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Alsace & the Black Forest: La Route des Vins

It’s been said that Alsace is where French joie de vivre meets German gemutlichkeit, and you will certainly toast that union as you take in Alsace’s sensory delights and cozy warmth.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 20 - 50 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 6 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Alsace & the Black Forest: La Route des Vins

But there is so much more to enjoy in this unique enclave…. Come cycle along the fabled Route des Vins, a breathtaking landscape of river-laced vineyards and quaint wine villages. Delve into the cultural capitals of Basel and Strasbourg. Relax in a historic spa town. Enjoy the rich yet refined cuisine. And discover the storybook world of the Black Forest, a land where travel fairytales do come true.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle the vineyard-studded Route des Vins d’Alsace
  • Restore yourself at the Cassiopeia Thermal Baths
  • Explore fairytale villages in the Black Forest
  • Tour Badenweiler’s ruined Roman spa
  • Ride scenic cycling paths along the Rhine-Rhone Canal
  • Savor homemade Black Forest cake where it originated
  • Cruise the canals of Colmar’s Petite Venise district
  • See fortified Neuf-Breisach, a UNESCO site
  • Cross the WWII Maginot Line
  • See Eguisheim, among the “most beautiful villages in France”
  • Sample award-winning wines during a vineyard tour and tasting

What To Expect

This tour features easy to moderate terrain, with options for longer rides. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. This tour is ideal for both enthusiastic beginners and experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 20 – 50 miles (32–80 km)
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 6 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Colmar 
Apr 60º/40º May 69º/46º Jun 74º/51º Jul 78º/55º Aug 77º/55º Sep 71º/50º Oct 59º/43º

Average Rainfall (in.) – Colmar
Apr 1.7 May 2.2 Jun 2.8 Jul 2.6 Aug 2.8 Sep 2.4 Oct 1.8

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacation Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 10 meals – 6 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 12 meals – 8 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Basel – 2 nights for only $395 • Post-trip: Strasbourg – 2 nights for only $295

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local wine and hors d’oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $645 | 2016 Land Only Single Supplement: $445 | 2017 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $745 | 2017 Land Only Single Supplement: $545

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016/2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Star Alliance

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Switzerland

Depart from home for Switzerland. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Basel / Transfer to your hotel

Upon arrival at the three-country Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg Airport (BSL), claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill out a PIR form before leaving the customs area: VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are clearly visible so that our VBT representative can identify you.

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for our VBT representative at the “Point I” (information desk), who will be holding a VBT sign and will assist with your transfer to our centrally located hotel (a journey of approximately 30 minutes). IMPORTANT: look for the representative holding a VBT sign at the Point I (information desk) located in the center of the airport (do not exit to the French or Swiss sides of the Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg Airport).

Please note: Our rooms may not be available until 3 p.m., in which case you may store your luggage with the Reception Desk.

The rest of the day is yours to explore Basel at leisure, using the VBT City Information as your guide.

Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Hotel: Hotel Basel

DAY 3: Land program begins / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: At 12:30 p.m., meet our VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of the Hotel Basel (Muenzgasse 12, 4001 Basel, Switzerland, telephone +41 (0) 61 264 6800).  Our VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please come dressed for cycling (with your pedals or saddle if you use your own), as there will be no place to change into cycling clothes before beginning the warm-up ride. Please plan to have lunch or bring a packed lunch; within walking distance of the hotel, quick options can be found in Barfüsserplatz.

If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled for later than 12:30 p.m., or if you are delayed, you must travel to our Badenweiler hotel, Hotel zur Sonne (Moltkestrasse 4, 79410 Badenweiler, Germany, telephone +49 (0) 7632 75080), at your own expense. A taxi from Basel to Badenweiler, costs about $150-$200 U.S. per taxi, and takes approximately 45 minutes. Please contact the Hotel zur Sonne to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package guests & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet our VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Basel hotel at 12:30 p.m. Our VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please arrive dressed for cycling (with your pedals or saddle if you use your own), as there will be no place to change into cycling clothes before beginning the warm-up ride. Please plan to have lunch or bring a packed lunch; within walking distance of the hotel, quick options can be found in Barfüsserplatz).

From our hotel, you’ll shuttle across the Swiss border and into France, where you’ll meet our Trip Leaders and enjoy an orientation, safety briefing, and bike-fitting session. You will then set off on our warm-up ride, cycling along the flat Grand Canal d’Alsace bike path, ending our ride in the small Alsatian town of Ottmarsheim. From here you’ll take a short 15-minute transfer across the border to Badenweiler in Germany’s Black Forest, our home for the next two nights.

You’ll arrive at our hotel, the 4-star Hotel zur Sonne, in the afternoon. Our hotel is centrally located in this pedestrian-friendly village. Badenweiler, or Spa-Hamlet, has been a popular destination since Roman times for travelers looking to relax in the town’s natural hot springs. Our hosts and owners of the hotel, Mr. and Mrs. Esposito, await our arrival and have planned a special welcome dinner featuring local specialties. You’ll dine al fresco on the hotel’s terrace, weather permitting. As a special treat to end the evening, Mr. Esposito, a skilled pastry chef, will share some of his famous Black Forest cake with us.

