Dabbling in Jet Lag
Looking for the best things to do in Colmar?
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
Not only do I live in France, but I’ve been to Colmar more times than I can count.
This quaint Alsatian town is most known for its cobblestone alleys dotted with colorful medieval buildings. But that’s not all! The local dishes are tantalizing, yet filling, and the museums are inspiring. In summer, the city is decorated with hanging baskets of red, white, and pink flowers. And, in winter, it transforms into a magical wonderland as the Christmas market comes alive.
It’s an enchanting city that’s impossible not to love. So, to help you make the most out of your trip, I’ve put together a list of the absolute best things to do in Colmar.
19 Incredible Things to Do in Colmar
There’s no shortage of exciting things to do in Colmar. In fact, of the places I’ve visited in eastern France, this cute little town was one of my favorites.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at Colmar’s top 19 attractions and things that I recommend you do while visiting. I’ve even included a few hidden spots to help you get off the tourist path!
1. Get Lost in Colmar’s Old Town
Colmar’s Old Town will take you on a journey through time. Here you’ll find restaurants, cafés, and hotels set in buildings that date back to the 13th century. It’s a vibrant neighborhood that is teeming with history. Some of the highlights include Saint Martin’s Church and the stretch of buildings on Grand Rue.
There are several ways to visit Colmar’s Old Town, the most practical is on foot with a guided tour.
2. Take a Boat Ride on the Lauch River
The Lauch River weaves through some of the most picturesque sections of the city. And the waterways that pass through the Old Town have been dubbed La Petite Venise of Colmar (or Little Venice of Colmar).
While you could follow the river on foot, a boat ride offers something a little more special. You’ll float along in a small wooden gondola while a tour guide recounts an intimate history of Colmar. It’s a romantic setting that gives way to some spectacular unobstructed views of the city.
Useful Tip: The boat ride is about 25 minutes, and tickets should be purchased in advance.
Sweet Narcisse – Boats Trip Information
- Departure: Below the Saint Pierre Bridge
- For more information, click here.
3. Tour the Alsace Wine Route
Of course, no trip to Colmar is complete without exploring the Alsace Wine Route. This scenic road takes you through picturesque vineyards and offers a chance to sample some of the region’s finest wines. It’s one of the best ways to explore the area and get an authentic taste of its culture and history.
This is, actually, one of my favorite things to do near Colmar!
There are so many delightful towns along this route, but the closest ones to Colmar include, Eguisheim and Turckheim. Kaysersberg is slightly further, but there’s a ton to do here, so it’s worth the trip.
If you’re short on time and want to visit all three I recommend joining a tour.
4. Watch the Sunrise over La Petite Venise
Wake up early and watch the sky fill with hues of orange and pink over the most radiant buildings in the city. It’s a kaleidoscope of color that is absolutely sublime. Colmar can be, at times, crowded and buzzing with tourists. So, this will give you the opportunity to see an otherwise busy city, completely empty.
The best places to watch the sunrise over La Petite Venise (Little Venice) are:
- Rue Turenne Bridge
- Rue des Écoles Bridge
5. Reminisce at the Musée du Jouet
Housed in a former cinema, the Musée du Jouet (Toy Museum) is a place that will bring you pure joy. Here you’ll find a fantastic display of toys from the last two hundred years, including Barbie dolls, video games, Playmobile, and much more.
And, while you can’t play with any of them, it will make you giddy to rediscover the toys that marked your childhood!
Address: 40 Rue Vauban
Wednesday to Monday:
- January to November: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
- July to August and December – 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
6. Admire Colmar’s Most Vivid Street
If there is one thing that Colmar is known for, it’s its colorful architecture. Rows upon rows of streets are lined with pink, blue, yellow, green, and orange houses and shops. The most beautiful of which can be seen from the Rue des Écoles Bridge. A few minutes here and you’ll see why people are drawn to Colmar!
Interestingly, these buildings were not painted for the sake of tourism.
Up until the 18th century, these colors served two very specific purposes. First, they were used to distinguish the religion of a household. Blue represented Catholic, while red corresponded to Protestant. And second, they denoted the type of shop (i.e., bakery, butcher, etc.).
