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You never forget your first visit to the Alsace Christmas markets. The smells of gingerbread, vin chaud, and Munster cheese fill the air as you become mesmerized by all the twinkling lights. It is an experience that entices all the senses, and even after returning home, you’ll want to hop right back on a plane for more.
Of course, I write all of this while enjoying a few bites of pate a tartiner I purchased at the Christmas market in Obernai, and sipping coffee from my Colmar Christmas market mug. Sigh. It truly was a trip to remember with my parents including visits to both charming small towns and the Capital of Christmas itself: Strasbourg.
But, now that I am back at home, I’m here to tell you all about the best Alsatian Christmas markets and give you a 5-day itinerary so that you can have the MOST AMAZING time celebrating Christmas in the Alsace!
- What is the Alsace?
- Best Alsace Christmas Markets
- 1. Strasbourg Christmas Market
- 2. Colmar Christmas Market
- 3. Mulhouse Christmas Market
- 4. Eguisheim Christmas Market
- 5. Obernai Christmas Market
- 6. Kaysersberg Christmas Market
- 7. Riquewihr Christmas Market
- 8. Ribeauville Christmas Market
- The Ultimate Alsace Christmas Market Itinerary in 5 Days
- Day 1: Arrive and Explore Strasbourg
- Day 2: Wine Route Day Trip
- Day 3: Day Trip to Obernai
- Day 4: Explore Colmar
- Day 5: Explore the Markets of Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville
- Have More Time in the Alsace at Christmas?
- What to Eat at the Alsace Christmas Markets
- What to Drink at the Best Alsace Christmas Markets
What is the Alsace?
First things first, we have to talk about what in fact is the Alsace region. The Alsace is located in the Grand Est of France and borders Germany along the Rhine River as well as a bit of Switzerland. It has a huge German feel and influence due to its passing hands between Germany and France many times since the 17th century.
Strasbourg is the capital, and Strasbourg also happens to be where the European Union Parliament is located.
This region has several small towns and is known for its half-timbered and colorful architecture as well as white wine, beer, and delicious food.
Also, being on the border with Germany and having a large German influence, it makes sense that the Christmas markets in the Alsace have a German Christmas market feel.
In fact, Strasbourg is known for having one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, with evidence of it dating back to the 1500s.
So that is why Strasbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas or “Capitale de Noel” and makes this whole region a must-visit during the holiday season.
Best Alsace Christmas Markets
I will definitely say that the Alsace has some of the best Christmas markets in France, from its bigger towns and cities to its smaller villages.
So here are some of the best Christmas markets in the Alsace you’ll want to add to your list!
1. Strasbourg Christmas Market
Dates: November 25-December 24, 2022
Hours: Every day from 11 am-8 pm. On November 25, it is open from 2-8 pm, and on December 24, it closes at 6 pm.
Known as the Capital of Christmas, if you’re going to the Christmas markets in the Alsace, you have to come to Strasbourg. It is also super easy to get to thanks to the train station and nearby airport.
It is a quick 1 hour and 45-minute train from Paris!
The city explodes with Christmas cheer this time of year, with light projections on buildings, teddy bears in windows, lights over alleyways and big streets, and, of course, all the markets.
Strasbourg actually has several Christmas markets all over their old city. The most famous is, of course, the Place de la Cathédrale de Strasbourg Christmas market with the giant Cathedral towering over all the wooden stands.
This market has several booths selling anything from handmade artisan goods to tasty treats like pain d’epices and more! It is also a place to find a Christmas market mug, as they aren’t sold at every stand and market. Keep your eyes peeled for a stand selling them!
It is also a good idea to visit the inside of the cathedral too, as they have a stunning nativity display!
Place Kléber is also famous for its giant tree that is all lit up and has a light show in the evenings to entertain spectators. Place du Château, on the other side of the cathedral, also has several stalls and is where you can find the small tourist train.
And Place Broglie Christkindelsmärik is located in front of the City Hall and has a beautiful light projection on the building itself.
I also particularly enjoyed the Advent Village at Square Louise-Weiss, as it is along the canals in Petite France and is incredibly lovely both during the day and lit up in the evenings.
