The dreamy area of the Alsace in France is a camper’s paradise.
Filled with historic villages, wonderful vineyards, plenty of delightful rural scenery and lots of cycling opportunities, this is the ideal spot to settle in and enjoy France at her best.
Located near to the German, and with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland also not far away, if you’re making a bigger camping tour of Europe, it is the perfect place to pitch up for a few days and unwind.
After all, with all the amazing French food on offer here, plus the delicious wine, the traditional feel of this region and some of the most iconic French villages going, it’s not really a question of what to love about camping the Alsace, but what not to love!
- Planning the Perfect Alsace Wine Route Trip
- The 10 Best Alsace Airbnbs
- Visiting Strasbourg’s Cathedral: All You Need to Know
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Why Go Camping in the Alsace?
In my humble opinion, camping is the best way to experience the Alsace.
As I explained in the introduction to this article, this part of the country exemplifies a lot of what is best about France – wine, food, cycling, countryside, history… and camping is no exception.
In a nation that loves a camp (and a picnic) what better way to celebrate?!
The other reason I’m a big fan of Alsace camping is because, like much of France, this region can be pricey on the traveller’s pocket.
What better way to keep your budget down therefore than by pitching up and sleeping somewhere for less than €10?
Compared to most other forms of accommodation in this region, camping provides incredible value for money and what the heck, it’s fun too!
Of course, the best thing about camping, especially in Western Europe, is that it allows you to travel more and for longer – after all if you’re saving money on accommodation you can do and see more with your budget!
This is especially true if you have a longer trip in this part of the world planned.
Once you have your own vehicle and all the camping gear you need (whether that’s as part of a motorhome outfit, campervan set-up or simple a car / bike and a tent), the world is then your oyster.
The ultimate travel freedom thanks to the open road of the borderless EU, if you are touring for a bit in this region, then the Alsace is well-located to allow you to do just that.
As I said earlier, Germany is just a stone’s throw to the east, with Switzerland to the south and then Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Belgium to the north.
There really is a lot on the doorstep of the Alsace region, not to mention the rest of France too of course and, therefore, camping the Alsace is a key way to open doors to these other locations as well.
When to Go Alsace Camping?
There’s no question the best time to go camping in the Alsace is between the months of June and September when the weather is at its direst, sunniest and warmest.
Not only does this make for a more pleasant camping experience, but the better weather at this time of year will also allow you to enjoy more of this region’s beautiful landscape too – whether that’s via walking, cycling or sightseeing your way around it.
That said, this being France, it can rain at any time of the year, even in the height of summer, so it pays to come prepared!
That said, I camped in the Alsace region during August and experienced idyllic weather that saw me wearing very little apart from shorts and T-shirts most days… now you can’t beat that in my opinion!
Where to Camp in the Alsace?
I’ll run through my list of the top 5 Alsace campsites at the end of this article, but there’s a key thing to know before moving on and that is to consider roughly where in the Alsace region you want to camp.
There are loosely 2 parts to the region – the northern section nearer to Strasbourg and the more southerly section near to Colmar.
Strasbourg is the main urban hub of the region and camping around here is ideal for those that are keen to see this city primarily or are transiting on to Germany or other nearby countries.
The south tends to be a bit more rural and takes in the best of Alsace Wine Route – that is the traditional vineyards and the Medieval villages this region is so famous for.
Camping here is ideal for those who a more rural setting, those who love nature, picturesque villages and cycling.
Camping the Alsace in either region, however, still allows you access to plenty of activities and services.
The distance between these regions is not massive – learn more in the article I wrote about how to travel from Strasbourg to Colmar – and the attractions in both areas can easily be accessed from the other – it just depends on the main purpose of your trip here.
Perhaps it’s already clear, but I’d recommend basing yourself in the more southerly section around Colmar if I was you.
The villages are prettier here and the more peaceful surrounds are perfect for what most people want from their camping Alsace experience.
Alsace Services and Supplies
Strasbourg is the main urban hub in this region, as I said, and you can pick up almost any supplies you need here.
That said, this is a heavily touristed area and hypermarkets, fuel stations and shops line the main highway.
Colmar is also a pretty big town and should allow you access to most supplies you need.
This being France, even the smallest of villages will be able to keep you fed and watered, so no problem there!
Camping Alsace Options
The first thing to consider when camping in the Alsace is what sort of camping you to enjoy.
By this I mean you generally have the choice of the following camping options:
- Take Your Own Tent + Bicycle
- Take Your Own Tent + Car
- Take Your Own Motorhome, Caravan or Campervan
Motorhome, Caravan or Campervan
With the last option, it’s likely you’ll be using your own motorhome or caravan, but of course the option of renting a campervan in France and driving it to the Alsace is totally possible.
The pros of this option include the freedom to drive and explore where you like, as well as the potential to move quickly between campsites in the region and across France too.
You’ll also save on pitching / packing up time, be assured of staying dry if it rains, and have a greater level of luxury and home comfort.
The cons of opting for a motorhome, caravan or campervan are the costs and the hassle of driving a large vehicle – these guys are heavy on the fuel and France’s fuel prices are not cheap!
