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Mar 18th, 2016, 04:37 PM
  #1
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Alsace

So now my trip is close enough that I need to book a room. We arrive in Basel, Switzerland May 14. We want to visit the small towns on the Alsace route and possibly go to the Black Forest in Germany. We will have one month and plan to spend at least 3 weeks in Switzerland. I only plan to book our first few nights and will then make reservations as we go. I think I will be able to do this as we are early in the season and I want to decide on our route based on weather because we hope to hike. It seems to me that maybe we need to move location twice because of distance. I was thinking possibly locating south first when we arrive at maybe Rizuewihr and then going north to another location. I am also considering some of the German recommendations. I would appreciate any help again to get me started. Thank you much.
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Mar 18th, 2016, 05:46 PM
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I spent a night in Colmar and loved the town. I also spent a few nights in Freiburg, im Breisgau. I didn't love it so much - it was pleasant and a convenient place to do day trips without a car. I did a hike between the towns of St. Margen and St. Peter (both reached by bus/train from Freiburg) and thought it was a pleasant though basic hike. The scenery probably would have been stunning had it not been an overcast day; as it was the views were pretty nice. I also did a side trip to the charming town of Staufen, which isn't big but alas lovely.

You can read my trip report from 2014 by clicking on my name above. (Zurich also covered there, if you want to see my pictures.)
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Mar 18th, 2016, 06:20 PM
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I'm confused. You say you want to spend 3 weeks in Switz - but then all of the places you list as going are in France or Germany. Why not stay in France and Germany if that's what you want to see?

Or stay in a small mountain village in Switz rather than Basel, esp since Switz is so much more expensive?
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Mar 18th, 2016, 06:54 PM
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3 weeks in Switzerland and then 1 week in the Alsace region
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Mar 19th, 2016, 03:43 AM
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Are you planning
1) to hike from village to village and stay over or
2) to using a car to move and then taking car drives along the wine route
3) using public transport to radiate out or to work your way along the wine route?

This may help http://www.tourisme-alsace.com/en/travelling-in-alsace/
Certainly there are many train stops along the wine route to the north of Colmar.

There is something special about walking through the vines, though I find the actual wine route a bit irritating in a car as the coaches and cars queue along it held up further by tractors etc, the "in the vines" path, on the other hand, are empty.
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Mar 19th, 2016, 06:31 AM
  #6
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We will have a car although would enjoy doing some hiking or biking as well
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Mar 19th, 2016, 07:58 AM
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>>Certainly there are many train stops along the wine route to the north of Colmar.<<

It depends what you label as the "wine route". If it is the "famous" Route du Vin - the trains run quite a bit east of the villages - maybe 15 K from Obernai & 5 K from Riquewihr.

>>There is something special about walking through the vines, though I find the actual wine route a bit irritating in a car as the coaches and cars queue along it held up further by tractors etc, the "in the vines" path, on the other hand, are empty.<<

Agree. The Route du Vin is a mess. We stayed in a gite on one of the small vineyard roads outside of Riqhuewihr, and it is fabulous for a bike. Very well marked also.

This is from my Alsace itinerary:

The Route du Vin is a good road to use to visit all the villages, but it gets a lot of heavy truck traffic & there’s a little too much not-so-scenic commerce on it. There is a prettier and less traveled road that goes from village to village just west of the Route du Vin. It’s actually a very well marked bike route that is much more scenic than the Route du Vin. It probably doesn’t traverse the entire length of the Route du Vin, though. There are a lot of signposts along this route that indicate the direction to the next town, distances, etc. The best way to find this route is to go to Riquewihr & walk or drive around the perimeter of town until you find one of these signposts – it’s actually quite easy to find this route.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 19th, 2016, 08:16 AM
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Stu, thanks so much for chiming in. So, if I understand you correctly your advice is to bike instead of car. It seems like if we stay in one location that may be too far to reach some of the locations.We will be there starting May 15, will that make it any better? Any suggestions of where to stay...town, hotel name or apartment??? I am going to post a possible itinerary as well.
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Mar 19th, 2016, 08:44 AM
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Bike or Car is fine. But try to stay off the Route du Vin as much as possible. I would not stay in Riquewihr - it is too tourist infested at times. We stay in Gites - but we've made 3 other trips to Alsace and stayed in Kayserburg twice and Obernai once. Kayserburg would be my choice. Hotel Chambord was a little too pricey for us at the time, so we stayed at Les Remparts et Les Terrasses.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 19th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Thanks so much, would you spend all 7 nights there or would you split it up? Do you like Strasbourg? Are there any little towns in the Black Forest that we should try and visit. I read an article about taking a walk in the Black Forest and there are spots to stop and taste Schnapps, we may try and do that.
I just post my itinerary, I would appreciate any feedback.
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Mar 19th, 2016, 09:42 AM
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This might help

http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/Alsace_Guide.php

Strangly the old bike hire shops have got harder to find in recent years, there is a place next to Colmar station set back in the base of a shopping mini-mall, and I think you can still hire in obernai by the hour, otherwise you need to use someone like

http://www.cyclinginalsace.com/en/fa...ke-rental.html

Stu is right about the train being less helpful in the southern part of the wine route, but it gets pretty good in the northern part. However, I've never used them to get about, the best trip we've done is by bike, though we've also done the gite thing. Virtually every village is linked by well signposted walking paths (mainly between or on the edge of the vinyards) which means riding can be a pleasure. A good map will show the short cuts and TI and the two TI websites cover maps well

May will still have the odd wet/cold day but it can be lovely.

You can also spend time up on the top of the Vosges (the mountain range the vinyards sit-into. There is a long distance hike along the top and lots of different fortifications etc. (I have ridden up the side but I was younger then).

I like Obernai a fair bit and agree with Stu's other comments.

Strasbourg has a lovely centre, with canals and a cathedral but only a day trip for me. North of Strasbourg you are into border country with German so lots of fortifications hidden away.

If you like wine and not really into lots of shopping you will find that the "flight" concept has come to Alsace and you can get multiple wines from the same producer by the glass in a restaurant. You will also find sweet wine gems in many bars, with older wines being sold off by the glass at dirt cheap prices because "the young people don't like sweet wine anymore".
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Mar 19th, 2016, 09:43 AM
  #12
 
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There are a couple of fodorites who live in the black forest, either search fodors forum for "black forest" or drop out another thread. They really know their stuff
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Mar 19th, 2016, 10:39 AM
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>>would you spend all 7 nights there or would you split it up?<<

Actually, 7 nights in the Alsace villages is a little too long for us - and we usually stay for 2 weeks in just one area. The villages start to look very similar after a while. Friends stayed at the same gite where we stayed, and made the same comments. Therefore I would split your 7 nights between Obernai and Kayserbourg (our gite was near Riquewir).

We were up "north" for an "overnight" in the "white villages" area while we were in Lorraine for 2 weeks this past Sept. We visited Hoffen, Hunsparch, & Seebach which were all very close to each other. They also started to look alike after a while. Wissembourg is a very interesting town to visit. Bitch was the surprise. We really enjoyed the Citadel at Bitch. They have recently made improvements to it, and we spent a considerable amount of time there. We didn't visit the village - only the Citadel. I think a day trip from Alsace to the white villages, Wissembourg, and Bitch would make a great day.

We enjoyed the Ecomusee d'Alsace.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 19th, 2016, 12:00 PM
  #14
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Have any of you ever gone to Baden Baden in Germany
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Mar 20th, 2016, 03:54 AM
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full of old dears and Russian mafia, dull
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