Travel Advice

Discover the 12 essentials not to be missed in Colmar

Last update : 25/04/2024 16:22

Colmar, a city located in northeastern France, is a perfect destination for a travel-themed event. With its preserved medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and charming ambiance, Colmar transports visitors to another time and place. Here are some key elements to include in creating an immersive travel-themed experience in Colmar:

  1. Colorful Architecture: Colmar's half-timbered houses, painted in vibrant pastel tones, are iconic to the city. Use decorations and accessories that reflect this colorful aesthetic to recreate the unique atmosphere of its streets.

  2. Traditional Markets: Colmar's Christmas markets are famous worldwide. Incorporate decorated market stalls with twinkling lights, artisanal products, and local specialties to evoke the festive atmosphere of the city.

  3. Alsatian Cuisine: Alsatian gastronomy is a true culinary journey. Offer traditional dishes such as sauerkraut, pretzels, flammekueche, and Alsace wines to provide an authentic culinary experience.

  4. Canal Walks: Colmar's canals add a touch of romance to the city. Create relaxation areas with decorative bridges, green plants, and soft lighting to evoke the serenity of strolling along the canals.

  5. Culture and History: Colmar is home to several museums, including the famous Unterlinden Museum. Organize exhibitions of local art and history to immerse your guests in the region's rich cultural heritage.

  6. Folkloric Entertainment: For an authentic ambiance, schedule performances of folk music, demonstrations of traditional Alsatian dance, and local storytelling to entertain your guests and introduce them to the vibrant culture of the region.

By incorporating these elements into your travel-themed event in Colmar, you will create an immersive experience that transports your guests to this picturesque and enchanting city.

1 - Little Venice

Little Venice

La Petite Venise is a picturesque neighborhood located in the charming town of Colmar, France. It's famous for its beautiful half-timbered houses, which line the canals that flow through the area. The name "La Petite Venise" translates to "Little Venice," a nod to the similarity between the canals here and those in Venice, Italy.

Wandering through La Petite Venise feels like stepping into a fairytale, with colorful buildings reflected in the tranquil waters of the canals. It's a popular destination for visitors seeking to experience the romantic ambiance of Alsace.

In addition to its scenic beauty, La Petite Venise boasts a variety of cozy cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a delightful place to explore. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the cobblestone streets, take boat tours along the canals, or simply relax and soak in the atmosphere of this enchanting neighborhood.

2 - The old Town

The old Town

The Old Town of Colmar is a historic district located in the city of Colmar, in Alsace, France. Known for its picturesque charm, this old town is a true architectural and cultural gem. It attracts visitors from around the world with its cobblestone streets, colorful half-timbered houses, and picturesque canals.

Highlights of the Old Town include the Pfister House, a 16th-century half-timbered house adorned with sculptures and frescoes, as well as the House of Heads, an impressive Renaissance building adorned with sculpted heads. The Place de l'Ancienne Douane is another iconic spot, with its half-timbered houses and lively atmosphere.

Visitors can wander through the narrow alleys of the Old Town, discover shops selling local crafts, art galleries, and charming cafes. Alsatian cuisine is also showcased, with many restaurants offering regional specialties such as sauerkraut, pretzels, and the famous Alsace wine.

In addition to its remarkable architecture, the Old Town of Colmar is home to several fascinating museums, including the Unterlinden Museum, which houses artworks ranging from the Middle Ages to modern times, as well as the Bartholdi Museum, dedicated to the famous sculptor born in Colmar, Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty.

In summary, the Old Town of Colmar is an enchanting place where history, culture, and gastronomy come together to offer an unforgettable experience to visitors.

3 - The Covered Market

The Covered Market

The Marché Couvert of Colmar is a covered market located in the city of Colmar, in Alsace, France. It is also known as the "Marché Couvert de l'Ancienne Douane" due to its proximity to the former customs building. This market is a must-visit for both locals and visitors to Colmar, offering a wide variety of fresh local products such as fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese, pastries, and much more.

The market building itself is a beautiful example of traditional Alsatian architecture, with its wooden beams and terracotta tiles. It was built in the 19th century and later renovated to provide a modern space while preserving its historical charm.

The Marché Couvert of Colmar is a lively place where people gather to do their shopping, taste local specialties, and enjoy the friendly atmosphere. It is also a place where one can discover the culture and traditions of Alsace through its cuisine and regional products.

