With its half-timbered houses, lovely canals, excellent Alsatian food, and easy access to neighboring villages and wine country, it’s no surprise that Colmar is one of the most popular places to visit in northeastern France!
Here are the best things to do in Colmar, from the loveliest neighborhoods to explore to the best museums to check out!
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What to Do in Colmar
Stroll through La Petite Venise.
La Petite Venise is the neighborhood that gives Colmar much of its fame today and absolutely deserves to be at the top of the list when you’re deciding what to do in Colmar first. This section of the city is characterized by colorful, half-timbered houses lining beautiful canals, and the effect makes Colmar one of the most beautiful cities in France.
As idyllic as it may seem today, though, historically, the area would have been quite pungent. Exploring La Petite Venise means passing through what was historically the Tanners District, as well as what was historically the Fishmongers District!
Check out the Musée Bartholdi.
Colmar is the hometown of Auguste Bartholdi, a very famous sculptor whose best-known work lies far away from his native France–in the harbor of New York City!
The Musée Bartholdi is dedicated to the talented artist and celebrated son of Colmar that gave the world the Statue of Liberty and is a very interesting place to visit.
… and Colmar’s Statue of Liberty.
Of course, a city that prides itself on being the hometown of Auguste Bartholdi wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to show a replica of his most famous work: in the center of a roundabout on the north end of town, you’ll find a 39-foot high Statue of Liberty!
Stop by St. Martin’s Church.
This primarily Gothic church located in the heart of Colmar is incredibly beautiful, and like many historic churches in Europe, owes its current architecture to a hodgepodge of time periods, including the main structure of the building that dates to the 13th century and its beautiful bell tower that dates to the 16th.
Visit the Covered Market.
Located right on a canal near La Petite Venise, this indoor market is fun to visit during your time in Colmar–and if you happen to stop by on a Thursday, there will be an outdoor market there as well.
Take a canal cruise.
A canal cruise in Colmar isn’t exactly on par with, say, Venice–but it is a great way to enjoy a new perspective on Colmar’s gorgeous architecture!
Visit the Alsace Wine Route.
The Alsace region is known for its gorgeous wine country that lies right on the doorstep of its beautiful villages.
Take a day trip from Colmar to experience the Alsace Wine Route for yourself!
Book a fun tour of the Alsace Wine Route today!
… or other Alsatian villages.
As gorgeous as Colmar is, plenty of still stunning, and yet even smaller, villages are located nearby, and no trip to Alsace is complete without visiting at least a couple of them!
Some of our favorites include Eguisheim (which is conveniently located within bike-riding distance of Colmar), Riquewihr, and Ribeauvillé.
Hope to visit multiple villages efficiently in one day?
This popular tour is a great way to do so!
Explore some hearty Alsatian food at a winstub.
Winstubs are traditional Alsatian restaurants, and like Alsace itself, they feel like a cross between German and French cultures, with a little something extra thrown in.f
Think of a laid-back German pub–low ceilings, exposed timber beams, low lighting, beer, comfort food like sausages, and pretzels–paired with a French country kitchen.
That’s pretty much a winstub: they’re cozy, they’re relaxed, and they tend to serve incredible food.
It’s hard to go wrong with ordering anything in winstub, but personally, we’re partial to the hearty roestis–bonus points if they’re made with Munster.
… and at a Michelin-recognized restaurant.
It’s a testament to Colmar’s status as a foodie destination that despite being home to a mere 70,000 people, 10 of Colmar’s restaurants were recognized in the 2020 Michelin Guide in some capacity, with still others being recognized in other years.
For a special treat, consider making reservations at a Michelin-recognized restaurant in Colmar!
Visit the Unterlinden Museum.
The largest and most-visited museum in all of Alsace is located right in the heart of Colmar, and is housed in what was once a 13th-century Dominican convent.
The Unterlinden Museum is home to a wide variety of art and artifacts, with a primary focus on art from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Wander through Colmar’s Old Town.
One of the absolute best things to do in Colmar is simply to aimlessly wander it on foot.
You’re bound to find something wonderful around every corner, whether that’s a particularly unique piece of architecture, a great cheese shop, or a charming cafe.
Here are a few places to keep an eye out for as you explore!
House of Heads
Built in 1609, the House of Heads is covered in downright eerie faces and masks–definitely not a facade you’ll forget anytime soon.
Clocking in at nearly 500 years old, the Pfister House is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Colmar, and its painted facade is well worth seeing during your visit!
Old Customs House
The distinct tile roof of Colmar’s Old Customs House is stunning and easy to find during your time exploring Colmar.
Check out the Toy Museum.
Covering children’s toys from the 19th century through the modern-day, Colmar’s Toy Museum is a whimsical museum in the city that is definitely worth checking out!
Last but not least: visit Colmar’s Christmas markets!
Colmar is well-known for its fairytale-esque Christmas markets that take over the town each November and December, and they absolutely live up to the hype!
With six markets to visit, countless decorations that go up throughout the town, and plenty of vin chaud to go around, Christmas in Colmar is a delightful experience and one that we highly recommend!
Where to Stay in Colmar
Colmar is full of adorable places to stay–here are a few places to consider when planning your trip to Colmar!
Ibis Budget Colmar Centre Gare — Basic, clean, and within an easy walk of both Colmar’s train station and city center, Ibis is the perfect option for budget travelers visiting Colmar who want to prioritize a walkable location while not breaking the bank.
Hotel Kyriad Colmar Centre Gare — We loved this hotel in Colmar! The rooms were spacious and incredibly clean, the staff excellent, the building refurbished to feel brand new, and best of all, the location was perfect.
Located on a quiet street just a short walk from both the train station and Colmar’s city center, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay during our most recent visit to Colmar.
Hotel Le Colombier Suites — Located in the heart of La Petite Venise, you can’t ask for a more picturesque place to stay in Colmar.
Boasting beautifully decorated rooms, excellent customer service, and a wonderful included breakfast, a stay at Hotel Le Colombier Suites will ensure your trip to Colmar is incredibly relaxing.
Only have one day in Colmar?
With only one day in Colmar, we recommend heading initially to La Petite Venise for a quick wander before then exploring the Old Town, visiting whichever museum appeals to you the most, and enjoying a thoroughly indulgent meal of Alsatian food, whether that is at a Michelin-rated restaurant or a cozy winstub.
Map of the Best Things to Do in Colmar
How to Get to Colmar
Colmar is easily accessible by train. Most trains to Colmar will pass through Strasbourg (also a fantastic place to visit!) and from Strasbourg, it’s another 30 minutes to being able to start exploring the best things to do in Colmar.
However, the plethora of beautiful villages and excellent wineries in Alsace mean that this corner of France is also an excellent road trip destination–so if you’re considering driving in France, this would be a fantastic place to try it out!
Want to consider taking a road trip in Alsace?
Shop competitive rental car deals in & around Colmar today!
Can you take a day trip to Colmar from Paris?
In theory, maybe, but realistically, not really.
The shortest train rides between the two cities take about 2.5 hours, and most take much longer (and stop in Strasbourg). Remember, when planning an effective day trip, you need to find a high-speed direct train both in the morning and the evening, and the direct routes between the two cities are very limited.
Driving takes a little over 5 hours each way.
While you can probably pull off a Paris to Colmar day trip if you’re absolutely determined to, with so many incredible day trips closer to Paris, you’re better off sticking closer to the capital and saving Colmar for another trip!