If you would like to do an Alsatian wine tour in the Northeast of France, make sure to visit Colmar and enjoy the essence of this charming city!
With its half-timbered houses surrounded by sublime vineyards, Colmar is a city on a human scale where Alsatian winemaking traditions are omnipresent. Also called the “Little Venice of Alsace”, the Colmar area is blessed with a rich architectural and cultural heritage – not to mention environmental beauty.
In this article, we give you the best places to see and visit in Colmar for first-time visitors or those visiting on a day trip in Alsace! From Christmas markets in Colmar during the holiday season, to year-round fun activities for family and friends alike, Winalist is here to help you have the wine vacation of your dreams in Colmar.
For those who wish to taste local productions like wine, we also made sure to tell you about wine-estates that offer wine-activities that you can book on Winalist. In any case, check out our guide to the Alsace Wine Route, as well as the best wineries to visit Alsace listed on our interactive map!
Things to do in Colmar, France: Must-Sees
To have the best time in this village, here are Winalist’s must-see selection of places, monuments, and other things to do in Colmar, France.
1. The Little Venice of Alsace: stroll along the flowery canals of Colmar
Many tourists agree on the fact that the quays of Colmar are one of the most beautiful places in the city.
Indeed, Colmar is crossed by the Launch, surrounded by half-timbered houses that almost have their feet in the water. This is what has earned the canal district the nickname of “Venice of Alsace”.
Go and see for yourself this gorgeous setting!
There are therefore magnificent viewpoints along the canal, but the most photogenic place that amazes us every time is the Quai de la Poissonnerie. Located in the immediate vicinity of Colmar’s covered market, the quay is lined with typical Alsatian restaurants for a lunch-break with the most beautiful view of Colmar
Famous viewpoints in the Little Venice district are:
- Rue des Tanneurs.
- Saint-Pierre Bridge.
- “Watering trough bridge” Rue de Turenne.
- School Street.
2. Visit Colmar Old City Center
A few steps from the district of little Venice, the historic center of Colmar concentrates the emblematic buildings of the city.
Here our itinerary for a nice walk:
Let’s start from the Quai de la Poissonnerie take the Rue des Tanneurs to the Koïfhus, which is the name given to the building of the old customs house. It is one of the oldest in the city (built in 1480), located on a pretty square with a fountain. During the end-of-year celebrations, the Place de l’Ancienne Douane is transformed and hosts stands for the Christmas market.
We then take the direction of the Rue des Marchands via the Grand Rue, where the traditional half-timbered houses always amaze us with their colorful shutters and flowery balconies. We find in this street the Pfister house, magnificently decorated on the facade, which stands out for its construction in yellow sandstone.
The end point of this walk is the Place de la Cathédrale, above which sits the Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin.
Also, the House of the Heads is worth the detour! Located Rue des Têtes, this residence is now a hotel. We come to admire the 106 small faces carved in the wood on the facade.
3. Best Museums in Colmar
If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Colmar, you can’t miss its museums. Housed in a former Dominican convent founded in 1252, the Unterlinden Museum presents a collection of sculptures and paintings from the end of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
This museum has a rich cultural identity, and you can also discover an archaeological collection as well as a collection of modern art. On top of all, you’ll enjoy staring at great painters works on display (like Picasso, Monet and Dubuffet).
Did you know old Colmar is the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, famous for his sculpture of the Statue of Liberty? His house of three levels is now turned into a museum dedicated to him, a truly emblematic artist.
4. Enjoy the Alsatian flavor of Colmar
In Alsace, we like to eat well. And we are proud of local traditional cuisine. You can have fun digging out tasty specialties in Colmar shopping streets!
Among the typical dishes of the Alsatian country, you will find Sauerkraut, Baeckeoffe or Bouchées à la reine. As for dessert, there is what it takes. The most famous Alsatian pastry is Kougelhopf (a brioche with raisins and almonds) – you can taste excellent ones at 11 Quai de la Poissonnerie, at the Maison Alsacienne de la Biscuiterie.