Today, locals have done away with this tradition, and, instead, try to have a color different from their neighbors.
7. Devour a Flammekueche
Flammekueche is a regional specialty that is like pizza. This local delicacy consists of a thin crust topped with crème fraîche, lardons, onions, and local cheese. And, while the ingredients are simple, it’s an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Pair it with a glass of Pinot Gris and you’ll be in heaven.
Of course, you can find flammekueche in every city in Alsace, but the best is in Colmar. Head to La Terrasse du Marché. If you are going for lunch, arrive early. By noon, every seat is taken!
La Terrasse du Marché Address: 13 Rue des Écoles
8. Visit La Maison des Têtes
La Maison des Têtes or The House of Heads sounds like a horror museum, but it’s, actually, a work of art. Small human heads, made of stone, adorn the outside of the building, while windows of different sizes are haphazardly placed between the heads. To say it’s eccentric would be an understatement.
Originally, it was nothing more than a mansion for Anton Burger, a wealthy merchant in the early 1600s. Today, this masterpiece has been turned into a five-star luxury hotel. If you can afford a night here, it will surely be spectacular, or you can admire it from the street for free.
Address: 19 Rue des Têtes
9. Make Your Own Chocolate
Who doesn’t love chocolate?
Discover, taste, and create at Colmar’s very own Chocolate Museum, Choco Story Colmar.
This immersive environment is both fun and educational. You’ll learn how chocolate is made and at the end, you’ll get to taste some of the best chocolate in town. And, if you have extra time, you can even make your own chocolate bar. It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Colmar!
Address: 12 Place de la Cathédrale
10. Admire the Pfister House
The Pfister House was the home of Ludwig Scherer, a financial guru from the mid-15th century. At first glance, it appears to be a medieval-style home, but it, actually, was the first example of Renaissance architecture in Colmar.
Its most notable features include the corner bay windows that hang over the street below and the paintings inscribed on the wood panels. Unfortunately, you can’t tour the inside of the house, but don’t let this deter you from stopping by. It’s a work of art!
Address: 15 Place de la Cathédrale
11. Tour the Musée d’Unterlinden
In the 13th century, Musée d’Unterlinden was a convent for the Dominican religious sisters. Today, it’s one of the most spectacular museums in Alsace with over 200,000 visitors per year. It even won the title of Musée de France, one of the most prestigious awards for a museum!
Not only is it home to the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald, but there’s also a large collection of local and international artworks.
Address: Place des Unterlinden
- Wednesday to Monday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Closed Tuesday
12. Sample Alsatian Wine
When it comes to experiencing the culture of Colmar, there’s no better way than sampling some local Alsatian wine. From dry and fruity Rieslings to full-bodied Pinot Gris, you can find a large variety that will no doubt tantalize your taste buds. You can try a glass at any restaurant, visit a wine cellar, or go on a wine tour.
Below is a list of the best wine cellars to visit in Colmar:
- Wolfberger Boutique Colmar
- Domaine Robert Karcher et Fils
For the best wine tasting tour, I highly recommend this tour.
13. Visit Musée Bartholdi
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was a French sculptor who is best known for designing the Statue of Liberty. And the Musée Bartholdi is a museum built from his former childhood home. From heirlooms to paintings and photographs, it’s a magnificent collection spread across three floors.
Address: 30 Rue des Marchands
- Tuesday to Sunday : 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- Closed Monday
- Closed for the month of January
While the museum is the best place to see his work, there are several additional pieces around Colmar. Some of the most famous are listed below:
- Monument du Général Rapp
- Fontaine Schongauer
- Fontaine de l’Amiral Bruat
- Fontaine Roeselmann
- Monument Hirn
- Fontaine Schwendi
- Les Grands Soutiens du Monde
14. Discover the Statue of Liberty
To commemorate Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, on the 100th anniversary of his death, the city of Colmar installed a replica of the Statue of Liberty. This magnificent monument serves as a tribute to Bartholdi’s seminal work. It also symbolizes the unique relationship between France and the United States.
