Day 1: Meet in Strasbourg
Highlights: Strasbourg, Capital of Alsace
We gather at our starting hotel this afternoon and fit bicycles. As host to many of the European Union's institutions, this town is alive with activity and has a UNESCO classified historic city center as well. A crossroads between Germany and France, we encourage you to arrive a few days early to visit this historic and politically vibrant town. The Notre Dame de Strasbourg Cathedral was started in 1015 AD and now stands as one of France's most famous architectural masterpieces. The glowing pink stone comes from the nearby Vosges Mountains and it was the world's tallest building until 1874. Strasbourg is full of architectural gems as well as quaint quarters such as the La Petite France, often called the little Venice of the north with its canals, revolving bridges, and typical Alsatian-style buildings. We'll suggest a warm up ride this afternoon after we fit bicycles and before we meet for introductions and a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Ride to Haguenau
Highlights: Alsation Countryside, bike paths
We leave Strasbourg today via side streets, bike paths, and the serene Canal de la Marne au Rhin part of the vast network of canals that crisscross Europe north of the Alps. We'll take the scenic route to Hagenau as we pedal through a very unique part of the Alsatian countryside, Le Kochersberg, which is one of nature's richer areas filled with a patchwork of vineyards, sunflowers, hops, wheat, tobacco, soybeans, and other crops. This agricultural belt is populated with traditional farm estates and numerous small villages each equipped with its own Romanesque church. Our destination is the town of Haguenau home to the imperial family in the 12th century. You'll be free to visit the town later this afternoon before we gather again for dinner together. Daily Mileage: 45-55km (28-34 miles).
Day 3: Visit the Haguenau market, loop ride to the Maginot Line
Highlights: Market day in Haguenau, the Maginot line
This is market day in Haguenau so that will be our first stop on today's ride. Later this morning we take a ride north to the Maginot line and through picturesque villages like Hunspach, one of the "most beautiful villages" in France. With its white-washed half-timbered houses, it truly is a village from the Middle Ages. Our ride continues through the Haguenau Forest on a loop back to our hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening. Daily Mileage: 67-77 km (42-48 miles).
Day 4: Bicycle to Saverne, Foothills of Parc Naturel des Voges
Highlights: Bouxwiller, Issenhausen, Saverne
We pedal west today over rolling hills through several beautiful villages including Bouxwiller and Issenhausen where you?ll want to stop for some pictures and perhaps and Alsatian lunch. Our route then leads us to the charming town of Saverne laced by canals and the Zorn River. Saverne boasts an impressive Neo-Classical chateau formerly a fortress and now the residence of the bishops of Strasbourg. After admiring the quaint streets and half-timbered architecture we'll enjoy a special Alsatian dinner together tonight. Daily Mileage: 45-55 km (28-34 miles).
Day 5: Ride the bike path to Molsheim and beyond to Obernai
Highlights: Marmoutier, Molsheim, Marlenheim and Pedaling the Alsatian "Wine Road"
We enter the heart of the Alsatian vineyards today as we leave the pasture lands of the north. First we pass through the village of Marmoutier with its 12th Century Romanesque Church and head on to Marlenheim and Molsheim. The majority of our ride today is on a bicycle path along the famous Alsace Wine Route. We'll stop along our route for a group wine tasting of some reputed Alsatian wines. Enjoy a picnic this afternoon in the vineyards on your own or stop for a hearty meal of Sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. We'll be in Obernai tonight. Daily Mileage: 52 km (32 miles) plus hill rides for those who wish.
Day 6: Rest day visiting Obernay or ride to Mont Ste Odile
Highlights: Alsatian wine villages and vineyards, views of the Vosges Mountains
We'll be back in the same hotel tonight so you can follow our recommended route to Mont Ste Odile, high in the Vosges Mountains with spectacular views, or enjoy a rest day off the bike. Obernai has a beautifully preserved medieval and Renaissance city center with plenty of sites to visit. Dinner is on your own this evening. Daily Mileage: 37-58 km (23-36 miles)
Day 7: Bicycle the Alsace Wine Road
Highlights: Wine Villages of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and the Castle of Haut-Koenigsburg
We really are in the heart of Alsace today, with its festive villages in the midst of vineyards, Renaissance house facades, and expansive views across the Rhine River Valley, and the Haut Koenigsbourg castle. Those who want to can visit the castle, then explore any number of the sixteen villages of the local consortium on the way to our hotel in the center of Riquewihr (Bergheim is probably the best preserved while Thannenkirch is famous for its wood working). The villages have populations that range from 400 people to the 5,000 in the town of Ribeauvillé. Dinner is together. Daily Mileage: 51-71 km (32-44 miles)
Day 8: Pedal the Rhine Plain today or into the Vosges Mountains
Highlights: The festive villages of the Alsace Wine Road
We are in the same hotel again tonight so you can choose your ride again today. We'll mark an easy route to Turckheim. Those wanting a more challenging ride will continue on into the mountains, visiting Munster (famous for its cheese) and climbing to spectacular views up around Les Trois Epis. An exhilarating downhill takes us through Ammerschwihr and back to Riquewihr. Dinner on your own this evening. Daily Mileage: 32-62 km (20-38 miles)
Day 9: Ride across the Rhine River to Germany and to Colmar
Highlights: Pedal from France to Germany and back to France
As long as we are in the neighborhood we thought it might be fun to pedal across the Rhine River today and into Germany. Just across the river is the "Kaiserstuhl," low-lying hills northwest of Freiburg. Plan on a lunch stop here and we'll head back to Colmar, in France by mid-afternoon. We enjoy a final dinner together this evening near our hotel in the heart of historic Colmar. Daily Mileage: 74-91 km (46-56 miles)
Day 10: Tour Ends in Colmar
Highlights: Colmar and the Wine Road
Our ride ends today in the wonderful town of Colmar. Famous as a market and wine center since the 13th century, Colmar has rich art and architecture. If you have the time you may wish to spend an extra day to enjoy the rich, historic city center. Trains will take you from Colmar to Strasbourg or Geneva or Zurich where you can catch your international flight. Alternatively, you may wish to pick up a rental car and head on to the Black Forest just across the Rhine. Bon voyage!
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