Best Family Vacation Destinations – Alsace’s Route du Vin (Wine Route), spanning from Marlenheim near Strasbourg to Mulhouse and boasting over 60 traditional wine-producing towns, is one of the most charming regions in Western Europe. This 170 km strip, which runs along the Vosges Mountains, offers visitors an authentic Alsace experience. Visitors are drawn to the area not only for the villages, gorgeous houses and numerous vineyards that offer free degustations, but also for the host of outdoor activities on offer.
Situated in the heart of the Alsace vineyards, Kaysersberg, in the Ribeauville-Riquewehr region of the Route is a veritable feast for the eyes. The rustic beauty of its lush green landscapes, its rolling hills and endless vineyards captivate and delight the senses. Considered one of the most beautiful towns on the wine route, un-touristy Kaisersberg is picture perfect. It’s half-timbered and stone buildings, magnificent churches, multi- colored roofs, bridges over small streams and rivers, castle ruins, courtyards with flowers, clean cobblestone streets and walls and gates and fountains – it’s all here and just can’t be beat!
A former imperial town, Kaysersberg has succeeded in retaining its medieval splendor and owes its distinctive identification to the double-gabled, well-preserved Gothic houses and numerous buildings dating from the 15th to 17th century.
History has certainly left is mark here – from Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who was born here, and the museum in his name which reminds us that the Nobel Peace prize started in Kaysersberg, to the town’s leading grape variety, the Pinot Gris. Legend has it that the first vines were brought here from Hungary by Lazare de Schwede who lived during Maxmillian’s time.
Situated in a historically strategic location, Kaysersberg took on real importance in the middle Ages. The high fortress that dominates the city serves as a reminder of its past. The name Kaysersberg (emperors mount) comes from the fortress, acquired by the Roman Empire in 1227. The town developed around the fortress and became an imperial city with walls and towers. Today Kaysersberg seems more appropriate as the perfect setting for an Alsatian festival with its medieval atmosphere and charm.
Although over 50 varieties of “grand cru” wines are produced in the area, the Tokay wine is Kaysersberg specialty. The village is perfect for visiting any time but is at its most attractive in September when the harvest is under way.
Tucked between green mountains, the surrounding area of the Route du Vin offers a huge range of outdoor activities. This is the perfect base for hiking between the villages which are situated only 2-3 km. from each other. Hiking routes and horse riding trails, marked out by the Club Vosgien are legion here. Ski resorts offer a remarkable variety of winter sports and airborne activities, such as paragliding and parachuting are perfect in this area. With more than 2000 km of greenways, biking routes, cycling paths and lanes, Alsace is France’s bike-friendliest region. Young and old, fast and slow, riders and families share the extensive network that links villages and vistas of amazing beauty, making cycling the best way by far, to visit this very unique region of France.