4 - The Unterlinden Museum

The Unterlinden Museum

The Musée Unterlinden in Colmar is an art museum located in the historic region of Alsace, France. It is famous for housing the Isenheim Altarpiece, a major work of Gothic art from the 15th century, created by Matthias Grünewald. This masterpiece is an impressive polyptych known for its moving portrayal of the Christ on the cross.

In addition to the Isenheim Altarpiece, the museum houses a diverse collection of artworks spanning from Antiquity to the present day, including paintings, sculptures, decorative art objects, and archaeological artifacts. It offers visitors a rich perspective on the history of European art.

The museum building itself is also an attraction, with architecture that harmoniously blends medieval and modern elements. The Musée Unterlinden is therefore both a place for artistic contemplation and a historical site to explore during a visit to Colmar.

5 - The Pfister House

The Pfister House

La Maison Pfister, located in Colmar, France, is a historic half-timbered house that stands out for its remarkable architecture and rich history. Constructed in 1537, it is one of the most iconic buildings in the city, renowned for its intricate woodwork and elaborate Renaissance style.

Originally built for the Pfister family, who were wealthy merchants, the house is adorned with ornate carvings depicting biblical scenes, allegorical figures, and intricate patterns. The facade is a stunning example of Alsatian Renaissance architecture, featuring a steeply pitched roof, dormer windows, and decorative motifs typical of the period.

Today, La Maison Pfister serves as a museum, showcasing the lifestyle and craftsmanship of the Renaissance era. Visitors can explore the interior, which has been preserved to reflect the atmosphere of a 16th-century noble residence, with period furnishings, artwork, and artifacts on display.

The house is not only a testament to the architectural heritage of Colmar but also a symbol of the city's vibrant cultural scene, attracting tourists from around the world who come to admire its beauty and learn about its fascinating history.

6 - The Schongauer House

The Schongauer House

The Schongauer House Colmar is a charming hotel located in the picturesque town of Colmar, France. Nestled in the heart of the historic center, this establishment occupies a beautifully restored 16th-century building, offering its guests an authentic experience amidst the town's rich heritage.

Upon crossing the threshold of The Schongauer House, visitors are greeted by a blend of traditional Alsatian architecture and modern amenities. The interior features elegant décor, with exposed wooden beams, tasteful furnishings, and touches of regional flair that reflect the hotel's unique character.

The accommodations at The Schongauer House are designed to provide comfort and luxury. Each room and suite is individually decorated, featuring plush bedding, stylish furnishings, and modern conveniences to ensure a relaxing stay for guests.

The hotel's amenities include a cozy lounge area where guests can unwind with a glass of local wine or enjoy a book by the fireplace. There's also a charming courtyard garden, perfect for enjoying a leisurely breakfast or savoring a moment of tranquility amidst the bustling town.

The Schongauer House Colmar is ideally located for exploring the town's attractions, including the historic Old Town, the famous Petite Venise (Little Venice) district, and the renowned Unterlinden Museum. Guests can also easily access the surrounding Alsace region, known for its picturesque vineyards, charming villages, and culinary delights.

With its blend of historic charm, modern comforts, and convenient location, The Schongauer House Colmar offers a memorable stay for travelers seeking an authentic experience in one of France's most enchanting destinations.

7 - The Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin

The Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin

The Collegiate Church of Saint Martin in Colmar is a magnificent religious edifice located in the historic center of the city. It is one of Colmar's iconic landmarks, situated in the Alsace region, and it represents a remarkable example of Rhineland Gothic architecture.

Construction of the collegiate church began in the 13th century and continued throughout the Middle Ages, resulting in a harmonious blend of architectural styles. Its imposing facade, adorned with sculptures and elaborate architectural details, immediately captures the attention of visitors.

Inside, visitors can admire superb stained glass windows, medieval sculptures, frescoes, and other artistic treasures. The collegiate church also houses an impressive organ, which is often used for concerts and musical performances.

Beyond its historical and artistic significance, the Collegiate Church of Saint Martin remains an active place of worship, providing worshippers with a space for prayer and contemplation.

In addition to its religious importance, the collegiate church is also a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to discover its fascinating history and remarkable architecture.

8 - Walks in the vineyards

Walks in the vineyards

Exploring the vineyards around Colmar offers a beautiful experience, especially if you have a passion for wine and nature. Here are some suggestions to fully enjoy this region:

  1. Alsace Wine Route: This route stretches for about 170 kilometers through the Alsatian vineyards. You can start your journey from Colmar and explore charming wine villages such as Riquewihr, Eguisheim, and Turckheim.

  2. Winery Tours: Many wineries offer guided tours of their vineyards and cellars, where you can learn about local viticulture and winemaking techniques.