If you plan to visit the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, I highly recommend basing yourself here and exploring the area further. Yes, you could see most of the markets on a fast-paced day, but we actually enjoyed 3 days here visiting markets and nearby wineries and towns.
I loved Hotel Hannong in Strasbourg and it was in a great location near lots of nice bars, restaurants, and the markets themselves.
2. Colmar Christmas Market
Dates: November 24-December 29, 2022
Hours: Monday-Thurday from 11 am-7 pm. Friday-Sunday from 10 am-8 pm. December 24 open from 10 am-5 pm, December 25 from 11 am-8 pm, and December 26 from 11 am-7 pm.
Colmar is the Christmas village of everyone’s dreams. Full of half-timbered colorful buildings, it seriously looks like a confection. And once you stroll past the canals and admire the swans swimming in the sunshine, you’ll really want to just up and move here.
So while this is a great spot to visit year-round, the Christmas markets are also iconic here. With 6 main Christmas markets, you could certainly visit them all in a day, but we used it as a base to explore nearby markets over the weekend.
Here is a rundown of must-visit markets. The Petite Venise market at Place des Six Montagnes Noiles is super lovely especially as it is next to the river. It is also a fantastic spot to be in the evening on weekends for the moving light projections on the buildings along the canal.
Place de l’Anncienne Douane has tons of great crafts and food, and Koifhus is actually inside and showcases tons of local artisans and their crafts.
The Marche Gourmand at Place de la Cathedrale is a must-visit for lunch or dinnertime, as it has 9 booths showcasing local restaurants with delicious cuisine. It only sells food and drinks here so it is the perfect place to try local delicacies.
Place Jeanne d’Arc is another cute market selling some food and crafts, and then the Place des Dominicains by the Eglise des Dominicains is super scenic with lovely decorations, and this is where to find the Christmas mug! It is also the biggest market.
You can also go inside the Eglise des Dominicains for their nativity scene.
Colmar is also another easy market to get to thanks to its access via train from Strasbourg. It is only about a 30-minute train ride from there.
For a lovely stay near the markets, opt for Hotel Turenne.
3. Mulhouse Christmas Market
Dates: November 24-December 27, 2022
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 am-8 pm. Friday-Saturday 11 am-9 pm. December 24 from 11 am-6 pm, December 26 from 12-8 pm, and December 27 from 11 am- 6 pm. Closed on Christmas Day.
Located the furthest south of all the other towns and cities on this list, it is actually accessible easily from Basel, Switzerland via an hour-long train ride.
What makes this Alsatian city unique for Christmas markets is its fabric decor thanks to its long textile history. Enjoy the fabric-themed markets and purchase some keepsakes of your own to take home including pillows, ornaments, and tablecloths.
The market in Mulhouse is at Place de la Reunion with it stretching around St. Etienne Temple as well. You can also spot the large Christmas tree at Place des Victoires, and there is a Christmas village for children at Place de la Bourse.
For a charming bed and breakfast within walking distance of the markets, check out Maison Mondrian.
4. Eguisheim Christmas Market
Dates: November 25-December 18, 2022 open only Fridays and Sundays. Open on December 19-23 and 27-30.
Hours: 10 am-7 pm.
This smaller town is just outside of Colmar and is easily reachable by car or bus. During the holiday season, there is the Navettes de Noel, or the Christmas Shuttle, that leaves Colmar and goes to various smaller towns for their markets.
For Eguisheim, you can access it from Colmar every 3 hours from morning until evening. It runs every day during the holiday season, but remember to visit when the markets are open in Eguisheim!
Also, be sure to get your tickets early. There is a stand near the train station where you can purchase your bus pass for the day to head there and back.
Known as being a part of the “Most Beautiful Villages of France,” you’ll be instantly charmed by Eguisheim. And during the Christmas markets, it is even more charming thanks to the twinkling lights, decorated buildings, and the Advent festival itself in the city center.
It is a smaller market, with only 30 selected craftspeople selling their wares, so you’ll be sure to find amazing handcrafted items to bring home along with tasty treats!
