Visiting Colmar – My 12 things to do guide

Updated on 2024-05-13
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Visiting Colmar is an essential step during a weekend in Alsace. Its reputation is well-deserved! In this blog post, I give you all my ideas of things to see and do in the capital of the Alsace Wine Route, as well as my good addresses.

Laurène
Laurène
Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

Why go to Colmar?

Colmar is a real little postcard where it is extremely pleasant to stroll. I don’t think I know a person who hasn’t fallen under its spell! As for me, I can’t get enough of it, even though I’ve lived there and visited it many times with friends.

The only negative side of Colmar is its very quiet tendency, which sometimes turns into a lack of dynamism: don’t come here for crazy parties. Even if there are some very nice places to go out, it is not the strong point of the city! On the other hand, to spend a romantic weekend, you will be perfectly well…

1. Visit Little Venice and Old Colmar on foot

Visiting the city center is really the must-do in Colmar and the only thing to plan if you don’t have much time! The city is small and can be visited very well on foot.

For a first approach of the city, participate in a free tour of Colmar can be interesting: these free tours organized by a passionate local are usually nice! And if you want a real guided tour more in-depth, I can recommend the guide Solène Pouvreau, who is top!

You have certainly already heard of La Petite Venise, the district of Colmar with canals reminiscent of the City of the Doges? Well, you really shouldn’t expect the Venetian landscape, but it’s still lovely.

You will certainly be caught in a photographic frenzy as you walk along the quai de la Poissonnerie along the Lauch (river) and its colorful half-timbered houses. And when spring arrives and everything is covered with flowers… It’s a real fairy tale, I warned you!

You should not hesitate to stroll quietly in Little Venice as well as in the Tanners’ district, which is just next door (around Schwendi Square and the KoĂŻfhus), and in the whole historical center in general. Remember to look up, the facades are beautiful and there are great signs to admire!

Colmar has some magnificent buildings, such as the Maison des TĂŞtes, the Pfister house, the Dominican church, the collegiate church of Saint-Martin (wrongly called the cathedral of Colmar!), the KoĂŻfhus or the covered market.

Take the small streets and get lost (downtown Colmar is small, you shouldn’t get lost for too long!). Allow half a day in total to visit the city center, taking your time (with even a snack break!).

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2. A boat trip through Colmar’s Old Town

Going on a boat trip in Little Venice is a tourist activity, but it is worth it! It’s fun, interesting and allows you to discover Colmar from another angle.

3. Visit one of the city’s museums

Colmar has several museums. Here are the main ones, classified according to your desires:

  • If you like art: go to the Unterlinden Museum, a must-see which houses the famous Issenheim altarpiece. Visit also the Dominican Church, where the Virgin of the Rose Bush by Martin Schongauer is exhibited.
  • If you want to discover a part of Alsatian culture: go to the Hansi Village, a very nice museum dedicated to the famous Alsatian draughtsman of the early 20th century (you will see his drawings everywhere during your stay in Alsace). Hansi’s story and his drawings being extremely linked to the political context of the time, you will leave having learned a lot about the history of our beautiful region!
  • If you are with children, the Toy Museum and the Chocolate Museum are two very good options.
  • If you like sculpture, the Bartholdi Museum might be of interest to you.

4. See the Statue of Liberty

You think I’m completely fabulous? But no, the creator of the famous statue is the Colmar sculptor Auguste Bartholdi: you can therefore admire a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Colmar.

I must warn you, however, that the statue isn’t really in the spotlight, having been installed in the middle of a traffic circle...in a shopping zone! Not very glamorous… So I advise you either to admire it from your car when you enter Colmar, or to park on the small parking lot near the roundabout to be able to stop a few moments in front of it.

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5. Do a little shopping in downtown Colmar

I won’t detail everything but among my favorite shops are the textiles ofAvenue d’Alsace or the Bretzel Airlines store. For real Soufflenheim pottery, go to Malker or Douceurs et Plaisirs d’Alsace. And for expensive but original and good quality Christmas decorations, go to La Magie de NoĂ«l on rue des Marchands.

