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Vineyards of Alsace

Overview

Ride Icelandic Horses, or mountain e-bikes, on this gourmet adventure through the vineyards of Alsace! This tour is primarily aimed at couples, since the historic farmhouse features double rooms, but if one of you is a non-rider then an e-bike is the perfect solution. Everybody meets for lunches an…

Highlights

  • Sample gourmet cuisine and the best wines of Alsace
  • Ride a well-trained, comfortable Icelandic Horse
  • Non-riding partners can join on an e-bike!
  • Explore medieval towns and ancient vineyards
  • Fill your car with wine for the journey home

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 7 riders per group
  • Average of 3 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198lbs / 14st 2lbs

Description

Ride Icelandic Horses, or mountain e-bikes, on this gourmet adventure through the vineyards of Alsace! This tour is primarily aimed at couples, since the historic farmhouse features double rooms, but if one of you is a non-rider then an e-bike is the perfect solution. Everybody meets for lunches and wine-tastings to share and enjoy the culinary highlights of this beautiful region. Some evenings you will drink the wines you have purchased earlier in the day.

Your hosts and their well-trained horses live by the coast in Denmark most of the year. Each year they bring some of their horses to Alsace to spend the autumn in this pleasant climate, enjoying the wonderful wines the area produces. Alsace is best-known for its white wines but Jesper and Rikke know where to find the most delicious red wines too! The riding is primarily at walk and tölt, the unique gait of the Icelandic Horse, and you will ride in comfort through vineyards, forests, medieval towns and open country, often with views of the Vosges mountains. Along the way you will see old churches and monasteries, sometimes stopping off there for your lunch before heading on to a farm for the next wine-tasting.

Team member Holly has been to visit this ride and fell in love with her beautiful steed, Gæva, and the fabulous wines and cheeses.

NB. Please note that the horses are trailered out for a few of the rides - in this case your hosts cannot fit all the guests in their car and they kindly ask that someone else drives their car to the start point of the ride (and back again).

Horses & Riding

Tack

Icelandic saddles and snaffle bridles with a drop noseband.

Horses

This ride is with well-trained, quality Icelandic Horses. They live much of the year at their home in Denmark but move to France for the autumn where they live in grassy paddocks in pairs or trios.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Gourmet Wine Ride is a based ride

Ages

18+

Health

General good health recommended.

Weight

90kg / 198lbs / 14st 2lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

This is a great holiday for 'foodies' as lunches are a gourmet affair, often followed by wine-tastings, and dinners are high quality. The meals are typical cuisine of the region and in the evenings you will drink the wines purchased during tastings earlier in the day.

Vegetarians can be accommodated but the destination is not really suitable for those with very restrictive diets such as vegans or those with gluten/dairy intolerances unfortunately.

Accommodation

During this ride you are accommodated on a 600 year old property called Domaine Saint Loup, home to some beautiful old buildings, but in modern rooms. The farmhouse only offers rooms with double beds, which is why this trip is generally aimed at couples or pairs of friends who are willing to share a bed (some dates are suitable for singles). All rooms have an en-suite with toilet and shower.

This is a beautiful, historical farm with marvellous views of the Vosges mountains and its own ancient apple orchard. This region has lovely spring and autumn temperatures, very comfortable for riding, and it is surrounded by lakes and home to a variety of bird life.

Itineraries

Gourmet Wine Ride Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

Non-riders are provided with mountain e-bikes in order to meet the horse riding group for lunches and wine-tastings. The roads for the bikes are quite easy-going and it's not strenuous to take part.

Travel

The farmhouse is approximately 35 minutes from Basel airport (EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg) but your hosts do not usually provide a transport service. However, for autumn of 2023, they will include free airport pick-ups for those who need them.

If you are travelling from the UK or nearby European countries, it is highly recommended to drive. Then you can fill your car with wine for the journey home! If you do decide to drive then your hosts strongly recommend spending a night in an old town somewhere along the way, then taking a leisurely drive to them on arrival Sunday when there is no traffic. You can stop for lunch in the Ribeauvillé area, one hour from the farm, to make the most of this region.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1 - Sunday

Riding: No riding.

You are welcome to arrive at the farmhouse from 17:00 where your hosts will be ready to greet you and show you to your room. It's possible to take a short walk out to the nearby lakes, frequented by storks, before stopping in the ancient apple orchard for a welcome glass of sparkling wine. Your first gourmet dinner is served with the group, accompanied by local wines.

Day 2 - Monday

Riding: 3 hours

Your day begins with a typical French breakfast, served outside under the old walnut trees if the weather is warm enough. Fresh coffee accompanies cheeses, croissants, eggs and juice. You will collect the horses, saddle up and drive out to Westhalten in the Vallée Noble region for a ride through the 'Grand Cru' vineyards of Pfingstberg - there are beautiful views over the valley and town of Orschwihr. It is wine paradise!