You may also struggle to access some of the Medieval villages and smaller, rural roads here with larger vehicles.
Take Your Own Tent + Bicycle or Car
Instead of a camping vehicle, you can of course opt to take your own tent and either use your own vehicle, a bicycle or public transport to access your Alsace camping.
Using your own tent is certainly the cheapest way to camp in the Alsace and having your own transport will give you a lot more options when it comes to where you can go and which campsites you can access, as well as which attractions in the region you can get to.
In general (and although it’s not great for the environment), I’d really recommend having your own vehicle in the Alsace, as the public transport here is very limited, and having your own set of wheels will make camping (and bringing everything you need!) a lot easier.
While pretty hardcore in my opinion, many people do opt to bicycle through this region of France (it’s actually pretty flat and therefore not as horrendous as it sounds!) bringing all their camping gear with them.
The Alsace Wine Route, which stretches for 170km, actually has a designated cycle trail along the whole length of it, which is why I’ve included this option.
It’s probably more popular than you think!
When choosing your own tent, you can have a huge range of options from massive family models you can stand up in and that have multiple rooms, to tiny 1 man tents that pack down to almost nothing and are both light and easy to transport.
Choose your tent according to the number of people camping with you, how long you’re planning to camp in the Alsace, the level of luxury you need and how your planning to transport your camping gear down to the Alsace – by this I mean will you have to carry everything on the back of the bike, or can you sling it in the car?!
The cons to taking your own tent are, of course, the level of organisation required, the hassle of transporting everything and the potential you might get wet if there’s some heavy rain.
You’re also likely to pick one campsite and stay put if you have to pitch your own tent – the hassle of packing up takes up a lot of time if you plan to move around!
To be fair however, in the Alsace region, where most attractions are close together, pitching up and staying in one spot really isn’t a problem, especially if you have your own transport.
Powered or Unpowered Campsites
When it comes to either motorhome / caravan / campervan or tent camping, most Alsace camping sites will offer either powered or unpowered pitches.
Certainly if you have a vehicle with you that has a fridge, lights and other items that need electricity, you’re likely to want to get a powered site.
When you have your own tent, you can choose, but an unpowered site will be cheaper and allow for a more off-grid experience!
If you need to charge your camera or phone while you are camping in the Alsace then bringing a portable power bank (see my packing list further down in this article) or 2 with you, will definitely prove a cheaper and easier option than a powered camping.
I’d also suggest bringing a good car charger, so you can re-juice as you drive too!
If you do go for a powered site, make sure you come armed with a mains hook up adaptor lead plugthat will allow you to charge regular household devices from the 16A plug commonly found at campsites in the Alsace to the 13A sockets need to charge your devices.
Glamping in the Alsace
Unlike in other countries, France (or at least the Alsace region) isn’t massive on the glamping stakes.
So many tourists road trip or cycle round here, as part of a longer Europe tour, that most people have their own gear.
However, if packing everything up in the car, buying a tent and generally pitching and unpacking sounds like too much hassle, but you still want to camp in the Alsace, you may consider some glamping-like experiences they do have instead!
Glamping is essentially “glamourous camping” – a more boutique version of the old-school outdoor accommodation option.
Normally recreating the experience in slightly more sturdy and permanent structures, this is a great way to get a feel for the outdoors and nature without sacrificing too much on comfort.
Glamping in the Alsace usually involves shepherd’s huts or other permanent basic structures that are permanently erected on private properties away from the main tourist drag.
It can be a wonderful way to get a more local experience.
You book them as you would a normal place to stay and then turn up and enjoy the facilities without having to worry about getting all the camping gear organised.
If it rains or the weather isn’t great, glamping can be a great option too as it is both affordable and offers some more permanent rain cover!
Check out this amazing log cabin, which sleeps up to 6 people and has amazing views. I definitely pick it as my top Alsace glamping experience.
Or see my list of top Alsace campsites below, which gives details of some more glamping options.
Camping Alsace Checklist
- Ground Sheet
- Camping Mat
- Travel Pillow
- Sleeping Bag
- Camping Chairs
- Camping Table
- Camping Stove
- Pans / Plates / Cutlery / Cups
- Food Supplies
- Water Vessels
- Washing Up Liquid / Bowl / Sponges
How to Get to the Alsace
I recommend heading for Strasbourg at the beginning of your Alsace camping adventure.
This is the region’s capital and a very famous French city, which means getting here is very simple either by driving or via public transport.
Paris to Strasbourg is around a 6 hours drive (traffic dependent).
Trains are quicker and buses are cheaper.
Both run to Strasbourg from major destinations across France and other nearby European cities (including those in Germany and Switzerland) and can be booked via Trainline or Flixbus.
These are my go-to sites for booking train and bus travel across Europe, as they offer simple and secure booking in English and offer the best rates as well as easy to store e-tickets.
Once in Strasbourg, you should definitely spend at least a few hours exploring here, if you have time.
You can learn more about visiting Strasbourg, in particular its world-famous Cathedral, in this complete travel guide I wrote about the city.
