Colmar, located in the Alsace region of France, is a picturesque city renowned for its charming atmosphere, well-preserved medieval architecture, and rich cultural heritage. Known as the “Capital of Alsatian Wine,” Colmar offers a unique blend of German and French influences. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Colmar:
1. Little Venice
One of the most enchanting areas in Colmar, Little Venice (La Petite Venise) is a picturesque neighborhood with colorful half-timbered houses lining the canals. Take a leisurely boat ride or stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the postcard-worthy scenery.
2. Old Town
The historic center of Colmar is a delight to explore. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, marvel at the well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture, and admire the beautifully ornate houses. Don’t miss the Maison des Têtes, a stunning 17th-century building adorned with intricate sculptures.
3. Unterlinden Museum
Housed in a former Dominican convent, the Unterlinden Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. It features an impressive collection of artwork, including the famous Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald. The museum also showcases archaeological artifacts and regional history.
4. Bartholdi Museum
Dedicated to the renowned sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, this museum provides a fascinating insight into his life and work. The museum is located in Bartholdi’s birthplace and exhibits a collection of his sculptures, drawings, and personal belongings.
5. Collegiale Saint-Martin
This Gothic masterpiece is a striking architectural gem in Colmar. The Collegiale Saint-Martin dates back to the 13th century and boasts a stunning interior with intricate stained glass windows and a remarkable astronomical clock. Climb the tower for panoramic views of the city.
6. Musée d’Unterlinden
Adjacent to the Unterlinden Museum, the Musée d’Unterlinden is a contemporary art museum that showcases works by modern and contemporary artists. It hosts temporary exhibitions and presents a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums.
7. Tasting Alsatian Cuisine
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alsatian_cuisine
Indulge in the local gastronomy of Colmar, which combines French and German influences. Savor Alsatian specialties such as choucroute (sauerkraut), tarte flambée (thin-crust pizza), and baeckeoffe (a traditional meat and vegetable stew). Pair your meal with excellent Alsatian wines.
8. Markets and Festivals
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Colmar is known for its lively markets and festivals, which celebrate the region’s traditions. The Marché Couvert, a covered market, offers an array of local products, including cheese, charcuterie, and pastries. Visit during the Christmas season to experience the magical Christmas markets that adorn the city.
9. Wine Route
Wine Route, which passes through the vineyards and charming villages surrounding Colmar. Take the opportunity to visit local wineries, sample exquisite wines, and learn about the winemaking process.
10. Bicycle Touring
Explore the beautiful countryside surrounding Colmar by renting a bicycle and embarking on a leisurely ride. The region offers well-marked cycling paths that take you through vineyards, rolling hills, and idyllic villages.
11. The House of Heads (Maison des Têtes)
A true architectural gem, the House of Heads is a striking building adorned with numerous sculpted heads. Built in the early 17th century, it is an exceptional example of Renaissance architecture. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate details on the façade and explore the interior, which now houses a hotel and a restaurant.
12. Koïfhus (Old Customs House)
Located in the heart of Colmar’s Old Town, the Koïfhus is a historic building that served as the customs house during the 15th century. Today, it houses a tourist information center and a shop where you can purchase local crafts and souvenirs. Admire the elegant architecture and learn about the building’s fascinating history.
13. Saint-Matthieu Church
Situated just outside the city center, Saint-Matthieu Church is a magnificent Gothic church with a rich history. Dating back to the 13th century, it features stunning stained glass windows and a beautiful organ. Climb up the tower for panoramic views of Colmar and the surrounding countryside.
14. Toy Museum (Musée du Jouet)
If you’re traveling with children or have an interest in toys and childhood memorabilia, the Toy Museum is a delightful place to visit. It showcases an extensive collection of toys from different periods, including dolls, board games, model trains, and more. The museum offers an engaging and nostalgic journey through the world of play.
15. Parc du Champ de Mars
If you’re in need of some relaxation or outdoor activities, head to Parc du Champ de Mars. This green oasis in the city center offers a peaceful atmosphere, beautifully manicured gardens, and ample space for picnics or leisurely walks. It’s an ideal spot to unwind and enjoy the pleasant surroundings.
