Lying on a narrow strip of land between the Vosges Mountains and the mightly Rhine, Alsace has always been hotly-contested frontier country. You'll see magnificent chateaux where royal feuds, bloody battles and successions of invaders have left their mark. You'll witness annual festivities whose roots lie in mediaeval folklore, and see lots of people proudly wearing regional costume.
Alsace is one of France's best-kept secrets, making it an ideal choice for a relaxed independent walking or cycling holiday. As any Alsacian will tell you - passionately - the tiny region has its own distinct character, culture and dialect. Much of its charm lies in its fairytale towns and villages. Often fortified, they have narrow cobbled streets, Gothic churches and cool fountains. Everywhere is festooned with bright flowers, and the painted wrought iron signs hanging outside inns and shops are an art form in themselves.