A visit to Colmar is a must-stop while spending a weekend in Alsace. Its reputation as a pretty town is firmly established, and frankly, it is completely well-deserved! It’s a true picture-postcard town, where it’s extremely pleasant to wander around. I don’t believe that I know one single person who didn’t fall under the spell of Colmar! As for me, I can’t get enough of it, even if I have lived there and that I have explored it countless times with friends visiting it for the first time.
The only small downside of Colmar is that it is very quiet, sometimes showing a lack of dynamism: one thing is certain, don’t come here for wild nights. Even if there are a few nice spots to go out, it’s not its strong suit! However, you will be in the right place to spend a romantic weekend… A suggestion for a weekend could be for example to visit Colmar during the day and to go for a visit of the Wine Route on the second day. Colmar is indeed ideally located! Let me give you my ideas of things to do in Colmar..
Colmar, on the city side
1 – Visit the historic centre of Colmar, a must-do and the one thing to do if you don’t have much time!
You most certainly have heard about the Little Venice, the district in Colmar home to canals, recalling the City of the Doges. It might not be wise to expect the Venetian landscape, but it is still very charming. You might certainly be gripped by a photography frenzy while walking along the Quai de la Poissonnerie by the Lauch (river) with its colorful half-timbered houses. And when spring comes, when everything is covered with flowers… it’s a true fairy-tale. You have been warned!
Don’t hesitate to wander around peacefully in the Little Venice, as well as in the Tanner’s district, nearby (around Schwendi square), and in the whole historical district more generally. Don’t forget to look up, as the façades are so beautiful and there are splendid signs to admire!
Rather than making a long speech, I have prepared an itinerary in Colmar that will allow you to see most of the interesting spots in the town centre, including the Maison des Têtes, the Pfister House, the Schongauer House, the Old Custom House (Koifhus), the Dominican Church, Saint-Martin’s Collegiate Church (commonly known as the cathedral, even though it isn’t one!), the Maison de la boîte à mouches (the smallest house in Colmar), a wonderful old farm, the covered market, the Pôle Media Culture Edmond Gerrer… This is the itinerary that I always do with friends wishing to visit Colmar! This is a basic outline, but of course, don’t hesitate to stray from the path: walk along the small streets and get lost (the town centre of Colmar is small… you shouldn’t be lost for too long!). You can count half a day in total for this itinerary, by taking your time (even counting a tea break!). You can find the map of this itinerary to visit Colmar at the bottom of this article.
2. Visit one of the town museums. Colmar hosts several museums. Here are the main ones, organized according to your interests:
- If you enjoy art, you will like the Unterlinden Museum, a must-see hosting notably the famous Issenheim Altarpiece. Don’t hesitate to also have a look at the Dominican Church, where you will see the Madonna of the Rose Bower by Martin Schongauer.
- If you want to learn about a piece of Alsatian culture, you will like the Hansi Village, a very pleasant museum devoted to the famous Alsatian artist from the beginning of the 20th century (you will probably see his drawings everywhere during your stay in Alsace). The story of Hansi and his drawings being very much linked to the political context of the time, you will also learn many things about the history of our beautiful region!
- If you are travelling with children, the Toy Museum is a very good option.
- If you like sculptures, the Bartholdi Museum could be of interest.
3. Discover the Statue of Liberty. Are you thinking that I’m completely lying? Actually no, the creator of the famous statue is the sculptor from Colmar, Auguste Bartholdi. You’ll be able to admire a replica of the Statue of Liberty in Colmar. However, let me warn you: the statue is not really show on its best light, as it has been installed in the middle of a roundabout… in a shopping centre! It’s not very glamourous… I’d recommend you to either admire it from your car when entering Colmar, or to park on the small car park near the roundabout, to be able to stop in front for a few minutes.
4. Do some shopping. I’m not gonna be detailing everything, but among my favorite shops, there are the textiles from Avenue d’Alsace, the calligraphy and antique bookshop or the shop Bretzel Airlines.
5. For a snack break or tea time during your visit, I suggest my favorite tea rooms in Colmar. These are all very different, but equally pleasant!
Colmar, on the nature side
4. A boat trip in the little Venice of Colmar. Yes, it is very touristy, but yes, it’s worth it! It’s pleasant, interesting and will allow you to discover Colmar from another angle (you’ll find more details by clicking on the link).
