Headwater - Wine Villages of Alsace Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided
Destinations:
France
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C07AS
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 8

Trip Overview

This gentle seven-night cycle follows Alsace's incredible 'Route des Vins' (wine route), on a linear ride through mediaeval villages and vineyards, between the great Rhine river and the timeless Vosges Mountains. Bordered by Switzerland to the south and Germany to the east, Alsace offers a delicate balance of French and German, which combine to give it its own unique culture and a truly fascinating history. 

At a Glance

  • 7 Nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • 3 Days cycling
  • Departs Every two days from 03 May '19 to 12 Oct '19
  • Headwater wine service 
  • GPS route navigation provided 
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Countries visited: France

Trip Highlights

  • Wonderful cycling along Alsace's 'Route des Vins' wine road through world-famous vineyards and mediaeval villages full of brightly painted half-timbered houses
  • Rich historic interest: visit places such as mediaeval, hilltop Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle and the UNESCO listed Selestat Humanist Library
  • Fantastic views of the Vosges Mountains and the Alsatian Plains, with sections along the famous Camino de Santiago
  • Great hotels in interesting towns, all located within strolling distance of a great choice of bars and restaurants

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 48km (30.1 miles). 
No. of days cycling: 3
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. 

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Just a short distance from one of Europe's great modern cities, Strasbourg, you'll discover traditional unspoilt towns and villages such as Kaysersberg and Selestat, full of half-timbered houses - painted bright as candy and lifted straight from the pages of a story book. Take your time to visit atmospheric hilltop ruins and fortresses such as the crumbling Chateau St Ulrich and the mighty Haut-Koenigsbourg, once home to great lords, but whose empty halls and towers now watch silently over the fertile plains below. The almost continental weather provides the ideal environment for the area's all-important wine production and this, in turn, gives rise to the wine route that runs the length of the region. 

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. Please note: the walking and luggage transfers included in this tour are subject to a minimum of 2 people (in total) booked on the departure. A supplement (payable in advance) to cover these transfers and sole occupancy of a room will apply if only 1 person travelling on a departure date.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
8

Child max age:

17

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Rouffach
End City:
Obernai

Flight Inclusive

Start City:
London
End City:
London

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Rouffach

    Arrive in Colmar and transfer (25 mins) to the village of Rouffach on Alsace's famous Route des Vins. (Staying at Hostellerie A La Ville de Lyon)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Rouffach to Kaysersberg

    Set off along the 'Wine Route' through the vineyards, enjoying spectacular views. Stop in beautiful and ancient Eguisheim, officially one of the most beautiful villages in France, and holder of the prestigious 4* ville fleuri award (the highest award) for its town garden planting. Explore the narrow streets before heading on to pretty, mediaeval Turckheim and picking up the Camino de Santiago to Kaysersberg. (Staying at Hotel les Remparts)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 33 km / 21 miles
  • Day 3

    At Kaysersberg

    Spend the day exploring the mediaeval streets and take a stroll up to the ruins of the old fortress. Alternatively, take a taxi to Colmar whose historic old town and riverside 'Petite Venise' area feature half-timbered, half-painted houses, offering a picture of Alsace as it was hundreds of years ago. (Staying at Hotel les Remparts)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Kayersberg to Selestat

    Highlights today include Riquewihr, still enclosed by its mediaeval walls; Ribeauville, with its Renaissance fountains and hillside ruins (the most impressive being the crumbling Chateau St Ulrich, offering spectacular views) and home to many of the region's best wine producers; and Kintzheim, dominated by the remains of its C13-C15 castle, once property of the Merovingian kings, now home to numerous eagles, falcons and vultures. (Staying at Hotel Vaillant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 27 km / 17 miles
  • Day 5

    At Selestat

    Explore the mediaeval streets of this one-time Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire, taking in the wonderful architecture, listed buildings and traditional shops, as well as the Selestat Humanist Library - the greatest of its type, one of the three treasures of Alsace and a site inscribed in UNESCO's Memory of the World Register. There is also the option to take a taxi to mighty Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle for a visit along with some unforgettable views. (Staying at Hotel Vaillant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Selestat to Obernai

    Following tranquil lanes through the vineyards, stop for coffee in pretty, mediaeval Dambach-la-Ville and visit the Chapel of St. Sebastian, parts of which date to C12. For lunch, Barr makes a perfect place to stop, full of impressive half-timbered houses, typically dating from the C16-C18. (Staying at A La Cour d'Alsace)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 31 km / 20 miles
  • Day 7

    At Obernai

    Take some time to explore the fascinating town of Obernai that sits between the three main features of Alsace; the vineyards, the Vosges mountains and the Alsatian Plains. The town's numerous historic architectural features are well worth investigating but for spectacular views take a ride (perhaps by taxi) up Mount St Odile to Hohenburg Abbey. (Staying at A La Cour d'Alsace)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Departure

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

Your home for the night in Selestat is perfectly located within easy walking distance from the town centre of Selestat and your final hotel is the one-time home of the Barons of Gail, tucked away in the centre of historic Obernai, a fascinating town which sits between the vineyards of Alsace and the Vosges mountains.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Single supplement from £322.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 evening meal included.

Although traditional Alsatian cuisine is originally a peasant cuisine featuring potatoes, cabbage, beef and pork as the main ingredients, there are now some 30 Michelin starred restaurants in the Alsace region, offering visually spectacular and delicious, locally sourced, dishes. With two ‘starred’ restaurants in Kaysersberg, one in Riquewihr and one in Ammerschwihr, along with several others featured in the Michelin guide, there is plenty of top quality dining to choose from along your route. The cuisine features a lot of different pies, long simmered or stewed dishes like the traditional baeckeoffe. There is also the famous tarte flambée (flammekeuche in Alsatian dialect), a thin dough covered in cream, chopped onions and diced bacon. The influence of German cuisine and food habits is mainly marked in the important consumption of pork products and charcuterie.

‘Winstub’ is a traditional Alsatian restaurant. Originally it was a public space where the Alsatian wine-makers used to come to present and sell their wine. They used to serve traditional simple dishes to their customers, to accompany their tasting.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

Alsace offers an ideal climate for walking or cycling, with pleasant temperatures and high levels of sunshine. The warmest month to visit is July, with an average temperature of 20oC. The region is much drier than some of the neighbouring regions, Colmar is France's second driest town. The wettest month to visit is May, so remember your waterproofs.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Prices include our standard flights/transfers

British Airways Heathrow to Basel 08:35/11:10 then rail Basel St Louis to Colmar 14:30/15:05 Mon-Fri & 15:30/16:04 Sat & Sun and transfer to hotel 25 minutes. Transfer to station 5 minutes then rail Obernai to Basel St Louis via Strasbourg 12:08/14:00 then British Airways Basel to Heathrow 18:40/19:20. Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Colmar train station at 15:05 Mon-Fri, 16:04 Sat & Sun. Return transfer 5 mins payable locally.

Location start:
Rouffach
Location end:
Rouffach

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots
Water bottle
Daypack
Sun hat, sun cream and sunglasses
Warm jumper
Waterproofs

Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in France for children under 12. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.

Optional Equipment

Swimwear

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

Practical Information

Passport

France

Most nationalities, including British, require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

France

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

France

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can't get to a bank at the start of the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For lunches and dinners not included allow about €10‐30 per meal depending on the standard of restaurant chosen – expect to pay much more for Michelin-starred restaurants in the region (there are a few!). You will need extra if you intend to buy wine at the table each evening.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.