Best Time to Visit Alsace, France (A Local’s Guide)

Alsace is a beautiful region in eastern France. It is known for its picturesque villages, scenic vineyards, and enchanting castles.

But when is the best time to visit Alsace?

I moved to the capital of Alsace, Strasbourg, in 2019, and since then, I’ve traveled extensively in the region. I know the best things to do, when to do them, and how to avoid the crowds.

Whether you want to visit the Christmas markets or bike the Alsace Wine Route, I’ve got a lot of personal experience to share.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the different seasons in Alsace and show you how to make the most out of your vacation. It’s full of local tips and insider knowledge that you won’t find elsewhere.

The best time to visit Alsace, France.
Best Time of Year to Visit Alsace

Overall Best Time to Visit Alsace

Generally, the best times to visit Alsace are May, June, September, and October.

During these months, the weather is pleasant and there are fewer tourists. You’ll be able to experience all that Alsace has to offer without feeling overwhelmed.

But, if you have specific activities or events in mind, then certain times of the year may be better than others.

Here’s what you need to know:

When to Visit Alsace by Season

Alsace experiences a semi-continental climate with four seasons – spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Below I’ll cover what you need to know about each one, so you can plan your perfect vacation.

Summer in Alsace (June – August)

This is a trial in the Vosges Mountains in summer in Alsace. It's a dirt trail surrounded by grass and in the distance there are mountains.
The Vosges Mountains in Summer

Summers in Alsace are hot, dry, and very sunny. Temperatures hover around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking.

Over the years, I’ve hiked tons of trails in the nearby Vosges mountains. I’m a sucker for a good view so, my favorite trails often end with stunning vistas.

This is the view from Château du Haut-Barr in Alsace. There is the valley with farms, vineyards, and small towns in the distance.
The View from Château du Haut-Barr

Some of my top picks are the Grand Ballon, Le Hohneck, and Château du Haut-Barr. They were all moderately difficult, but it was worth it for the views.

Another highlight of summer in Alsace is the festivals.

Mulhouse has quite a few that are worth checking out. The MÉTÉO – Mulhouse Music Festival and Décibulles, Rock’n Beer Festival are, by far, the most popular.

Then, there’s the Alsace Wine Fair, or Foire Aux Vins d’Alsace, in Colmar. From music to food, and, of course, wine, it’s an absolute must-visit.

The only negative to summer in Alsace is the crowds. It’s peak tourist season, so be prepared to share the best the region has to offer with everyone else.

Helpful Tip: There’s no better way to escape the heat than by going for a swim in Kruth-Wildenstein Lake.

Fall in Alsace (September – November)

This is a photo of grapes on the vines during the fall harvest in Alsace. It's one of the best times to visit the region.
Alsace’s Fall Harvest

Fall is my favorite season in Alsace. The leaves start changing color, the air is crisp, and there are fewer tourists.

September and October are particularly nice months with temperatures around 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Helpful Tip: On the first Sunday in September, Ribeauvillé hosts one of the oldest festivals in the region, Fête des Ménétriers de Ribeauvillé or Pfifferdaj.

It’s also harvest season, which means it’s the best time to bike Alsace’s famous wine route. I, usually, pick a section and spend a weekend exploring the towns between. It’s a fun activity that doesn’t require a car.

Towns like Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Turckheim, and Colmar are known for their colorful half-timbered houses.

This is Mittelbergheim's main street. There are several houses with hanging baskets of flowers on the windowsills.
Mittelbergheim

But, if you want to visit a dedicated wine-growing village, I recommend Mittelbergheim.

Here you’ll find tons of wineries that offer tours and wine-tasting, my personal favorite being Domaine Armand Gilg Vigneron Indépendant Vins et Crémants d’Alsace.

Add to that the stunning vibrant autumn colors and you can guarantee a memorable experience.

Helpful Tip: There are tons of great tours around Alsace, so you don’t have to worry about organizing everything yourself.

