Dabbling in Jet Lag
Wondering if Colmar is worth visiting?
From colorful timber-framed houses to enthralling museums, there are tons of reasons why Colmar should be on your list.
In fact, since moving to France, I’ve been to Colmar dozens of times. That’s how much I love this little Alsatian village. And, today, I want to share with you what makes it so special. I’ll cover all the reasons why you should visit Colmar as well as tips to help you plan your trip.
Table of Contents
- Is Colmar Worth Visiting?
- 19 Reasons to Visit Colmar
- FAQs About Visiting Colmar
- Conclusion: Is Colmar Worth Visiting?
Is Colmar Worth Visiting?
Yes, Colmar is definitely worth visiting!
With so many things to do, Colmar is the perfect destination if you’ve never been before.
It lies in the ever-magnificent region of Alsace and is famed for its fairytale-like atmosphere.
Here you’ll find narrow cobbled streets lined with pastel-hued buildings, each of which is decorated with vivid flowers.
But that’s not all!
Colmar is also home to fascinating museums like the Unterlinded Museum. It even has a replica of the Statue of Liberty. There’s tons of green space and it’s not far from the infamous Alsace Wine Route. And, during the holiday season, Colmar transforms into a winter wonderland and hosts one of the best Christmas markets in France.
Needless to say, it’s the perfect addition to your next France itinerary.
19 Reasons to Visit Colmar
There’s no shortage of reasons why you should visit this wonderful city. So, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list to help you decide if Colmar should be your next destination.
By the end, I can guarantee you’ll be adding it to your bucket list.
1. Picturesque Half-Timbered Houses
Colmar’s biggest tourist attraction is, undoubtedly, its picturesque half-timbered houses. Each is a different color than the next. And, in summer, their windowsills and doorframes are decorated with vibrant bouquets.
Some of the most gorgeous buildings are along Quai de la Poissonnerie. And, while it might look like a tourist attraction, it’s far more than that. In fact, these colors were once used to identify the inhabitants.
If the building was residential, blue showed that the household was Catholic while red was Protestant. If the building was commercial, the color represented the type of store.
While these designations disappeared after the 18th century, residents continue to paint their houses in different colors. They must, however, have it approved by City Hall beforehand.
2. Tons of Museums
Colmar is home to several fascinating museums.
In fact, there are so many it’s hard to choose which ones to add to your itinerary.
Below I’ve listed the best museums to visit in Colmar:
Unterlinden Museum – This renowned museum houses an impressive collection of exhibits. The most notable is the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald. Not only that but it’s the most visited museum in Alsace!
Bartholdi Museum – Dedicated to the creator of the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, this museum showcases his life and work.
Toy Museum (Musée du Jouet) – Colmar’s Toy Museum is a vast collection of toys and games from various eras. If you love reminiscing about your childhood, this is the place for you!
3. Alsace Wine Route
The Alsace Wine Route is a must-visit for wine lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Spanning 170 kilometers (105 miles), it winds through the rolling hills and picturesque vineyards. It’s here that some of France’s finest white wines are made!
And Colmar is right in the middle of the Alsace Wine Route.
Rent a bike and cycle between towns, travel by car, or walk. There’s no wrong way to do it!
In fact, it’s one of the most common routes to take when traveling to Colmar from Strasbourg!
4. Indulgent Cuisine
Colmar’s traditional cuisine is a tantalizing mix of French and German influences. From savory sausages to sweet treats, there’s something for everyone here.
Some of the most famous dishes include tarte flambée, choucroute garnie, and kugelhopf. And a trip to Colmar wouldn’t be complete without sampling at least one of these.
Below is a list of the best restaurants where you can sample traditional Alsatian delicacies:
- La Kilbe
- Les Bateliers
- La Cocotte de Grand-Mère
- Brasserie des Tanneurs
5. Excellent Guided Tours
Colmar is rooted in its rich cultural heritage and, while it might be small, there are a ton of things to see and do. Not only that but it’s close to many other attractions in the area.
And, if you’re visiting Colmar or even Alsace for the first time, you might not know where to begin. Luckily, there are a ton of informative and enjoyable guided tours available.
From historical excursions around Colmar to day trips to other Alsatian villages, there are options for every kind of traveler.