This is an easy day trip from Colmar, but if you wish to spend the night, check out Hameau d’Eguisheim.
5. Obernai Christmas Market
Dates: November 25-December 31, 2022.
Hours: Monday-Thursday from 10 am-7 pm. Friday-Sunday from 10 am-8 pm. Opens at 4 pm on November 25, and closes at 4 pm on December 24 and 31. Closed on Christmas Day.
This Christmas market is easily reachable via train from Strasbourg. Within a half hour, you’re at the Obernai train station and from there, walk toward the amazing markets in this town.
This ended up being my absolute favorite village during the whole Alsace Christmas market trip we took! The markets weren’t packed with crowds (although, I recommend going mid-week as we did!), and this village is known for its delightful food during the holiday season.
Enjoy tasty treats from pate a tartiner to pain d’epices and more. I also had the best vegetable soup of my life at a soup stand at the Beffroi market!
I recommend starting at the main market at Place du Marche in the city center with its dreamy carousel and charming stands selling mulled wine and tasty treats. Then walk over to the Beffroi market to sample some local wine and some great food like veggie soup.
The Place de l’Etoile is another market that is kid-friendly with some rides for kids and a place to drop off their letters to Santa!
While you’re over there, head to the Church of Saints Peter and Paul in Obernai for amazing nativity sets from around Europe. It is such a lovely church and the nativity sets are so cute!
Then, end your time here at the Place Neher market for more mulled wine and the most incredible Emmental-cheese-covered galettes de pommes de terre.
While this is a super easy day trip from Strasbourg if you prefer to stay the night in Obernai, check out the Hotel de la Cloche.
6. Kaysersberg Christmas Market
Dates: November 25-27, 2022, the weekends of December 2-4, 9-11, and December 16-20, 2022.
Hours: 10 am-8 pm.
Kaysersberg has a ridiculously charming Alsace France Christmas market. I mean the town itself is nestled below a hill of vineyards and has delightful cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses. Oh, and I cannot forget the beautiful castle ruins overlooking the village.
But during the Christmas market season in France, it has even more charm with its festive 30 chalets at its Authentic Christmas Market. Try some bredele, find handcrafted toys and decor, and sip mulled wine from a lovely little glass mug.
Then, be sure to stop by the Christmas Farmers Market where you can sample fresh pain d’epices, cheeses, honey, jams, and more.
And if you want to see a fun Christmas exhibition, check out the Arsenal Room next to the tourism office.
The easiest way to get to Kaysersberg is to take the Navettes de Noel (Christmas shuttle from Colmar). Although, you can drive if you wish and find parking nearby.
There are Christmas shuttles that run from Colmar to Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville or the opposite direction on Friday-Sunday during the holiday season. It costs €10 per person for the day pass, and it can be purchased at the Colmar train station.
The buses run from morning until evening on those days, and they arrive every 30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday and every 2 hours on Friday.
But get here early! We got there early to purchase tickets and caught the first shuttle to Kaysersberg. While at the beginning the markets were empty and it was a ton of fun, within an hour or two the village got crowded. So my advice is to enjoy the markets, walk around the super lovely town, and then head back to the bus to check out more markets.
If you choose to drive and/or want to stay, a hotel to check out is Chambard.
7. Riquewihr Christmas Market
Dates: November 26-December 21, 2022
Hours: Monday-Friday from 10 am-6:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-7:30 pm.
This beautiful town is located in the heart of the Alsace wine region, making it one of the best Christmas markets in the Alsace in France! With gorgeous views of vineyards and lovely ancient ramparts, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Riquewihr during the Christmas markets in the Alsace season.
Unlike other smaller Alsace France Christmas markets, the one in Riquewihr is open every day. So you can either drive here or opt to come and visit when the Christmas shuttles operate from Colmar on Friday-Sunday.
The Riquewihr Christmas market has about 100 stalls selling lots of local beer, mulled wine, and food to people. And on weekends, it even extends along Rue du General de Gaulle. I absolutely loved sampling Alsactian tartiflette with sausages and Munster cheese!
