Travelers to any destination in Europe can expect to spend a great deal of time walking. This is a good thing, since thereâ€™s so much wonderful food to enjoy! Touring the French countryside on foot gives you an especially up-close view of life in France, and the many walking and hiking trails in the Alsace region will give you a sense of closeness to nature that you may not even get to experience in your everyday life at home.
On your next vacation inÂ France,Â consider a visit to Alsace which will allow you to hike one of all of the following trails and enjoy the local color. All are loop trails under 10 miles; plan to spend about 20 to 30 minutes per mile walking at a relaxed pace.
Start in the village of Katzenthal by hiking a relatively easy 4-mile loop from the Katzenthal Castle, home to an archeological museum that is also well worth a visit. This trail heads uphill during the first mile and a half â€“ for an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet â€“ toward Sommerberg and descends much more gradually as it loops back down toward Katzenthal. Youâ€™ll want to make time to visit the Wineck winery, too, since the areaâ€™s microclimate is particularly favorable for the production of its locally famous Wineck Schlossenberg Grand Cru.
Near the town of Kaysersberg, known for its medieval sightseeing opportunities and as the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer, lies a trail which also passes through part of the Alsatian wine country. For this moderate 8-mile trail, head north from the Kaysersberg tourism office and ascend a rather steep two-mile climb. Once at the highest altitude â€“ about 1,400 feet higher than the starting point â€“ the trail levels off except for a mostly downhill return into Kaysersberg. While youâ€™re there, be sure to visit the Ste. Croix Church, the Kaysersberg Town Hall, the fortified medieval bridge and the Albert Schweitzer Museum.
The village of Oderen, near Colmar in the Haut Rhin department of Alsace, falls within the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park, where you can appreciate preserved natural landscapes and small mountain villages that have been there for centuries. For a longer and more difficult trail, start at the Oderen City Hall and head north and east for a steady four-mile climb toward the Trehkopf ski club in Markstein before heading south and west back to the start, descending at roughly the same rate as the ascent for a total of 8.7 miles. With the longer distance (all east of or along the Grand Rue) and total altitude gain of 2,500 feet, this hike is a day trip in and of itself. Bring a bag lunch or picnic to enjoy at the summit, and reward yourself in the evening with a nice dinner at the Vieux Moulin (Old Mill) restaurant just a couple of blocks from the Oderen City Hall on the Rue Gorth at the corner of Rue Gorth and Rue Saint-Nicolas. Make your experience in the French countryside complete by staying overnight at one of the many farmhouse bed-and-breakfasts in the area.
Walkers and hikers through the Alsace region truly have the most complete experience that a vacation in the French countryside has to offer. Plan your vacation in France today! Â Contact usÂ for more information.0