell their wine. They used to serve traditional simple dishes to their customers, to accompany their tasting.

Weather

Alsace offers an ideal climate for walking, with pleasant temperatures and high levels of sunshine. The warmest month to visit is July, with an average temperature of 20oC. The region is much drier than some of the neighbouring regions, Colmar is France's second driest town. The wettest month to visit is May, so remember your waterproofs.

Is this trip for you?

Activity level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)

Along the way you will pass through some of the most beautiful villages in France; Kaysersberg and Riquewihr, with their brightly-coloured, half-timbered buildings decked with window boxes spilling with geraniums and traditional ornamental features. Alsace is a well-known white wine region boasting several Grands Crus vineyards, and every village, no matter their size, will have a 'cave' or 'degustation' to visit. The people are welcoming and helpful and keen for you to sample their produce! 

Activity level: 3 (Moderate)
For those who wish to take on more challenging terrain or longer routes, there are longer walking options attached to three of the four walking days. These take you up into the forests of the Vosges and provide a wonderful contrast to the undulating trail through the vineyards. You can visit the tiny Chapel St Alexis or The Galtz monument with its viewing platform or even have a walk around the ruins of the chateaux of Ribeauville. 

This is a self-guided tour, as such there will be no group or tour leader and you are free to complete the walks at your own pace. Please bear in mind that although this is a self-guided holiday, the atmosphere in the hotels tends to be quite social and they will sometimes seat guests together at breakfast and dinner. We have suggested that 8yrs is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you.

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

All of the hotels are in atmospheric half-timbered villages that are typical of this region, including the stunning Hotel des Deux Clefs in Turckheim whose building dates back to the 16th Century and is officially classed as a monument historique. The beautifully converted 16th Century Hotel a l'Oriel in the heart of Riquewihr has a cosy winstub and a pretty internal courtyard, where, weather permitting, breakfast can be taken.

 All prices are based on 2 persons sharing, so if there is an odd number of people travelling in your party or you are travelling alone, there will be a compulsory supplement for a single room for the tour duration. For a solo traveller there is an additional charge to cover transfer costs. Please call for further details. 

Call for general departures:
1300 131 564
Call for tailormade trips:
1300 131 564
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

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Call us on 1300 131 564