Hotel: Hotel zur Sonne
Meals: B (included for Air Package guests only), D
Daily Options: 13.5 miles (21.8 km)

DAY 4: Cycle the vineyards of the Black Forest / Staufen / Badenweiler

Enjoy a copious breakfast before embarking on our ride. Given Badenweiler’s hillside location, you’ll start today’s ride with an exhilarating descent out of the village and down into the local vineyards. You’ll ride through the Rhine River Valley along a combination of dedicated bike paths and paved vineyard roads open only to farmers and cyclists. Our route takes us towards the Kaiserstuhl region, renowned as the sunniest corner of Germany and the ideal terrain for growing Sylvaner, Pinot Noir, and Riesling grapes.

For lunch, you will convene in the traditional Black Forest town of Staufen, whose cobbled pedestrian streets and charming half-timbered facades make it ideal for a stroll. You’ll enjoy a special lunch here in a local restaurant.

The afternoon’s ride takes you closer to the mountains and into hillier terrain as you make your way back to Badenweiler. The views down to the Rhine and across to France’s Vosges Mountains give you a taste of what’s to come this week. For those preferring a more leisurely afternoon, a transfer has been arranged to take you back to Badenweiler where you will have more than enough time to take advantage of everything the spa town has to offer. Don’t miss the Cassiopeia thermal baths with more than 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, baths, and relaxation areas.

You may choose to join the group as we tour the Roman spa ruins, largely intact after nearly 2,000 years, or you may simply choose to experience the spa for yourself!

The evening is yours to eat, explore, and relax at your leisure.

Hotel: Hotel zur Sonne
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 13.7 miles (21 km) or 24.7 miles (39.8 km)

DAY 5: Cycle into Alsace / Neuf-Brisach / Canal de Colmar

Wake up with the sun at Hotel zur Sonne (which means the “to the Sun Hotel.”) Today’s ride takes you from Badenweiler and the Black Forest into France’s famous Alsace region.  For centuries this region has been deeply coveted and hotly contested by both France and Germany, and the influence of both cultures gives Alsace its unique fascination. You’ll see many examples of Alsace’s tumultuous past, including a crossing of the WWII Maginot Line, and you’ll also enjoy the hybrid cuisine and traditions with both French and German roots.

A well-marked bike path leads us north to the fortified town to Neuf-Brisach, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose intact fortifications date to 1698, when King Louis XIV commissioned them as a protection against the Habsburg Empire. There are many options to choose from for lunch on your own in the historic main square.

This afternoon, a combination of flat bike paths and roads take us toward the Vosges Mountains and to our final destination, Colmar, the crown jewel of Alsace.

Our historic hotel lies in the heart of Colmar’s old town near its picturesque canals. Its location is ideal for exploring the historic center. After arriving and taking time to relax and settle in, you’ll meet for dinner in a favorite local restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Le Colombier
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15.7 miles (25.2 km) or 25.7 miles (41.4 km) or 36.7 miles (59 km)

DAY 6: La Route des Vins

Our morning begins with a southbound route out of Colmar to begin cycling the Route des Vins—the Wine Route. Departing Colmar, you’ll join the well-marked bike path south through famous Alsatian wine towns such as Gueberschwihr, Obermorsschwihr, and Eguisheim.

As voted on by all of France in 2013, Eguisheim has been nominated one of the “most beautiful villages in France,” and has also won the “village fleurie” award for its overflowing flowerboxes decorating the half-timbered buildings and cobblestone streets. Here in the heart of the Alsatian wine industry, you’ll enjoy a wine tasting and then choose from many lunch options before winding back through the vineyard covered hills to Colmar.

Tonight you’ll stroll into the old town of Colmar and through La Petite Venise or “little Venice,” named for the waterway that meanders through town. You’ll board a small boat for a short floating tour of this neighborhood; then, the evening is yours to explore the many delights of Colmar, the “capital of Alsatian wine.”

Hotel: Hotel Le Colombier
Meals: B
Daily Options: 9.6 miles (15.4 km) or 12.4 miles (20 km) or 16.90 miles (27.3 km)

DAY 7: La Route des Vins / Riquewihr / Ribeauville / Obernai

You’ll bid adieu to Colmar this morning and set out for one of the most scenic sections of the wine route.

Rolling hills reward the adventurous riders with spectacular views and thrilling descents.  The route leaves the plain with some hilly sections heading north and west into vineyards and the wine route’s scenic towns such as Riquewihr and Ribeauville. The well-marked European bike path offers spectacular cycling with the higher Vosges Mountains and medieval villages in the distance, punctuated by picturesque wine towns dotted with half-timbered homes where you can stop at your leisure for lunch. For those on the longest option, the terrain rises gradually before you descend into Obernai and the Hotel le Parc—the perfect stop after an unforgettable day of cycling.