Address: 45 Route de Strasbourg
15. St. Martin’s Church
Located in the heart of the city, construction of St. Martin’s Church began in 1235 and finished in 1365. Not only is it a historical monument, but it’s also one of the most significant pieces of Gothic architecture in Colmar.
It was here that the Isenmann altarpiece was created. This piece of art contains a series of panels showcasing the life of Jesus Christ. To date, only seven remain and are currently housed in the Unterlinden Museum.
Address: 18 Place de la Cathédrale
16. Go on a Segway Tour
If you’re looking to add some adventure to your trip, a Segway tour is a must. You’ll visit the top tourist attractions in Colmar while learning about its history and culture. It’s a great way to explore the city, especially if you’re short on time. Plus, it’s a ton of fun!
17. Shop at the Covered Market
Colmar is brimming with architectural beauty, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine. Among its many gems is the ever-charming Marché Couvert Colmar.
This vibrant indoor market features a variety of stalls selling local products as well as a bar with a terrace that sits on the Lauch River. Shop for souvenirs or stop by for lunch, either way, you won’t regret it!
Address: 13 Rue des Écoles
18. Explore Colmar’s Christmas Market
There’s no denying that Colmar is a stunning destination year-round. But during the holiday season, it transforms into a magical winter wonderland. This quaint little town comes alive with twinkling lights and festive decorations. You’ll also find wooden chalets selling traditional gifts, handmade crafts, and local delicacies.
Useful Tip: If you want to avoid the Christmas market crowds, I recommend visiting in early December.
I recommend this tour of Colmar’s Christmas market.
19. Hang-out in Parc du Champ-de-Mars
The Champ de Mars Park is a beloved spot for both locals and tourists alike. Here you’ll find tree-lined walkways, picnic areas, comfortable benches, and a playground. It’s perfect for anyone looking to relax and escape Colmar’s busy center.
It’s the largest park so even if it’s popular it never feels full! I recommend gathering a few items from Marché Couvert Colmar and having a picnic in one of the grassed areas.
Address: Avenue de la République
Map of Things to Do in Colmar
The map below contains all the things to do in Colmar that are listed in this guide. Click the map below to open Google Maps.
Where to Eat
There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Colmar so to help you plan your trip I’ve narrowed it down. Below is a list of the best restaurants in town:
- Restaurant L’incontournable – A cozy restaurant with amazing food. The menu is centered on local dishes, but they have other options as well.
- Aux Armes de Colmar – Set in a half-timbered house, this charming restaurant serves some excellent traditional Alsatian food.
- La Cocotte de Grand-Mère – A cute bistro with outdoor seating. The service is excellent and the food is delicious. It’s also a great place to sample some local wine!
Where to Stay
There’s no denying that Colmar is a small town so budget hotels are few and far between. You’ll find most of the accommodation options fall within the mid-range to luxury budgets.
If you’re a first-time visitor I recommend staying in either Colmar’s Old Town district or La Petite Venise. Both neighborhoods are centrally located and within walking distance of the major attractions.
Below is a list of hotels I recommend:
- Coquet Studio Colmar Centre – A studio apartment with all the amenities you could want. Not on that but it’s centrally located.
- Au Grenier à Sel Colmar – A spacious immaculate apartment that is right in the center of town. The host is friendly and the apartment is well-equipped.
- Hotel Saint-Martin – Located on Grand Rue, this lovely hotel is set in a traditional half-timbered house. The rooms are cozy and the staff is terrific. Their breakfast is also really good!
Best Time to Visit Colmar
Colmar is an enchanting destination that has something to offer any time of year.
But when is the best time to visit this charming French city?
The best time to visit Colmar is from April through June. Temperatures are mild with minimal rainfall, making it an ideal period for sightseeing. Plus, the summer crowds have yet to arrive, so you’ll have the place to yourself. Prices are lower and there are plenty of accommodation options available. Of the seasons, this is my favorite time to visit Colmar.
During summer (July to August), temperatures are scorching, and the humidity is at its highest. It’s undoubtedly a great time to visit, but you’ll have to be ready for the high tourist season.
