Apart from being a perfectly delightful holiday destination in its own right, Strasbourg is also an ideal base for exploring more of France’s stunningly beautiful Alsace region.
When you first start investigating villages to visit in the Alsace, the town of Colmar will definitely pop up in your search engine. It is regularly features in lists with titles like ‘Top 10 Most Beautiful Places In World’. And while Colmar is rather sweet (and only a short train ride from Strasbourg), it was a little bland.
We found the village of Riquewihr to be far more charming.
You’ll find Riquewihr not too far south of Strasbourg, quite close to Colmar. You do need a car to get to Riquewihr, but cars can be easily hired for the day in Strasbourg. All the major car hire companies can be found around Place de Gare, just outside Strasbourg’s main train station. You will zip down to Riquewihr in under an hour if you take the main motorway – but you could easily get distracted by all of the castles perched on the nearby mountains and decide to take a detour. Either way, you are guaranteed a very picturesque drive.
So why is Riquewihr worth a visit?
For starters – the beauty and the history, both of which are breathtaking. We are talking a 13th century walled, medieval village here. Add in pastel coloured buildings and, if you happen to be lucky enough to visit at Christmas like we were, gorgeous lights and you have one enchanting village on your hands.
For the best view of this fairytale worthy hamlet, head to the nearby lookout in the vineyards above Riquewihr. Here you’ll not only get a great view of Riquewihr but of all of the nearby Alsatian towns. (Our only regret from our day in Riquewihr was that we ran out of time to explore other villages in the area).
If you happen to be a wine lover, then you’ll definitely want to get yourself to Riquewihr for a visit to the famous Dopff Au Moulin, which is located just outside the village walls. Established in 1574 and family owned for 13 generations, Dopff Au Moulin Is an excellent place to learn about the intricacies of Alsatian wines. You’ll taste well known varieties like Riesling and Pinot Noir and some lesser known ones like Sylvaner.
If you are Australian and buy your wines at Dan Murphy’s you might be familiar with some of Dopff Au Moulin ‘s white varietals (Dopff Au Moulin don’t export their Pinot Noir to Australia, which is a bit sad, as we really enjoyed it). It is easy to think that all wines stocked in large merchants like Dan Murphy’s come from large conglomerates. So it was refreshing to learn that Dopff Au Moulin has had an exclusive relationship with Dan Murphy’s for over 60 years – from back when Dan Murphy owned Dan Murphy’s and both businesses were small family operations. Given our familiarity with the Dopff Au Moulin brand it was also nice to learn that Dopff Au Moulin is still a relatively small operation with around 50 permanent staff.
Like everywhere else in the Alsace, you’ll find traditional dining in Riquewihr and there are numerous restaurants within the village walls. On the back of a recommendation, we ate at L’Ecurie a traditional ‘Winstub’ or restaurant in the ancient Riquewihr stables. All the local favourites – choucroute, charcuterie, tarte flambée and the like – are all on the menu and the desserts were very tasty too! You’ll find L’Ecurie at 16 rue de Géneral de Gaulle.
Our day in Riquewihr was one of the highlights of our visit to the Alsace and we’d absolutely recommend you consider making your way there if you are ever in the area.
Have you ever visited Riquewihr? Did you love it as much as we did? Even if you didn’t love it as much as we did, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Until next time – au revoir.
Please note – this is an unsolicited post and no compensation of any kind has been received by the brands named in this post.