Itinerary with Top Things to Do in Colmar
Did you know that Colmar was voted the best European destination in 2020, ahead of Athens and Tbilisi?
The wine capital of Alsace is a city of astonishing beauty, where you can discover superb natural sites, remarkable architectural buildings and a culture of great richness.
In this post, get ready to discover the best things to do and see if you don’t know what to do in Colmar.
Why Visiting Colmar?
If you are passing through Alsace, I strongly advise you not to neglect Colmar! The city is full of reasons to visit, and you will leave with lots of memories!
Colmar represents the essential starting point for exploring the many surrounding vineyards. In addition, the region is rich in picturesque historical places, such as the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg and its surrounding villages.
Alsace offers a variety of activities in all seasons, and you will always find something to keep you busy, between hiking, sports and cultural outings.
Are you ready to discover the magnificent city of Colmar in more detail?
Let’s go !
Day 1: Stroll through the Streets of the City
For many people, Colmar is the most beautiful city in Alsace. It is a city which has managed to maintain a certain authenticity and which perfectly reflects Alsatian culture.
As you stroll through the streets of Colmar, you can admire its famous, typical half-timbered houses and discover charming neighborhoods.
The Tanneurs district in particular is one of the places you absolutely must discover during your visit to the city. With its small streets and narrow half-timbered houses from the 17th and 18th centuries, this old, very popular neighborhood which was renovated during the 1960s and 1970s alone symbolizes all the beauty of this city.
Another historic area not to be missed is the fishmonger’s wharf, which was also renovated in the 1970s. This is where most of the town’s fishermen lived.
This superb promenade, where colorful houses line the Lauch, separates the Tanneurs district and Little Venice, another emblematic district of the city, which I will tell you about a little further down.
Discover the Churches of Colmar
In the streets and squares of Colmar, you can see several particularly impressive religious buildings:
- The Saint-Martin collegiate church is a Gothic church whose construction began around 1235. With more than 70 meters in height and 78 meters in length, it is the largest church in Middle Alsace, which was even for a time a cathedral. During its restoration in 1982, it was discovered that it had been built on the spot where a church from the year 1000 had stood. This building which dominates the city is one of the unmissable sites in Colmar.
- The Dominican Church is located in the city center, near the Unterlinden Museum. This large 14th century building also includes a Dominican convent. This church is particularly known for its superb period stained glass windows, as well as for housing the Virgin of the Rose Bush, a 15th century wood altarpiece.
- The Saint-Matthieu church is located in the historic heart of Colmar, on the town hall square. This former Franciscan church built in the 13th century became a Protestant church in 1575. Classified as a historic monument since 1948, this church, which houses a large collection of religious paintings, is particularly renowned for its great phonic qualities. It is here every year during the Colmar International Music Festival, a good number of concerts are organized.
Admire the City’s Remarkable Buildings
The city’s architecture contributes greatly to its charm, and you will be able to discover several incredible houses during your visit to Colmar:
- The Pfister House was built in 1537 and recently restored. It is undoubtedly the best-known building in Colmar, and the very first building to have adopted a Renaissance style. Its woodwork, its octagonal turret and its superb wall paintings make it an absolutely unique building. It is located at 11 rue des Marchands.
- The Adolph House is known to be the oldest house in the city. Built around the year 1350, this historic monument is distinguished in particular by its Gothic windows which recall those of the neighboring cathedral. It is located on Cathedral Square.
- The House of Heads is an astonishing building, built at the beginning of the 17th century, which owes its nickname to the presence of 106 sculptures of faces on its facade. We can also see on the top of its facade a bronze cooper, made in 1902 by Auguste Bartholdi. Today, this house houses a hotel, it is located at 19 rue des têtes.
- The Schongauer House is another unusual construction in Colmar. It has the originality of having two completely different facades, a Gothic facade on the rue Schongauer side, and a half-timbered facade on the rue des Marchands side.