By the end of November, the Christmas markets start popping up all over Alsace.

The region transforms into a winter wonderland with sparkling lights, holiday decorations, and delicious food and drinks.

It’s a very special time of year.

Winter in Alsace (December – February)

This is Strasbourg's Christmas tree at the Christmas market in December. It's a huge tree with lights and ornaments. I took this pictures at night so all the lights are on.
Strasbourg’s Christmas Market

Winter brings colder temperatures. You can expect lows around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) and, sometimes snow.

The Christmas markets continue throughout December. And by the middle of the month, the region is jam-packed with tourists.

The most popular Christmas market is, undoubtedly, the one in Strasbourg. It has been around since 1570 and is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. Here you’ll find everything from traditional Alsatian crafts to delicious local food.

And, as someone who lives in Strasbourg, I can say that this is one of the busiest times of the year.

This is a photo of three festive wooden chalets at Colmar's Christmas market in December. They are decorated with holiday decorations. And there is one person shopping.
Colmar’s Christmas Market

By mid-December, the streets are so crowded that I head to towns like Munster and Colmar where the Christmas markets are much smaller.

January and February are great times to visit Alsace for winter sports.

The Vosges mountains offer a variety of ski options, from family-friendly to more challenging slopes.

But even if you’re not into skiing or winter sports, there are still plenty of things to do in Alsace during the winter.

The cities and towns are less crowded, and prices are at their lowest.

I love visiting museums and touring the more popular sites like the Strasbourg Cathedral this time of year.

Spring in Alsace (March – May)

These are cherry blossoms in Spring on the Cherry Blossom Circuit in Alsace. There are tons of branch full of huge blossoms.
Cherry Blossoms in Spring

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Alsace. The landscapes come alive with blooming flowers and greenery.

You can expect temperatures in the range of 12 to 20 degrees Celsius (54 to 69 degrees Fahrenheit).

In April, the cherry blossoms start to appear. And I head straight to Bischoffsheim to hike the Cherry Blossom Circuit. I guarantee you won’t find a more beautiful sight in Alsace this time of year.

Helpful Tip: The most impressive collection of cherry blossoms is along Allée des Cerisiers (near Obernai).

This is Maison des Pont Couverts in Strasbourg in Spring. It's a small house covered in lilacs. In the background there is the canal and the Strasbourg Cathedral.
Strasbourg in Spring

Strasbourg, on the other hand, is full of lilacs. No matter where you go, you’ll find buildings draped in these beautiful purple flowers. The most stunning of which is Maison des Ponts Couverts.

Then, there’s Colmar’s Spring Market. From mid-April to early May, it’s decorated with anything and everything that symbolizes spring and Easter.

You’ll see pastel-colored flowers and ornaments. There are even rabbits and chickens to take pictures with!

After the hustle and bustle of the Christmas markets, it’s nice to take a stroll through the streets and enjoy some fresh air.

If you’re looking to spend an extra long weekend in Alsace, this is the time to do it.

Helpful Tip: Easter is a popular event in Alsace. Expect more people and higher prices.

Month by Month Guide to Alsace Weather

Now let’s look at Alsace’s weather by month.

I’ll do a complete breakdown, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

January

January is one of the least visited months for the region. It’s also the coldest. Pack warm clothes and be prepared for snow, especially in towns that are near the Vosges mountains.

If you’re looking to ski or snowboard, you’ll find some of the best slopes near the Grand Ballon.

Helpful Tip: Many activities close for winter in January.

February

February is still cold, and the ski resorts are packed with the last wave of vacation-goers.

It’s also when Strasbourg hosts its annual Strasbourg Mon Amour festival. It’s a romantic affair that is perfect for a couple’s escape.

March

March brings warmer weather. It’s the start of spring, but you’ll still need warm clothes.

