Alsace is one of the most popular regions in France, known for its wonderful cuisine, the famous Alsatian wine route, friendly locals and the pretty towns and villages. The Christmas markets are a huge drawcard in winter but many visit in spring to see the beautiful flower-lined canals and colourful half-timbered houses. In this guide, we recommend where to stay in Alsace from the cuisine-focused capital to the picturesque villages.
Where to Stay in Alsace
The Alsace region is located on the north-eastern border of France. The region borders both Germany and Switzerland so if you’re planning a longer trip, you might consider visiting destinations in these countries too.
The unique Alsatian history you’ll encounter in this part of the world developed partially due to the region being part of Germany and France at different times. It’s what makes this one of the most fascinating destinations in France.
Strasbourg is the wonderful capital of the Alsace region with much to offer both first time and regular visitors. If you can only visit one destination in Alsace then this is the city to choose. The Grande Île is the heart of this picturesque place and where you’ll most likely want to be based. It’s an island surrounded by pretty canals and half-timbered houses that are typical of the region. Strasbourg Old Town (Altstadt) includes the Grande Île area and the pretty Petite France historic district.
Be sure to visit the city’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral, Petite France, the Neustadt District and the European Parliament.
The cuisine is some of the best in France. Try the flammekueche or tarte flambée (kind of like an Alsatian pizza), choucroûte (fermented cabbage), kugelhopf (a dense cake) and bretzels. Typical Alsatian wine is Riesling and the sparkling cider is delicious too.
Strasbourg is a popular tourist destination in France, welcoming more than 4,000,000 tourists in a typical year. It’s also one of the most travel friendly with its comprehensive tram network and more than 670 km of bike paths. This means it’s easy to get around the city no matter where you stay.
To help with planning, read our guide to boutique hotels in Strasbourg where we share ideas on where to stay.
Colmar is one of the prettiest towns in all of France. It’s an incredibly beautiful place to walk around, taking in the picturesque views of the canals, squares and historic architecture. This is an ideal place to indulge in Alsatian cuisine by spending leisurely lunches enjoying a three-course meal.
Be sure to visit the markets and small, boutique delicatessens that stock all kinds of wonderful produce, particularly cheese, bread, charcuterie, jams, preserves and so much more.
To experience the pretty squares and cobblestone streets at their best, visit Colmar in the spring. But don’t rule out a winter visit. Colmar holds one of the most popular Christmas markets in France making November and December a great time to visit.
For more information on visiting Colmar and where to stay, read our guide to boutique hotels in Colmar.
Ribeauvillé is famous for the ruins of the Three Castles of the Lords of Ribeaupierre, its spa and wellness retreats and of course its wine, thanks to its position on the Alsace Wine Route. For details of the Alsace Wine Route, the local tourism website has everything you need to know including where to go and creating an itinerary. The city is home to the Kougelhopf Festival and a Medieval Christmas Market.
If you love to visit rustic, medieval villages, you won’t want to miss Riquewihr. It’s known for its pretty half-timbered architecture, natural landscape and delicious wine that is produced on the hillside vineyards.
If you are visiting Riquewihr in winter, you might like to visit the wonderful Christmas market as this is a great place to try local specialties while enjoying the festive atmosphere.
Riquewihr is a member of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. It’s typical of France that it has such an association.
Affectionately known as the Manchester of France, Mulhouse has moved on from its industrial past to what is now one of the most creative cities in France. You’ll find great street art, murals, art installations and unique museums as well as pretty open spaces and cool cafes.
Mulhouse is close to the Swiss and German borders so you might like to visit Basel or Freiburg while you’re in the area.
Stay at one of our preferred Mulhouse hotels for a comfortable break in Mulhouse.
Map of Alsace, France
Explore France is an excellent resource for planning your trip to France. Here you can find information on places to visit in Alsace and things to do in the region.
Recommendations are independently chosen by our experienced travel editors. If you have any questions on where to stay in Alsace, please do so in the comment box below.