Visiting Ribeauvillé: A hidden gem in Alsace, France

Visiting Ribeauvillé: A hidden gem in Alsace, France
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The Alsace region in France is a one-of-a-kind destination, and if you are traveling through a stop in Ribeauvillé is a must. Pronounced Ri-bo-vill-ay (not -vill), this medieval village with its cobblestoned streets and traditional half-timbered houses is extremely picturesque. Make sure to bring your camera!

The history of Ribeauvillé dates back to the 8th century and has always been connected with wealthy Alsacian noble families. You can still find traces of this today in the area, if you don’t mind going on a small walk. Right next to the village are the three castle ruins that you can hike up to and explore.

View of the Castle ruins at Ribeauvillé
View of the Castle ruins

As with much of Alsace, the town was regularly swept up in the conflicts between France and Germany, along with the rest of Europe. The town is called Rappoltsweiler in German and Rappschwihr in Alsacian.

Things to do in the area

1) Walk through the Village

Wandering around the streets, souvenir shopping at the cute shops, and sampling the local cuisine are the best ways to spend your time here.

The summer months are perfectly enchanting, but it is even better in winter. The fairytale-like atmosphere makes Ribeauvillé the perfect setting for traditional Christmas markets, which are so famous in this part of Europe.

2) Visit the castle ruins

remains of castle ribeauvillé

Ribeauvillé is also the perfect place to head out for a small hike. Right next to the village are the castle ruins of Château Saint Ulrich, Chateau Girsberg, and Château du Haut-Ribeaupierre. A walking trail leads from the village right up to these castles. You’ll have great views of the village and the vineyards in the area. You may be tempted to stop at the first two castles, but make sure to continue your hike to the 3rd as well.

All three castles were built by the powerful Ribeaupierre family (Rappolstein in German) in the 11-13th century. They used them to control the area and occupied them along with their vassals. The castles fell out of disuse in the 16th and 17th centuries when the family moved to a new Renaissance-style mansion nearby, which is today a school.

3) Visit the local vineyards

The surrounding Alsace region is known for its excellent wines, so this should definitely be on your to-do list. There are over 7 main types of wine produced in Alsace so visit a vineyard for a wine tasting. Some tastings are offered free, if you propose to purchase a few bottles as a souvenir.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to get to Ribeauvillé?

Alsace Map France

Ribeauvillé is located in the northeast of France, close to the border with Germany in the Alsace. If you like these fairytale-like villages as much as we do, make sure to add neighboring Riquewihr, Colmar, and Kaysersberg to your Alsace trail road trip.

By car: Off the A35 highway
By train: TGV high-speed trains run into Strasbourg from Paris and most large cities in Western Europe. From there, you can take the local TER into Ribeauvillé.
By plane: Nearest airports are at Strasbourg and Mulhouse, both equally 45 minutes away (assuming no traffic).

How many days should you spend here?

The village itself is small, but if you would like to explore the Alsace trail, you could pick Ribeauvillé as your base to spend a night or two.
It is located between Strasbourg (45 minutes) and Colmar (30 minutes), making it easy to explore both.

Where should you stay?

If you are looking for medieval village charm, I recommend staying in the village:
€€€ – Hôtel de la Tour
€€€ – Hôtel Restaurant Au Cheval Blanc

For more luxurious accommodations, with pool and spa amenities:
€€€€ – Hôtel Barrière Ribeauvillé (outside village)


So if you were debating heading to Ribeauvillé, don’t hesitate. It is a charming little village in a very unique part of the world.

Bon voyage and à bientôt!

✎ Photos and Guide by: Maartje & Sebastiaan | The Orange Backpack | Instagram

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. Visiting Ribeauvillé: A hidden gem in Alsace, France

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