6. Have a snack in a tearoom or café

For a pleasant break in your visit of Colmar, I propose you my favorite tea rooms and cafés in Colmar. Very different places but all very nice!

7. Wine tasting

It would be a shame not to take advantage of your stay in Colmar to go for a ride on the Alsace Wine Route (by car or with the Kutzig Shuttle).

Of course, you can also visit a winery and do a wine tasting! Book your visit on the website Rue des Vignerons, it’s convenient and the domains are very qualitative.

8. Cycling around Colmar

Ride your bike along the Lauch river, on the Wine Route or on the Alsace plain. If you want a natural interlude in your stay in Colmar, I recommend you to rent a bike and go for a ride.

It’s possible to take a nice little stroll along the Lauch (with a stop at the Aux amis de la Lauch restaurant if you like!), go straight to the Route des Vins as you’re soon out of town, or explore the plain with a stop at Neuf-Brisach and the MAUSA Museum, for example. A good breath of fresh air!

And if you want to book a wine tasting on the way (it is very fast for example to go to Eguisheim by bike), go to the website Rue des Vignerons.

9. Explore Colmar like a local

For this section, I entrust you with some addresses I know and others gleaned from friends in Colmar with good advice. They will allow you to visit Colmar off the beaten track and experience Colmar like a true Colmarian!

10. Dining out in Colmar

What if you went to eat a good Alsatian meal in a winstub, a typical Alsatian brasserie? You’ll find my selection of restaurants in Colmar in dedicated articles (not all of them Alsatian, you need to know how to vary your pleasures! As you’ll see, Alsatian gastronomy is excellent, but a little heavy!)

11. Buy good local produce in Colmar

Here are my favorite places to buy good local products (and bring back gourmet souvenirs from Alsace!)

  • The covered market of Colmar is also a perfect place to find lots of good things from the region!
  • La Fromagerie Saint-Nicolas. A reference in Alsace, you will find here fabulous cheeses. If you want to bring back munster cheese, this is the place to buy it (they will vacuum pack it for you, don’t panic!)
  • Malker, a good address to buy local cheese, pies, Alsatian charcuterie,…
  • The Market of Riquewihr, a good address to bring back good foie gras, gingerbread, preserves… They have good Alsatian products!
  • La Maison alsacienne de biscuiterie, a good address to buy bredele (small Alsatian cookies, traditionally made at Christmas… But it’s good all year long!). There are three stores in Colmar.
  • Coeur Paysan, a store selling the products of local producers. Fresh and 100% Alsatian!
  • A little wine to accompany all these good things? See you at La Sommelière wine shop. They offer very good wines, are nice and have good advice!
  • It is impossible to come to Alsace without tasting a kougelhopf, so here are my good addresses to find the best kougelhopf in Colmar.
  • Feel like eating some pastries? Here are the addresses of my favorite pastry shops in Colmar.
  • If you are a tea lover, I warmly invite you to discover the store L’Essence du ThĂ© (and eventually drink a tea in their little tea room, by the way!).
  • Do you know the Alsatian Nutella? You will find the famous Nut’Alsace at the chocolate maker Jacques Bockel.

12. Visit Colmar at Christmas

If you visit Colmar during the Christmas market, you will discover a city adorned with wonderful illuminations and decorations. The Colmar Christmas market is my favorite in Alsace, as much for the quality and size of the market as for the Christmas magic that emanates from the town during this festive season.

Where to stay in Colmar?

Hotels in Colmar

I’ve put together a selection of the best hotels in Colmar (all subjective, as always!).

Guest rooms and apartments

  • Looking for a superb guest room? See you at Villa Elyane, for which I have fallen in love! Click here to book.
  • Looking for a charming apartment in Colmar? The Clos Bartholdi apartments are sure to please. Click here to book.
  • Other charming apartments, each with a different personality and a shared spa, the 1834 & Spa. Click here to book.

Camping

You can stay at the Camping de l’Ill, located near the center of Colmar.