Best of all, you won’t have to worry about navigating small towns, narrow roads, or a foreign language. You’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy your hard-earned vacation.
6. Little Venice
This charming neighborhood features beautiful canals lined with stunning medieval buildings. In fact, it’s reminiscent of its Italian namesake.
Stroll along the waterways and admire the architecture, stop by an artisanal shop, or enjoy a glass of wine on a terrace.
My favorite was the gondola ride. You’ll paddle along the Lauch River while gazing at the picturesque scenery. It’s a unique view of the city that you wouldn’t see otherwise. And, as a bonus, your guide details the fascinating history of Colmar. It’s perfect for history lovers and vacation goers alike!
7. Colmar’s Christmas Market
Spanning from late November through December, Colmar’s annual Christmas Market is a festive affair not to be missed!
This immersive experience is much like the original markets. The town is full of lights, decorations, and vendors selling handcrafted gifts in wooden chalets. It’s a magical winter wonderland that makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale.
Of the Christmas markets I’ve been to, Colmar was the most beautiful.
Useful Tip: If you plan on visiting, I recommend going in early December to avoid the tourist crowds.
8. Unique Architecture
There’s no denying that Colmar has some of the prettiest streets in the region, if not the country.
In fact, tourists flock from all over the world to catch a glimpse of these colorful buildings.
But that’s not all there is to see.
Colmar actually has a lot of very quirky architecture.
Below are some of the coolest buildings in town:
La Maison des Tetes – This narrowly tall building stands out because it’s covered in small human heads (that are made of stone). Then, if you look carefully, you can see the windows are not the same size. While you can’t tour the interior, it’s worth stopping by!
Maison Pfister – This iconic 16th-century Renaissance-style building features intricate wood carvings and unique bay windows. Wooden panels are painted with different scenes, the details of which are nothing shy of impressive.
Koïfhus or Old Customs House – This historic building, once an important center for trade and politics, now hosts cultural events. Its most notable feature is, undoubtedly, the ceramic roof tiles. They are analogous to patterns found in Dijon and other parts of Burgundy.
9. Perfect for Day Trips
Colmar’s location near the border of Germany and Switzerland makes it an ideal base for taking day trips. Whether you want to explore the greater Alsace region or wander around the Black Forest, you’ll be able to do so from here. That’s how well this little town is connected.
Some of the most popular day trips from Colmar include Strasbourg, Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, and Riquewhir.
But did you know that you can also take the train to Dijon for a day in Burgundy? You could even go as far as Luxembourg or Paris!
10. Covered Market
If there is one thing I love about France, it’s its markets. And Colmar doesn’t disappoint.
Located in the town center the Marché Couvert Colmar offers a variety of local products, such as cheese, charcuterie, and fresh produce. There’s even a restaurant in the back, La Terrasse du Marché, that serves the best tarte flambée in town!
Stop by to explore the stands or buy a souvenir!
11. Parc du Champ de Mars
The Parc du Champ de Mars is a gorgeous public park located in the heart of Colmar. From the picturesque scenery to the relaxing environment, it’s the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon. It’s also the largest park in town!
Stroll along the covered walkways or picnic in the grassed areas, you won’t find a better place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
12. Easy to Access
One of the best reasons to visit Colmar is because it’s so easy to get to.
It’s located in eastern France near Germany and Switzerland. That means you can get to Colmar by car, train, or plane. Whether you’re coming from nearby Strasbourg or are flying from the United States, you won’t have any problems getting here.
The nearest airports are:
- Frankfurt Airport
- Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport
- EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg
And each one has trains and/or buses that go to Colmar.
Once you are in the city, there are plenty of transport options to help you get around. You can walk, ride a bike, or use the bus.
13. St. Martin’s Church
The stunning St. Martin’s Church in Colmar is an impressive example of Gothic architecture that has been standing since 1235. It is here where the Isenheim altarpiece was created, a piece of remarkable art that contains wooden panels depicting the life of Christ.
This combined with its stained-glass windows and intricate exterior design, it’s easy to see why it’s the most beautiful church in town.
Useful Tip: If you want to see the panels, you’ll need to go to the Unterlinden Museum.
14. Fantastic Wine
Whether you’re a novice to wine tasting or a certified connoisseur, Colmar doesn’t disappoint. In fact, no trip is complete without sampling at least one glass of Alsatian wine.
