Alsace: A Storybook Vacation Experience for the Whole Family
On the verdant banks of the upper Rhine sits the scenic birthplace of the Easter Bunny and “La Marseillaise,” Alsace. An enchanting, cultural district at the crossroads of Germany, France, and Switzerland, the region is a playground for traveling families, foodies, and history fanatics alike.
Originally a Celtic stronghold conquered by holy Romans, Alsace flip-flopped between France and Germany for centuries. Post-WWII reconstruction, however, situated the territory squarely within French borders. And though the buildings may look German, and the food tastes a lot like your Great Aunt Irmgard’s, the citizenry is passionately French.
Covering about 3,200 square miles, Alsace is a patchwork of 14 distinct neighborhoods - teeming with ancient castles, fragrant parks, and an embarrassment of storybook architecture - connected by a well-developed and easy-to-use rail network.
Strasbourg is arguably Alsace’s metro star. The official seat of Europe’s parliament, the city is a densely packed cultural bonanza that’s bursting with historic sites, authentic restaurants, and impressive museums.
Travelers typically plan trips to the ancient Ponts Couverts, a trio of bridges that opened in 1250, and the picturesque Parc de l'Orangerie, which features a castle and small zoo. Additionally, design enthusiasts should make time for the Strasbourg-Ville railway station; it’s a super example of Revivalist architecture that sports a modern glass appendage. Other notable Alsatian villages include Colmar - aka “Little Venice” - Thann and Riquewihr.
If you’re in Alsace during Advent, Christkindlmarkts or Christmas markets, are twinkly extravaganzas that will have you oohing, aahing and awwing for hours. Enthusiastic vendors go out of their way to impress Santa-believing souls while selling holiday baubles. Bring cash and haggle! Note, however, that the markets can be crowded due to their popularity.
Families vacationing in Alsace love to hop across the river for a day at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany. Billed as Europe’s second most popular theme park behind Disneyland Paris, Europa-Park boasts 72 attractions, including 13 roller coasters and 11 water rides. And yes, there’s even a monorail to zip you around.
As a popular vacation destination, the area is filled with accommodation options for all budgets and tastes. When renting a holiday home in Alsace, the added space and privacy always prove ideal for travelling families. Be sure to book early - places fill up quickly during peak travel times.