Alsace is synonymous with medieval towns, picturesque half-timbered houses, stork’s nests on church towers and wine, coupled with a hearty cuisine that combines Germanic solidity with French finesse. Travelers don’t have to do without any of this when they turn away from the Route des Vins d’Alsace and the Upper Rhine lowlands and head for the hilly landscape of the Vosges Mountains. Two examples of hikes in the Vosges.
Broadening horizons with Horizons d’Alsace
In the middle of the Alsace Wine Route, which stretches from Marlenheim at the height of Strasbourg to Thann, there is a remarkable cooperation. In the valley of Kayersberg, in the heart of the Ballons de Vosges Nature Park, nine hoteliers are working closely together. The concept sounds like it was created during the pandemic to cater to people’s rekindled desire to hike. But Horizons d’Alscace has been around for more than 30 years. Nine hotels with a combined 220 rooms, 400 restaurant seats and over 100 hiking routes are the sober numbers behind a very charming idea.
Horizons d’Alsace aims to introduce guests to two facets of the region. On the one hand, the medieval towns and their architecture and, on the other, the landscape of the Vosges. The tours with Horizons d’Alsace do not focus on the Rhine plain with its wine villages, but on the side of the region facing the Vosges. The daily stages from one hotel to another and with luggage service go over high pastures, through beech forests or along picturesque mountain lakes.
Hike to the Grand Ballons – Great Belchen
Stage hikes to the Grand Blechen. The daily stages are about 15 to 20 km and overnight stays are in inns or simple hotels. Among the highlights of these hikes are the ascents of Petit Ballon, Markstein and Grand Ballon at an altitude of 1424 ) Luggage transport to the stage destinations is possible. The hiking routes are varied, rewarding with fantastic views and hearty meals often with farm products from the inns. More information under Massif des Vosges
Other aspects: Interview with co-founder of Horizons d’Alscace Christiane Keller of Hotel des Remparts in Kaysersberg / the process hiking from hotel to hotel / stage descriptions of the hike to the Grand Ballon / luggage transport.
The research trip has been partially supported on site by the French Tourism Federation