Best Things to Do in Colmar, France: 12 Top Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things to Do in Colmar, France
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Are you looking to visit Colmar in France soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Colmar. These enchanting sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Ah, Colmar—where the cobblestone streets whisper tales of yesteryears and half-timbered houses adorned with flower boxes seem to jump straight out of a storybook. Situated in the heart of the Alsace region, this charming French town is a kaleidoscope of culture, history, and gastronomic delights. Imagine strolling through narrow lanes, each turn revealing a new picturesque scene that makes you reach for your camera in disbelief. Yes, it’s that Instagrammable! And when you’re not capturing these moments, there are plenty of things to do in Colmar, from exploring its museums to savoring local cuisine and enjoying wine tastings in the surrounding vineyards.

But Colmar is not just a pretty face; it’s a soulful town that invites you to explore deeper. With its unique blend of French elegance and Germanic traditions, it’s like stepping into a European daydream where every moment feels surreal yet comforting. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a foodie, or someone who simply enjoys the finer things in life, Colmar offers a slice of heaven for every kind of traveler.

So, pack your bags and put on your most comfortable walking shoes. We’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey through the best things to do in Colmar, France. Trust me, you’ll want to savor every second in this enchanting wonderland. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do In Colmar.

The top places to visit in Colmar, France right now
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Best Places to Visit in Colmar

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Colmar? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this quaint vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Colmar places to visit.

Are you looking to wander through a picturesque old town with its colorful half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and canals, reminiscent of a fairytale setting? Or would you prefer exploring renowned museums, savor Alsatian cuisine at local restaurants, and enjoy wine tastings in the surrounding vineyards? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Colmar can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Colmar that you should know about.

1. La Petite Venise

Ah, La Petite Venise, a place where romance and history dance in the air. This is one of those best things to do in Colmar that you simply can’t miss. Picture this: you’re gliding through a narrow canal on a flat-bottomed boat, the water reflecting the pastel-colored houses that line the banks. It’s like Venice, but with a unique Alsatian twist.

But don’t just take the boat ride; explore the area on foot as well. The cobblestone streets are flanked by half-timbered houses, each more charming than the last. Cafés and boutiques add a modern touch to this ancient setting, offering a delightful blend of the old and new. Whether you’re capturing the perfect photo or simply soaking in the atmosphere, La Petite Venise offers a multi-sensory experience that’s hard to beat.

So, what’s the verdict? If you’re wondering what to do in Colmar, a visit to La Petite Venise should top your list. It’s not just a destination; it’s an experience that captures the essence of Colmar in the most magical way.

La Petite Venise is one of the best things to do in Colmar, France.
La Petite Venise in Colmar, France: A must-visit for romance and history.

2. Unterlinden Museum

If you’re a fan of art and history, the Unterlinden Museum is among the cool destinations in Colmar. Housed in a 13th-century Dominican convent, this museum is a treasure trove of medieval and Renaissance art. As you walk through the hallowed halls, you’ll encounter masterpieces from the likes of Grünewald and Schongauer, among others.

The museum itself is a work of architectural brilliance. The gothic arches and intricate woodwork transport you back in time, making you feel like you’re part of Colmar’s rich history. And let’s not forget the Isenheim Altarpiece, a jaw-dropping piece that alone is worth the visit.

If you’re compiling a list of Colmar attractions, make sure the Unterlinden Museum is on it. Whether you’re an art aficionado or a casual observer, this museum offers a deep dive into the cultural fabric of Colmar. It’s not just a place to see; it’s a place to experience.

The Unterlinden Museum is a treasure trove of medieval and Renaissance art in a 13th-century Dominican convent.
The Unterlinden Museum is a treasure trove of medieval and Renaissance art in a 13th-century Dominican convent.

3. Marché Couvert

When it comes to Colmar things to do, food lovers, this one’s for you! Marché Couvert, Colmar’s covered market, is a gastronomic wonderland that will make your taste buds dance. Housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building, the market is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.

From the moment you step inside, you’re greeted with the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread, local cheeses, and seasonal fruits. It’s a culinary journey through Alsace, with each stall offering a distinctive taste of the region. Don’t miss out on trying the local specialty, tarte flambée, a delicious flatbread topped with crème fraîche, onions, and bacon.