Otherwise, preparing any supplies, booking any trips or vineyard tours, as well as mapping out an itinerary will be easiest from here (if you haven’t already).
Once in Strasbourg, you can then drive on to your campsite, use a local bus or begin your cycle adventure into the Alsace region.
Packing Essentials for Your Alsace Camping Trip
#1 Walking Shoes
Can’t come to the Alsace and not enjoy some walks in the villages and cycling through the vineyards.
As such, having some comfortable, active-friendly footwear is a must.
I highly recommend these lightweight and durable ones from Salomon, which are perfect for the job.
#2 Waterproof, Windproof Jacket
Look, as paradisical as I’ve made the Alsace sound (and it is), it also is France.
And you know what?
All that green landscape around isn’t green for nothing.
It’s green because it rains, often a lot!
So do bring a good waterproof and windproof jacket with you no matter what time of year you’re coming, ok?!
#3 Sturdy Day Pack
I never go on anywhere on my travels without a sturdy backpack to ensure I’ve got room to day trip with everything I need and that the weight is equally distributed across my back and shoulders.
This super featherweight Kompressor from Marmot is my go-to, because it folds down to nothing and is water-resistant.
I used it throughout my camping travels in the Alsace and it was perfect for those sightseeing and cycling days especially.
#4 Good Camera
Having an excellent camera to snap the Alsace villages and vineyards in all their glory, and preserve some epic memories from your trip, is an absolute given if you’re travelling here.
I love my mirrorless Sony A6000, which never leaves my side and is perfectly compact, light and sturdy for camping adventures!
I also enjoyed having a GoPro when I was here to capture all the Alsace cycling action.
#5 Portable Power Bank
There’s no denying, power can be an issue if you’re camping in the Alsace.
Even if you have a powered site, remembering to charge stuff up, leaving it out overnight, or during the day and constantly rotating electricals can be tiresome.
My solution: Come armed with 2 fully charged Anker power banks, so you can fire up your phone, camera or other devices whenever you and wherever you need.
Even while you’re sipping on those fabulous wines!
Top 5 Alsace Campsites
#1 Camping La Route Verte
The place where I enjoyed my camping Alsace experience, this cute, family-fun and independent campsite ticked all my boxes… except for the fact it didn’t have a fridge!
Located in the tiny village of Wihr-au-Val, which provided easy access to all the other best villages and vineyards in the region, it felt wonderfully authentic.
It was also incredibly well-priced and even during corona times (I visited in summer 2020) everything was clean, quiet and calm.
There were some good supermarkets and spots to fuel the car nearby and you could also rent bikes from here.
Overall, it was a great budget option that supported local grassroots tourism efforts.
#2 Camping de l’Ill Colmar
Totally ideal for those who want to be near Colmar and have all the transport links and facilities of this town near them, Camping de l’Ill Colmar is a firm family favourite on the camping Alsace scene.
Set along the river, just a half an hour walk outside of the historic centre of Colmar, the setting of this site nevertheless feels wonderfully rural and is both quiet and leafy.
Perfect for kids, the free wifi, heated pool, small onsite restaurant and a wet play area really do make this ideal for those with kids.
And, if you don’t want to carry all your camping gear too, then there’s pre-erected safari tents on offer here as well.
#3 Campsite Au bord de Bruche
If you’re looking for a more rural feel from your Alsace camping experience, then this campsite, situated in a beautiful natural region perfect for hikers, could be the one!
A small-family run place, the site is set next to a little stream and has plenty of mature trees providing ample shade cover.
They also can help with bike rental and cycling trails, and there’s a sauna and whirlpool at this campsite for when you want to relax after all your exercise efforts!
Dogs are allowed on a lead (even in high season) and there’s bungalows and chalets on offer too if you can’t be bothered to pitch a tent.
Groceries can be found at a short walking distance and Strasbourg is not too far away.
#4 Camping de Riquewihr
If you’d rather be somewhere inbetween nature and the busy town of Colmar, then this Alsace campsite could be the perfect choice.
Located very near the quintessential village of Riquewihr (which is one of the must-see highlights I recommend while you are here), this campsite gets great reviews for being incredibly well-priced given its location with clean and modern facilities.
With good data coverage and some lovely shading pitches and grassy area, this is a really popular campsite, so do book in advance.
#5 Campsite Les Bouleaux
Renowned for its rustic appeal and lovely natural setting, this is a good Alsace camping site for those who want to be quiet in nature, but also near to the main villages, towns, castles and vineyards of the region.
With cycling trails leading from the campsite, there’s plenty of spaces for caravans / campervans as well as tents, and dogs are allowed on a lead in both and high and low seasons.
With great facilities and set in calm, quiet and beautiful surrounds, there’s also chalets you can rent here and excellent mobile network coverage.
Situated on a river, the nearest groceries are set 2km away.
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And there you have it, my ultimate guide to camping in the Alsace region of France, along with my list of the top 5 Alsace campsites.
Have you camped in this wonderful part of France?
Have any tips or recommendations to share?
Please drop them into the comments box below and help spread the info among some fellow travellers…