  3. Wine Tastings: Take the opportunity to taste a variety of Alsatian wines, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir. There are numerous tasting rooms and cellars along the Wine Route.

  4. Hiking Trails: The vineyards also offer beautiful hiking trails through hills and picturesque villages. You can combine your love for wine with a scenic walk in nature.

  5. Wine Events: Check for local wine events that might be happening during your visit. Many events, such as harvest festivals or wine festivals, provide a unique opportunity to experience Alsatian wine culture.

Make sure to check the opening hours of wineries and tasting rooms, and book your tours in advance if possible. And of course, remember to taste responsibly and designate a sober driver if needed. Have a great time!

9 - The Toy Museum

The Toy Museum

The Toy Museum in Colmar is a delightful attraction that showcases the history and evolution of toys from various eras. Here's a brief overview:

  1. History: The museum is housed in a charming medieval building in the heart of Colmar's Old Town. It traces the history of toys from antiquity to the present day, providing insight into how playthings have evolved over time.

  2. Collections: The museum boasts an extensive collection of toys, ranging from antique dolls and teddy bears to model trains, cars, and games. Visitors can explore exhibits highlighting different types of toys, materials used in their production, and cultural influences on toy design.

  3. Interactive Displays: Many exhibits feature interactive elements, allowing visitors to engage with the displays and learn through hands-on activities. This makes the museum particularly appealing to families with children.

  4. Educational Programs: The museum offers educational programs and workshops for children, providing them with opportunities to learn about the history of toys while engaging in creative play and crafts.

  5. Gift Shop: Before leaving, be sure to stop by the museum's gift shop, where you can find a variety of unique toys, games, and souvenirs to take home as mementos of your visit.

Overall, the Toy Museum in Colmar offers a fascinating journey through the world of playthings, making it a must-visit attraction for families and anyone with an interest in toy history.

10 - Explore the Christmas markets

Explore the Christmas markets

Exploring the Christmas markets in Colmar during the Advent period is a magical experience! Colmar, with its picturesque streets and half-timbered houses, offers a fairytale atmosphere that is even more enchanted during the Christmas period.

Among the Christmas markets not to be missed in Colmar, there is the market on Place des Dominicains, which is one of the largest and liveliest. There you will find a wide variety of artisanal products, traditional Christmas decorations, as well as local specialties such as spiced mulled wine and Alsatian Christmas cookies.

The market on Place de l’Ancienne Douane is also very popular. Located in the heart of the old town, it offers a warm and friendly atmosphere, with regional product stands and entertainment for the whole family.

Don't forget to stroll through the decorated streets of the old town, where you can admire the Christmas lights and decorations that create a magical atmosphere. And if you have time, take a boat ride on the Lauch River to see the city from another perspective.

In short, visiting the Christmas markets in Colmar during the Advent period is an unforgettable experience that will immerse you in the magic of the festive season.

11 - Riquewihr

Riquewihr

Riquewihr makes for an ideal day trip from Colmar, situated just 15 kilometers northwest. This charming Alsatian town is renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque vineyards, and authentic atmosphere.

Starting from Colmar, you can easily reach Riquewihr by car, bus, or even bicycle if you enjoy cycling through scenic routes. Along the way, you'll traverse beautiful vineyard landscapes that characterize the wine region of Alsace.

Upon arriving in Riquewihr, you'll be enchanted by its narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful half-timbered houses, transporting you back to a bygone medieval era. You can stroll through the town, admire the intricately decorated facades, visit local craft shops, and savor Alsatian culinary specialties at the numerous restaurants and cafes.

Be sure to explore points of interest such as the Dolder Museum, which traces the history of the town and region, as well as the Riquewihr Castle, offering breathtaking views of the surroundings from its ramparts.

Lastly, don't miss the opportunity to taste the fine wines produced in the surrounding vineyards. Riquewihr is renowned for its white wines, especially Riesling and Gewürztraminer. You can visit local wineries for tastings and perhaps purchase a few bottles to take home as souvenirs of your journey.

12 - Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg is a charming Alsatian town located just a few kilometers from Colmar, France. Nestled in the heart of vineyards, this picturesque small town offers an ideal getaway for travelers seeking authenticity and scenic beauty.

Starting from Colmar, you can begin your journey to Kaysersberg by taking the famous Alsace Wine Route. This route winds through lush green hills and vineyards that have made the region famous, offering spectacular views along the way.

