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Things to do in Colmar

Things to do in  Colmar

Welcome to Colmar

Serving as the inspiration for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the Alsace town of Colmar is the archetype fairy-tale village. Cobblestone lanes and flower-lined canals snake their way through the Old Town, where timber-framed townhouses and terrace cafés line the streets and plazas. A boat cruise is among the top things to do in Colmar, passing the candy-colored houses of the Quai de la Poissonnerie and Little Venice, while wine-tasting tours follow the acclaimed Alsace Wine Route. Time your visit around the annual Christmas market for an extra helping of seasonal magic.

Top 7 attractions in Colmar

Colmar Old Town (Vieux Colmar)

A highlight along the Alsace Wine Route, Colmar’s compact and lovingly preserved medieval center is renowned for its postcard-worthy prettiness. Come here to admire the town’s half-timbered buildings painted rainbow colors, fishing boats bobbing along the flower-lined canal ways, and a maze of cobblestone lanes dotted with small cafés and artisan shops.More

Little Venice (Petite Venise)

The colorful heart of Colmar earns its nickname from the canal-like Lauch River that divides its two banks, each lined with half-timbered fishermen’s homes that seem plucked straight from a fairytale. Soak up its quintessential Alsatian charm that's an easy day trip from Rhine River cruise ports.More

Pfister House (Maison Pfister)

The attention-grabbing, exuberant house on Rue des Marchands is a must in Colmar. Built in 1537 for wealthy hatter from nearby Besançon named Ludwig Scherer, the house boasts extravagantly ornate frescoes (representing Germanic emperors and Biblical scenes) and medallions with typical medieval features; it is, however, regarded as the finest example of Colmar’s architectural renaissance. Pfister House (Maison Pfister) also boasts a beautifully carved balcony, long wooden galleries, octagonal turret, a two-story corner oriel, and ground-floor arcades. The house is named after the family that lived in it and restored it in the late 19th century. It was made a historic monument of France in 1927.More

Unterlinden Museum (Musee Unterlinden)

Occupying a 13th-century Dominican convent in the Alsace town of Colmar, the Unterlinden Museum (Musée Unterlinden) features a large collection of European art, spanning the period between the Middle Ages and the 20th century. Its best-known work is the altarpiece of Isenheim, created with a mix of sculpture and painting in the early 16th century.More

Toy Museum of Colmar (Musée du Jouet Colmar)

The Toy Museum (Musée du Jouet), a small, playful space in the heart of Colmar, is aimed at visitors both young and old. Home to a collection of playthings that date from the 19th century to the present day, the museum (housed in a former movie theater) offers exhibits about everything from dolls to model trains to board games.More

St. Martin's Church (Eglise St-Martin)

Although locals most refer to it as a cathedral, Colmar was never truly the seat of a bishop and therefore cannot be called as such; it really is more of a rather large collegiate church dedicated to Saint Martin than anything else. It was a cathedral for less than a decade during the French revolution, hence the name of the square on which it is located. Built in the late 13th century in this iconic pink sandstone that is endemic to Alsace, the Saint Martin’s collegiate church is one of the most important Gothic works in Alsace and was even made a historic monument in 1840. A major fire in 1572 destroyed the framework, the south tower, and the roof. The 71-meter high tower was rebuilt shortly after in a lantern shape, a characteristic feature that make the church instantly recognizable. Archeological works dug out remains from the Carolingian era in 1972, and discovered foundations of a previous church from the Romanesque times. The church boasts several noteworthy features, including a massive Baroque organ, a typically Alsatian ambulatory, and two distinctly antisemitic images that act like a testament to the lost Jews of World War II.More

Old Customs House (Koïfhus)

