Dabbling in Jet Lag
Looking for the best day trips from Colmar?
As someone who lives in France and has used Colmar as a base for day trips, I know how many wonderful sites are in the area. From picturesque villages to jaw-dropping mountain vistas, there’s no shortage of things to see. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons to visit Colmar!
Below I’ll share with you a comprehensive list of the best day trips from Colmar. Whether you want to hike the tallest peak in the region, enjoy thermal spas, or tour fairytale towns, I’ve got you covered.
22 Best Day Trips from Colmar
Colmar is conveniently located in the heart of Alsace with excellent transportation options. It’s close to the world-renowned Alsace Wine Route and the magnificent Vosges Mountains. And, if that weren’t enough, it shares a border with both Germany and Switzerland.
Needless to say, exploring the surrounding area is one of the best activities to do in Colmar.
So, without further ado, here are the 22 best day trips.
Eguisheim was my favorite Alsatian village. Its cobbled streets and timbered framed houses create a magical setting that you won’t experience elsewhere.
Wander along the narrow alleyways, hike up to the Three Castles of Eguisheim, or try a glass of Alsatian wine. After all, some of the best wines in the region are produced here.
Then, if you have extra time, I recommend driving the Routes des 5 Châteaux. You’ll weave along the ridge of the Vosges Mountains, passing five incredible castles. The most impressive of which is the Hohlandsbourg Castle. A definite must if you’re in the area!
Getting to Eguisheim
There are tons of ways to get to Eguisheim from Colmar. The most practical is to go on a tour, while the fastest way is to take a taxi. There are buses but wait times can be long. It’s only an option if you’re traveling on a fixed budget.
Riquewhir is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting villages in Alsace. Located in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, this little town is most known for its old-world charm. And it’s one of the few places that has retained its 16th-century vestiges.
Wander through the town center, explore a section of the Alsace Wine Route by bike, or go hiking in the nearby forests. There’s no shortage of incredible things to do here.
Getting to Riquewhir
The cheapest way to get from Colmar to Riquewhir is by bus (#106). It takes 30 minutes. But, if you don’t want to deal with public transportation, I recommend going on a tour.
Ribeauvillé is a captivating fairytale town that is most known for its centuries-old medieval castles. Not only that but its proximity to Riquewhir makes it possible to visit both as a day trip from Colmar.
Of course, exploring the town is an absolute must.
Then, there are the three castles that overlook the town. My favorite one was Château du Girsberg. It took me 45 minutes to reach it, but once I saw the bird’s-eye view of Château de Saint-Ulrich I forgot how tired I was.
And, if you’re visiting in September, be sure to check out the Fête des Ménétriers de Ribeauvillé. It’s one of the best festivals in Alsace.
Getting to Ribeauvillé
Bus 106 runs between Colmar and Ribeauvillé and takes 45 minutes. But, if you don’t feel like organizing the trip yourself, there are plenty of excursions available.
Metz is one of the most underrated cities in eastern France. But let me assure you, there are so many things to see here.
Here history and heritage intertwine with modernity and art. The city is also home to some of France’s most famous landmarks. My favorites were the Metz Cathedral, Porte des Allemands, the Temple Neuf, and Centre Pompidou-Metz.
Moreover, it’s the perfect place to try some local cuisine like Quiche Lorraine.
Getting to Metz
The best way to travel from Colmar to Metz is by train. They run regularly and take about 90 minutes.
No list of day trips from Colmar is complete without mentioning Strasbourg. Of course, I’m biased because I live here. But let me assure you, as the capital of Alsace, it’s a must-visit. From traditional restaurants to renowned museums, there are tons of reasons why you should visit Strasbourg.
Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral, meander around Petite France, or go shopping in Place Kléber. Either way, you’re sure to spend an amazing day here.
Getting to Strasbourg
The options for getting to Strasbourg from Colmar are the same as the reverse direction (Strasbourg to Colmar). The fastest way is to take a direct train. It’s about 30 minutes.
Once the former center of culture and arts in France, Dijon is, now, a city that’s full of incredible sites and attractions. From the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, you’ll find something for everyone here.
Visit the most iconic square, Place François Rude, wander down Rue Verrerie, or sample some Dijon mustard. And, if you want to be sure to see all the highlights in a day, follow the Parcours de la Chouette. This marked trail winds through the town, stopping by the main attractions.
Getting to Dijon
The fastest way to get from Colmar to Dijon is by train. It takes about two hours with regular services offered throughout the day.
One of the most popular day trips from Colmar is Kaysersberg. This small, but cute village sits at the foothills of the Vosges Mountains beckoning visitors. From historical monuments to hiking trails, there are tons of activities in Kaysersberg.
Highlights include the Château de Kaysersberg, the views from Rocher des Corbeaux, and the Fortified Bridge.
Get to Kaysersberg
There are tons of ways to get from Colmar to Kaysersberg. The cheapest option is to take bus 68R013 while the most convenient way is to go on a tour.
