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Discover Eguisheim, France: A Fairytale Alsace Village

Discover Eguisheim, France: A Fairytale Alsace Village

Let me introduce you to Eguisheim, one of France’s most enchanting villages. This isn’t just your average tourist destination — it’s a fairytale blend of history, culture and winemaking that will leave you spellbound. So, grab your passport and discover one of the most beautiful villages on the Route des Vins d’Alsace.

Cobbled street lined with colourful half-timbered houses in pink and blue.

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What makes Eguisheim so special?

Its picturesque charm, with narrow cobblestone streets, colourful half-timbered houses, and well-preserved medieval architecture, makes Eguisheim a magical place to visit. In addition, the village is in the picture-perfect Alsace region of France, surrounded by swathes of vineyards as far as the eye can see. These attributes make Eguisheim a very special destination.

For me, visiting Eguisheim felt like stepping back in time, and I half expected a merry maiden or knight to appear from one of the doorways! I wandered through its circular winding streets, saw the Renaissance-style Saint-Leon fountain in the main village square, stepped inside the beautiful Chapelle Saint-Leon IX, admired a myriad of colourful houses and stopped for a traditional Alsatian lunch.

Of course, Eguisheim is famous for its wine. The Alsace region is known for its delicious white wines, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. One of the main things to do in Eguisheim is to go wine tasting. You’ll find numerous wineries and tasting rooms in and around the village where you can sample the local vintages.

Angie sitting on a wall in front of a bright green painted wine shop.

I visited on a Sunday, so they were all shut, which was a shame, although I had already sampled the Alsace wine on previous days in Colmar and Kaysersberg, so I hadn’t missed out!

Overall, if you appreciate history, unique architecture, picturesque scenery, and good wine, this is definitely an enchanting destination worth adding to your travel itinerary.

main street in Eguisheim lined with colourful buildings.

Is Eguisheim the prettiest village in Alsace?

The Alsace Region in Eastern France is home to many beautiful villages, and Eguisheim is one of the prettiest. It is so magical that its fairytale appearance inspired the village setting in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film. It is one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, a coveted title bestowed only on villages with exceptional beauty and cultural significance.

How old is Eguisheim?

The village is ancient. Its origins date back to the early medieval period, around the 8th century, making it roughly around 1200-1300 years old. You can see the well-preserved medieval architecture as you walk along its streets. Look for the dates of some of the buildings on the lintel above the front door.

The 19th-century Église Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul d’Eguisheim is a prominent landmark in the village. Notice the storks nesting on the roof – a familiar sight in Eguisheim.

Where is the nearest airport to Eguisheim?

Basel in Switzerland is the nearest airport to Eguisheim and its neighbouring villages, all of which are must-sees. If you plan to drive to Eguisheim, rent a car in Basel.

An alternative but longer way to reach Eguisheim is to fly into Strasbourg, rent a car in Strasbourg, and follow the famous Alsace Wine Route through the beautiful towns and villages of Eastern France.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a car but want to take a day trip to the Alsace villages, including Eguisheim, you can join this popular Medieval Villages & Wine Tasting Day Trip from Strasbourg.

How do I get to Eguisheim from Basel without a car?

If you are not driving, a connecting train from Basel airport will take you to Colmar, the capital of the Alsace region. I used the train connection and spent three nights in Colmar. It was the perfect town to base myself in to reach Eguisheim and the surrounding countryside and villages, including Kaysersberg.

SNCF Train.

Getting from Colmar to Eguisheim

You can hire a bike in Colmar and cycle to Eguisheim. Alternatively, you can catch a local bus or taxi or join a tour. The driving distance from Colmar is 7 km.

We used UBER to get to Eguisheim from Colmar, but the short drive was quite expensive (€17). We saved money by catching the bus back (€4).

What you need to know is that Colmar doesn’t have any car hire companies. We only discovered this when we thought we would hire a car for one day to visit the surrounding villages and realised we couldn’t, so don’t get caught out.

That said, it prompted us to hire a couple of e-bikes to cycle from Colmar to Kaysersberg, which was great fun and is also a way of reaching Eguisheim. Cycling from Colmar to Eguisheim will take you around 30 minutes.

Road through vineyards in Alsace.

Join an Alsace guided tour from Colmar

If you are short on time or would prefer someone else to take you to the beautiful villages in Alsace, the 4 Wonders of Alsace day tour from Colmar is a good one to book. It includes Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Ribeauville and Riquewihr.

How far is it by bus from Colmar to Eguisheim?

It takes 15 minutes by bus and costs €4 each way. If using the bus, plan your day carefully, as there can be times when it only comes every four hours (like on a Sunday afternoon!).

Catch the bus back to Colmar from the stop at Place de Gaulle by the school at the top of the village. Here’s the bus timetable to help you plan your day.

Eguisheim bus timetable.

Can I get to Eguisheim by train?

There is no train station in Eguisheim – the nearest train station is in Colmar.

Colourful houses in pastel colours lining a cobbled street.

How much time do I need in Eguisheim?

I spent three hours in Eguisheim, which gave me time to wander around the village, have lunch, and stop for coffee. If you are a photographer, give yourself plenty of time to capture images of every nook and cranny in the village – there are many of them!

What is the best time to visit Eguisheim without the crowds?

