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These are the Alsace villages you should visit

PUBLISHED: 16:10 06 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 07 September 2017

The pretty village of Ammerschwihr in Alsace © Thinkstock

The pretty village of Ammerschwihr in Alsace © Thinkstock

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Located in the north-east of France, Alsace is home to stunning mountain scenery, vine-clad slopes and, of course, beautiful villages. Here are our favourite Alsace villages that everyone should visit

Rouffach

This is one of the most southerly villages on the Routes des Vins and is a great place to begin a cycle or walking tour of this wine-growing area. The village’s main claim to fame is its vineyards, which produce one of the region’s finest Alsatian wines: the Grand Cru Vorbourg.

Turckheim

Turckheim sits at the base of the stunning Vosges Mountains and is well-known for its Gewürztraminer wines. The village lies within impressive medieval walls, which have three doors or portes; the Munster door, which opens out onto the Munster valley; the door of the Brand, which takes you onto the Route des Vins, and the door of France, leading out to the railway station and the roads to Colmar. The village’s Place Turenne is where visitors end up first, and it is also the most picturesque part of the old town.

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Ammerschwihr

Take a look at this village today and it’s hard to see that much of it was destroyed by bombing raids during the Second World War. In the 50s and 60s, villagers joined forces with architect Gustave Stoskopf to restore Ammerschwihr to its former glory, and today the village is a pretty mix of half-timbered buildings and cobblestone lanes that lead up into the vines.

Eguisheim

You can’t get more quintessential Alsace than Eguisheim. A Plus Beau Village, Eguisheim is shaped like a cinnamon swirl bun, with winding cobbled lanes that slowly reveal flower-bedecked, higgledy-piggledy houses and lead to the village centre that is the fountain-filled Place Saint Leon. The showstopper has to be Rue de Rempart Sud, where an oh-so-quaint dovecote sits slap bang in the middle of a narrow street and is the perfect place for a selfie.

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Bergheim

This quaint village is said to have changed hands more than anywhere else in Alsace, especially during the turbulent period from 900 to 1300. The cobbled main street reveals gingerbread-style houses in pastel colours and an attractive church and town hall. Bergheim is also home to a World War Two cemetery housing the remains of hundreds of unknown German soldiers, a poignant reminder of this area’s turbulent past.

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Riquewihr

For many, this large village is top of the list of enchanting places on the Alsace route des vins. Its charming centre runs down the side of a gentle hill and is a maze of Instagrammable cobbled lanes, hidden courtyards and brightly coloured, half-timbered buildings. Unsurprisingly, Riquewihr attracts many groups of tourists and, for a peaceful visit, is best explored in the early morning.

Ribeauvillé

Large enough to be considered a town, Ribeauvillé is still very much a village at heart with clusters of half-timbered houses, many of which are painted in ochre-red, broken up with the occasional historic fountain. Take a stroll through the pretty streets, many of which are filled with small gift shops, and look up to see the surrounding vine-clad hills. Sitting up the side of the hill above the village are three striking châteaux, with the most visited being Château Saint-Ulrich thanks to its mesmerising views over the Alsatian countryside.

Hunawihr

This tranquil Plus Beau Village sits among undulating vine-clad hills and is one of the areas most photographed places. The village is made up of a cluster of gingerbread-style half-timbered houses which have been inhabited by wine growers since the 16th century, and is a good photo stop for anyone moving between Riquewihr and nearby Ribeauvillé. For the best views over the quaint village, stop on the hill just outside at the 16th-century Église Saint-Jacques-le-Majeur, a simultaneum serving both the Catholic and Protestant communities.

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Kaysersberg

It is easy to see why Kaysersberg was voted France’s favourite village in 2017. Situated in a valley 10km northwest of Colmar, Kaysersberg is a heart-stealer with its picture-perfect streets that look as if they have come from a movie set, gently sloping vines, Vosges Mountain backdrop and 16th-century fortified bridge which spans the fast-flowing River Weiss. The pièce de résistance here is the hilltop chateau, from where visitors can enjoy soul-stirring views over Kaysersberg and beyond.

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Mittelbergheim

Tranquil, distinctly untouristy and perched on a hillside, the village of Mittelbergheim is a perfect example of Alsace without the crowds. This charming place sits among a sea of the sylvaner grape variety and comes with tiny streets lined with red-roofed houses.

Obernai

Nestled in the Bas-Rhin département on the eastern slopes of the Vosges Mountains, this quaint village is the second most visited place in the department after Strasbourg. Obernai attracts plenty of admirers thanks to its splendid half-timbered buildings, vine-draped walls and flower-bedecked alleyways. It is also home to some of the best restaurants along the Route des Vins.

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Dambach-la-Ville

For some unknown reason, this picture-perfect village just south-west of Obernai manages to escape the tourist radar. Surrounded by vines and home to an astonishing 60 caves, Dambach is one of the finest wine-producing villages in the area, home to the well-known Frankstein grand cru vineyards.

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Katzenthal

Sandwiched between two vine-clad hills, Katzenthal is a sleepy village that sits slightly away from the tourist trail. The village is a tranquil oasis amid the vines and is best enjoyed from the medieval ruins of Château de Wineck, which stand high above on the hillside.

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