If you're looking for a fairytale trip into the heart of Christmas, nowhere does it better than Alsace. Medieval castles, storybook villages, twinkly lights, and authentic artisan markets will inspire your Christmas spirit. Our trip starts in Strasbourg, the heart of Europe, which straddles modernity and antiquity most delightfully. We'll spend time in the picture-perfect towns of Obernai and Colmar - so enchanting you won't believe they're real. And we’ll plunge into this festive atmosphere in style, staying in beautiful hotels and tasting authentic cuisine found off the beaten track. While Paris boasts of its brasseries and Provence its cafes, Alsace has its winstubs - cozy wine bars with tiled stoves, carved chairs, and hearty fare. Along the way, we'll treat ourselves to a cutting-edge spa day. This will be one of the best Christmas gifts you've ever received!
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip.
Arrive in Strasbourg by train (under two hours from Paris) or plane (easy connections via Paris), where our driver will pick you up.
Our first stay will be at a lovely 4-star spa hotel in the charming town of Obernai, 20 minutes from Strasbourg. Depending on when you arrive, you should have quality spa time to acclimate and settle after your travels.
We’ll visit the local Christmas market for a little walk and shop. Then, enjoy a cozy, authentic dinner in the hotel’s winstub on our first evening.
Hotel: Cour d’Alsace Obernai.
Riquewher and Ribeauville
What better place to start our day than at a medieval castle? We’ll visit Haut-Koenigsbourg, which dates back to 1147. It's at the top of a hill with turrets so tall you can see as far as the black forest. Each room has some element dressed up for Christmas in an unusual yet authentic way. (Shh…it's a surprise!)
We’ll enjoy a satisfying lunch in the quirky and delightful Taverne du Château. This place serves the best quiche you’ve ever tasted in a festive candle-lit setting.
After lunch, we’ll visit the rural towns of Riquewher and Ribeauville, whose charm inspired Beauty and the Beast. Both towns have markets and ambiance galore.
We’ll return to our hotel in the late afternoon to relax before heading out for dinner, a more modern take on regional cuisine using fresh market ingredients.
We’ll check out after breakfast and head to the mountains to visit one of the most picturesque villages in France, Kaysersberg. Here, we’ll stroll the paved and winding streets lined with charming half-timbered buildings and enjoy a wine tasting at the world-famous Domaine Weinback winery.
We’ll have a savory lunch at Caveau du Schlossberg. It serves traditional Flammekuche, the Alsatian pizza, which you must try in this region. Everyone loves them. There's plenty of time for you to shop in this fairytale spot after lunch.
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. It's an 8-minute walk to the center of town. You’ll have time to take a dip in the indoor pool, rest in the sauna, or indulge in one of the many spa treatments before we dine in high style at the 2-Michelin star restaurant in the hotel.
We're on a guided tour of Colmar this morning. The town has a fascinating history, and it is the birthplace of the sculpture Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty. You’ll see a smaller version here.
This afternoon, you’ll have plenty of free time to shop at the many Colmar Christmas markets. It's time to check off that gift list in this picture-perfect town. Decide tonight where you want to go and with whom. Perhaps room service and a chill are in order.
After checking out of our hotel, we're off to Mulhouse, a former factory town re-imagined by artists and artisans. Every year, an original Christmas fabric is made unique to that year. We’ll view the new 2023 fabric and take the time to shop at the Christmas market.
Then we’ll hit the Eco-museum. This is an open-air museum/village consisting 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 your own tour of this beautiful place. Here, you’ll smell vin chaud brewing in one of the many hands-on workshops. You’ll see crafters at work and enjoy beautiful, rural, traditional Alsatian Christmas decor. You may even spot Pere Noel riding by on a horse-drawn sleigh. Witness, feel, and taste what life was once like in Alsace. A stop at their terrific gift shop is mandatory.
This evening, we are headed into Strasbourg for a final two-night stay at a delightful hotel. After checking in and unpacking, we’ll grab a bite to eat at the 12 Apostles, a convivial and relaxed brasserie near the Cathedral.
Hotel: Cour du Corbeau
We start the day with a boat tour of Strasbourg along the Ill River. You’ll learn a little bit of history, starting with the Middle Ages to the Neustadt and modern European institutions.
We’ll tour the famous Strasbourg Christmas market, Christkindelsmärik. This market has operated near the cathedral in Strasbourg 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 you're peckish, nosh on Alsatian specialties sold at the market. Delicious traditional foods range from bretzels (pretzels) to tarte flambée.
It is de rigueur to stop and light a candle in the enormous Gothic cathedral of Strasbourg. The cathedral dates back nearly 1,000 years. You'll have the option of climbing to the top of the church to enjoy a panoramic view of the city or stay and watch the clock chime at 12:30 for a small extra charge. You’ll be amazed by this world-famous astrological clock with its dancing figures, created in the 1500s. It’s a work of science and art.
Afterward, we’ll show you another Christmas market and walk you to Petite France, the oldest quarter in town. You'll be mesmerized by the charming shops, Christmas decorations, and markets. Taste the famous spiced bread. It's akin to gingerbread but unique to Alsace.
You'll have free time to buy those final treasures.
To cap off our journey, we'll dine in style at Les Haras Brasserie as we reminisce about our wonderful festive trip.
Then, we’ll take a healthy after-meal walk to view the lights on the 100 ft. Christmas tree and take some group shots in the Place Kléber after dinner.
Head back for a well-earned rest.
Sadly, it’s time to head home, or onwards, either by train or by plane, but first we’ll have a hearty breakfast together!
Transfer to the airport
A 4-star hotel, with a spa and two gourmet restaurants in Obernai, Cour d’Alsace proudly wears the colors of medieval history.
A 5-star resort and spa, set in the heart of the historic center. L'Esquisse Hotel and Spa offers a unique and precious experience.
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.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Alsace is one of the most beautiful regions in France. It is known for its Christmas markets, its castles and its wine road and its proximity to Germany.
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals (unless mentions) plus wine or beer with dinner
All guides and experts and tastings
Your stay at unique highly rated hotels
All Museum or other entry fees
All in-country transport except your last transfer
Roundtrip airfare to France
Transfer via taxi in Strasbourg to train station
Any spa treatment desired
Any personal souvenirs or purchases
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
Arrive in Strasbourg by train (under two hours from Paris) or by plane (easy connections via Paris) where our driver will pick you up.
The trip officially starts on the afternoon of December 10th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to France, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will book you a room at the hotel in Strasbourg or help you find a hotel in Paris.
We will have a zoom call about 8-10 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
In December, in Strasbourg, the average high-temperature is 5.5°C (41.9°F), and the average low-temperature is 0.8°C (33.4°F).
Your guide will be Laurene Philippot. 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.