By the end of the month, Colmar’s Spring Market is in full swing while Strasbourg hosts the Carnaval de Strasbourg.

I’ve been to both events and it’s hard to choose which one I prefer. Either way, there’s no better way to say goodbye to winter.

April

April is one of the best months to visit Alsace.

The weather is warmer, but, depending on where you go, you’ll have to navigate at least a few rainy days.

Colmar and the Vallée de Munster can be very wet whereas Strasbourg is drier.

Keep your eyes peeled for cherry blossoms and storks. Both start to make their appearance around the middle of April.

May

May is my all-time favorite month to travel around Alsace.

The weather is warm, and the sun is out. It has rained in some years, but that hasn’t stopped me. Just make sure to bring an umbrella.

The only downside to May is the public holidays.

Depending on the year, almost every week has at least one.

That means higher prices and more people.

Make sure to check the dates before planning your trip.

Sometimes choosing to travel the week before or after a public holiday can save you a ton of money.

June

June marks the official start of summer in Alsace.

The days are longer, and the temperatures are rising, making it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking or biking.

It’s also when Strasbourg hosts its annual music festival, Fête de la Musique. It’s a one-day celebration with free concerts throughout the city.

By the end of June, the summer crowds start to appear, but it’s not as bad as in July and August.

July

July is the peak of summer in Alsace. The weather is hot and sunny, so make sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

And with all that nice weather comes the tourists.

If you’re not a fan of big crowds, it’s best to avoid this month.

But, if you don’t mind the hustle and bustle, there are plenty of fun things to do throughout the region.

I recommend booking your accommodation in advance. It’s not uncommon for hotels to completely sell out.

Helpful Tip: The 14th of July is the National Day of France or Bastille Day.

August

August is the height of summer in Alsace, and similar to July, it’s when the region sees a large influx of tourists.

The weather is hot and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities like swimming.

My go-to spot is Kruth-Wildenstein Lake. It’s very off-the-beaten-path and the surrounding scenery is stunning.

The Alsace Wine Fair in Colmar also takes place in August.

September

As the summer season starts to wind down, September rolls around.

The temperature is warm and pleasant, the crowds are fewer, and there’s very little rain.

September also marks the start of harvest season in Alsace, making it a perfect time for wine lovers to visit.

I love going on wine tastings and strolling through the vineyards. Most of the time I have the place to myself.

Strasbourg also hosts its annual European Fantastic Film Festival (SEFFF) in September. Even if you’re not a movie goer it’s still fun to visit.

October

October is when fall truly sets in.

The temperatures start to drop, but it’s still mild. At most, you’ll need a light jacket.

It’s the best time to see the fall colors. The vineyards are bright yellow while parks like Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg are full of red and orange trees.

Since it’s outside peak tourist season, expect low prices for accommodation and other activities.

November

November is chilly and rainy, but that doesn’t stop the region from being festive.

By late November, the Christmas market in Strasbourg opens. If you want to avoid the holiday crowds, this is the time to visit.

I usually avoid the first weekend and go during the week. The market is less crowded, and I can enjoy all the festivities at my own pace.

December

Of course, the highlight of December in Alsace is the Christmas season.

The entire region is decked out in festive lights and decorations, making it truly magical.

It’s a great time to try traditional Alsatian holiday treats like bredele cookies and vin chaud (mulled wine). Don’t forget to pick up some unique gifts at the market as well.

But even if you can’t make it for the holidays, December is still a great time to visit.

The colder weather makes it the perfect excuse to cozy up in a traditional Alsatian restaurant or wander around a museum. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Conclusion

Alsace has something to offer in every season.

Whether you prefer the warm summer months or the festive holiday season, there’s always something to do and see.

I, personally, love spring and fall. In general, it’s the best time to visit Alsace.

But why not plan a trip to this beautiful region and experience it for yourself?

From stunning architecture to delicious food and wine, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit Alsace.

So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this charming French region.


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Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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