Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Views over the Northern Vosges to Fleckenstein Castle
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Highlights

  • Encounter the stunning landscapes of the Alsace and the Northern Vosges Mountains
  • Strolling along shady trails in magnificent forests of pine, beech and fir
  • Staying in Lembach, the location of the Maginot Line’s military remains
  • Beginning and ending in the beautiful cities of Wissembourg and Saverne
  • Passing through lively little hamlets, famed for their crystal makers and stone carvers
  • Following trails through the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Reserve

Walk through medieval Alsace and the Northern Vosges where you discover a land of fortified castles, ancient hamlets and sandstone summits covered with magnificent forests. It is an area incredibly rich in history and heritage.

At one time this area was at the heart of a series of conflicts between France and Germany and you’ll pass a plethora of mighty castles which are testament to this. Nowadays, peaceful landscapes exist and you can walk through magnificent forests and along undulating trails through the Northern Vosges Mountains, which have been declared as a UNESCO Biosphere Site.


DAY 1: Arrive Wissembourg

Wissembourg is nestled snugly in the midst of dense forests and fertile vineyards at the foot of the Vosges mountains. This pretty town has a history that lends it a picturesque charm just waiting to be discovered. Find the large Gothic church of St Peter and Paul with its enormous fresco representing Saint Christopher.


Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant and sample some of the delicious sparkling white wines from vineyards that are a stone’s throw away.


Overnight: Hotel Moulin de la Walk***, Wissembourg


DAY 2: Walk to Lembach

Begin your day by walking on a trail that provides sweeping views of Wissembourg and then up through pretty woods to the Col du Pigeonnier. Pass by a pilgrimage site and a sacred spring, before reaching Pfaffenschlick and the Soultzerkopf. Later arrive in Lembach, lying in the beautiful Sauer Valley and where the Four à Chaux, a former fortress of the Maginot Line, is situated.


Overnight: Hotel au Heimbach**, Lembach


Walk: 20km


DAY 3: Walk to Niedersteinbach or Obersteinbach

During your walk this morning you'll discover the castles of Loewenstein and Hohenbourg, both located on the 550m Schlossberg Mountain. Both were built in the 13th century; the former was destroyed in 1386 and became a refuge for robber barons, whilst the latter was built by the ancient Alsatian house of the Pullers.  


This afternoon you'll walk past the castle of Fleckenstein, one of the most imposing in the Vosges, and standing proud on a rocky outcrop. Built in the 12th century, it occupies a remarkable setting from which you can observe the valley of the River Sauer. This castle stood its ground for four centuries before being destroyed in 1680 by French troops.


Spend your evening in your very comfortable and delightful family-owned accommodations.


Overnight: Alsace-Village Hotel**, Obersteinbach


Walk: 17-20km


DAY 4: Walk to Niederbronn-les-Bains

Not too long after the beginning of the walk you will reach Schoeneck Castle, built on the edge of a ridge and which has the largest artillery tower in the Haut-Koenigsbourg and which was built in the 16th century. Your route then climbs up to the Grand Wintersberg, the highest point in the Northern Vosges at an altitude of 581m.


Arrive in the spa town of Niederbronn-les-Bains via the Dittenthal and a Celtic Encampment. Here and in the Northern Vosges generally you can hear people in the streets chatting in a language that is neither French nor German. This is the local Alsatian language with Germanic origins, but closely related to other Alemannic languages, such as Swiss and Swabian.


Overnight: Hotel Bristol***,  Niederbronn-les-Bains


Walk: 17-20km


DAY 5: Walk to Ingwiller

After breakfast follow a delightful trail up to the Castle of Wasenbourg which overlooks the Niederbronn valley. This castle has an exceptional Gothic alcove with 9 lancets and 7 oeil-de-boeuf windows. You'll also find a plaque commemorating a visit by Goethe in 1771. Then encounter the romantic remains of the Grand Arnsbour, one of the smallest castles in Alsace, built in the 14th century against steep cliffs above Obersteinbach. Your route this day follows the GR 53 for a while up to the castle of Lichtenberg, from where a taxi will drive you up to your hotel in Ingwiller.


