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Colmar is such a charming town to visit year-round. Whether you want to explore its enchanting Christmas markets around the holiday season or stroll around Petite Venise in early spring, you’ll definitely want to spend at least one day in Colmar to enjoy its beauty.
Colmar is a town located in the Alsace region of France near the German border. Known for its colorful half-timbered houses, this city is part of the Alsace Wine Route and is a great place to try Alsatian cuisine as well as wine.
While this place certainly has a lot to offer, you can definitely see the best things to do in Colmar in just a day.
So let’s talk about how to make the most of Colmar in a day!
Best Things to do in One Day in Colmar
Between museums and exploring the Old City, here are the best things to do in one day in Colmar!
1. Petite Venise
First and foremost, you cannot miss the opportunity to stroll around Petite Venise in Colmar. Undoubtedly the most iconic part of Colmar, you’ll instantly fall in love with the vibrantly-hued half-timbered houses on either side of the lovely canal.
This is a fantastic place to stroll around in the morning together before things get crowded later on in the day. There are ample restaurants and shops in the area, and in the spring and summer, you’ll see plenty of flowers along the canal.
While in the area, be sure to also stop by Rue de Tanneurs, a former area for tanners, as well as Quai de la Poissonnerie, the fishermans’ quarters from yesteryear.
2. Colmar Old City
To continue your journey in Colmar in a day, be sure to wander around the old city or the Vieux Ville. You can admire places like the Ancienne Douane (or Koifhus), known as the “Old Custom House” which is a Gothic and Renaissance building.
This historical monument has a restaurant and is known during the holiday season to host a Christmas market here with plenty of artisanal goods both inside of the building as well as in the Place de l’Ancienne Douane outside.
Aside from that, there are other things to check out including the Fontaine Schwendi, Manneken-Pis de Colmar, and plenty of shops, museums, and restaurants.
3. Musee Bartholdi
Fun fact: did you know that the Statue of Liberty in New York City is a gift from France? And if you knew that, did you also know that the sculptor behind the Statue of Liberty is from Colmar?
So if you find yourself strolling around Colmar and notice little plaques on the ground with the Statue of Liberty on them, that’s why!
In Colmar, you can visit the Musee Bartholdi, which is the museum dedicated to Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty sculptor, and his work.
The museum is open February 1-December 31 on Tuesday-Sunday from 10 am-12 pm and 2-6 pm. The price is €5 for adults and an audioguide is €2.
4. Marche Couvert Colmar is a Must-See During Your One Day in Colmar
France is a place full of incredible markets, so you definitely want to check out this lovely covered market during your one day in Colmar!
This place has everything you could need including fish, fruits, veggies, spices, bread, meats, cheeses, and even wine! There are also a few restaurants for dine-in or takeaway.
The Marche Couvert Colmar is a fantastic place to stop in for lunchtime to either sit down and eat or to get things to make a picnic lunch at the next destination!
The Marche Couvert Colmar is open on Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 am-6 pm, Thursday from 7 am-6 pm, Friday from 8 am-7 pm, Saturday from 8 am-5 pm, and Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.
5. Parc du Champ de Mars
After your visit to the covered market, be sure to stop by Parc du Champ de Mars. This is a lovely park in Colmar that is perfect for a picnic! This park has a big fountain in the middle and several statues of famous French men around the vicinity. There is also a lovely carousel on the edge of the park.
Relax and enjoy your picnic before exploring the next stop.
6. Unterlinden Museum
Located in both a former public bathhouse and a 13th-century Dominican convent is this lovely museum in Colmar. The museum is most famously known for the Isenheim Altarpiece, but there are plenty of things to see here including art from the prehistoric era to the Renaissance and even up to the 20th century.
This museum is open Wednesday through Monday from 9 am-6 pm. Admission is €13 for adults plus €2 for an audio guide.
7. Visit the Lovely Churches of Colmar
Located within a 2-minute walk of each other are both the Eglise des Dominicains as well as the Eglise Saint Martin.
The Eglise des Dominicains is a church that dates back to 1283 and has some Alsatian art, and the Eglise Saint Martin is made in the Gothic style and has many notable things to see including the Statue of Virgin and Child, a life-sized Last Supper, and stained glass of Christ’s face.
The Eglise des Dominicains is open on Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday from 10 am-1 pm and 3-6 pm.
St Martin’s Church is open on Monday from 10 am-5:45 pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 8:15 am-5:45 pm, and Sunday from 10 am-7 pm except during services.
8. Go Wine Tasting
If you have time, you can certainly try some delicious Alsatian wine while in Colmar. There are a few cellars and shops that allow tastings.
