My final full day in this beautiful part of France was to be spent exploring villages to the northwest of Colmar. I had a loose plan; take the early bus to Ribeauville, walk to Riquewihr via Hunawihr and, if I felt like it, walk to Kaysersberg before taking the bus back to Colmar. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to have the energy to get to Kaysersberg, but that was OK, I would have seen three of the top Alsace villages in Eguisheim, Ribeauville and Riquewihr and that would be a good outcome. I really should know myself better…
The bus route to Ribeauville passed by a familiar looking statue.
It was about 8.30 on a Saturday morning when I arrived in Ribeauville. Parts of the town were still waking up, but the bakeries were in full swing and that was my first stop, and my second. In case anyone was wondering, two croissants are better than one 😀
I spent about 2 1/2 hours exploring Ribeauville, coming across a lovely Saturday morning market, checking out a local church and taking lots of photos. Ribeauville was bigger than Eguisheim and equally beautiful. Eguisheim probably slightly ahead in the fairy tale village qualities.
By late morning I was ready to move on, and found the road out of town heading towards Hunawihr. It is only about a 2km walk on a country road surrounded by vineyards. Quite idyllic.
Hunawihr is a smaller town and less touristy but still with some beautiful architecture and a lovely church and surrounding graveyard, set above the town and giving amazing views.
I stopped in Hunawihr only briefly, my goal being Riquewihr, another 2.5km away. More lovely country roads to walk along, with the occasional seat along the way for a rest. For those really keen there were even signs to Santiago de Compostela!
Riquewihr was beautiful and had the fairy tale magic of Eguisheim as well. A stunning village, full of tourists on a beautiful day. Yet it was still possible to find a quieter spot for lunch, another warm goats cheese salad.
After a little more wandering, and having enjoyed the first couple of walks I decided to head to Kaysersberg. It looked an easyish walk along the road and that is what I should have done…
Instead of letting google maps direct me I decided to follow the signs. Except I probably missed one and my easy walk got a little off track. Stunning scenery but longer than I had expected and I’d advise simply taking the roads. Especially on a warm afternoon with already a lot of kilometres in my legs. Once the village was in view it was still quite a long walk as I zigzagged down the hill through the vineyards.
I have to admit I was pretty hot and tired by Kaysersberg and not really up to appreciating all that the beautiful village had to offer. I did manage to have a bit of a look though before catching my bus back. The church was quite extraordinary.
I reflected, on the trip back, on the huge three days I had spent exploring the Alsace region of France and no wonder I was so tired. Walking over 20km that day alone. Four nights in Colmar and I had managed to spend time in Strasbourg, Eguisheim, Ribeauville, Riquewihr and Kaysersberg as well as Colmar itself. Some of the true gems of the Alsace region. You could easily spend much longer, there are many more villages, many just as beautiful as those I saw.
Dinner was a baguette, some ham and some cheese from local shops and sleep was early. I had nothing left in me to contemplate going out to eat.