Attractive mediaeval walled villages await, as you walk through the vineyards and rolling hills of Alsace, with their ornate houses- coloured by flower filled wooden balconies, old fortifications and lots of charming landscapes and sites of historic interest. There are a number of castles (Haut Koenigsbourg, Ribeaupierre, Ramstein and Ortembourg) and old abbeys (Mont Odile) along the trail. A good area for lovers of food and wine: Sylvaner, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Blanc are all produced in this region and there are many opportunities to sample them at caves along the route. The walking occurs at altitudes of between 400m and 760m. This route is unquestionably the finest available on the flanks of the Vosges Massif. Between the medieval village of Turckheim (where you can still find the last nightwatchmen in France), the fortified villages of Dambach, with its medieval centre and Obernai: you will visit the villages of Niedermorschwihr, Ammerschwihr, Kaysersberg with its castle overlooking the plain of Alsace and the village which retains most traces of its rich history, Thannenkirch. Riquewihr has a medieval centre and a perfectly preserved double city wall. There are fortifications dating from the 13th and 14th centuries at Ribeauville and Ottrott. You will climb to the summits of Steinkoepfel, Schaentzel, Odilienberg or Mont Saint Odile (an ancient monastery perched proudly on a rocky spur). You can explore the 12th century fortresses of Haut Koenigsbourg, Haut Ribeaupierre (overlooking the village of Ribeauville), Ramstein and Ortembourg.
This moderately graded walk( grade 3) should present no difficulties for anyone in reasonable condition and accustomed to walking in hilly terrain. Day Stages: In the region of 11kms (7 miles) to 20kms (16 miles) per day with average altitude gains of 550m. 4 to 7 hours walking per day.
Arrive in Turckheim, a mountain village set above the vineyards mostly known for its surrounding medieval wall.
Accommodation: This is one of the prettiest 2* inns in Alsace. It has typical Alsatian decor in the Renaissance style. The rooms are very comfortable and the atmosphere is friendly. The hotel offers traditional cooking with very good wines. The hotel bridges the past and present.
We descend at the end of the day through forest and vineyards to Riquewihr, a medieval museum of a town with fortifications dating back to the 13th century. Many of the old buildings have dovecots and are built round central courtyards.
Accommodation: Extremely comfortable, modern 3* hotel with a sauna and terrace. It is situated at the gates of the village and has been chosen for its quietness and cleanliness. Evening meals are arranged in a typical restaurant in the village.
We enjoy wide views today over the plains of Alsace as we climb to 645m past the ruined chateaux of St. Ulrich and Gisberg to the small mountain village of Thannenkirch.
Accommodation: A flower bedecked modern building in a mountain village, built in the traditional style. 48 rooms with ensuite facilities . 3*. The welcome is warm and there is a good restaurant. It boasts a cellar bar where you can sample excellent Alsatian wines.
There is a wonderful chateau at Haut Koenigsbourg with panoramic views of the valleys below. There is also the chance to visit the Eagle Centre before descending through the vineyards to Chatenois.
Accommodation: A very small, family-run 2* hotel. Comfortable rooms, traditional style. A beautiful dining room. A delightful small typical Alsace village.
A medieval town surrounded by ramparts. The route then goes on to Neue Matten, Bernardville, taking you along wooded paths and through vineyards until you reach your overnight stop at Andlau.
Accommodation: 3* hotel pleasantly situated at the mouth of a narrow valley with vineyards and forest on the slopes above.
From Andlau we start by walking through Mittelbergheim, dominated by the ruins of the Chateau d’Andlau and Chateau Landsberg. From here it is hilly walking via Mont St. Odile. Some steepish climbs today offering fine views. You climb to St. Odile - a monastery situated on a rocky promontory. You descend to Ottrot before walking on to Obernai. .
Accommodation: Typical 2* Alsatian hotel, all rooms are very comfortable with ensuite facilities.
Depart Obernai after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share