Overnight: Aux Comtes de Hanaux**, Ingwiller


Walk: 20km


DAY 6: Walk to La Petite Pierre

Once more follow trails along the GR 53 walking from the Moder valley and into the Meisenach Valley. First however you may wish to visit some of the Moder Valley’s workshops as this region has a tradition of glass and crystal-making. As you walk you may be lucky enough to spot the large deer who reign supreme in the forest. Arrive in the charming village of La Petite Pierre where many houses are cut out of the sandstone cliffs.


Overnight: Lion d’Or***, La Petite Pierre


Walk: 18km


DAY 7: Walk to Saverne

After passing the imposing Castle of Hunebourg and the neo-Romanesque remains of the Daubenschlagfels, descend towards Saint-Jean-lès-Saverne and its 12th century abbey church. Arrive in Saverne, a town that has excellent examples of prosperous townhouses often brightly-coloured with ornamental gables and rows of dormer windows. Do not miss a visit to La Roseraie, a beautiful rose garden which has over 550 varieties.


Overnight: Hotel Europe***, Saverne


Walk: 22km


DAY 8: Onward Travel

The tour finishes after breakfast. Your trip includes a train ticket to Strasbourg. Alternatively, make your own way to another destination, such as Paris. As there is a TGV train station in Saverne you can reach Paris from here in approximately two and a half hours.  


Accommodation

This self-guided walking tour in France includes 7 nights in  3 and 4* hotel accommodations. All of the hotels have been specifically chosen for their comfort and some also for their great locations.  



 

 

 




Hotel Couronne - Wissembourg

This former coaching inn occupies an 18th century building and has been completely renovated in a traditional "Alsatian" style. With its 10 rooms and 3 suites, this hotel radiates authentic charm. Surrounded by countryside and vineyards this hotel is sure to enchant you.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel au Heimbach - Lembach

This hotel exudes local charm and is extremely hospitable. The rooms are small, yet very comfortable and you can enjoy a fabulous breakfast.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Alsace Village - Obersteinbach

Located in the heart of the Northern Vosges Mountains and Natural Park, this hotel offers 14 rooms and apartments and a warm welcome from your hosts. It is also situated at the edge of the forest in Obersteinbach and all the rooms have views and are a haven of tranquility. Relax on your balcony or with a cup of tea in the meadow which runs down to a stream.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Mercure Niederbronn - Niederbronn-les-Bains

This well-appointed 4* hotel offers 59 modern, air-conditioned rooms very close to the centre of town.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Aux Comtes de Hanau - Ingwiller

This lovely 2* property is located in the village of Ingwiller and serves authentic local food. All 11 rooms are fully equipped with modern facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Lion d'Or - La Petite Pierre

The Hotel Au Lion d’Or offers a warm and friendly welcome. The comfortable rooms include free Wifi. This property is the perfect choice for a relaxing stay as it offers free access to the hot tub, sauna and features a heated indoor swimming pool.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Europe - Saverne

Located in Saverne city centre and just 300m from the castle and 150m from the train station, this hotel is in an ideal location. It offers 28 individually decorated and recently renovated rooms and an Art Nouveau-style bar. End your day with a local beer in the bar whilst browsing the internet with free Wifi.


 

 

 

Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Meals

7 Breakfasts are included. You can eat dinner in restaurants in the towns and villages close to your hotel or at your accommodations. We recommend trying the traditional and locally-sourced food, especially the fresh seafood which is simply delicious. For lunches you can find local shops or markets.

