When it comes to culture, Colmar and Freiburg are two of the most important towns on the Green Route. Each has an attractive and lively old quarter packed with historical buildings – in Freiburg the market square around the cathedral, and in Colmar the ‘Little Venice’ quarter. A visit to Colmar wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Bartholdi Museum, or the Unterlinden Museum with its Issenheim altarpiece, while in the "Environment City" of Freiburg it is possible to tour the Solar-Fabrik, a solar module production plant. People flock to both towns for their concerts, theatre and wide variety of festivals.
The splendid spa facilities, hotels and casinos of Contrexéville and Vittel bear witness to a glittering epoch when spas and bathing culture were an important part of society life. Épinal is famous for its ‘images’ (prints), which are still created there today. These unique treasures can now be seen in the new Musée Départemental des Vosges. Although the ravages of war have stripped many of the towns and villages in the Vosges of their historical buildings, what they lack in architectural heritage they more than make up for with their extraordinary local crafts and traditions: Le Tholy is home to one of France’s biggest cheese dairies, and in Gérardmer is famous for its elegant linens. The Green Route climbs up through the Col de la Schlucht before dropping down into the Munster valley and Gunsbach. This is where Albert Schweitzer grew up and is now home to a dedicated Schweitzer museum.
The timber-framed buildings of Turckheim are typical Alsace, while Horbourg-Wihr contains fine examples of buildings designed by the Swabian Renaissance architect Heinrich Schickhardt. No wonder, then, that the town has been included on the European cultural route named after him. The virtually intact Vauban fortifications in Neuf-Brisach are well worth seeing, while on the opposite bank of the Rhine lies Breisach, a town dominated by its splendid minster with its famous altar, and the Badischer Winzerkeller, Europe’s biggest winegrowing cooperative. Kirchzarten was originally a Celtic settlement. Marie-Antoinette crossed the wild, romantic Höllental (Hell Valley) in 1770 on her way to be married in France, stopping off at Hinterzarten, now a typical Black Forest holiday resort and home of the Black Forest Ski Museum. The "Heimatpfad Hochschwarzwald" is a trail that runs through the Upper Black Forest, linking various historical and cultural points of interest, including the bustling lakeside promenade at Lake Titisee and Neustadt, once an important clock-making centre.
Where the Danube starts its journey, you will find Donaueschingen. In the palace gardens the water wells up amidst the spring’s aesthetic surroundings. Be enchanted by the city’s charm of classicism, baroque and art nouveau and discover Donaueschingen with an eventful guided tour. Furthermore do not miss a visit of the Princely Fürstenberg Collections and the „Biedermann-Museum“, which represents Modern Art.
There are numerous events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Alemannic carnival, the Narcissus Festival in Gérardmer (every two years), the wine festivals in Alsace and at Kaiserstuhl-Tuniberg, the open-air theatre in Breisach, music festivals in Colmar, Freiburg and Donaueschingen, processions in traditional dress, the „International His Highness Joachim zu Fürstenberg-Memorial Horse Show“, fairs and a wide variety of Christmas markets, a tradition which is taken very seriously, especially in Alsace.