Contrasts of Alsace and The Vosges Walk

From $1559 per person

****# Based on 3 customer reviews
  • Walk along the world-famous Camino de Santiago
  • Authentic Mediaeval villages on the Alsace Wine Route including France's 2nd Most Beautiful Village, Riquewihr
  • Off-the-beaten-track walking in the picturesque Vosges National Park
  • Ancient forest and awe-inspiring hilltop Chateaux
  • Sweeping vineyards (some with Grand Cru status) and some of the region's finest wine producers
  • Stay in one of France's oldest Auberges in Ribeauville

What's included?

  • NEW for 2016
  • 8 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Departs Every 2 days from 13 May '17 to 24 Sep '17
  • Continental breakfasts and all evening meals
  • Managed locally by Headwater employed representative
  • Sustainability rating: 88%
  • Headwater wine service
  • Route notes and maps provided

Excellent for...

Contrasts of Alsace and The Vosges Walk

Incorporating both Alsace's Route des Vins and the picturesque Vosges National Park, this 8-night walking holiday showcases the very best that the region has to offer. Your holiday starts in the heart of wine country and takes you west through ancient forest and into the Vosges Mountains, straddling the French and German border. Here you'll discover the crumbling ruins of once-mighty hilltop castles and vivid reminders of Europe's wartime past.

You'll enjoy idyllic walking through fragrant pine forest and sprawling vineyards as you hop between the storybook villages and towns so typical of the Alsace region - think narrow streets filled with colourful, half-timbered houses and shops selling traditional, local wares (make sure you look out for the delightful Christmas shop in Riquewihr)! Connected by the world-famous Camino de Santiago, the places you visit are home to some of the region's finest wine producers and you'll have plenty of opportunity to stop for tastings.

Tearing yourself away from the Route des Vins, you'll head west into the Vosges Mountains, where you'll discover secluded woodland hermitages and the remains of once-grand hilltop castles. Here you have some truly inspiring 'rest day' options. A walk up to the incredible, C12 Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg affords mesmerising views across the entire Alsatian Plain as far as the Black Forest, while following the Tete des Faux walking trail you'll pass abandoned WWI fortifications and witness the remains of the former front line between France and Germany. A bit of light relief then as you return to the vineyards and make your way back to idyllic Ammerschwihr.

Wine and food go hand-in-hand in the region of Alsace and all of the hotels we've picked for you offer great local cuisine along with superb wine lists! Your hotel in Ammerschwihr is only a short walk from several wine cellars in this typical Alsatian village whilst the hotel in Ribeauville is one of France's oldest Auberges and a classified monument. In Thannenkirch your hotel is nestled beautifully at the foot of the Taennchel Mountain, with an indoor swimming pool and spa; while your hilltop hotel in Lapoutroie boasts an impressive restaurant with panoramic views over the Vosges.

Peaceful walks mainly through forests, vineyards and meadows but walking boots are strongly advised. Terrain is rocky in places and there are climbs on almost every day but there should be no need of a head for heights.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Ammerschwihr

Arrive at your hotel in time for dinner.

Day 2 Ammerschwihr to Ribeauvillé 13km/8mi/4.5hr

An opportunity to warm your legs up, today starts with a gentle walk to the neighbouring town of Kaysersberg, one of the finest and fastest growing wine areas in the Alsace with beautiful views of the Vosges. After an easy climb to the remains of the town’s C13 château, you’ll join the world-famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, and traverse glorious vineyards to the mediaeval villages of Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. It’s worth spending some time in both as the former is France’s 2nd most beautiful village whilst the latter is home to some of the region’s best winemakers, including the Bott Freres – make sure you stop at the wineries for a tasting!

Day 3 At Ribeauvillé

You have several options today but we suggest spending time in the picture-perfect town of Ribeauvillé, on the Route des Vins. Explore the brightly coloured streets and squares decorated with Renaissance fountains or pay a visit to some of the most respected wineries in the local area including the Maison Trimbach, Domaine Andre Kientzler, Jean Sipp and the Cave de Ribeauvillé – the oldest wine cooperative in France. Alternatively, enjoy a walk to the fortified town of Bergheim and discover its fascinating witch-trial past, or perhaps take a bus to Sélestat, a city of art, history and exceptional architectural heritage.

