We’ve done a lot of pieces on states and other attractions in the U.S. but now, it’s time we go abroad and into the great places in Europe. What better place to visit that France. When we think of France, we are reminded of places like Paris and the Eiffel Tower. But of course, these are just dots in the bustling nation that is France. Visiting Paris is always a given when in France so this time, we are headed to one of the most unpopular but well-worth it destinations out there. This time, we are headed to Colmar, France. Steeped in rich history and culture, Colmar remains to be an underrated place in France that all traveler should consider visiting at least once.
Located in the north-eastern region of France, Colmar is the third-largest commune of Alsace. It is also the seat of the prefecture of the Haut-Rhin department and the arrondissement of Colmar-Ribeauville. The town proper is located right at the Alsatian Wine Route and is considered to be the capital of Alsatian Wine. There are various things Colmar is known for but it is most noted for its landmarks and museums.
Colmar itself was first mentioned by Charlemagne during his writings about the Saxon Wars. The city was later on given the status of being a free imperial city by Emperor Frederick II in 1226. In 1354, Colmar became a part of the Decapole city league. There are several other key events in Colmar’s history but it officially becoming a city was one of the most vital parts of its rich long history.
If you are headed to Colmar, you’ll need to bring cameras, a ton of memory, and of course, a trusty charger. One of the things that Colmar is most credited for is its amazing historic structures, most of which survived the French Revolution and other major wars that struck France. Through years of restoration and care-taking, these structures were able to stand the test of time and human error.
We can go on and on about Colmar’s amazing structures but of course, we’re sure that you are already excited to book your flight to France to head to this marvelous city. Before we tell you about the things that you can do and expect in the city, here are some important reminders to keep in mind before you go on your trip.
- 1 How to Get to Colmar France
- 2 Best Time to Visit Colmar France
- 3 Tips for Visiting Colmar, France
- 4 Picture Perfect Colmar France
- 4.1 Old Town and Place de la Cathedrale
- 4.2 Musee Unterlinden
- 4.3 Koifhus, Ancienne Douane
- 4.4 Quartier de la Krutenau
- 4.5 Quartier des Tanneurs
- 4.6 Quai de la Poissonnerie
- 4.7 Eglise Saint Martin
- 4.8 Eglise Saint Matthieu
- 4.9 Musee Anime du Jouet et des Petits Trains
- 4.10 Chapelle Saint Pierre
- 4.11 Ancien Corps de Garde
- 4.12 Maison Pfister
- 4.13 Musee Bartholdi
- 4.14 La Maison des Tetes
How to Get to Colmar France
There are numerous ways to get to Colmar, France so regardless of whether or not you are or are not within the nation, you’ll easily get to your destination.
If you are coming from the U.S., your easiest route to get to Colmar are the airports in Zurich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt. Ideally, you’ll want to head to the Zurich airport as it is the most convenient thanks to its assortment of regular trains that travel to Colmar. There are trains that go directly to Colmar form the Stuttgart and Frankfurt airports. However, these are longer trips ahead. If you feel as if you’ll need to rest up after a flight, then the Stuttgart and Frankfurt airports are perfect for you.
Alternatively, you can also head to Basel or Strasbourg via connecting flights from Paris, Amsterdam or even Munich. From Basel or Strasbourg, you can easily rent a car and get to Colmar which is roughly 30 minutes away from the airport. You can also use that car to go around Colmar. Our word of advice is to book your car ahead of the flight just to guarantee that there’s a vehicle waiting for you upon arrival.
Best Time to Visit Colmar France
Based on our experience, we believe that the best time to go to Colmar is during late fall. During this season, hotel rates are much cheaper as there are fewer tourists. Of course, fewer tourists is a big plus, as well as that, means you can easily take pictures of Colmar’s structures with the least people as possible.
