Alsace is a famous region in north eastern France that’s known for its picturesque countryside, charming villages, and hillside vineyards. My husband and I visited the area in September 2016 to celebrate my 25th birthday. We stayed in a little town called Riquewihr. And we loved it! Alsace is now one of our favorite places that we’ve been on our year long backpacking trip. Here’s what we learned about the region from our visit.

Medieval Towns

There are more than 100 small villages in Alsace and many of them date back to medieval times. The towns carefully preserved their buildings throughout the centuries, so they appear almost identical to how it looked in the 1500s. My husband and I enjoyed strolling down the cobblestone streets and window shopping in front of the pastel-colored, timber-framed shops. It made us feel like we traveled back in time!

Viewfinder Tip: Rent a car in Alsace, so you can drive through the countryside and admire it at your own pace.

Wine Country

The main reason we visited Alsace was for the wine. Alsace has 40,000 acres of vineyards! There is an impressive wine route in the region, which is dotted with small towns and family owned wineries that specialize in Rieslings, Pinot Gris, Crémant, and Pinot Noir. My husband and I learned that it’s possible to visit the actual wineries or simply go to their tasting rooms in the nearest towns. We rented a car so that we could easily get between the different villages—and we’re glad we did. Driving offered us some of the best views of the countryside.

It’s no wonder that millions of travelers visit Alsace every year. The region is gorgeous, the towns are quaint, and the wine is plentiful. If you want to learn more about Alsace, check out this video that we made during our time there. Cheers!

Which part of France are you dreaming of visiting?