Oh, and for wine lovers, there are so many great stands selling local wines from local vintners! Try Rieslings, Pinot Blancs, and some Pinot Noir in the middle of the market.
Again, this makes for an easy day trip via the Colmar Christmas shuttle, but you can stay at a lovely hotel like the Hotel Restaurant Saint-Nicolas.
8. Ribeauville Christmas Market
Dates: December 3, 4, 10, and 11, 2022
Hours: Saturday from 10 am-7 pm and Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
Is this an incredible and magical Christmas market? Yes. Does it make Alsace in winter a dreamy Medieval wonderland? Absolutely. Is it super freaking crowded the later in the day you go? 100%.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED this market! It is known as the Marche de Noel Medieval de Ribeauville, aka the Medieval Christmas Market in Ribeauville. And the whole town gets into it!
Aside from the buildings being adorably decorated and the castle towering over the village that looks epic at night all lit up, you’ll find people dressed up, people on stilts, a live band, farm animals, live demonstrations for things like making apple cider the old fashioned way, and more!
The whole vibe is incredible! I mean you’ll find anything from a whole pig roasting over a fire to random sword fights breaking out. If a Renaissance fair turned into a Christmas market, this would be it!
And the market stretches the length of the Grand Rue with stands dotting the street as well as plazas like Place Gouraud, Maison Jeanne d’Arc, Place de la 1ere Armee, Cour de la Mediatheque, Place de l’Hotel de Ville, Cour Sipp, Place de la Sinne, Place du Bouc, and Place de la Republique.
Basically, there is a lot to see and do! Don’t forget to enjoy the animations on buildings that happen after the sun goes down!
But… while I absolutely loved it, because it is such a unique market in a scenic town and only happens on two weekends a year, it is insanely busy. In some areas, I was genuinely afraid that if something happened, people would definitely get hurt from crowd crush.
I recommend potentially getting here earlier in the day, going on a Sunday morning, or, if you do go on a Saturday night, trying to get off of the Grand Rue and get on the smaller side streets to get to some of the markets.
The easiest way to get here is to take the Navettes de Noel bus from Colmar. But if you choose to drive, it is a good idea to stay the night before you visit the markets so you can get there when they open for the least amount of people.
A good hotel in Ribeauville is the Hotel du Mouton.
Which is the Best of the Alsace France Christmas Markets?
I’ll be honest that I absolutely loved each and every one of the markets I visited during my time exploring the Alsace. I think the most unique with great food and drinks has to be the Ribeauville Christmas Market.
However, with the lack of crowd control, I’m going to say that the best Christmas market in the Alsace is Obernai!
I love that you can visit during the week and not deal with a lot of people, and the markets were small with so many great booths selling local products, handcrafted goods, and really delicious food.
Plus, it is a small town with adorably charming half-timbered houses all decorated for the season. I could’ve stayed there for several days!
I also loved the Strasbourg and Colmar Christmas markets! They had so much cute stuff to purchase and tons of great booths selling food and drinks. Not to mention that these cities go all out with a lot of great decor and lit-up streets.
The Ultimate Alsace Christmas Market Itinerary in 5 Days
Now that you know about the best Alsace Christmas markets, let me share a perfect 5-day itinerary to see most of the markets without being rushed.
Day 1: Arrive and Explore Strasbourg
I would use this day to arrive from Paris or the Strasbourg airport and just wander around the old city of Strasbourg. Explore the Petite France area, visit the amazing Christmas markets all over the city, and enjoy.
You can definitely see most of the markets in the old city within a day or so, so this is the perfect day to do just that.
Stay in Strasbourg at Hotel Hannong.
Day 2: Wine Route Day Trip
I recommend exploring the Alsace Wine Route this day, because…I mean you’re in the area, right? This was a fabulous day trip we took from Strasbourg that included visits to 3 very different and charming wineries!
We also got to stop in Ribeauville for lunchtime during the week when it wasn’t crowded for the Medieval Market which was lovely.
Some great wines to try include Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Noir.
Enjoy a full-day wine tour of the Alsace region and end the evening in Strasbourg, where you can explore a market or two before bed.