Regarding the rates at the hotels, you can expect to pay at least 45% less than the average rate during the winter season. You can save a lot more if you book your hotel several months prior to the trip. As for the temperature, expect temperatures in the high 40s which is just a bit warmer than the average during summer. This is just the perfect season and temperature to visit Colmar and explore all of its amazing sights.
If you want to avoid heavy crowds and high hotel rates, then you may want to avoid visiting Colmar during early winter. While the weather is generally cooler, expect to brush shoulders with a heavy influx of visitors from around the world. More specifically, you may want to avoid Marche de Noel week from December 13th-22 and Thanksgiving week from November 24 to 27.
If you are thinking about visiting Colmar, France, you need to consider whether you’ll be comfortable walking around the city. That means the weather must be perfect, and the crowds must be thin. That way, you’ll get the most out of your trip and enjoy everything at its fullest.
Tips for Visiting Colmar, France
- Ready an Itinerary – as we’ve said, there are a ton of places to visit in Colmar. If you don’t want to waste energy or if you don’t want to run around in circles, be sure to ready a route that you’ll be taking on your walk. Ideally, you’d want to ensure that your trip flows as smoothly as possible by mapping which areas you need to go first.
- Get a Tour if Possible – guided tours are available in Colmar. We suggest taking these tours as not only will you be guided by a professional, you’ll also be able to understand the rich history and story behind the structures that you’ll be visiting. These guided tours are cheap if you know where to look. They’ll take you to all of the top spots including the best restaurants, hotels, and even best structures.
- Ready Powerbanks – We’re not exaggerating when we say that there are a lot of pictures worth taking in Colmar. There’s a good chance that your battery will be drained again and again. To remedy such issues and to ensure that you are taking all the pictures you want taken, bring several power banks so you are ready.
- Exchange Notes Before You Go – one of the biggest mistakes when going to a trip abroad is that travelers tend to exchange currencies there. We recommend doing so before you go as rates are generally better where you are.
- Don’t Forget to Bring a Camera – there are a lot of picturesque spots in Colmar France and it would be a waste if you won’t be able to capture them in photos. Thus, make sure that you bring a camera with you. And speaking of the picturesque spots, here are some picture perfect attractions in Colmar.
Picture Perfect Colmar France Attractions
Colmar France is known for its sunny microclimate and as the capital of the Alsatian wine region. But its climate and wines aren’t the only things that you should consider as reasons to visit the place.
Apparently, Colmar France has a lot more attractions to offer than just that. And we’re sure that they will not just make your visit memorable and fun but will help you create the most gorgeous travel photos that are Instagram worthy too. And so, without further ado, here are the top spots in Colmar France that we highly recommend, especially for those who want to curate their Instagram feed with aesthetically pleasing photos.
1Old Town and Place de la Cathedrale
Probably the first place in Colmar France that tourists and locals alike will recommend to you is the Old Town. This is because it is one of the most picturesque parts of the city. With its streets with colorful corbelled wood houses and beautiful renaissance palaces decorated with flower, it is definitely worth the drive for that Instagram worthy photo. The Old Town is surrounded by several restaurants and other attractions as well. That said, visiting this place is like hitting multiple birds with one stone. It’s a must-add to your travel itinerary.
Speaking of the gems in the Old Town. Another beautiful spot in Colmar France is the Place de la Cathedrale, which is located in the heart of Old Town. It is one of the popular spots in the Old Town because of the restaurants and other attractions that it has. In fact, its previous visitors’ reviews from Tripadvisor can say it all.
Musee Unterlinden is one of the Instagram worthy places in Colmar France that we highly recommend too for its nice exteriors. It has a simple yet beautiful fountain in front and it has an alluringly preserved double-arcaded cloister that is solely perfect for that Instagram photo. However, what’s inside the Musee Unterlinden will amaze you too.
Inside, you’ll see an extensive collection of Gothic and Romanesque sculptures, folk art, medieval paintings, and more crafts. Its first floor alone will astound you as it is solely devoted to Alsatian furniture, toys, and decorative objects such as faience, stained glass, prints, and porcelain.
