Nothing captures the Christmas mood better than Alsace, with its lights, markets, mulled wine and music. We’ll plunge into this special atmosphere in style, mixing historic visits of castles, luxury accommodation and authentic cuisine found off the beaten track. While Paris boasts of its brasseries, and Provence its cafes, Alsace has its winstubs which are cozy wine bars, with tiled stoves, carved chairs and hearty fare.
A fairytale trip into the heart of Christmas, Alsace does it best. Medieval castles, storybook villages, twinkly lights, and hearty meals will inspire and transport you, putting you in the mood for the season. Our women-only tour starts and ends in Strasbourg, the heart of Europe which straddles modernity and antiquity in the most delightful way. We’ll indulge ourselves in the stunning waters of a cutting-edge spa, and then munch on delicious bites at the colorful markets full of amazing finds and ambience.
Your guide will be Lauréne, author of the blog My Weekend in Alsace. Lauréne lives in Strasbourg and calls this region her home. She is young, fun and speaks perfect English. She is one of the best guides we know of in this locale.
Arrive in Strasbourg, either via train (under two hours from Paris) or by plane (easy connections via Paris) where you’ll be picked up by our driver.
Our first stay will be at a lovely 4 star spa hotel in the charming town of Obernai located just 20 minutes from Strasbourg. Depending on your arrival time, you should be able to enjoy some quality spa time to acclimate and settle after your travels.
For our first evening, we’ll visit the local Christmas market for a little walk and shop and then enjoy a cozy authentic dinner in the hotel’s winstub.
Hotel: Cour d’Alsace Obernai
What better place to start our day than with a medieval castle? We’ll visit Haut-Koenigsbourg on the top of a hill which dates back to 1147 and boasts turrets from which one can look out as far as the black forest. Each room has some element that is dressed up for Christmas, in a fairly unusual yet authentic way. (Shh…its a surprise!)
We’ll enjoy a simple satisfying lunch in the quirky and delightful Taverne du Château on the property which always has lit candles on their tables and the best quiche we’ve ever tasted.
After lunch we’ll visit the bucolic towns of Riquewher and Ribeauville that inspired Beauty and the Beast. They both have markets and ambience galore.
We’ll return to our hotel in the late afternoon, in time to have a dip in the indoor pool or a rest in the sauna of the hotel before heading out for our meal this evening which will be a more modern take on regional cuisine using fresh market ingredients.
Hotel: Cour d’Alsace Obernai
Today we’ll check-out of the hotel and head to the mountains to visit one of the most picturesque villages in France, Kaysersberg. Here, we’ll stroll through the paved winding streets lined with charming half-timbered buildings and then enjoy a wine tasting at the world-famous Domaine Weinback winery. After, we’ll have a savory lunch at Caveau du Schlossberg which serves traditional Flammekuche, the Alsatian pizza which is a must try when in this region. Everyone loves them. We’ll leave plenty of time for you to shop in this fairytale spot
In the afternoon we’ll visit Eguisheim a picture perfect town oozing with Christmas spirit. Then we’ll travel to Colmar to decamp at our gorgeous hotel and spa for the next two nights, just an 8 minute walk to the center of Colmar.
Tonight we’ll dine in high style at the 2-Michelin star restaurant which is right in our hotel.
Today we’ll take a tour of Colmar with our guide in the morning. This town is filled with fascinating history and is the birthplace of the sculpture Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who created the Statue of Liberty, you’ll see a smaller version here.
Around the canals of Colmar which some call little Venice we’ll stop for lunch at Wistub Brenner where you might feel inclined to order the regional speciality, Choucroute.
This afternoon you’ll have plenty of free time to shop the many Christmas markets in Colmar on your own. Its time to check-off that gift list in this picture perfect town. Tonight we’ll give over to you to decide where you want to go and with whom. Perhaps room service and chill is on order.
After checking out of our hotel, our first stop today will be Mulhouse, a former factory town that has been re-imagined by artists and artisans. Every year, a special Christmas fabric is made that is unique to that year. We’ll have a chance to view the new 2022 fabric and enjoy an opportunity to purchase items at their own Christmas market.
Then we’ll hit the Eco-museum. This is an open-air museum/village made up of typical Alsatian homes that are 200 years old or more. Christmas comes to this open-air museum with gusto as the houses are festooned with seasonal décor. We’ll enjoy a meal here followed by a tour on your own of this wonderful unique place. You’ll smell vin chaud brewing in one of their many hands-on workshops. Here you’ll see craftsman at work, enjoy beautiful, rural, traditional Alsatian Christmas decor and you might even spot Pere Noel riding by on a horse-drawn sleigh. Witness, feel and taste what life used to be like in Alsace. A stop in their terrific gift shop is de-rigeur.
This evening we are headed into Strasbourg for our final stay for 2 nights at a delightful hotel. After checking in and unpacking we’ll head over to grab a bite to eat at the 12 Apostles, a convivial and relaxed brasserie near the Cathedral.
Hotel: Cour du Corbeau
Today will begin with a boat trip tour of Strasbourg along the Ill river where you’ll learn a little bit of history starting from the middle ages to the Neustadt to the modern European institutions.
Then we’ll tour the famous Strasbourg Christmas market, called Christkindelsmärik. This market has been operating near the cathedral in Strasbourg ever year for over 450 years, making it the oldest in Europe. Sip vin chaud (mulled wine) to warm your bones as you shop for loved ones (or yourself). If we get peckish, we’ll nosh on Alsatian specialties that we find at the market from bretzels (pretzels) to tarte flambée.
In Strasbourg it is de rigueur to make a stop inside the enormous Gothic cathedral of Strasbourg, which dates back nearly 1000 years, and light a candle. There will be an option to go up to the top of the church to enjoy a panoramic view of the city or stay and watch the clock chime at 12:30 (small extra charge). This sounds like something basic, but you’ll be completely amazed by this world-famous astrological clock with its dancing figures created back in the 1500’s. It’s a work of both science and art.
Afterwards, we’ll show you another Christmas market and walk you to Petite France, the oldest quarter in town to see the charming shops, Christmas decorations and markets. You’ll need to taste some of the famous spiced bread, akin to gingerbread but unique to Alsace.
Then we’ll leave you with some free time to purchase those final treasures.
To cap off our journey together, we’ll reminisce while enjoying the stylish cuisine at Les Haras Brasserie.
Afterwards we’ll head out for a healthy after meal walk to view the lights on the 100 ft. Christmas tree, which is placed in the Place Kléber where we’ll certainly take a bunch of group shots.
Head back for a well – earned rest.
Hotel: Cour du Corbeau
Sadly, it’s time to head home, or onwards, either by train or by plane, but first we’ll have a hearty breakfast together!
Trip Cost: 5,795 Euro*
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