Before my visit, I had seen Eguisheim on many social media accounts, where images of people in flowing dresses in front of colourful houses were posted. Captions mentioned that to get a photo without other people in the shot meant an early rise for some of 5 am! Well, I don’t do early mornings, so I took my chances on an unprecedented hot Sunday afternoon in April, and guess what? It was empty!

double pathway leading past coloured houses with an unusual shaped building in the middle.

Eguisheim, like most of Alsace, shuts shop on Sunday and Monday. Almost no shops are open, which means no tourist groups – so I’ll give a thumbs up to that! During my visit to Eguisheim, I sometimes felt I was in an abandoned village, as I hardly saw or heard anyone.

Colourful buildings on the main street in Eguisheim

Where can I try traditional Alsatian food in the village?

Sample regional specialties such as tarte flambée (flammekueche), choucroute garnie, and baeckeoffe, accompanied by local wines and beer at Restaurant A.Edel. There are plenty of Eguisheim restaurants, but this one is special because it has been run by the same family since 1895.

We tried Baeckeoffe, an Alsatian casserole made with Riesling wine (a nod to Alsace’s nearby neighbour, Germany), three types of meat, onions, and potatoes. It was hearty and flavoursome, so try it out if you go to Eguisheim.

Large timbered building painted yellow with an awning over tables and chairs.

Is there a castle?

Yes, there are three castles in Eguisheim, but they are in ruins and a way out of the village. Formally known as Les Trois Châteaux d’Eguisheim, the best way to get to them is by car. Once in the parking area, it is a 10-minute walk to get close to the castle ruins and enjoy the stunning countryside views.

What is Easter like in Eguisheim?

Easter is celebrated in a big way in the village and all over the Alsace Region, so I am glad I got to experience it.

The extent to which each village, including Eguisheim, decorates its buildings is amazing. The Easter paraphernalia ranges from chicks and eggs to bunting and crosses. I haven’t been anywhere else in the world where a region puts so much effort into decorating its buildings at Easter!

Fountain covered with yellow fabric chicks, flowers and easter decorations.

Is Eguisheim worth visiting?

Absolutely! The fairytale village of Eguisheim is definitely worth a visit and should be at the top of your list of colourful Alsace villages to see.

If you don’t mind the crowds, visiting during the annual wine festival in August or when the Eguisheim Christmas Market is in full swing in November and December is particularly enchanting.

buildings painted in bright colours.

What to See in Eguisheim

Start by visiting the tourist information office to pick up leaflets about Eguisheim and the surrounding area. You will find it at the entrance to the village. Here, you will also find a map of Eguisheim. You’ll notice the circular shape of the village. This was to defend it from attackers. There’s another map at the entrance to the main village square, which lists the wineries in Eguisheim.

From here, it is up to you whether to walk clockwise or anti-clockwise around the village. Whichever way you choose, the circular pathway will lead you past the most fairytale-like buildings leading to the main village square.

Follow the Eguisheim Heritage Trail

Eguisheim has made it easy to learn the story of its fairytale village by putting modern information boards on its buildings. You can follow the heritage trail (starting at number one and ending at number nine) to learn snapshots of history, from why the houses have strange markings above the doors and why the village is round to the legend of the Virgins of Eguisheim.

Information board with illustrations and words.

Chapelle Saint-Leon IX 

Don’t miss a look inside this tiny 19th-century chapel; it is beautiful.

The wooden statue on the left-hand side of the altar is of Pope Leo IX, he was pope from 1049 to 1054 and came from Eguisheim.

altar of chapel.

Saint-Leon Fountain

Slap bang in the middle of the square, this fountain is the village’s centrepiece. Around it, you will find a few benches and restaurants, and if you look towards the church’s rooftop, you’ll see the famous Eguisheim Storks nests.

Storks are a mascot of the Alsace region, and you’ll find their image on lots of souvenirs like mugs, keyrings, and cuddly toys. They like to nest on high points in the villages, and wherever you go, you can spot them either in flight or in their nests.

Hop on the Eguisheim Tourist Train

Take a tour of the village aboard the novelty train, which lasts 40 minutes and includes a ride through the Eguisheim vineyards. You can find out more on Le Train Touristique website.

See the ancient shop signs

Make sure you look up as you wander around Eguisheim because some of the ancient shop signs are cool to see. These shop signs are in all the villages in Alsace and add to the charming medieval appearance of each building.

Shop for Souvenirs

If you want to take a little momento home, there are a handful of artisan shops in Eguisheim. From a shop selling mushrooms in every form you could imagine to a lovely shop selling handmade crafts like jewellery, pottery and fabrics. And, of course, if you have a car, stocking up on Alsace wine is a must!

A pink building with shuttered windows and grey timbered exterior.

Stop for tea, coffee and cake

We found a cute cafe called Le The Au Citron open on Sunday and enjoyed coffee and cake on the terrace.

Final Thoughts on Eguisheim

If you are looking for a fairytale escape from 21st-century modernity, you will find it in Eguisheim. I visited several villages in this part of France, and Eguisheim was my favourite. You can’t help but fall in love with such an enchanting place.

After reading this post, you may want to stay in Eguisheim instead of Colmar for a quieter experience in Alsace. Here is a link to some of the Eguisheim Hotels that you may like. Happy Travels!

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