Domaine Robert Karcher et Fils is one spot to check out where you can try Gewurztraminer, Cremant, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. This place is open on Sunday from 9 am-12 pm and Monday-Saturday from 8 am-12 pm, and 1:30-7 pm. Their hours do change seasonally, so be sure to check their website!
Domaine Martin JUND is another place to enjoy some tasty Alsatian wine. They offer 4 types of tastings including a discovery tasting, a deeper dive into Alsatian wine, as well as wine and chocolate or wine and cheese tastings. It is open on Tuesday-Saturday from 10:30 am-12 pm and 2-6 pm. You can book your tasting here!
9. Dinner at Caveau Saint Pierre to Wrap Up Your One Day in Colmar Itinerary
After a full day of exploring all the best of Colmar, you’ll have definitely worked up an appetite! And what better way to wrap up your one day in Colmar than with a taste of Alsatian food?
Head to Caveau Saint Pierre, located right along the canal, for a delicious dinner. Enjoy classics like tarte flambee (a very thin flatbread topped with fromage blanc or creme fraiche, onions, and bacon), knepfles (pasta made in the Alsace) topped with cheese, and, of course, delicious Munster cheese.
Caveau Saint Pierre is open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 12-1:30 pm and 6-8:30 pm. On Saturday, they are open from 8 am-8:30 pm.
After this, it is time to wrap up your day in Colmar!
If You Have More Time in Colmar
There are a couple of other things to see in and around Colmar if you have more time including the Statue of Liberty, located in a traffic circle a bit outside the downtown area, as well as the Toy Museum with all kinds of toys from yesteryear.
There is also the Choco Story Colmar, which is a museum dedicated to chocolate!
However, the best thing to do if you have more time in Colmar is to take a day trip! You can explore the romantic towns along the wine route, or better yet, take a wine day trip to see the vineyards and wineries of this area.
And for those who want to see more countries, there is even a day trip to see 3 villages in France, Germany, and Switzerland nearby.
And you can also hop on the train to discover nearby Strasbourg for a day!
Getting to Colmar and Getting Around
Thanks to its train station, you can get to Colmar fairly easily. You can fly into nearby Strasbourg and take a train to Colmar. The train ride to Colmar would be around an hour or less.
You can also fly into Paris or Zurich and take the train to Colmar. From Paris, it is about a 2-hour and 20-minute ride, and from Zurich, it is about 2-2.5 hours away.
Once you get to Colmar, if you just plan to stay in the city, it is pretty walkable. If you want to visit places outside of the main part of the city, you could use the bus.
Check out the bus schedule here!
And during the holiday season, they have the Navettes de Noel bus that’ll take you around to various towns in the Alsace like Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Kaysersberg, and more for the Christmas markets! But you need to get there early to get a spot on the bus and tickets.
Lastly, you can also rent a car and drive around the Alsace yourself. You can go at your own pace this way and not worry about catching a bus. I like AutoEurope for checking rental car prices.
Where to Stay in Colmar For a Day
While you could just take a day trip to Colmar from places like Strasbourg, I actually recommend spending the night here to get a feel for the town and not feel rushed. Here is where to stay in Colmar.
Budget: Hotel Turenne
While this hotel isn’t located directly on the canal or anything, it is still in a great area for exploring. The exterior is charming, and the rooms are nice and comfortable for your stay. You’re also within a few minutes from Petite Venise on foot.
Mid-Range: Hotel Colombier Suites
Located in Petite Venise on the Rue de la Poissonnerie, you’re in a fantastic location for exploring the area. Plus, the rooms here are lovely with a mix of modern touches and half-timbered walls.
Luxury: La Maison des Tetes
This lovely boutique hotel has 21 rooms and is a historic building. Named after its iconic 106 small stone heads on its facade, this hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant. The rooms here are charming and either have views of the street or courtyard.
When to Visit Colmar
While you could certainly visit Colmar any time of year, it is most famous for its incredible Christmas markets. The markets are typically open between late November and late December. Honestly, it is a fantastic time to visit the Alsace in general for the Christmas markets.
If you decide to visit then, I strongly recommend coming during the week. Weekends can be crowded, whereas visiting mid-week is lovely. If you do choose to visit around a weekend, you can perhaps have a couple of days in Colmar so you can visit Colmar’s markets on a Thursday or Friday and then check out the smaller Christmas markets in the other towns on Saturday when they are open.
Aside from the holiday season, the Easter and spring markets are a lovely sight to see as well! You can enjoy Easter delights like chocolate bunnies or buy Alsatian goods like plants, toys, and other treats!
Other than that, you really can’t go wrong with a visit to Colmar!
Would you visit Colmar in a day?
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