5. A bike ride along the Lauch or on the Wine Route. If you are looking for a nature interlude during your stay in Colmar, let me suggest you to rent bikes and go for a ride. It is possible to do a beautiful ride along the Lauch (with a break at a restaurant if need be!) or even to go directly to the Wine Route, as it’s very quick to get out of town. A breath of fresh air!
Gourmet adresses in Colmar
Colmar is a little paradise for gourmets. There are many good adresses!
6. What about eating a good Alsatian meal in a Winstub, a typical Alsatian brasserie? You will find here my selection of restaurants in Colmar (not only Alsatian restaurants, because it’s always nice to shake things up! Especially as, as you might notice, Alsatian gastronomy is excellent, but a little bit on the heavy side!). Here is a selection of organic and vegetarian restaurants in Colmar.
7. The covered market of Colmar is the perfect place to find many good things from the region!
8. The Saint-Nicolas cheese shop is a reference in Alsace and you will find there fabulous cheeses. If you want to bring back some Munster Cheese, you’ll have to buy it here (they will be vacuum-packed, no panic!)
9. The Market of Riquewihr is a great address to bring back good foie gras, gingerbread, preserves… They have great Alsatian products!
10. The Maison alsacienne de biscuiterie is a good address to buy Bredele (small Alsatian biscuits traditionally baked for Christmas… but it’s good year-round!). There are three shops in Colmar.
11. Coeur Paysan is a shop selling products from local producers. It’s fresh and 100% Alsatian!
12. Would you like some wine to go with these good things? Then, head-off to the wine merchant La Sommelière. They offer very good wine, are very nice and of very good advice!
14. Would you like some cake or pastries? Here are the adresses of my favorite patisseries in Colmar.
15. If you are a tea lover, I strongly recommend you to go have a look at the shop L’Essence du Thé (and why not have a tea in their tea room while you are at it?!).
16. Have you heard about Alsatian Nutella? You’ll find the renowned Nut’Alsace at the shop of the chocolate maker, Jacques Bockel.
Colmar, like a local
For this section, I’m entrusting you with some adresses that I know and others that I have gathered from friends from Colmar, who are always full of useful tips. These will allow you to visit Colmar by going a bit off the beaten path and to really live Colmar like a true inhabitant of the town!
17. The Saint-Joseph Market. It is the unmissable event of Saturday mornings in Colmar, where people come to shop, but also to grab a cup of coffee with friends (all info can be found in the article). Something also tells me that you should stop for lunch at the restaurant Peter , for authentic cooking in a convivial atmosphere!
19. Check out an exhibition at the Espace d’Art Contemporain André Malraux.
20. See a free concert organized every first Friday of the month in the Covered Market by the association Hiéro Colmar.
23. Go to the Colmar Wine Fair, which is happening every year in summer. It’s an unmissable event for the inhabitants of Colmar. It’s not really a wine fair, but more a huge fair where it’s possible to find everything (yes, even sofas, bathrooms and more…), with as a bonus (and above all!), a very impressive line-up of concerts.
Colmar, capital of Alsatian Wine
24. It would be a pity not to go to the Alsatian Wine Route during your stay in Colmar. The village of Eguisheim, for example, is located near Colmar: it’s easy to reach! Enjoying a wine tasting in a good winery is a must. You can book your visit through the website Rue des Vignerons, it’s convenient and they only have good adresses.
Where to stay in Colmar?
28. Are you looking for a splendid bed and breakfast? Then, you should have a look at the Villa Elyane, which is one of my favorites in Colmar! Click on the link to read my article or check the prices on Booking.com.
29. If you want to rent a nice flat in the city center of Colmar, you can check the beautiful apartments of Clos Bartholdi.
Map to Visit Colmar
Here is a map summarizing my favorite itinerary to visit Colmar. I have highlighted the must-see places, as well as the adresses mentioned in this article.
So as not to overload the map, I encourage you to also read the different articles dedicated to the restaurants of Colmar, the tearooms, the patisseries and to the Kougelhopf, to see my favorite adresses.
You can see a bigger map if you click on the top right corner. Don’t hesitate to zoom in to properly see the itinerary!