And it’s not just food; you’ll also find an array of local crafts and souvenirs, making it a perfect spot for some retail therapy. Whether you’re a dedicated foodie or just someone who appreciates good eats, Marché Couvert is a must-visit. So, if you’re wondering where to go in Colmar, make sure this foodie paradise is on your list!

Marché Couvert is a gastronomic wonderland in a stunning Art Nouveau building.
Marché Couvert in Colmar, France, is a gastronomic wonderland in a stunning Art Nouveau building.

4. Quartier des Tanneurs

Ah, the Quartier des Tanneurs, or the Tanners’ Quarter. This is one of those unique places in Colmar that transports you straight into the pages of a history book. Picture cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The wooden balconies and open-air attics were once used for drying animal hides, a nod to the area’s tanning past.

As you wander through this charming neighborhood, you’ll notice the meticulous preservation of its historic architecture. It’s a living museum, offering a glimpse into Colmar’s rich past. The area is also home to several boutique shops and cozy cafés, perfect for a leisurely afternoon of exploration.

For those seeking a blend of history and local culture, Quartier des Tanneurs is a must-visit. So, if you’re making a list of best places to go in Colmar, this enchanting neighborhood deserves a spot. It’s not just a walk through history; it’s a walk through the soul of Colmar.

The Quartier des Tanneurs is a historic district with cobblestone streets and 17th-18th century half-timbered houses, reminiscent of its tanning past. | Source: https://www.tourisme-colmar.com/fr/
The Quartier des Tanneurs is a historic district with cobblestone streets and 17th-18th century half-timbered houses, reminiscent of its tanning past. | Source: https://www.tourisme-colmar.com/fr/

5. Colmar Toy Museum

Ready for a trip down memory lane? The Colmar Toy Museum is a delightful stop that appeals to both the young and the young-at-heart. Housed in a former cinema, this museum showcases toys from various eras, making it one of the coolest things to do in Colmar for families or anyone who’s a kid at heart.

The collection ranges from vintage wooden toys to modern action figures, offering a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of playthings over the years. Each exhibit is thoughtfully curated, sparking joy and nostalgia as you explore.

What sets this museum apart is its interactive nature. Many of the displays invite you to engage, touch, and even play, making the experience far from a typical museum visit. So, if you’re searching for Colmar places to visit that offer a blend of education and entertainment, the Toy Museum is a top pick.

Whether you’re traveling with kids or simply want to relive your childhood, this museum offers a special way to spend an afternoon. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the simplest things bring the most joy.

The Colmar Toy Museum: A delightful journey through toy history in a former cinema, perfect for all ages.
The Colmar Toy Museum: A delightful journey through toy history in a former cinema, perfect for all ages.

6. St. Martin’s Church

St. Martin’s Church is not just another religious site; it’s a Gothic masterpiece that stands as a testament to Colmar’s rich architectural history. With its towering spires and intricate stained glass windows, this church is a must-see in Colmar for anyone with an eye for design or a soul for spirituality.

The church dates back to the 13th century and has undergone various restorations, each adding a layer of history to its already complex narrative. Inside, you’ll find a serene atmosphere, punctuated by the soft glow of sunlight filtering through the colorful windows. It’s a place that invites quiet contemplation and offers a peaceful respite from the bustling streets of Colmar.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Colmar, don’t overlook this architectural gem. Whether you’re religious or not, St. Martin’s Church offers a sense of tranquility and a dash of awe-inspiring beauty that’s hard to find elsewhere.

St. Martin's Church: A Gothic masterpiece showcasing rich architectural history with towering spires and intricate stained glass windows.
St. Martin’s Church in Colmar, France: A Gothic masterpiece showcasing rich architectural history with towering spires and intricate stained glass windows.

7. Parc du Champ de Mars

Curious about where to visit in Colmar to unwind and recharge? Welcome to Parc du Champ de Mars, a lush green haven right in the heart of Colmar. For those who love the great outdoors or simply need a break from sightseeing, this park is an essential destination.

The park is beautifully landscaped, featuring a variety of flora that adds a burst of color to your day. Meandering paths lead you through the park, each turn revealing a new scenic spot perfect for a picnic or a photo op. And if you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the playground and the mini-golf course.

What makes this park special is its central location. You’re never too far from the city’s main attractions, yet it feels like you’re in a completely different world. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon or a morning jog to kickstart your day.