In the afternoon you will ride up the peak at Bollenberg to 'Domaine Bollenberg' for an exquisite gourmet lunch, with wine included. Then it's time for your first tasting at the farm of Camille Braun down by the town - they make wonderful Riesling and Pinot Noir, don't forget to buy some to have with your dinner. Your new friends can help you choose! From the farm you'll ride back to the trailer before driving home to relax and enjoy a light dinner. Coffee and cake for dessert.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Riding: 3 hours

After another helping of croissants and delicious cheeses it's time to head back to the Vallée Noble, trailering the horses to the same start point as yesterday. Today you ride across a different valley towards the town of Pfaffenheim, arriving there after about an hour and passing by the medieval church 'Eglise Saint-Martin'. Your ride continues through vineyards to the ancient town of Gueberschwihr, taking you back in time to the Middle Ages. The horses are watered at the fountain in the old square before you follow the winding streets to the monastery of Notre-Dame du Schauenburg, founded in the 15th century and offering magnificent views of the Rhine Valley. This is today's lunch stop and drinks are included.

After lunch you will ride behind the monastery and along the 'route spiritualité' which is said to have magical powers. This leads you down through a forest, vineyard and small groves of fruit trees before you reach the mountain peak and make your way back down to Westhalten to the trailer. Along the way home you will stop at the wine farm 'Domaine Boesch' whose wines feature at several Michel-starred restaurants - here you can choose and purchase the wine to accompany your dinner tonight. On arrival back at the farm there is time for a game of pétanque, with a glass in hand, before dinner and your chosen wines.

Day 4 - Wednesday

Riding: No riding.

Today is a rest day for the horses. You will drive up to Grand Ballon (1500m) where there is a beautiful hike through the alpine terrain to reach a welcoming farm for lunch (drinks today are at your own cost). After another great meal you will drive down behind the mountain to the vineyards for a tasting with the wine farmer Marc Humbrect, a maker of world-class wines. Having enjoyed these good wines it's time to head back to the farm to relax with some pétanque, archery or perhaps just another good beverage. Dinner and overnight with dreams of tomorrow's ride.

Day 5 - Thursday

Riding: 3 - 4 hours

Another breakfast begins in this magnificent setting. After the last croissant has been eaten, you will collect the horses from down by the apple orchard, stopping to pick a few juicy apples for your horse (of course!). The horses will be saddled up and you will ride out to Chateau Ollwiller, the second oldest vineyard in France, and through the vines. This area is home to many storks. The ride today is through both forest and open country. Lunch is at the 'Ferme des Moines' restaurant (drinks at own cost), after which there is some time to relax and a visit to the church of Notre-Dame de Thierenbach. You will drive home to the farmhouse for some relaxation before dressing up a little for an evening at Restaurant Le Gare!

Le Gare is around a five minute drive from the farm and is reported to have one of France's best wine cellars - your menu has been adapted to match the wines selected by the head sommelier, concentrating on Alsatian wines. Sometimes they have vintages which can no longer be bought elsewhere! This is an unforgettable evening.

Day 6 - Friday

Riding: 2 hours

Breakfast today is a little later and is followed by a two hour ride around Le Lac Michelbach. This ride, starting directly from the farm, brings beautiful and final views of the Vosges mountains. After your ride there is time for a shower or bath before a last lunch together.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Riders should be confident at walk, trot and canter - the pace is primarily walk and tölt, the unique gait of the Icelandic Horse, which your hosts can teach you. It's a very comfortable pace for trail riding. Participants should be able to mount and dismount unaided and able to walk and lead their horse for up to 10 - 20 minutes if needed. The e-bikes routes are not strenuous so average fitness is sufficient for that option.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 7
Departure windows

May 12, 2024 - May 15, 2024  (Special short weekend - please ask for details (suitable for solo travellers).)

May 12, 2024 - May 17, 2024

May 19, 2024 - May 24, 2024  (This date is suitable for solo travellers.)

Sept. 15, 2024 - Sept. 20, 2024

Sept. 22, 2024 - Sept. 27, 2024

Sept. 29, 2024 - Oct. 4, 2024  (This date is suitable for solo travellers.)

Oct. 6, 2024 - Oct. 11, 2024

Oct. 13, 2024 - Oct. 18, 2024  (This date is suitable for solo travellers.)

Pricing

2024
Horse rider, shared double room.
£1980 $2510 €2345
2024
E-bike rider, shared double room.
£1440 $1825 €1705
Included Accommodation (shared double rooms only), all meals from dinner on arrival day to lunch on departure day, drinks with some meals (we can specify which when you contact us), wine-tastings and 4 days of horse riding/e-bikes.
Not included Travel, insurance (compulsory), drinks with some meals, tips (optional).

Extras

2023 - Single Supplement £169 $210 €200
Paid to Far and Ride
Only available on certain dates.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.