Day 4 Ribeauvillé to Thannenkirch 16km/10mi/5.5hr

Today starts with a fairly steep but thoroughly rewarding climb into the Vosges Mountains where you’ll find the majestic ruins of the Three Castles of the Lords of Ribeaupierre – Saint-Ulrich, Girsberg and Haut-Ribeaupierre which offer incredible views over Ribeauvillé and the surrounding plains. Rejoining the Camino de Santiago you’ll arrive in the charming wine village of Rodern, renowned for its excellent Pinot Noir wines and an ideal place for a leisurely lunch and spot of tasting. Continue on to Thannenkirch and enjoy the relaxing spa facilities at your hotel.

Day 5 At Thannenkirch (optional 10km/6.5mi/4.5hr)

You have the opportunity to explore some of the 60km of walking trails which surround Thannenkirch today, but we highly recommend following the well-marked GR5 walking path up to the incredible Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. It’s easy to get lost in this imposing château which is perfectly located above the Alsatian plains, with the Route des Vins and Germany to the east, and the Vosges Mountains to the west. For something a little less strenuous, you could always spend the day relaxing in your hotel spa.

Day 6 Thannenkirch to Lapoutroie 13km/8mi/5.5hr

After breakfast, we’ll transfer you (25 mins) to the start of your walk in Aubure – you might want to pick up some supplies in Thannenkirch or Aubure as there are plenty of scenic picnic spots on today’s walk! Descending on ancient forest paths you’ll enjoy superb views towards Hachimette and Lapoutroie, as you make your way to Fréland, home to the Maison du Pays Welche museum, a fascinating insight into the history, traditions and customs of the local people. Quiet lanes and footpaths lead you to the idyllic mountain village of Lapoutroie and your hotel, Les Alisiers, where you’ll find a wonderful restaurant with panoramic views over the Vosges!

Day 7 At Lapoutroie (optional 11km/7mi/3.5hr or 15km/9.5mi/5hr)

Today’s optional walk is a memorable one. You’ll follow the Tête des Faux walking trail through atmospheric forest, passing old WWI bunkers and infirmaries now reclaimed by nature, to the remains of the front line between France and Germany. It was atop the summit of the Tête des Faux that the two sides engaged in a bloody stalemate just 30 metres from each other during the First World War - the graveyards for each are currently listed as national historical monuments. You may wish to walk down to Le Bonhomme for a spot of lunch afterwards, before taking a taxi back to Lapoutroie.

Day 8 Lapoutroie to Ammerschwihr 19km/12mi/5.5hr

It’s all about the idyllic scenery today, starting with an undulating woodland walk down to the little village of Orbey, nestled in the picturesque Vallée de Kaysersberg - here you’ll find several cafes and shops where you can stock up on provisions for the day! Atmospheric woodland and pretty meadows take you to the little mountain village of Labaroche and on to Trois-Épis, the perfect place to pick up some traditional Alsatian pastries. Perhaps enjoy them with a superb view over the Vosges, after a walk up to the Galtz Monument just outside the village! Don’t miss the striking hilltop remains of the Château du Wineck in Katzenthal before winding your way through the vineyards back to Ammerschwihr; how about a spot of wine tasting to celebrate your walking achievements?

Day 9 Leave Ammerschwihr

For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Walking the Alsace Wine Trail

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Aux Armes de France, Ammerschwihr   (2 acorn)

Aux Armes de France, Ammerschwihr

Here you stay at the traditional Aux Armes de France hotel in the centre of the village of Ammerschwihr. With just 10 rooms (all with ensuite), it's a small but very much family affair, father Pierre originally founded the hotel although his son, Philippe, has now taken over the day to day running of the hotel.

The hotel's restaurant is of some repute locally and in good weather, their excellent cuisine is served on the flower bedecked terrace.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television

Hotel du Mouton, Ribeauville   (2 Star)

Hotel du Mouton

Located in the centre of old Ribeauvillé, home to some of the region’s best wine producers, the Hotel du Mouton can trace its history back to 1392. Even then it was an auberge and today part of the hotel is classified as a monument and registered as one of France's oldest auberges.

Each room is decorated in a typical Alsatian style and some offer views of the mediaeval square where shepherds once met, at the water fountain, before leading their flocks to pasture (hence the name of the hotel).

The restaurant provides a cosy and relaxing environment offering a variety of authentic cuisine, and an extensive wine list as one would expect in such a centre of wine production.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel Clos des Sources, Thannenkirch   (3 Star)

Pool at Hotel Clos des Sources

Opened in 1929 and situated in the Ballons des Vosges Regional Park, the Clos des Sources Hotel & Spa is conveniently located in the centre of the small village of Thannenkirch. Recently renovated, the hotel’s rooms are presented in the style of a chalet and are decorated in a rustic-chic fashion using natural materials.