Parc du Champ de Mars offers a delightful contrast to the city’s bustling tourist spots. It’s a slice of tranquility amidst the urban landscape.

Parc du Champ de Mars is one of the best things to do in Colmar, France.
Parc du Champ de Mars in Colmar, France, is a lush green haven in the heart of the city, perfect for relaxation and outdoor enthusiasts.

8. House of Heads

Ever seen a building that makes you do a double-take? Welcome to the House of Heads, one of the best things to do in Colmar. This Renaissance building, adorned with 111 sculpted heads, is a feast for the eyes and a playground for the imagination.

Constructed in 1609, the House of Heads has served various purposes over the years, from a merchant’s house to its current role as a music school. Each sculpted face seems to tell a different story, sparking curiosity and wonder as you stroll by.

The building’s intricate details extend beyond the faces. Look up, and you’ll notice the ornate balconies and windows, each more elaborate than the last. It’s a testament to the craftsmanship of the era and a different way to delve into Colmar’s architectural history.

Are you looking for places in Colmar that offer something a little different? The House of Heads should be right up there. It’s a quirky, fascinating stop that adds a touch of whimsy to your Colmar adventure.

The House of Heads is a Renaissance marvel adorned with 111 sculpted heads, a visual delight and imaginative wonder.
The House of Heads in Colmar is a Renaissance marvel adorned with 111 sculpted heads, a visual delight and imaginative wonder.

9. Bartholdi Museum

Step into the world of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the mastermind behind the Statue of Liberty, at this dedicated museum. For anyone interested in art, history, or American ties to France, this is one of the best places to go in Colmar.

The museum is located in Bartholdi’s birthplace, a grand Renaissance mansion. Inside, you’ll find a collection of his sketches, models, and sculptures. It’s a fascinating journey through the creative process of one of France’s most celebrated artists.

One of the highlights is a scale model of the Statue of Liberty, allowing you to appreciate the intricate details and monumental effort that went into creating this iconic symbol. And it’s not just about the statue; the museum also showcases Bartholdi’s other works, including fountains, monuments, and even jewelry.

Wondering what to do in Colmar that offers a mix of art and history? The Bartholdi Museum is a compelling choice. It’s a deep dive into the life and works of a man whose creations have left an indelible mark on the world. Is this among the top things to do in Colmar? It sure is!

The Bartholdi Museum: A compelling exploration of the life and works of a world-renowned artist, a top attraction in Colmar.
The Bartholdi Museum in Colmar: A compelling exploration of the life and works of a world-renowned artist, a top attraction in Colmar.

10. Colmar Christmas Markets

Ah, the magic of Christmas! And nowhere is it more enchanting than at the Colmar Christmas Markets. As snowflakes dance in the air and twinkling lights adorn the city, a visit to the markets becomes a highlight for anyone visiting during the holiday season.

Five distinct markets make up this winter spectacle, each with its distinctive charm. From handcrafted ornaments to mouthwatering Alsatian treats, the stalls are a treasure trove of holiday delights. Don’t miss the spiced wine; it’s a local favorite that warms you from the inside out!

The atmosphere is nothing short of magical. Carolers fill the air with festive tunes, and the scent of cinnamon and cloves wafts through the streets. It’s a sensory feast that captures the essence of the holiday spirit.

For a dash of holiday magic and a whole lot of cheer, the Colmar Christmas Markets are a top pick. They offer a festive twist to the usual cool destinations in Colmar, making your visit to this charming French town even more memorable.

The Colmar Christmas Markets: Enchanting festivities with snowflakes, twinkling lights, and holiday magic in the air.
The Colmar Christmas Markets: Enchanting festivities with snowflakes, twinkling lights, and holiday magic in the air.

11. Eglise des Dominicains

Picture this: You’re strolling through the cobblestone streets of Colmar, and you stumble upon the Eglise des Dominicains. This 13th-century Gothic church is more than just a place of worship; it’s a sanctuary that offers a moment of serenity amidst your travels. For those seeking a spiritual experience or simply a quiet place to reflect, this is one of the best places in Colmar you shouldn’t miss.

The church is renowned for its stunning stained glass windows, which cast a kaleidoscope of colors across the interior. The centerpiece is the “Virgin in the Rose Bush,” a mesmerizing painting that has captivated visitors for centuries.

But the beauty of Eglise des Dominicains extends beyond its walls. The church’s garden is a hidden gem, a tranquil space where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a perfect spot for meditation or a peaceful afternoon with a good book.

