Tourist facilities in these urban forests
While for centuries the people living near the Rhine forests were only interested in the timber, fruits, mushrooms and fish they could harvest from the forests, the second half of the 19th century saw a growing interest in the Neuhof and Robertsau forests as favored recreational and walking areas just 5 kilometers from the city center. In the early 20th century, the first walking trails and bridle paths were developed.
The number of visitors to these forests has been growing regularly since the 60s. Rohrschollen island, included as part of the Neuhof forest following the construction of the Strasbourg hydroelectric plant in 1970, is also a favorite spot. Very popular with Strasbourg residents in search of relaxation and recreation, it used house a tavern on the edge of the forest frequented on weekends by barge operators and residents from nearby neighborhoods. The former course of the natural Rhine, now called the Old Rhine, was used for swimming, boating and fishing.
The new-found awareness of the heritage value of the Rhine forest led the City of Strasbourg to initiate a policy to protect and re-naturalize these environments in 1972. This also included raising public awareness on protecting and learning about the environment surrounding it. Facilities were set up for the different users of the forest (pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, sports lovers, botanists, fishermen, etc.). Awareness raising was also carried out to teach people about the Rhine forest with nature trails to explore the forest.
Robertsau Forest is in the process of being classified as a National Nature Reserve. The Rohrschollen island, formerly part of the Neuhof forest, has already been classified since spring 1997 and Neuhof-Illkirch since 2012.
As a Rhine forest, Robertsau has an variety of tree species unmatched in Europe. The abundance and vitality of the liana, one of the main features of the Rhine forest, give some areas a virgin forest look.
On the eastern side, the forest is dotted with numerous ponds, dug out by the old Rhine floods (Thalerkopf, Karpfenloch) or remnants of former gravel pits used to make the dikes on the Rhine (Rohrkopf, Blauelsand, Leutesheim).
How to get to Robertsau Forest
- Start out on bike or on foot from the Robertsau district (Melanie sector or Kempf street) to Pourtales Castle and the Bussiere farm respectively, the starting point of most marked routes.
- Get the bus to Robertsau, on the 15 or 15a line (Lamprey stop), you are a 10 minute walk from Pourtales Castle.
- Get the 72 bus at “La Wantzenau" to go to the forest via the Steingiessen forest House (“Fuchs am Buckel” bus stop) or the Unterjaegerhof car park ("Unterjaegerhof” bus stop).
- By car, you can park in one of the car parks on the eastern and western sides of the forest:
- on the eastern side, 3 car parks are accessible on the Glaserwoerth road: Blauelsand, Rohrkopf and Karpfenloch.
- on the western side, 3 other car parks are accessible from the Wantzenau road: Melanie car park (Melanie street), Bussière farm car park (Kempf street) and Fortin car park (D223).
Walking in the Robertsau forest
At the heart of Robertsau Forest, a maze of waterways, islands and dense bush, educational panels explain the characteristics of this plant heritage. Discover it alone or with your family, on foot, bicycle or horseback by following the marked trails to explore the forest while respecting it.
In the Neuhof-Illkirch National Nature Reserve
Neuhof forest is located south of Strasbourg, less than 5 kilometers from the city center and extends over an area of 757 hectares (945 hectares with the Illkirch forest). It is easily accessible on foot or by bike from the Stockfeld or Ganzau districts and also by public transport or car.
How to get to Neuhof Forest
- By bike or on foot, from the Stockfeld or Ganzau districts.
- By bus, taking the No. 24 line and getting off at the "Coucou des Bois” stop.
- By car, you can park in one of the car parks at the edge of the forest:
- Coucou des Bois car park: from this location you can go to the Sentier des Dames, the Chemin du Roi and the sports course. Cyclists can get to the Rhine by taking the Chemin du Roi then the paved trail and the Altenheim trail.
- Oberjaegerhof car park: accessible by means of the Oberjaegerhof forest trail. When here, you are in the heart of the forest. You can get to the Kunesand path and the botanical alley.
- Chêne Rebmann car park: accessible from the Illkirch Innovation Park. You can get to the botanical and nature discovery alley or the Faisanderie trail, on which the Rebmann oak tree is located. This monumental tree, with a circumference of 4.2 m at 1.3 m off the ground, had to be felled for safety reasons but was left on site to decompose naturally over the coming decades.
Walking in Neuhof forest
Neuhof forest is intersected by a large number of trails for all types of walks. From the old paved road (now closed to cars) for cyclists, to small narrow paths along waterways, from bridle trails to the sports course, a huge choice of paths and routes enable you to enjoy the forest while respecting the environment.