Green and soothingly beautiful, this is one of France’s most evocative drives. Vines march up hillsides to castle-topped crags and the mist-enshrouded Vosges, and every mile or so there's a roadside cave (wine cellar) or half-timbered village to enjoy. Corkscrewing through glorious countryside, the route stretches 170km from Marlenheim, 21km west of Strasbourg, southwards to Thann, 46km southwest of Colmar.
Even French bellies begin to rumble at the mention of Alsace, and the Route des Vins d'Alsace is as good as it gets. Rustic boltholes rolling out meaty Alsatian classics, vintners opening their doors for wine tastings, patisseries luring you in with delectable displays of macarons, chocolate and gingerbread, Michelin-starred restaurants – you name it, this tasty wedge of the country has got it.
Local tourist offices can supply you with the excellent English-language map/brochure The Alsace Wine Route, and Alsace Grand Cru Wines, detailing Alsace’s 50 most prestigious Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) winegrowing microregions. The signposted Route des Vins comprises several minor, lightly trafficked roads (D422, D35, D18 and so on).