From November to December, the Colmar Christmas Market turns an already-charming Alsatian town into a magical winter wonderland. The bewitching charm of the Christmas holidays in Colmar deserves at least one trip during your lifetime.
Ranked as one of the best Christmas Market in Europe, this fantastic annual festive event in Colmar is particularly stunning during the evening: twinkling streets from top to bottom will carry you right to the North Pole and spark off that Christmas holiday feeling.
Winalist wants to offer you a taste of what awaits you in the old town of Colmar throughout the Advent period. Come and discover wonders with us!
Speaking of Alsace, if you pass through Colmar while visiting the Alsace Wine Route, don’t miss our selection of wine activities in the area!
Colmar Christmas Market: why is it so famous?
The Colmar Christmas market is known as one of the best Christmas Markets in France. Alsace Christmas Markets are very popular in France and well known overseas. They are one of the most obvious regional symbols, and each year allow tens of thousands of visitors to immerse themselves in a magical universe made up of lights, delicacies and discoveries of local crafts.
Such traditions come from Germany, which is also a champion in the organization of Christmas markets. These German-influenced markets are renowned for their conviviality and have gradually won the hearts of large cities such as Strasbourg or Colmar. Since then, Alsace has been a region definitely worth visiting during end-of-year celebrations. Colmar Christmas market enjoys a solid reputation by its authenticity and tremendous decorations and ornaments.
Stalls of exhibitors are very welcoming and filled with gourmet and artisanal products – much to be delighted about. Colmar Christmas Market is one of the brightest in Alsace, it also truly highlights the city’s architectural and historical heritage.
What to do in Colmar during Christmas period?
Admire Christmas lights
The magic of Christmas in Colmar starts with the fairy-tail atmosphere of Old Town being illuminated and decorated everywhere. Historic sites are sublimed by Christmas lights which, throughout this festive period, blend perfectly with exceptional lighting settings already in place to brighten Colmar’s patrimony.
Actually, the whole city is decorated like in a fairy tale – it seems like a Christmas cartoon as come to life. Each year, inhabitants and merchants always surpass themselves to compete and determine who has the most beautiful decorations on their house or shop-display.
This being said, if you plan on coming to Colmar outside the Christmas holiday-period, you will still be able to enjoy brilliant light-displays all year round. Indeed, there are more than 1000 interactive light points lit every evening, even out of season.
Explore all 5 Christmas markets in Colmar
The Colmar Christmas Market is spread over 5 spots of the city:
- The Place des Dominicains;
- Place de l’Ancienne Douane, around the Schwendi fountain and the Koïfhus;
- The indoor market of Koïfhus: a market dedicated to arts and crafts but also to antiques. This is the ideal spot to bring back a traditional souvenir or to find a typical Christmas gift!
- The Place Jeanne d’Arc market: a gourmet’s paradise, with its many stalls of local producers and caterers;
- The Place des Six Montagnes Noires, located in the Little Venice district.
In Colmar, the key words are “Art, Taste & Tradition”. From the squares where the Christmas markets take place, you will be amazed to notice objects and toys made by local craftsmen, and will be delighted by culinary scents that escape from food stalls.
Take the opportunity to discover the Alsatian heritage
Since the city is particularly pimped for the holiday season, it’s also the best time to wonder around and enjoy one street after the other, and literally stare at half-timbered houses if you feel like it! Honestly, locals are rather proud of their ornaments and decorations, so you will only make them happier if they notice your amazement!
Speaking walking around – during this very touristy period – travel agencies and tour operators take the opportunity to offer walks and guided tours to families and groups.
Here’s a little sneak peak on the city’s impressive sites:
Through the vast pedestrian zone of old Colmar, you can admire a rich, perfectly preserved heritage, most of whose buildings were built from the Middle Ages to the 18th century.
The “Little Venice” district, offering the most iconic viewpoints in all of Colmar, is literally the landscape you imagine when you think of Alsatian towns.
If the traditional half-timbered houses are the hallmark of Colmar, you will be just as dazzled by the imposing Bourgeois Houses. Many of them were sculpted in relief on the facade, a titanic work at the time that only asks to be admired today.
In short, Colmar is a relaxing and unique city on a human scale, but steeped in history.
Taste all the local gourmet specialties
In Alsace, we love to eat, and we know how to show it to tourists. At Christmas, you will be spoiled for choice for a marathon of discoveries of Alsace culinary specialties, a region known for its white wines and the names of German-sounding dishes.
Among the classics to absolutely taste during your tour of the Christmas Markets in Colmar, try baeckaoffe, sauerkraut, coq au riesling, Kougelhopf for dessert or even Munster with a glass of wine. After that, you will already have a good idea of the richness of the Alsatian terroir when it comes to sitting down and eat.
Christmas specialties are often sweet and comforting. Desserts are omnipresent in the windows of bakers/pastry chefs in Colmar. Between the Christstollen, the Berawecka or the Sprengerle, there is plenty to enjoy. With the mulled wine, you will of course want to taste gingerbread cooked in all its forms, with fruit or even anise.
And why not take the opportunity to discover Alsace wine with Winalist? On our search engine, you will find in a few clicks the best wine tourism experiences and activities around Colmar!
How Long to Spend at Colmar Christmas Market
You can spend as much or as little time in Colmar to explore its Christmas villages as you’d like. Some people prefer to visit Colmar for a day trip, while others like to spend a longer amount of time immersed in this magical Christmas town during its most charming season.
