As mentioned before, one word comes to mind to describe the Alsace—Ridiculous! That is because it is all you can say as you venture from one village to the next, finding each one more ridiculously charming than the last.
While we love exploring the villages, we also find the need to escape the crowds and soothe and calm ourselves amid the vines, trees, and mountains. Our fondest memories of our time in the Alsace are doing just that.
Since our home base was at a gite rental in Riquewihr—yes, ridiculous with a capital R—we regularly walked the bike route from Riquewihr past the sleepy village of Hunawihr to the village of Ribeauvillé with its ruins of three châteaux (Girsberg, Haut-Ribeaupierre, and Saint-Ulrich) towering above. This walk, set at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, is absolutely serene. The vineyards are lush and beautiful, just like in my Bourgogne, and the scenery is majestic and stunning.
Our first day in the Alsace, we got a little carried away and walked the 5 kilometers to Ribeauvillé, hiked up to two of the ruins (Château du Girsberg and Château de Saint-Ulrich), explored the village, and then walked the 5 kilometers back to Riquewihr. But no worries. There were plenty of boulangeries, pâtisseries, and winstubs (or wistubs) in which to nourish ourselves before our journey back to Riquewihr, where many more boulangeries, pâtisseries, and winstubs awaited.
Our gite rental in Riquewihr was the highest quality rental we have enjoyed staying in while traveling through France. If you are looking for a beautiful place to stay in the Alsace region, there are no better accommodations than at les Remparts de Riquewihr, where there are 15 luxury rentals set within the remparts or within the village, with some overlooking the Schoenenbourg Grand Cru vineyard.
Being that Riquewihr is extremely popular, due to its charm, it was so nice to leave the door of our gite rental and escape into the vineyards on this peaceful and scenic bike route with nothing but a few chickens running around, the dreaminess of the blissful village of Hunawihr amidst the vines, and the ruins of the three châteaux rising above.