From full-bodied Pinot Gris to sweet Gewürztraminer, there’s a wide selection of wines that will captivate your taste buds. Enjoy a glass in a restaurant, explore a wine cellar, or go on a tour. Either way, your wine-tasting experience will no doubt be exceptional.
15. Outdoor Activities
Colmar’s proximity to the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park is one of the best reasons to visit. Here you’ll find tons of hiking, cycling, and nature exploration opportunities.
In summer, the trails are full of outdoor enthusiasts. Popular activities include hiking to the Grand Ballon, the highest peak in the Vosges mountains, and camping next to Lac de Longemer. But my favorite was taking in the views from the Lac Blanc.
In winter, adventure-goers will have their choice of snow-capped peaks and downhill slopes.
16. Proximity to Other Alsatian Towns
Colmar’s proximity to other Alsatian towns makes it an even more attractive destination.
If you’ve never been to this part of France, you might not know that public transportation to some of the smaller towns is limited. And the buses, taxis, and tours that do exist start in Colmar.
So, it’s very easy to explore nearby towns from here.
Some of the most famous include Riquewihr, Turckheim, and Eguisheim. Each offers a unique glimpse into the region’s history and culture as well as plenty of opportunities for sightseeing.
Then, there’s Kaysersberg. It’s a great place to bike a section of the Alsace Wine Route.
17. Alsace Wine Fair
Did you know that every summer Colmar hosts the Alsace Wine Fair?
The Alsace Wine Fair, or Foire Aux Vins d’Alsace, is an epic event that has been taking place in Colmar for over 70 years.
While there is an event to promote Alsatian wines, that’s not all!
Every summer, the charming and historic city of Colmar comes alive with a mix of cultural, musical, and gastronomic delights. There’s a wine fair, folk festival, and even a cabaret! It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in town!
For more information check out the events page here.
18. Old Town
Colmar’s Old Town is truly a sight to behold! Steeped in history, this picturesque district dates to the 13th century and still retains many of the original structures.
The most famous street that goes through the Old Town is Grand Rue. Here you’ll find quaint traditional restaurants, unique cafés, and one-of-a-kind shops. Meander through the streets and admire the beautiful architecture, pick up a handcrafted trinket, or enjoy a beer on one of the terraces.
19. Statue of Liberty
Colmar is home to a unique version of the Statue of Liberty – one that has been around since 2004. This smaller replica stands at the northern entrance welcoming visitors. It was built to honor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, one hundred years after his death.
Whether you’re an American tourist in France or simply want to appreciate the monument, it’s definitely worth a visit!
Useful Tip: To get to the Statue of Liberty you can take a taxi (10-minute drive) or walk (1 hour).
FAQs About Visiting Colmar
What is so special about Colmar?
Colmar is an enchanting small town in the Alsace region of France. It’s known for its colorful medieval architecture and canal-lined town center. With its rich cultural heritage set in a storybook atmosphere, it’s no wonder why Colmar is so special.
What is the prettiest street in Colmar?
The prettiest street in Colmar is Quai de la Poissonnerie.
How far is Colmar France from the German border?
Colmar is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the German border.
What to try in Colmar?
When in Colmar, must-try dishes include tarte flambée, choucroute, and kugelhopf. Then for local wines, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer are the most popular.
Does Colmar France have a Statue of Liberty?
Yes, Colmar does have a Statue of Liberty. It’s located at the northern edge of the town and is free to visit.
Conclusion: Is Colmar Worth Visiting?
With its blend of history, culture, and scenery, Colmar offers an unforgettable experience for anyone seeking the charm of a quintessential Alsatian town. In fact, there’s no reason not to visit! I, myself, have been tons of times, and I continue to go back. That’s how wonderful this little village is. Whether you’re a Francophile or vacation-goer, Colmar should be at the top of your list. And now all that’s left to do is start planning your adventure!
Read More Articles About France
I hope you enjoyed my post about whether Colmar is worth visiting and found it useful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.
- 27 Best Apps for France Travel
- Is Strasbourg Worth Visiting? Things to Do and Reasons to Visit
- Is France Worth Visiting? 13 Reasons Why You Should!
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