It also has a chapel, the Isenheim Chapel, which is also one of the museum’s highlights. Inside, you’ll find fine paintings made by German artists like Lucas Cranach the Elder, Isenmann, and Martin Schongauer. There are works by Picasso, Rouault, Leger, Mathieu, Braque, and Vasarely.
3Koifhus, Ancienne Douane
Another one of the picture perfect places in Colmar France is the Koifus, Ancienne Douane or the Old Custom House. But don’t get discouraged by its name. Just because it is old, doesn’t mean you don’t have something to enjoy here. Apparently, its exteriors still looks lovely and you can take photos for that perfect Instagram post too. On its left, you can strike a pose at the spiral staircase. It also has a graceful balcony and ladder. The roof, needless to say, is worth talking about too with its colorful varnished tiles, which is the most prominent feature of the place. But what’s inside is worth seeing as well. In fact, there are several concerts held at times too.
4Quartier de la Krutenau
Quartier de la Krutenau, also known as the Little Venice, is also worth talking about for its picture-perfect neighborhood. Here, you’ll find several colorful buildings that will make you feel as if you’re in Venice, Italy (which is why it is named like so). There is also a canal where small boats take passengers on scenic rides, just like in Venice. The lush willow trees and greenery line the river too plus flourishing potted flowers decorate the houses that makes the ambiance even more perfect. The best part is that, aside from sightseeing and picture taking, tours are also being offered in the area which will make you get to know the place all the more.
5Quartier des Tanneurs
Quartier des Tanneurs or the Tanners’ Quarter is yet another one of the beautiful neighborhoods that Colmar France has. Here, you can get to enjoy the views of the picturesque canals, as well as the wonderfully restored half-timbered houses that even date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The nearby attractions are a must-visit too like the Market Hall and the Palais de Justice (also known as the Law Courts in English). Also, there is Hotel des Chevaliers de St-Jean (or the House of St. John’s Knights) that is built in the style of a Venetian palace. This place is also considered as one of the most unusual Renaissance mansions in Alsace. Thus, it is definitely not to be missed.
6Quai de la Poissonnerie
Quai de la Possonnerie should also make it to your travel itinerary of the Instagram worthy attractions in Colmar France. This is because the place also boasts of beautiful half-timbered houses. The cobble stoned streets also make the place even more gorgeous plus the canals and river that surrounds it. It is so beautiful that wherever you point your camera, you will still definitely capture good photos. They will make your Instagram feed look even better. It’s a nice place for sightseeing too.
7Eglise Saint Martin
Colmar France’s churches are really wonderfully made that will also give you good travel photos. Located at the Place de Cathedrale, Eglise Saint Martin is one of the beautiful churches in the city. On the outside, you will already love the place as it also boasts of a wonderful design that reflects the grandeur of a medieval cathedral. But its interiors are worth talking about too.
Constructed between the 13th and 14th centuries, Eglise Saint Martin has a High Gothic choir that contains 15th-century stained glass and fine carved woodwork that will leave you in awe. The church also has other decorative details on the inside that will impress you.
8Eglise Saint Matthieu
This church is also one of the Colmar France churches that will give you nice photos for your Instagram feed plus lets you have a more memorable experience. Constructed by the Franciscans in 1292, this place boasts of an austere style that is typical of the mendicant orders of Alsace. But unlike its name, the church didn’t just serve as a mere church over the years. Back in the day, it really did once served as the city’s Protestant house of worship. However, when the Franciscan monastery closed in the 1540s, this place was turned into a hospital. As time passes by, people use it again for Protestant worship even until today. But it is also often used as a venue for concerts due to the fact that it has excellent acoustics. In fact, the Colmar International Festival of Music is also held here every summer. That said, you will not just get to have good photos but a unique experience as well, especially if you’re lucky enough to attend the special events that it holds.