5. Colmar surroundings: taste Alsace wine & explore vineyards
Want to venture around Colmar to discover Alsace and its typical villages? Winalist gives you access to the best wine tourism activities in the region.
Here’s why you shouldn’t hesitate: discover landscapes, meet with local inhabitants and explore the Alsatian terroir while enjoying quality tastings with your hosts! Get ready to stock up on memories and flavors: our partners will take you on a tour of the most beautiful Alsatian villages and wine estates.
Continue your journey to Riquewihr
Just 10 minutes from Kaysersberg, you’ll find Riquewihr – an equally typical Alsatian village. In a valley surrounded by vineyards, this village is quite lively and can easily be visited on foot in a few tens of minutes.
During the summer, the center of the village can be quite crowded since it is so small, but it is still worth the special trip. If you go up the roads leading to the vineyards, you can be more relaxed to admire the panoramic view over the rooftops of Riquewihr and the entire valley.
How to visit Colmar in 1 day?
To see most of the districts of Colmar and visit the main monuments, we advise you to opt for the Colmar City-Pass. You can get it at the Unterlinden museum or at the tourist office, in order to take advantage of the little train, the boats, admission to the museums as well as to the Dominican Church.
Where to park in Colmar?
There are car parks or parking spaces in town, via parking meter or European disc. Underground car parks have also been built near the city center. If you come by train from Strasbourg, allow about 30 minutes.
Why visit Colmar?
It is one of the essentials in Alsace. More charming than Mulhouse, smaller than Strasbourg, Colmar is the perfect balance if you want to immerse yourself in a typical Alsatian city and visit the essentials on foot in 1 day.
Where to stay in Colmar ?
There are so many great places to stay in the heart of the city.
La Maison des Tetes–This five-star hotel features 21 plush rooms located in an historic monument building that dates from 1609. Its brasserie and restaurant are also highly rated.
Le Colombier–In the heart of Petite Venise, this hotel offers 33 air conditioned rooms and suites. It’s hard to find better views in town.
Hotel Saint Martin–In the city center, the Hotel Saint Martin offers the convenience of an ideal location and clean, comfortable rooms.
Where to eat in Colmar ?
– Restaurant JY’s–With two Michelin stars, Restaurant JYS is one of the very best restaurants in Alsace and a must-visit destination for food lovers. It’s also situated right in the heart of Petite Venise.
– Le Caveau Saint Pierre–With great tarte flambée and other Alsatian food, Le Caveau Saint Pierre is a great option for a quick lunch or filling dinner.
– Koifhus Winstub–A large selection of meats, fish, and other traditional dishes are offered up by this well-priced eatery in the middle of old town. Grab a seat outside, if the weather allows.
– Brasserie Schwendi–This Alsatian restaurant in the center of town offers rosti, tarte flambée, and many other solid choices. There is lots of seating outside and inside.
– Le Palmyre – Le Palmyre offers a great change of pace with Lebanese and Syrian specialties. Their meze plates and falafel are delicious.
Best Things to Do in Colmar :
La Maison des Têtes
Presbytère Protestant de Colmar
Collégiale Saint-Martin de Colmar
Musée du Jouet de Colmar
Ballons des Vosges – Gazon du Faing
Alsatian Wine Route
What is the Best Time to Visit Colmar, France ?
Visiting Colmar in France is wonderful anytime of year; deciding what is the best time to go to Colmar will depend on your desired activities.
Summer in Colmar :
Summertime is a great time to visit Colmar. The weather is warm and there are lots of events happening around town. That said, the city can get crowded in the summer, which makes it difficult to get dinner reservations and increases the price of accommodations.
Colmar Spring and Autumn :
The spring and autumn mark the shoulder season. While the temperatures are cooler and rain is more likely in the forecast, there are fewer people and better prices.
Wintertime in Colmar :
Some travelers may wonder what to do in Colmar in winter, but we can assure you it is a fabulous time to visit! The best things to do in Colmar in December are the picture-perfect Colmar Christmas Markets that take place in the heart of the old town. Just plan for colder weather!