Visit the museums of Colmar
Colmar is a culturally very rich city, which is home to several remarkable museums:
- The Unterlinden Museum is the Museum of Fine Arts of Colmar, it is one of the most visited museums in France outside of those located in Paris. It is located in a former 13th century convent, and exhibits an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures made in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. Its centerpiece is the Isenheim altarpiece, created by Nicolas de Haguenau and Mathias Grünewald at the beginning of the 16th century.
- The Bartholdi Museum is located in the birthplace of the artist known in particular for having been one of the men behind the Statue of Liberty. The 3 floors of the museum are entirely devoted to the works of Auguste Bartholdi. You can see lots of sculptures, paintings, models and drawings there.
- The Natural History and Ethnography Museum is located in the buildings of the former Turenne school. For a century and a half, it has housed collections of stuffed animals, as well as many specimens of minerals and rare fossils, from the region and around the world.
- The Colmar Toy Museum is today one of the most popular museums in the city with young and old alike. It houses a large collection of toys created between the 19th century and our time. On the three levels of the museum, more than 1000 toys are presented: small trains, animated toys, scale models, robots, stuffed animals…
Day 2: Discover Colmar in an Original Way
Visit Colmar by Boat
It’s time to talk to you again about Little Venice. This district is today the most touristy in the city.
Many places are nicknamed like this, sometimes with a little (or a lot) of exaggeration, but the magnificent half-timbered houses located on the water’s edge make this place one of the most charming in the whole region, which has well deserved to be compared to the sublime Venice.
To discover this small neighborhood in the best possible way, you can board a flat-bottomed boat, the same type as those which were already used in the Middle Ages by peasants who brought their products to the city’s markets.
This walk on the water will allow you to quietly discover the Maraîchers district and the city center up to Les Halles. Your boatman will serve as your guide and will be able to give you a lot of information on the history of the places you will discover.
Taste Alsatian Gastronomy
Alsace is the most starred region in France, and your visit to Colmar will be the ideal opportunity to try some typical culinary specialties.
It will be better not to be on a diet, because although Alsatian gastronomy offers real explosions of flavors, it is not known to be the most healthy.
In one of the city’s many restaurants, you can of course eat traditional sauerkraut, coq au riesling and try many other regional dishes such as Baeckeoffe, a potato dish made from three marinated meats.
If you like sweets, I recommend that you take the time to go to the Maison alsacienne de la Biscuiterie, where you can taste the famous Kougelhopf.
If you want to find all the best regional products, you can go to the covered market, which is located in a pretty pink sandstone building on Unterlinden Square. It is open every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In the meantime, here are two restaurants in Colmar that might interest you!
- Le Petit Bidon offers classic, quality French cuisine in a fairly small restaurant. You will benefit from the very good advice of the sommelier and the explanations of the staff who will take care of you. The ideal way to end a day of traveling and walking 😉
14 Rue Etroite, 68000, Colmar France
12 p.m. – 3 p.m. / 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. daily
€€ – €€€
- If you want to taste good tarte flambées, La Fleur de Sel offers a traditional Alsatian menu in one of the smallest rooms in Colmar (14 seats). The restaurant is located in Little Venice, one of the most charming neighborhoods in the city.
9 Quai de la Poissonnerie, 68000, Colmar France
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
€€ – €€€
Try a Chocolate Making Workshop
If you’re traveling with children (or adults with a sweet tooth!), why not try your hand at making chocolate?
At the Musée Gourmand du Chocolat Choco-Story in Colmar, you can spend 45 minutes in the company of a chocolatier to create your own chocolate bar. You will finish by decorating it with pieces of orange, hazelnuts, marshmallows…
With this activity you can also visit the museum, which traces the origins of chocolate in South America until today. You will also participate in a chocolate tasting 😉 For this activity, count on €40 per person!
Day 3: Discover the Surroundings of Colmar
Explore the Vineyards of the Colmar Region
Colmar is the capital of Alsace wines. All around the city, you can visit beautiful wineries during your trip.