Stroll into Obernai this evening and treat yourself to a sampling of some of the wines from the vineyards you passed today. You may also choose to take advantage of our hotel’s pool and spa facilities.

Hotel: Le Parc, Obernai
Meals: B
Daily Options: 12 miles (19.3 km) or 24.9 miles (40 km) or 39 miles (63 km)

DAY 8: La Route des Vins / Rhine Canal / Obernai

Our final ride together takes us toward the northern end of the Alsace wine route. The rolling hills melt into the flat valley and you’ll make your way to the Rhine Canal. This lovely bike path follows the canal toward Strasbourg. In the afternoon, you’ll loop back along another bike path through surrounding villages with views of the Vosges to the west, and back to our hotel in Obernai.

Tonight, the Wucher family hosts us for our dinner at Hotel le Parc in their classic Alsatian winstub (wine tavern).

Hotel: Le Parc, Obernai
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 19.7 miles (31.8 km) or 33.6 miles (54 km)

DAY 9: Strasbourg / City Walk / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

After breakfast, you’ll say so-long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, and au revoir to our Trip Leaders and take a short train ride into Strasbourg. Our local city guide meets you at the train station for a stroll and orientation through Strasbourg, finishing at your hotel, the Regent Contades. After your tour concludes, the remainder of the day is yours to make your own discoveries. Our rooms may not be ready until 3 p.m., but our luggage awaits our arrival at the hotel.

From the picturesque Tanners’ District to the Musée des Beaux Arts to the lovely Notre Dame cathedral, Strasbourg offers a myriad of attractions that your Trip Leaders will be happy to recommend.

Lunch and dinner are on your own.

VBT No-Air Package guests: After the walking tour finishes at the Hotel Regent Contades at approximately 12 p.m., you are free to continue on your own. There are many train connections to other cities in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Or, you might fly directly from the Strasbourg airport to your next destination. Your transportation from Strasbourg and beyond will be on your own. For travelers departing on Lufthansa from Frankfurt Airport, there are Lufthansa shuttles departing from the Strasbourg train station and from the Hilton Hotel (refer to Lufthansa for details on cost and schedules).

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Remain another night in Strasbourg on your own.

Hotel: Regent Contades
Meals: B

DAY 10: Return home

After breakfast*, transfer to the Frankfurt airport (a journey of approximately 3 hours, depending on traffic) for your flight home. Please ensure you are ready and waiting in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

* For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify the times when breakfast is served.

Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled departure time, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Alsace Bike Tour Route Map

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Accommodations

Alsace & the Black Forest: La Route des Vins

Hotel Basel

Hotel Basel is the town’s premier 4-star hotel, ideally located in the heart of the pedestrian old town, just steps from the Marktplatz. The hotel boasts several restaurants, including the outdoor Le Boulevard terrace, and you can enjoy breakfast in a remodeled wine cellar. Beyond the hotel, Basel is a very pedestrian friendly city and a pass for the local tram and bus network is included in your stay.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel zur Sonne

At the edge of Germany’s famous Black Forest lies the town of Badenweiler and the Romantikhotel zur Sonne, or the hotel “to the sun.” Badenweiler is famous for being Germany’s sunniest town, with over 1,700 hours of sunshine annually, and you can enjoy some of it at the hotel’s lovely terrace. The family owned and operated zur Sonne offers 35 rooms in several buildings. The central location of the hotel makes it easy to stroll through town and to the famous Cassiopeia thermal baths.
Free WiFi Included

Le Parc Hotel

Located on the edge of the Obernai old town, Hotel du Parc offers a luxurious experience within walking distance of historic attractions. The hotel offers both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as an extensive spa. Choose from two different hotel restaurants: “Le Stub” showcases traditional Alsatian cuisine while “La Table” features a gourmet menu. Be sure to save enough room for the hotel’s abundant breakfast. The Wucher family is sure to make you feel at home in this charming lodging that has been family owned and operated for three generations.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Regent Contades

An upscale boutique hotel, the four-star Hotel Regent Contades in Strasbourg is ideally located on the L’Ill River, near the iconic Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg and within easy walking distance of numerous other architectural and cultural treasures. The Regent Contades Strasbourg boasts a turn-of-the-century ambience with upscale modern amenities. It has 47 rooms, each featuring a flat-screen cable/satellite TV, minibar, electronic safe, private bath with shower, and complimentary wireless internet access.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Le Colombier, Colmar

A beautifully renovated 16th-century hotel in the heart of Colmar’s historic “Little Venice” district with its narrow canals and cobbled streets is ideal for strolling into the city’s old town. Guest rooms centered on a tranquil Renaissance courtyard are modern with wood floors and soothing tones. The lounge and bar areas on the ground floor are stylish and plush.
Free WiFi Included
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Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Alsace Bike Tour Extension in Basel

Pre-Trip Extension - Basel

2 nights from only $395

Alsace Bike Tour Post Trip in Strasbourg

Post-Trip Extension - Strasbourg

2 nights from only $295

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