16. Eglise des Dominicains
Located near the Unterlinden Museum, the Eglise des Dominicains is a striking Dominican church dating back to the 14th century. Its impressive architecture and remarkable acoustics make it a popular venue for concerts and cultural events. Check the schedule to see if there are any performances during your visit.
17. Alsatian Museum (Musée Alsacien)
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Explore the rich regional heritage of Alsace at the Alsatian Museum. Housed in several traditional Alsatian buildings, this museum showcases the local culture, traditions, and crafts through an extensive collection of artifacts, furniture, costumes, and household objects. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the region’s past.
18. Bartholdi Park
Named after the famous sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, Bartholdi Park is a delightful green space in Colmar. The park features beautifully landscaped gardens, sculptures, and a pond with ducks and swans. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy a leisurely walk or sit and soak up the serene atmosphere.
19. Colmar Covered Market (Marché Couvert)
Indulge your senses at the Colmar Covered Market, a bustling hub of local produce, delicacies, and flavors. Explore the stalls filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and pastries. Sample regional specialties and pick up some ingredients to create your own Alsatian-inspired meal.
20. Explore the Christmas Markets
If you happen to visit Colmar during the festive season, you’re in for a treat. The city is known for its enchanting Christmas markets, where you can experience the magic of the holiday season. Explore the stalls selling crafts, decorations, and delicious treats while sipping on mulled wine and enjoying the festive atmosphere.
21. Attend a Cultural Event
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Colmar hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, ranging from music festivals to art exhibitions. Check the event calendar to see if there are any concerts, exhibitions, or performances happening during your visit. Immerse yourself in the local arts and culture scene and witness the city come alive with creativity.
22. Take a Historical Walking Tour
Join a guided walking tour of Colmar to delve deeper into its fascinating history and architecture. Learn about the city’s past, hear captivating stories about its famous residents, and discover hidden gems along the way. A knowledgeable guide can provide insights and anecdotes that bring the city’s heritage to life.
23. Visit the Hansi Museum
Dedicated to the renowned Alsatian artist Jean-Jacques Waltz, known as Hansi, this museum showcases his iconic illustrations and artworks depicting the Alsace region. Gain insights into the history, customs, and folklore of the area through his unique and charming artistic style.
24. Try Local Alsatian Pastries
Colmar is a haven for pastry lovers. Treat yourself to delicious Alsatian pastries such as kugelhopf, a ring-shaped cake with raisins and almonds, or the famous tarte aux pommes, an apple tart with a buttery crust. Indulging in these traditional treats is a delightful way to experience the local gastronomy.
25. Visit the Toy Train Museum (Musée du Train Miniature)
Perfect for train enthusiasts, this museum showcases an extensive collection of model trains and railway paraphernalia. Admire the intricately detailed landscapes and watch the miniature trains whiz through the tracks. It’s a delightful experience for both children and adults alike.
26. Attend a Concert at the Colmar Theater
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The Colmar Theater, also known as the Comédie de l’Est, is a cultural hub hosting a variety of performances, including theater, music, dance, and opera. Check the schedule to see if there are any shows or concerts that align with your visit. Watching a performance here adds another layer to your cultural exploration.
27. Relax at the Espace d’Art Contemporain André Malraux
Image Source: https://www.colmar.fr/espace-malraux
If you appreciate contemporary art, make sure to visit the Espace d’Art Contemporain André Malraux. This gallery showcases temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, providing a platform for local and international artists to showcase their work.
28. Explore the Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune Church
This historic church dates back to the 13th century and features a blend of architectural styles, including Romanesque and Gothic elements. Marvel at the intricate details of the stained glass windows and the impressive organ. Take a moment for quiet reflection in this serene religious site.
29. Visit the Maison Pfister
This historic house is a fine example of Renaissance architecture and is adorned with intricate frescoes. Take a guided tour or explore the house independently to admire the ornate details and learn about its rich history. It’s a testament to the city’s architectural heritage.
30. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a hot air balloon ride over the stunning Alsatian countryside surrounding Colmar. Float gently above the vineyards, villages, and rolling hills while enjoying breathtaking panoramic views. It’s an exhilarating and memorable way to appreciate the beauty of the region.
Places and Things To Do