Make sure to carve out time for Eglise des Dominicains when planning for your things to do in Colmar. It’s a spiritual haven that adds a touch of tranquility to your Colmar itinerary.

The Eglise des Dominicains in Colmar: A 13th-century Gothic church, a sanctuary for serenity and reflection in the heart of the city.
The Eglise des Dominicains in Colmar, France: A 13th-century Gothic church, a sanctuary for serenity and reflection in the heart of the city.

12. Colmar Wine Route

Oh, the Alsace vineyards! Rolling hills, sun-drenched grapes, and the promise of a good glass of wine—or several. If you’re a wine aficionado or just someone who enjoys a scenic drive, the Colmar Wine Route is among the coolest activities in Colmar.

The route takes you through some of the most picturesque vineyards in France, offering panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. Each winery has its own unique charm, from rustic cellars to modern tasting rooms. And let’s talk about the wine—Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris—each sip is a journey through the rich flavors of Alsace.

The route is dotted with quaint villages that look like they’ve been lifted straight out of a fairy tale. Cobblestone streets, timber-framed houses, and local artisans add to the allure.

Is Colmar Wine Route included in your list of Colmar places to visit? Because it should be. It’s an experience that combines natural beauty, cultural richness, and, of course, some of the finest wines you’ll ever taste.

The Colmar Wine Route is a scenic journey through Alsace vineyards, perfect for wine enthusiasts and scenic drives.
The Colmar Wine Route is a scenic journey through Alsace vineyards, perfect for wine enthusiasts and scenic drives.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Colmar

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Colmar? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Colmar:

What is famous in Colmar?

Here are some of the most famous attractions and aspects of Colmar:

  1. Little Venice (La Petite Venise): A picturesque district with charming half-timbered houses lining the canals. It’s one of the most photographed spots in Colmar.
  2. Unterlinden Museum: Housed in a former monastery, this museum boasts an impressive collection of Rhineland art and artifacts, including the famous Isenheim Altarpiece.
  3. Maison des Têtes (House of Heads): A Renaissance building adorned with 111 carved heads and faces.
  4. Bartholdi Museum: Dedicated to the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, best known for designing the Statue of Liberty.
  5. Saint Martin’s Church: A stunning example of Gothic architecture, this church stands as one of Colmar’s most prominent landmarks.
  6. Koïfhus (Old Customs House): The oldest public building in Colmar, it played a significant role in the region’s history and trade.
  7. Local Alsatian Cuisine: Colmar is known for its traditional dishes like choucroute (sauerkraut with meats), tarte flambée, and baeckeoffe.
  8. Wine: Located in the heart of the Alsace wine region, Colmar is famous for its local wines, especially Gewürztraminer and Riesling.
  9. Christmas Market: Colmar hosts one of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Europe, attracting visitors from all over the world.
  10. Timber-framed Houses: The town is dotted with colorful, well-preserved half-timbered houses that date back to the Middle Ages.

What’s the best time to visit Colmar?

The best time to visit Colmar is during the spring and early summer, from April to June, or in the fall, from September to October. These seasons offer pleasant weather, blooming flowers, and fewer crowds, allowing you to fully enjoy the town’s charming streets, outdoor cafes, and scenic vineyards.

How do I get around Colmar?

Colmar is a compact town, making it easy to explore on foot. Most of the attractions are within walking distance in the charming Old Town. Additionally, you can use bicycles or take advantage of the local public transportation system, including buses and trams, for convenient access to the surrounding areas and vineyards.

How much time should I spend in Colmar?

Colmar, often referred to as “Little Venice” due to its picturesque canals, is a relatively compact town, making it easy to explore. The amount of time you should spend in Colmar depends on your interests and the depth of exploration you desire. Here’s a general guideline:

1 Day:

  • Perfect for a brief overview of the town.
  • Visit the main attractions such as the Little Venice district, the Maison des Têtes, and the Bartholdi Museum.
  • Stroll through the old town, admiring the half-timbered houses and historic architecture.
  • Enjoy local Alsatian cuisine at a traditional Winstub (wine lounge).

2 Days:

  • A more relaxed pace allowing for a deeper exploration.
  • In addition to the main attractions, visit the Unterlinden Museum, which houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts.
  • Take a boat tour of the canals.
  • Explore the local markets and indulge in wine tasting, as Colmar is situated in the heart of the Alsace wine region.