Located at the intersection of Colmar’s two major roads back in the medieval days, the Old Customs House (Koïfhus)—also referred to as the "Ancienne Douane"—always had a strategic mission. The former customs house was built in 1480 and was mainly used for two things: the ground floor was a massive warehouse used for storage, and the second floor served as a tax office for import/export and a meeting area for the magistrate and the emperors of Alsace, which later on became the Colmar Chamber of Commerce. Several buildings were added onto the existing one throughout the years, creating an amalgam of architectural styles and proving that the Old Customs House was significant enough, both commercially and locally, to justify extensive renovation and expansion works. The roof, which consists of colorful varnished tiles, is particularly striking. Wondering which part is the oldest? Look for the two-headed eagle of the Empire, which surmounts the two main entrances. The Old Customs House was made a historic monument of France in 1974. It nowadays houses small shops and cultural events, like the much-acclaimed Alsatian Christmas markets.More

Top activities in Colmar

Alsace villages half day tour from Colmar
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Alsace 4 Wonders Private Full Day Trip

Alsace 4 Wonders Private Full Day Trip

per group
ICONICS Tour: 1/2 day on the Wine Route, visit of 2 Villages + Tasting.
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Christmas Market Tour from Colmar

Christmas Market Tour from Colmar

The Emblematic: visit of villages, Haut-Koenigsbourg, Wine tasting
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Safari-Tour Villages and vineyard, 1/2 day afternoon
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Colmar

When to visit

The medieval town of Colmar glitters with festive lights when it hosts one of the region’s most atmospheric Christmas markets over the holiday season. It’s hugely popular in the run-up to Christmas, so prepare for crowds and book accommodations well in advance. For something different, head to Colmar in summer—it’s the ideal time for canal cruises and wine tasting in the Alsace vineyards, with temperatures sitting comfortably in around 75°F (24°C).

Getting around

Strolling the cobbled lanes of Colmar’s medieval center is the best way to get around, but the most impressive views are from the water—hop aboard a traditional canal boat for a cruise around town. Little trains also loop around the sights between March and September. Trains link Colmar to Strasbourg, Mulhouse, and other regional hubs, but to explore the surrounding countryside and vineyards, you could also hire an electric bike.

Traveler tips

The best place to sample traditional Alsace cuisine is in a winstub, a pub-style bistro where you can try dishes like baeckaoffe, a meat casserole made with white wine. Wistub Brenner is a favorite among both locals and travelers—it’s worth a visit for the black forest gâteau alone. For cheap eats, head to the covered market, where you can pick up picnic supplies or grab lunch from one of the cafés or bistros.

People Also Ask

What is Colmar known for?

Colmar’s Christmas market is widely considered among the best in the country. Outside of the holidays, Colmar is a prime example of Alsatian architecture and culture. The half-timber houses that line the little canals have earnt the town the nickname of “Little Venice.”

Is Colmar worth visiting?

Yes, Colmar is worth visiting. December is when crowds peak for the town’s famous Christmas market, but it’s a year-round destination. Conveniently situated on the Alsatian Wine Route (the oldest wine route in France), it’s a lovely place to enjoy a glass of reisling and the languid pace of life.

What can you do in Colmar for 2 days?

Devote a day to exploring the town’s medieval buildings and canals. Don’t miss the most visited museum in the Alsace, the Unterlinden Museum, housed in a 13th-century convent. On day two, hit the Alsatian Wine Route, which stretches more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) and passes through Colmar.

How do I spend a day in Colmar?

Start by exploring the town on foot—as one of the sunniest towns in France, it’s likely to be dry. Once you’ve got a feel for the place, admire works by German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald at the Unterlinden Museum. In the afternoon, cruise along the canal on a flat-bottomed boat.

Is Colmar or Strasbourg better?

Both Colmar and Strasbourg are wonderful. Both have quintessential Alsatian architecture and half-timber houses, world-class Christmas markets, and sit on the Alsatian Wine Route. Strasbourg has an immense Gothic masterpiece of a cathedral, but in Colmar, you can cruise in a flat-bottomed boat along the canal.

What is there to do in Colmar at night?

Colmar can’t rival the nightclubs of Paris. Its population is much smaller at around 70,000, but that’s big enough for a wide, eclectic selection of bars. As it’s close to the German border and on the Alsatian Wine Route, there are plenty of options for oenophiles and beer lovers alike.


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