Day 3: Day Trip to Obernai
This day is a great opportunity to take the train to Obernai and check out their delightful Christmas markets. Enjoy a leisurely morning wandering around Petite France in Strasbourg and grabbing breakfast before heading to Obernai for the late morning and afternoon.
Partake in all the delicious cuisine at the markets, sip local wine, and admire the charming town for the day before heading back in the evening to Strasbourg.
Day 4: Explore Colmar
This day is a great time to take the short train to Colmar and stay at Hotel Turenne. Use this day to explore all the markets in Colmar, sampling all the food and drinks as well as purchasing some handcrafted goods.
You can see all the Colmar Christmas markets within a day pretty easily, so that makes for a fantastic time. And in the evening, head to Caveau Saint Pierre for amazing local food.
Day 5: Explore the Markets of Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville
I recommend planning this trip so that you have your 5th day on the weekend to be able to take the Christmas shuttle, or Navettes de Noel, from Colmar to these towns. Alternatively, you can also drive yourself if you rent a car.
During our trip, we did the shuttle that went to Kayserberg, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville in that order, but there is another shuttle that goes the opposite direction. That may be a good idea to prevent getting stuck in the crowds at night in Ribeauville.
But take the full day to enjoy all these towns and markets, and make tons of great memories!
After that, you’ll head back to Colmar and end your perfect Alsace Christmas Market trip!
Have More Time in the Alsace at Christmas?
Then definitely take some time to explore other towns above like Mulhouse and Eguisheim.
What to Eat at the Alsace Christmas Markets
There are so many great treats to enjoy at the Alsace Christmas markets! Here are some things you’ve got to eat!
- Tarte Flambee (Flammekueche). This is a thin-crust dough topped with cheese or creme fraiche, onions, and lardons (bacon). Yes, it is as amazing as that sounds.
- Foie Gras. This is a French delicacy and is available at every Alsace Christmas market!
- Munster. One of the best French cheeses, this isn’t like the muenster cheese you may know. This is a soft rind cheese that is funky and delicious. They usually put it on spatzle or potatoes at the markets. Yum.
- Pain d’Epices. At every Alsatian Christmas market, you’re bound to find booths selling these large loaves of dark bread. Some have various things added, but these spiced breads (aka gingerbread) loaves are amazing. You can also find these in cookie form too!
- Bredele. Spiced cookies are all over the Alsace and are well worth a try.
- Bretzels (Pretzels). Who doesn’t love a nice, salty soft pretzel? You’ll find these plain, salt-covered, cheese-covered, chocolate covered, etc.
- Mannele. These are yummy brioche buns that are shaped into people.
What to Drink at the Best Alsace Christmas Markets
Something that I really enjoyed was the wide variety of beverages at the Alsace Christmas markets! Here are some of the ones you’ll want to try during your visit!
- Vin Chaud (Mulled Wine or Gluwhein). I mean, this is an obvious choice! With all the yummy spices of the season like cinnamon, anise, cloves, etc. you’ll feel warmed up in no time. You can find it in both red and white in many places. And sometimes you can add a shot of amaretto, rum, whiskey, or Eau de Vie (their local liquor).
- Local Alsatian Wine. There are booths at many of these markets from local vintners. Here, you can try so many types of their local wines from Cremant to Riesling and more. You can also purchase a bottle or two to take home!
- Local Alsatian Beer. Likewise, with wine, there are local breweries selling their beers too! You can sample, buy a beer to enjoy at the market, or even purchase some to take home!
- Eau de Vie. This is a local liquor and digestif that is made from fruit.
- Chocolat Chaud. Hot chocolate is the lovely, creamy, hot beverage to kick off your day of exploring the Alsace Christmas markets!
- Other Mulled Beverages. While Vin chaud is very popular at markets, there are tons of other hot spiced drinks you can enjoy including apple cider, orange juice, etc.
The Alsace Christmas markets are seriously incredible to explore. It gives you the chance to feel like a child again with the lights, smells, and sounds of the season. After a visit, you’ll likely be addicted and want to visit again every year!
Which French Christmas markets would you most like to visit?
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