The high quality restaurant provides traditional Alsatian cuisine as well as other French inspired dishes and breakfast is a well-stocked continental style buffet.

Of particular note for guests is the impressive swimming pool and spa, recently completed, which offers such things as hot-tub, steam room and saunas, as well as a range of additional treatments at extra cost.

Note: there are no twin-bedded rooms at this hotel however 'Austrian Twins' can be created - 2 separate mattresses and covers in the same king size bed frame.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Swimming pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Tea/coffee facilities

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market

Hotel Les Alisiers, Lapoutroie   (3 Star)

Hotel Les Alisiers

Sitting on a hillside overlooking the village of Lapoutroie is the small, modern Hotel Les Alisiers. Thanks to the enviable location, the impressive restaurant and several of the rooms offer panoramic views of the surrounding hills and countryside.

Once a farm, the hotel was recently renovated and now has the feel of an up market chalet with each room furnished in a warm traditional style with lots of wood.

Hosts Caroline and Mathias offer a friendly welcome and their restaurant provides a fine selection of contemporary regional cuisine from its ever changing menu as well as an excellent wine list.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Extra nights and stop over hotels

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.

Hotel Gutenberg, Strasbourg   (4 star)

Hotel Gutenberg, Strasbourg

This is a brilliantly situated hotel in a quiet side street just off the lively Place Gutenberg and a stone's throw from the Cathédrale de Notre Dame.

The 42 rooms are a good size and individual in style. All rooms are en-suite, with hairdryer, flat screen television and free Internet access in each room.

There is no bar or restaurant, except for the little breakfast room next to reception; however, you have a good choice of places to eat and drink on right on your doorstep.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Shops
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • Mastercard accepted
  • American Express accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Air conditioning

Travel options

Transfers included from Colmar train station at 15:05 Mon-Fri, 15:57 Sat & Sun and back to Colmar at 13:20

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mr Jones on 01/10/2016

A great holiday if you like good food and wine but the walking was slightly disappointing. Although the views were sometimes good, there was too much walking on the roads.

Reviewed by Mrs Cameron on 18/09/2016

Great contrasts in locations so holiday very accurately titled!

Reviewed by Dr Bainbridge on 13/06/2016

The balance of vineyard and forest was good. The towns and villages and castle were varied and interesting.

Departure dates & prices

May 2017 departuresTour only 
May 13$1547
May 15$1547
May 17$1547
May 19$1547
May 21$1547
May 23$1547
May 25$1547
May 27$1547
May 29$1547
May 31$1547
June 2017 departuresTour only 
Jun 2$1607
Jun 4$1607
Jun 6$1607
Jun 8$1607
Jun 10$1607
Jun 12$1607
Jun 14$1641
Jun 16$1641
Jun 18$1641
Jun 20$1641
Jun 22$1641
Jun 24$1641
Jun 26$1641
Jun 28$1641
Jun 30$1641
July 2017 departuresTour only 
Jul 2$1641
Jul 4$1641
Jul 6$1641
Jul 8$1641
Jul 10$1671
Jul 12$1671
Jul 14$1671
Jul 16$1671
Jul 18$1671
Jul 20$1671
Jul 22$1671
Jul 24$1671
Jul 26$1671
Jul 28$1671
Jul 30$1671
August 2017 departuresTour only 
Aug 1$1671
Aug 3$1671
Aug 5$1671
Aug 7$1671
Aug 9$1671
Aug 11$1671
Aug 13$1671
Aug 15$1671
Aug 17$1671
Aug 19$1671
Aug 21$1671
Aug 23$1671
Aug 25$1671
Aug 27$1671
Aug 29$1671
Aug 31$1671
September 2017 departuresTour only 
Sep 2$1607
Sep 4$1607
Sep 6$1607
Sep 8$1607
Sep 10$1607
Sep 12$1547
Sep 14$1547
Sep 16$1547
Sep 18$1547
Sep 20$1547
Sep 22$1547
Sep 24$1547

Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided walking, hotel-to-hotel. Managed locally by Headwater employed rep.


Every 2 days from 13 May '17 to 24 Sep '17, for 9 days (8 nights). This holiday departs every 2 days, however non-standard arrivals and altered itineraries may be possible - please call for prices.


Continental breakfasts and all evening meals.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Colmar train station at 15:05 Mon-Fri, 15:57 Sat & Sun and back to Colmar at 13:20

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.


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