From iconic landmarks to riveting museums, Paris has some of the most impressive sights in Europe. So, of course, it makes it on this list.
But, of the day excursions here, Paris is the most difficult.
It’s such a big city that you will have to carefully plan your day. When I made this trip, I picked a few highlights that were near each other, so I didn’t run out of time. And I recommend you do the same.
Some must-see attractions include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Galerie Vivienne, and Île de la Cité.
Useful Tip: If you’re visiting Paris in July or August, make sure to reserve your museum tickets in advance.
Getting to Paris
Direct trains run from Colmar to Paris and take less than 2.5 hours. Keep in mind there are at most four direct trains per day. I recommend taking the earliest one so you can be sure to see everything.
Once the home of the Dukes of Lorraine, Nancy is, now, one of the best places to explore some of France’s finest architecture and art. From Place Stanislas and the Saint-Epvre Basilica to the Old Town, there are tons of things to do here. And, if you’re visiting in summer, be sure to stop by Parc de la Pépinière. Its shaded paths are a welcomed relief from the heat.
Of course, no trip to Nancy is complete without sampling some macarons. And, while several shops sell these local treats, Maison des Sœurs Macarons holds the original recipe.
Getting to Nancy
The best way to get from Colmar to Nancy is by train. It’s a quick 95-minute journey with regular services departing throughout the day.
Colmar sits on the border of both Germany and Switzerland. And it’s this central location that makes Colmar such an attractive destination.
So, if you want to visit a part of Switzerland, Basel is the closest town to Colmar. Here you’ll find plenty of cultural attractions including museums, art galleries, and churches. There are a whopping 40 museums to choose from!
Needless to say, you won’t get bored here.
Highlights include the Rathaus, the Old Town, cycling along the Rhine, and the Kunstmuseum Basel.
Getting to Basel
The fastest way to get to Basel from Colmar is to take the train, which is about 45 minutes. If you prefer something more convenient, tours are also available.
11. Ballon des Vosges National Park
With its lush landscape and woodlands, Ballon des Vosges National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Here you’ll find pristine lakes, towering mountains, hiking trails, and remote camping spots. It’s a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and appreciate raw nature.
In summer, you can camp under the stars next to Lac de Longemer or challenge your endurance by hiking the Grand Ballon. Then, in winter, the area is covered in bright white snow, making it perfect for downhill skiers.
Useful Tip: I hiked the Grand Ballon in one day. It took me about 10 hours. So, I can only recommend it to experienced hikers.
Getting to Ballon des Vosges National Park
Depending on when and where you go there are several public transportation options. But the easiest way to explore the park is by car.
No matter the season, Turckheim is one of the most unforgettable day trips from Colmar. Its fairytale-like atmosphere is second to none.
This quaint Alsatian hamlet is adorned with colorful flowers and lush vines during the summer months. It’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon meandering around.
Of course, Hôtel de Ville is nothing shy of stunning. From the Jardin de la Ville, you’ll have the best view in town. Then, if you want to explore the area around town. Turckheim is surrounded by lush vineyards that offer unbeatable views of the city.
In winter, don’t forget to stop by the Christmas market, it’s one of the most unique in the region.
Getting to Turckheim
Trains from Colmar run regularly to Turckheim and take under 20 minutes.
13. Black Forest
The Black Forest lies on the other side of the border in Germany. And with its dense forests, rolling hills, and pristine lakes, it’s an idyllic destination for nature lovers.
Some popular activities include hiking, biking, and exploring traditional German towns. Freiburg is touted for its storybook charm while Karlsruhe is home to gorgeous landscapes. Of course, the thermal spas in Baden-Baden are an absolute must. It’s the perfect place to relax after a long day of adventuring.
Getting to the Black Forest
Depending on where you go, there are several options for getting to the Black Forest. Tours from Colmar exist as well as trains and buses.
14. Alsace Wine Route
The Alsace Wine Route winds through the region, stretching from Marlenheim to Thann. And Colmar lies right in the middle of this 170-kilometer (105-mile) path. So, of course, you have to spend a day exploring the Alsace Wine Route.
Rent a car and venture to wine-growing villages like Dambach-la-Ville and Mittelbergheim. Or cycle along one of the dedicated paths. You can even walk certain sections. Either way, the lush vineyards, picturesque villages, and captivating castles won’t disappoint.
Munster is a picturesque village that sits at the entrance to the Vallée de Munster. And while it may seem small, this little town is the perfect jumping-off point for outdoor enthusiasts.
Climb the Chemin du Narrenstein (Narrenstein trail) for the best views over the city or follow Rue Principale (D5BI). It’s full of hiking trails and mountain vistas. And, if you’re visiting in October, you’ll witness the most spectacular fall foliage in the region.
The town center also offers several things to do. Marvel at the architecture or stop at a fromagerie (cheese house) to try some Munster cheese.
Getting to Munster
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Munster is by train. Regional TER trains run regularly and take about 30 minutes.