The Alsace Wine Route begins a few kilometers from the town. It crosses the region from north to south for around 170 km, winding between numerous vineyards, medieval castles and Alsatian villages, each more charming than the last, such as Riquewihr, Obernai and Eguisheim.
This region is the place of origin of 7 grape varieties renowned throughout the world. This is where some of the most popular white wines like Riesling, Gewurtztraminer and Sylvaner are produced .
By traveling the wine route, you will have the opportunity to discover the work of Alsace winegrowers, visit the wine cellars and taste the region’s great wines.
For this, you can also take a guided tour departing from Colmar, with which you will have the opportunity to visit the vineyards and taste wine. For this excursion, it will cost around €150.
Visit the Alsatian villages from Colmar
Why not take advantage of your stay in Colmar to discover the magnificent surrounding Alsatian villages?
With this activity, you will first explore Kaysersberg, where you will enjoy free time to stroll the streets and discover the beautiful half-timbered houses.
You will continue along the Alsace wine route, where you can take photos of the landscape before arriving in Riquewihr, a very pretty little town surrounded by vineyards.
Finally, you will reach Hunawihr, one of the most beautiful villages in France, renowned for its numerous craft shops and its various cultural sites. It will cost €60 per person for this excursion!
Major Annual Events in Colmar
At certain times of the year, you will have the opportunity to discover or rediscover the city in a new light:
- From the last week of November to the end of the year, the Christmas Markets take place in Colmar. They settled in several places in the city, notably around the Dominican church. For the occasion, an ice rink is installed on Place Rapp, the city’s main square.
- In April, you can discover the Easter Markets, which pay homage to the region’s traditional products and crafts.
- During the months of July and August, the Colmar Wine Fair attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Colmar Exhibition Center every year. For the occasion, in addition to tastings, numerous shows and lots of entertainment are organized.
Accommodation in Colmar
If you don’t yet know where to stay in Colmar, here are some addresses that might interest you 🙂 Also remember to consult my article on the subject to find more inspiration!
- If you want to stay in an apartment, L’Ours de Colmar offers accommodation in the city center, some with a lounge and/or dining area. You will have an equipped kitchen and a bathroom. For one night, it will cost from €112 for a room on the ground floor!
- If you have a little more budget and prefer a hotel, MeandYou Hammametspa is a 5-star establishment ideally located in the center of Colmar, just 1 km from the Maison des Têtes. You will enjoy comfortable rooms and a jacuzzi, hammam and spa. Count from €231 for one night!
- For a more classic hotel, the Greet Hotel Colmar is located at the entrance to Colmar, just 1.3 km from the historic Little Venice district. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Count on €104 for a classic twin room!
That’s it for this article on the activities and attractions of Colmar, I am sure that you will fall under the spell of this beautiful city of Alsace 🙂
Are you looking for other travel ideas in France? Read Also:
Discover all our articles on French cities : all articles on France are listed here.
- Annecy: 17 things to do and see absolutely
- Antibes: 20 Best Things to do
- Arles: Top 20 Things to see
- Avignon: The 10 must-see places
- Bordeaux: Top 33 things to do and see
- Cannes: top 17 best things to do
- Carcassonne: 15 things to do and see
- 2 Days in Honfleur: Ultimate Itinerary
- La Rochelle: Top 15 things to see and do
- Lyon: 20 must-see places
- 2 Days in Marseille: Ultimate Itinerary for a Weekend
- 2 Days in Monaco: Itinerary for a Weekend
- Montpellier: Ultimate 2 days Itinerary
- Nantes: Top 15 things to do absolutely
- Nice: 15 Things to do and see absolutely
- Nîmes: Top 10 places to discover
- Reims: Top 15 things to do and see
- Strasbourg: 30 things to visit
- Toulouse: Top 17 places to see
- 16 Best Weekend Ideas in Alsace
- One Week Ultimate Itinerary in Reunion Island
- Itinerary: A week on the French Riviera – The perfect itinerary to visit the French Riviera