Upon arriving in Kaysersberg, you'll immediately be captivated by its medieval charm. The old town is dominated by a magnificent castle perched on a hill, providing stunning views of the tiled roofs and cobblestone streets below. Stroll through the narrow alleyways lined with perfectly preserved half-timbered houses, where every corner reveals a new architectural delight.

Don't miss visiting the Sainte-Croix Church, a Gothic architectural gem with its soaring spire and beautiful stained glass windows. You can also explore the Albert Schweitzer Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the famous humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who was born in Kaysersberg.

For an unforgettable culinary experience, stop by one of the many traditional restaurants in town to savor Alsatian specialties such as sauerkraut, pretzels, and the famous tarte flambée. And of course, be sure to sample the local wines at one of the numerous vineyards in the region.

Whether you're a history buff, wine enthusiast, or simply seeking tranquility, Kaysersberg offers an unforgettable travel experience that captures the spirit of Alsace.

Colmar - Where to Stay?

To make the most of your visit to Colmar, you have several accommodation options suited to different budgets and preferences. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Downtown Colmar: Staying in the city center will place you in the heart of the action, close to major tourist attractions such as Petite Venise, Maison des Têtes, and the Christmas markets during the holiday season. You'll find a range of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in this area, offering easy walking access to many sites.

  2. Petite Venise District: This picturesque neighborhood is famous for its colorful houses along the canals. Finding accommodation in this area will offer you an authentic and romantic experience of Colmar. Accommodation options include charming hotels and vacation rentals.

  3. Near the Train Station: If you plan to explore the surrounding areas of Colmar as well, staying near the train station can be convenient for easy access to train travel to other Alsatian cities such as Strasbourg or Mulhouse.

  4. Around Colmar: If you prefer a quieter, rural environment, you can consider staying in the surrounding villages or in the Alsatian countryside. Many farms, cottages, and guesthouses offer picturesque accommodation just a few kilometers from Colmar, while still being easily accessible by car or public transport.

Whichever accommodation option you choose, be sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist periods like the Christmas markets in December, to ensure availability and secure the best deals.

Colmar - How to get around?

To get around and explore Colmar, you have several transportation options depending on your preferences and mobility:

  1. On Foot: Colmar is a relatively compact city, making it ideal for exploration on foot. You can easily walk around the city center and visit major tourist attractions such as Petite Venise, Maison des Têtes, and historic churches.

  2. By Bicycle: Colmar has a well-developed network of bike paths, making it a pleasant city to explore by bike. You can rent a bike from several locations in the city and explore the picturesque neighborhoods and surroundings at your own pace.

  3. By Car: If you plan to visit sites outside of Colmar's city center or wish to explore the wider Alsace region, renting a car can be a convenient option. Keep in mind that parking may be limited in the city center, so be sure to check available parking options.

  4. Public Transportation: Colmar is well-served by public transportation, including buses and trains. You can use the urban bus network to get around the city and its surroundings or take the train to visit other Alsatian cities like Strasbourg or Mulhouse.

  5. Guided Tours: Another option for discovering Colmar is to participate in guided walking, cycling, or bus tours. These organized tours can provide you with in-depth historical and cultural insights while allowing you to see the city's highlights.

Whichever transportation option you choose, you'll find several convenient ways to explore Colmar and fully enjoy everything this charming city has to offer.

Colmar - Best period

The best time to visit Colmar largely depends on your preferences and what you aim to experience during your trip. Here's a breakdown of what each season offers:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring is a delightful time to visit Colmar as the city awakens from the winter months. The weather starts to warm up, and flowers bloom, adding charm to the already picturesque streets. You can enjoy pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season.

  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Colmar, especially during the months of July and August. The weather is warm and sunny, making it ideal for exploring outdoor attractions and enjoying café terraces along the canals. However, keep in mind that popular sites can be crowded, and accommodation prices may be higher during this time.

  3. Fall (September to November): Fall is another excellent time to visit Colmar, especially if you prefer milder temperatures and fewer tourists. The autumn foliage adds a colorful backdrop to the city's medieval architecture, creating a picturesque setting. You can also experience the grape harvest season in the surrounding vineyards.

  4. Winter (December to February): Winter transforms Colmar into a magical wonderland, especially during the Christmas season. The city hosts enchanting Christmas markets, and the streets are adorned with festive decorations and lights. It's a perfect time to indulge in Alsatian specialties like mulled wine and gingerbread. However, keep in mind that it can be cold during this time, and some attractions may have reduced hours.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Colmar depends on your interests and what kind of experience you're seeking. Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of summer or the festive charm of winter, Colmar has something to offer year-round.

Last update : 25/04/2024 16:22

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