9Musee Anime du Jouet et des Petits Trains
What’s even more picture perfect that seeing cute little toys displayed? If you are traveling with kids or if you are a kid at heart, the Musee Anime du Jouet et des Petits Trains is one of the perfect Colmar France attractions that you should visit. This is because the three-floor Museum has an extensive collections of toy cars, dolls, toy boats, and model trains. Musee Anime du Jouet et des Petits Trains also holds puppet shows that kids will surely love. The museum also has a kilometer-long train network that will enchant even the kids at heart. It’s not just perfect for pictures but the place is also entertaining.
10Chapelle Saint Pierre
Another church from Colmar France that you need to check out for that perfect Instagram post is the Chapelle Saint Pierre. Aside from its beautiful Baroque style, this place is known for its beautiful garden that features a monument created by sculptor Batholdi that is dedicated to the Colmar physicist G. A. Hirn. But Chapelle Saint Pierre isn’t just famous for the beautiful garden that it has but the tranquil atmosphere that it gives as well. This place is definitely a perfect spot for when you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle in the city.
11Ancien Corps de Garde
Ancient Corps de Garde (or the Former Guard House in English) is also one of the Colmar France attractions that we can recommend if you want to visit the most Instagram worthy places in the city. This is because, like the other picturesque Colmar France attractions in this list, of its gorgeous design. Built in 1575, Ancien Corps de Garde boasts of a beautifully detailed oriel window where the decision of the town council used to be announced. The place also features an interesting ornately decorated loggia, which is, by the way, considered as a gem of Renaissance architecture in the Upper Rhine area. Ancien Corps de Garde is also a stone throw away from the 14-th century Maison Adolph which is known as the town’s oldest surviving private house.
Maison Pfeister also makes a good subject for that perfect Instagram photo. Like the other Colmar France attractions, this place is also beautiful in its own way. But unlike other attractions that are designed with vibrant colors, this place is not. Rather, it looks more like a house straight from a Disney Movie. Still, such uniqueness and beauty makes it worthy of your time as you will not regret seeing its Alsatian Renaissance architectural design. Some of its features that you shouldn’t miss includes the turreted spiral stairway, the 16-century old frescoes and medallions displayed on the façade, the corbelled wooden gallery on its third floor, the arcade on the lower floor, and the marvelous two-story bay window. Everything here is unbelievably grand and cute at the same time, making it worthy of your visit.
Musee Bartholdi is also one of the nice places to visit in Colmar France if you’re looking for a picture perfect attraction in the city. Designed with cobble stone floors and statues, the outside part of Musee Bartholdi is already worth seeing. But wait until you see what’s inside too. Some of the highlights in this museum are the works of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, the man who created the famous Statue of Liberty, the monumental Lion of Belfort, and the statue of Vercongetorix in Clermont-Ferrand, that includes the early stages of Statue of Liberty. There is an exhibit about Alsace’s historic Jewish community too with a cabinet, carved stone from the 1600s and 1700s, and an ark.
14La Maison des Tetes
La Maison des Tetes is also one of the architectural wonders that also counts as one of the most picturesque places in Colmar France. Initially built for Anton Burger, the city’s mayor during the 17th century, this place boasts of a lovely German renaissance design. Named for the 106 carved stone heads on its façade (which has been recently restored, by the way), this place can brag about its unparalleled beauty from top to bottom. To give you an idea of what it looks like, it has a statue on top, that depicts the Tonnelier (cooper) de Colmar, that seems as if it is crowning it. Maison de Tetes also has odd windows. They have different widths and are positioned irregularly on the façade. Still, they make the place uniquely beautiful all the more. It is, by the way, designed by Bartholdi so you can really expect good design to see once you get there.
Colmar still has a lot to offer. In fact, these are just a gist of the amazing things that you can get to see in the said city; so be sure to not miss Colmar when you visit France.