Thursday, September 4, 2008
Ribeauville to Riquewihr to Bennwihr - Hiking in Alsace
I had been making day trips to Alsace from Zurich for several years. Only when we moved to Vienna did I realize how much I missed these trips. One of my favorite things to do in Alsace is to hike between the small wine villages. The photo above is of the village of Hunawihr viewed from the trail between Ribeauville and Riquewihr.
We don't have a car, so I have posted an entry on how to visit some Alsatian wine villages on the bus previously. A good option is to take the bus to Ribeauville and then hike back to Bennwihr via Riquewihr. Catch the bus back to Colmar from Bennwihr. Here's a link to the Ribeauville-Riquewihr tourism website.
The villages have developed a 'wine trail' through the vineyards with a few guide posts and signs providing information about the grapes and wine making. For me the real pleasure is simply hiking through the fields (actually the service roads/paths) and just enjoying being outdoors.
The wine trail is described on a brochure I picked up in 2007, but I did not see this year. It's called "Les Perles du Vignoble - Plan decouverte, Sentier viticole des Grands Crus" and it's in French, German and English. I will try to scan a copy and place a link to it here (there are maps of the six villages, small descriptions, and a map of the trails. There are several different trail options, so you can decide how long you want to walk.
The main villages Ribeauville, Riquewihr have lots of restaurants and shops, most of which are open all day. The other, smaller villages, don't always have places to eat and shops often close during the midday, so keep that in mind in your planning.
While a village may not have a restaurant or cafe, they all have one or more places that sell wine. These 'shops' range from small stands selling their own wine to cooperative cellars which stock wine from many local wine makers. Generally you can taste wine in these shops for free but you really should purchase a bottle or two.
The hiking is very nice, there is very little traffic on the roads and even very few people. It's a great way to get in touch with the terroir.
I have posted separate articles on attractions in the different cities on route.