3 Days or More:

  • Ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in the local culture and surroundings.
  • Take day trips to nearby Alsatian villages like Riquewihr, Eguisheim, and Kaysersberg.
  • Participate in local events or festivals if they coincide with your visit.
  • Dedicate more time to leisurely walks, shopping, and savoring the local gastronomy.

Is visiting Colmar expensive?

Visiting Colmar can vary in cost depending on your preferences. Accommodation and dining can range from budget-friendly options to high-end experiences. Entrance fees to attractions are generally reasonable, and many charming experiences like strolling through the Old Town or admiring the canals are free. It’s possible to enjoy Colmar on various budgets.

Historic Houses in Colmar, France: Charming Alsatian architecture.
Historic Houses in Colmar, France: Charming Alsatian architecture.

What’s the food like in Colmar?

Colmar offers delicious Alsatian cuisine, known for its hearty and flavorful dishes. Expect to savor specialties like tarte flambée (a thin, crispy pizza-like dish), choucroute (sauerkraut with sausages and meats), coq au Riesling (chicken in Riesling wine sauce), and a variety of sweet treats like kugelhopf and fruit tarts. Don’t miss the local wines, either.

Can I do a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar?

Yes, a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar is highly feasible. These two beautiful European cities are only about 70 kilometers apart and well-connected by trains that take roughly 30 minutes. This allows you to explore Colmar’s charming Old Town, enjoy its cuisine, and visit key attractions in a single day before returning to Strasbourg.

What is Colmar best known for?

Colmar, France is best known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, vibrant Alsatian culture, and picturesque canals. Often referred to as “Little Venice,” the town is a hub for wine enthusiasts, boasting a scenic wine route through Alsace’s vineyards. Its charming streets, historic landmarks, and seasonal Christmas markets make it a must-visit destination.

Is Colmar nicer than Strasbourg?

Both Colmar and Strasbourg are beautiful cities in the Alsace region of France, and each has its own unique charm and attractions. Whether one is nicer than the other is subjective and depends on individual preferences. Here’s a brief comparison:

Colmar:

  • Size: Smaller and more compact than Strasbourg, making it easy to explore on foot.
  • Atmosphere: Often described as a “fairy-tale” town, Colmar has a romantic and picturesque ambiance with its well-preserved old town, colorful half-timbered houses, and winding canals.
  • Attractions: The Little Venice district, Unterlinden Museum, and the Bartholdi Museum (dedicated to the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty) are among its highlights.
  • Ideal for: Those who prefer a quieter, more intimate experience and want to immerse themselves in medieval charm.

Strasbourg:

  • Size: Larger and more cosmopolitan, being the capital of the Alsace region and home to several European institutions.
  • Atmosphere: A vibrant mix of medieval charm and modernity. The city boasts a rich history and a dynamic cultural scene.
  • Attractions: The stunning Strasbourg Cathedral, La Petite France district, European Parliament, and numerous museums and parks.
  • Ideal for: Those who enjoy a mix of history, culture, and modern amenities, and want a broader range of dining and entertainment options.

In conclusion, both cities are worth visiting. If you’re seeking a quaint, storybook-like atmosphere, Colmar might be more to your liking. If you prefer a city with a mix of historical charm and modern vibrancy, Strasbourg could be the better choice.

Is Colmar worth visiting?

Absolutely, Colmar is a must-visit destination in France. Known for its enchanting medieval architecture, scenic canals, and vibrant Alsatian culture, it offers a unique blend of history and beauty. Whether you’re a wine aficionado, history buff, or simply love picturesque settings, Colmar provides a captivating experience that’s well worth the trip.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Colmar

So, there you have it—a comprehensive guide to the best places to go in Colmar. From its storybook architecture to its world-class museums and delectable cuisine, Colmar is a destination that captivates at every turn. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone who simply enjoys the finer things in life, Colmar has something for everyone.

As you wander through its cobblestone streets, sip wine in its idyllic vineyards, or marvel at its artistic treasures, you’ll understand why Colmar is more than just a travel destination—it’s a feeling, an experience, a memory waiting to happen. So why wait? Pack your bags, book that ticket, and let Colmar sweep you off your feet. Trust me, it’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

The top things to do in Colmar, France for all types of travelers
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