Time of Year

The best months for walking are in the summer months between June and September when the weather is fair.  Spring and Autumn are also very ood times for walking as the air is a little cooler for walking and the colours are wonderful.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Baggage Transfer

All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

You will be provided with detailed route notes and IGN maps to help you find your way. Although some of the routes follow official trails, at times they will not be way-marked, therefore you will have to pay attention to the route notes and maps and have the ability to map read.


View the elevation gains and losses for this tour.


Experience & Fitness

This tour is suitable for people that are in excellent physical condition. This tour is rated easy to moderate, however the overall rating is more towards the moderate side as there are often elevation gains and losses and an average of 5 hours walking per day.


Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

Getting to Wissembourg

The best airport to fly into is Strasbourg Entzheim (SXB) Airport, which is served by low cost airlines, such as Easyjet and Ryanair. It is also served by KLM and Air France, plus other European airlines.


From Strasbourg Airport catch the train (9min/approx €2.30/3 per hour) to Strasbourg Main Train Station. Then you can take a train to Wissembourg. This journey takes 1 hour and 40 minutes and costs around €15. You can find more information on the SNCF website.


Getting from Saverne

On the last morning of your tour take a train from Saverne to Strasbourg Train Station. The ticket is included in your price and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. From here you can take a train to Strasbourg Airport, or spend extra time in Strasbourg if you wish.


Saverne is also on a TGV line and you can take trains to Paris from here (direct trains take 2 hours).


Included

  • 7 Nights in 2* and 3* hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers
  • Train ticket from Saverne to Strasbourg
  • Detailed maps, information pack, and route notes
  • Organisational assistance and backup from our area manager in Alsace and our office

Excluded

  • Travel to Wissembourg
  • Travel from Strasbourg (or Saverne if you are not going via Strasbourg)
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Mountain rescue / emergency assistance
  • Travel insurance (required)

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement

Are baggage transfers included?

All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.

How will I find my way?

You will be provided with detailed route notes and IGN maps to help you find your way. Although some of the routes follow official trails, at times they will not be way-marked, therefore you will have to pay attention to the route notes and maps and have the ability to map read.

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is suitable for people that are in excellent physical condition. This tour is rated easy to moderate, however the overall rating is more towards the moderate side as there are often elevation gains and losses and an average of 5 hours walking per day. 

Will I need travel insurance?

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

 

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureAlsace Medieval Trails
 
5.0

(based on 2 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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Reviewed by 2 customers

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5.0

Great hiking/walking with ruins to visit everyday.

By Mahina

from Oregon

About Me World Traveller

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Alsace Medieval Trails:

    Amazing system of walking trails in this portion of France. On this route you see at least 1 12th century ruin atop a mountain each day. There is a lot of hill climbing, so I would rate it moderate/strenuous compared to a walk like the King Ludwig Way. Great scenery each day.

    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Alsace Medieval Trails

    By Svetlana

    from Boston

    About Me World Traveller

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Great Accommodations
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Well Organised

    Cons

    • Exhausting

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Alsace Medieval Trails:

    My father and I took this trip mid may and found it to be an excellent experience. Prior to our departure our point person Sarah Henderson was very easy to communicate with and excellent at answering our questions. The trails themselves were beautiful, well marked( thank you club Vosgen) and interesting. Everything as advertised. The accommodations were also fantastic and baggage transfer went without a hitch. I would highly recommend this trip. Some points to be aware of:
    - You do not get the full trip itinerary/maps until you arrive at the first hotel. We found this stressful as the packet was not their on our arrival and we had to call the point person and then wait for her to show up.
    - The English instructions in the travel packet could be confusing at times and were wrong on at least three occasions. We became adept at utilizing and reading the maps.
    - no map is provided for the walk between Petite Pierre and Saverne. While it was an easy to navigate walk we would have felt better with a map.
    - Path instructions sometimes led us into areas blocked by felled trees ( coming in and our of Lembach) and stinging nettles.

    Otherwise we had an amazing, exhausting, happy time with memories we will cherish forever.

    Displaying reviews 1-2

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