Vineyards to discover around Colmar
If you are planning to stay a little in the region, you will surely want to venture around Colmar to discover Alsace. Winalist guides you to find the best wine tourism activities in the small surrounding villages. Our partner winegrowers will take you on a tour of the most beautiful Alsatian villages and wine estates.
Pierre Adam Domaine
The Domaine Pierre Adam welcomes you – a few minutes from Kayserberg (20 minutes from Colmar) – for a tasting of several white wines (Crémants and Grands Crus). A quality wine tourism experience including an oenology course as well as a visit to the vineyard by vehicle. They’ll be thrilled to have you!
Domaine Gustave Laurentz à Ribeauvillé
Here, the vines are everywhere, so there is plenty to enjoy! At the Gustave Laurentz wine-estate, where know-how and high standards have been passed down from father to son since 1836, certified organic wine has been produced since 2012. Book a wine tasting at the Gustave Laurentz estate now.
And for even more visits from Colmar, you could call on AlsaSmarTours, a tour operator that offers almost à la carte stays for families, groups or couples who would like to discover Alsace and its region.
If you want to see more wonderful Christmas markets in Alsace, we suggest you to go explore the one in Kaysersberg and Strasbourg!
Enjoy your Alsatian fairy-tail stay!
Colmar Christmas market FAQs & resources
How to get to Colmar?
By plane: 45min from Strasbourg airport and EuroAirport. By car: Colmar is served by the A35. By train: 2h20 from Paris and 3h30 from Lyon.
What other Christmas markets to visit in Alsace?
The Alsace region is very well-known in France for its Christmas markets. Other than Colmar, you can visits Alsatian Christmas markets in:
Where is Colmar, France located?
Situated in the Alsace region to the east of France, the settlement is best-known for its abundance of timber-framed houses and rich medieval history. Visit come Christmastime and you’ll soon discover a wealth of festive events, including, of course, a number of festive markets.
Why visit the Colmar Christmas Market?
But first… If you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth visiting the annual festive event in Colmar, then it’s time to stop your search! Consistently ranked as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe, the city is transformed into a delightful extravaganza of twinkling lights, oversized trees, teddy-bear walls, and all the wooden-style chalet stalls!
Though wonderful to visit during the daytime, the city is truly best-seen at night, when a dazzling display of lights illuminates the city and its many canals, transforming Colmar into a true winter wonderland.
Christmas things to do in Colmar
Listen to Christmas Concerts :
Throughout the festive season, events take place across the city, but the most notable are those of the concerts. Highlights include performances throughout the Christmas period at Saint Matthieu’s church, including Advent events, violin concertos, and even a Youth Symphony Orchestra concert.
Take photos of the Christmas decorations :
From evening illuminations to evergreen garlands, the entirety of Colmar is decked out head to toe in Christmas-themed decorations. One of the most popular photo spots in the city is next to Hôtel Saint Martin on Grand Rue. From here, there’s a delightful Christmas tree next to a charming pink house.
Is it worth visiting Colmar in winter?
Thanks to timber-framed houses and plenty of cobbled streets, not to mention lovely canals, Colmar is a beautiful destination to visit all year ’round. However, Colmar in the winter is truly beautiful and is probably the best time of the year to visit. Some of the best things to do in Colmar in winter are to stroll through Parc du Champ de Mars (which has Christmas illuminations for the festive season), stroll through La Petite Venise (Little Venice), and visiting the Toy Museum of Colmar.
What to eat in Colmar Christmas Market ?
Alsatian food is unique year-round, with more pork and potatoes than one might normally expect in France, thanks to the German influence. At Christmas, there are lots of sweet treats that make their way into the markets and often some restaurants. You can’t leave Alsace without trying at least a few.
These are some of the traditional Alsatian Christmas foods we found most often.
– Mannele – Delicious brioche shaped like a little man, these figurines have raisins or chocolate chips for eyes and are often eaten with hot chocolate. Local chocolaterie Jacques Bockel makes their own, non-traditional version from chocolate with different, tasty fillings like hazelnut and salted caramel.
– Bredele – These traditional dry cookies come in lots of different shapes and flavors, including cinnamon, vanilla, anise, and more shaped as stars, bells, hearts, and other things of the season.
– Vin chaud – A staple of Alsace Christmas markets—and indeed every European market we’ve visited—is vin chaud. Also known as gluhwein in German-speaking countries or glogg in Nordic countries, this amazing mulled wine is everywhere. In Alsace, white vin chaud seems to be just as popular, if not more so, than red. Both varieties have spices, citrus notes, and sometimes honey to add a bit of sweetness.
– Pain d’epices – Similar to gingerbread, pain d’espices literally means “spiced bread.” But the ones we sampled in Colmar and Strasbourg were better than any gingerbread we’ve had anywhere. We had some types that were a little sweeter, some that tasted more of orange, and some with glazed, candied cherries.
– Kugelhopf – Alsace’s most famous cake has a bell-like shape and is topped with nuts and sugar. It may be spongy or drier, depending on the recipe (dry cake is for dunking in your morning coffee).
Where is the Christmas Market in Colmar?
Colmar, France’s infamous Christmas markets are located in the historic center of this Alsatian town. The 5 Christmas markets are spread throughout the historic center of Colmar and some happen at varying times during the holiday season.