16. Mont Sainte Odile
If you’re looking for an extraordinary day trip from Colmar, Mont Sainte Odile is an experience not to be missed. As a former abbey, Mont Sainte Odile was named after the patron saint of Alsace, Odile. And, today, it has retained its status as the symbol of Alsace.
Apart from hosting an active church, the historic buildings on Mont Sainte Odile have been converted into a hotel. You can tour the grounds and visit the area for free. But the biggest draw is the view from the terraces. On a clear day, they extend far beyond the horizon. An incredible site to say the least.
Getting to Mont Sainte Odile
For the cheapest option, first take the train from Colmar to Obernai then take bus 257 to Mont Sainte Odile. On average the trip takes about two hours. If you want something more convenient, I recommend renting a car.
17. Lac Blanc
The Lac Blanc, or White Lake, is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in the area. Its tranquil waters are so clear you can see right to the bottom. And, best of all, it’s a year-round destination.
In the winter, skiers flock to its slopes for some of the best skiing in Alsace. Then, in summer, hikers and mountain bikers explore the winding trails surrounding the lake.
No matter what time of year you visit, nothing beats the views from the Observatoire Belmont. From here, you’ll have sweeping panoramas of the forested valleys below. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset or admire the starry night sky.
Getting to Lac Blanc
Public transportation is only available in the summer months. A bus called Navette des crêtes leaves from Colmar’s main train station regularly throughout the day. Otherwise, the best option is to rent a car.
18. Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle
While the origins of Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle remain unknown, it was a prominent fortress during the Middle Ages. Over the years, it saw vicious wars and battles, which, ultimately, left it in shambles.
But, after ongoing restoration efforts, it’s, now, back to its former prestige.
You can tour the grounds in their entirety. And, of the castles I’ve been to in Alsace, Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle was by far the best. Within its walls, you’ll learn about its rich history through artifacts and exhibits. The views from the upper terraces are also incredible.
Getting to Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle
The most convenient way to visit Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle is with a tour. Otherwise, a shuttle service from Sélestat is available.
Saverne is one of the most charming towns in northern Alsace. Here cobblestone streets are lined with colorful buildings, quaint cafés, and small boutiques.
But that’s not the only reason to visit.
There are tons of hiking trails and medieval castles in the forest-covered hills that surround the city.
The most popular is the Château du Haut-Barr. It’s nicknamed the eye of Alsace and, with panoramas like that, it’s easy to see why. Then, there’s the Tour du Brotsch and Rocher du Brotsch, both of which offer equally stunning views.
Getting to Saverne
The easiest way to visit Saverne is by train. But, if you don’t want to hike to Château du Haut-Barr, I recommend renting a car. There’s a parking lot at the base of the castle.
Located in the Franche-Comté region of France, this picturesque city is home to a mix of medieval charm and modern beauty. With its winding streets, historic monuments, and stunning countryside, it’s the perfect day trip from Colmar.
The most impressive attraction is the Citadel. This gigantic military fortress was designed by Vauban and served to block entry via the Doubs River. And, if that weren’t enough, it’s home to several museums and a zoo.
Of course, the Besançon Cathedral, which houses an extraordinary astronomical clock, also tops the list of places to visit.
Getting to Besançon
The easiest way to get to Besançon from Colmar is to take the train. Total travel time is about two hours.
Useful Tip: There are no direct trains to Besançon’s town center. You’ll first need to go to Gare Besançon Franche-Comté TGV and then take a regional TER train to Besançon Viotte.
21. Luxembourg City
Nestled on the border of France and Germany, Luxembourg City has a wealth of activities and attractions. And because of its size, it’s easy to visit in one day.
Take in the view of Neumünster Abbey, get lost in the Casemates du Bock, and enjoy a snack at one of the many cafés in the Grund. You’ll even have time to wander through Pétrusse Park and visit Fort Thüngen.
Of course, no day in Luxembourg City is complete without marveling at the Palais Grand-Ducal.
Getting to Luxembourg City
Tons of trains go from Colmar to Luxembourg. But, if you want to be sure to have enough time, I recommend taking a high-speed TGV train.
If you love museums, Mulhouse is for you. Not only that but it’s one of the easiest day trips from Colmar. Some top attractions include Musée de l’Impression sur Etoffes, Cité de l’Automobile, and Hôtel de Ville.
But the coolest thing to do is climb the Tour du Belvédère. This iron structure resembles the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not as tall.
My vertigo kicked in as I was on my way up. I was trembling every step of the way until I saw the view!
Getting to Mulhouse
Direct trains from Colmar to Mulhouse run throughout the day and take about 20 minutes.
Conclusion: Day Trips from Colmar
Colmar is a great destination for day trips. Whether you’re looking to explore towns within Alsace or want to venture outside of France, there are tons of possibilities. You could even visit more than one of these destinations in a single day if you’re up for an adventure. And with the wide variety of travel options, I provided here, it will be easy to plan your trip. Now all that’s left to do is pack your bags and get ready for the vacation of a lifetime.
Read More Articles About France
I hope you enjoyed my post about the best day trips from Colmar and found it useful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.
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