Another fantastic time to visit Colmar is from September to November. The days are cooler but still mild, and the autumn foliage is at its peak. The summer crowds have left, and prices start to drop. You’ll also find plenty of affordable accommodation options.
For a unique experience, consider visiting during the winter months (December to January). Temperatures are considerably cooler, so you’ll need to bring extra layers of clothing. But Colmar is especially beautiful when decorated with Christmas lights and festive ornaments.
If you’re looking for Colmar’s low season, it’s from February to March. The weather is cold and rainy, but prices are at their lowest. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to get the most bang for their buck.
How to Get to Colmar
While Colmar might not seem like it’s conveniently located, it’s, actually, very easy to reach. For the most convenient option, I recommend first getting to Strasbourg because there are a ton of ways to get from Strasbourg to Colmar.
Below is a complete overview of the various travel options.
- From France: The closest major city in France to Colmar is Strasbourg. From Strasbourg, it’s about 1 hour by train.
- From Germany: The closest city in Germany to Colmar is Fribourg. But there are no direct trains. You will have to change at least once. The trip takes about 1-2 hours. Frankfurt is much farther, but its airport is very convenient. If you’re coming from Frankfurt, it’s easier to get to Colmar via Strasbourg.
- From Switzerland: The closest city in Switzerland to Colmar is Basel. Trains are direct and take under an hour.
The three closest airports are listed below:
- Frankfurt Airport (Frankfurt, Germany)
- Charles de Gaulle or Orly Airport (Paris, France)
- EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (St. Louis, France)
If you are flying into one of these airports, use the information above to reach Colmar by train.
For the best deals on flights, I recommend WayAway.
FAQs About Things to Do in Colmar
What is Colmar best known for?
Colmar is best known for its colorful, cobbled streets and buildings painted in a traditional Alsatian style. It’s also home to several museums, the most famous being the Unterlinden Museum.
Is one day in Colmar enough?
While it’s possible to see the highlights in a single day, it’s not enough time to do everything. It’s best to plan a trip with at least two days in Colmar, if you want to have the best experience.
Is Colmar closed on Sunday?
No, Colmar is not closed on Sunday. Most businesses are open, though some shops may have reduced hours. The tourist attractions and museums are also generally open during the weekend. It’s best to check with individual establishments in advance if you plan to visit on Sunday.
Is Colmar a day trip from Paris?
Yes, it is possible to visit Colmar on a day trip from Paris. If you take a high-speed TGV train, you’ll be able to reach Colmar in two and a half hours. If you take a slower train (OUIGO), you won’t have enough time. With these trains, the travel time increases to four hours and there’s at least one correspondence.
How do you get around Colmar France?
The best way to get around Colmar is on foot. It’s walkable and compact. Most of the major attractions are in the same area, making it easy to explore on foot.
Is Colmar walkable?
Yes, Colmar is very walkable. The historic district and key attractions are all within five minutes of each other. There are also a lot of restaurants and cafés on every corner. So, you’re never far from what you need.
What language do they speak in Colmar?
The primary language spoken in Colmar is French. But you’ll also hear German and English in the streets.
Does Colmar have Uber?
Yes, Colmar has Uber, but there are not a lot of drivers. You could wait up to an hour or more for a ten-minute drive. So don’t count on it as a form of transportation.
Where to go after Colmar?
After Colmar, if you want to explore other towns in Alsace, I recommend going to Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, or Strasbourg. For destinations outside France, Luxembourg, and Basel are wonderful destinations.
Conclusion: Things to Do in Colmar
Colmar is one of the most beautiful and unique cities in France. With its colorful streets, historical museums, and delectable food there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a day trip from Strasbourg, Colmar has it all! Plus, with easy access, it makes for a great destination no matter what your travel plans are. So, now, all that’s left to do is plan a trip to this gorgeous city!
Read More Travel Articles from France
Hope you enjoyed my post on the best things to do in Colmar and found it useful. Here are some of my other articles from France that I think you might find interesting.
- Is Strasbourg in Germany or France? A Surprising Answer!
- I Love France – Why Do You Love France or French?
- 3 Days in Strasbourg – The Perfect Itinerary (from a Local)