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Unforgettable Day Trip from Strasbourg to Colmar: A Traveler's Guide

Alsace is a region brimming with charm, from its half-timbered houses and quaint cobblestone streets to its hearty dishes, delicious wine, and flower-adorned villages... It's an area I highly recommend visiting if you're planning a trip to France.

If you're spending a few days in Strasbourg, the Christmas capital, you should take a day trip to Colmar. You'll get a refreshing change of scenery: you'll have the chance to explore more of Alsace in this city known for its quintessential Alsatian charm.

Especially since Colmar is very close to Strasbourg, whether by train or car. So if you're staying in Strasbourg for 3 or 4 days, consider dedicating a day to visit Colmar.

Discover all my tips for your day trip itinerary from Strasbourg to Colmar as well as all the must-do activities.

How to get from Strasbourg to Colmar in Alsace?

Heading to Colmar for a day? Great choice! This town is a little gem, and I'm here to guide you.

To get to Colmar from Strasbourg, you have several options:

  • Train to Colmar from Strasbourg: If you're looking for a mix of convenience and scenic beauty, the train is your best bet. In just about 30 minutes, you can travel from Strasbourg to Colmar. This option allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes (views of the Vosges, fields, and the ancient castles of Alsace), all for around €14.70 per ticket with SNCF.
  • By car-sharing:  Are you flexible with your schedule and traveling with a tight budget? Then car-sharing might be perfect for you. Check out Blablacar for a variety of options. It's a chance to meet locals, chat about the region and discover lesser-known spots in both Strasbourg and Colmar. The cost can vary depending on the day and the driver, but you can expect to pay between €5 and €12 p.p. on average for a one-hour drive.
  • By car: If you value total freedom in planning your day, driving could be the way to go, despite being less practical on busy days like during the Christmas market. If you choose to drive, consider parking at Lacarre (€3.00 for the day) or Rapp (€3.30 per hour). And here's a little tip: on your way, look out for the miniature Statue of Liberty at the roundabout!
One of Colmar's half-timbered house

Day trip itinerary: top attractions to visit in Colmar

Colmar is like a live postcard from Alsace, with its cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses.

I'll keep it simple and straight to the point, so you can easily pick out the places you absolutely don't want to miss. Trust me, each spot has its own story and charm that you'll love to discover.

Christmas market from Strasbourg to Colmar

Christmas markets here in the Alsace region are cozy and magical. Imagine sipping hot mulled wine as you wander through the stalls, each one filled with unique crafts, local delicacies, and Christmas holiday treats... The air is (always) filled with the scent of hot mulled wine – it's truly irresistible!

If you're staying in Strasbourg around the holiday season, you absolutely have to hop over to Colmar for the Christmas market! It's a more authentic Christmas market with a more intimate and picturesque atmosphere than Strasbourg. And the best point: it's less crowded!

Don't miss the chance to try some local Alsace wine or pick up a handcrafted ornament for your tree.

Christmas in Colmar
Christmas in Colmar

Colmar's Old Town

Originating in the 13th century, Colmar's old town grew from the Obehof and Niederhof districts. Covering 68 hectares within ancient walls, it flourished in the 16th century. 

Definitely make your way to the Grand'Rue. This cobbled shopping street is your gateway to the old town's heart. Lined with shops, bars, and winstubs (traditional Alsatian wine lounges), it's the perfect place to experience the local vibe!

As you explore Colmar's Old Town, I highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll through its streets. Start with the must-see landmarks, each with its own story. Then, meander through the souvenir shops – they're perfect for finding a piece of Colmar to take home.

Enjoy Colmar Old Town's unmissable places:

  • La Maison Pfister: built in 1537, La Maison Pfister embodies Colmar's Renaissance architecture. Its two-story corner oriel, octagonal turret, and vivid wall paintings make it a symbol of Colmar's rich history. Once a hat maker's home, it's now an iconic representation of the city's architectural heritage.
  • Eglise Saint-Martin: the Saint Martin Church, a Gothic architectural marvel, stands as Colmar's most significant religious structure. Often likened to a cathedral, its imposing presence and intricate designs showcase the region's medieval craftsmanship. It's a testament to Colmar's historical and spiritual depth, second only to Strasbourg in grandeur.
  • Koïfhus (or Ancienne Douane): it's Colmar's oldest public building. Once the heart of the city's economic life, it now stands as a monument to Colmar's historical trade and governance. Its architecture reflects the town's rich past, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
  • Fontaine Schwendi: featuring Lazare de Schwendi, it's steeped in legend and history. Rebuilt after WWII, it symbolizes Colmar's resilience. The statue, holding a vine, allegedly represents the introduction of the Tokay (Pinot Gris) grape to Alsace, marking Colmar's deep-rooted wine heritage.
  • La Maison des Têtes: built in 1609, it's a Renaissance masterpiece. Famous for its 106 grotesque heads and a three-story oriel, it reflects the artistic and cultural richness of the era. Auguste Bartholdi's cooper statue crowns this historical building, adding to its unique allure.

The Little Venice

Little Venice, nestled in the Krutenau district of Colmar, is a picturesque and historic area, reminiscent of Venice, Italy, with its charming canals of the Lauch. This place is known for its beautifully preserved traditional Alsatian houses and winding canals.

There are cozy little places to grab a drink, sweet bakeries, and some neat shops to poke around in. It's really one of the prettiest parts of Colmar. This area is considered one of the most picturesque and quintessential parts of the city.

For a truly Venetian experience in Colmar, don't miss the traditional boat rides on the Lauch! These boat tours, reminiscent of Venice's gondola rides, take you from the covered market of Colmar through the old tanneries, now a lush residential area. It's a serene and picturesque way to experience the beauty of Little Venice and see Colmar from a different perspective.

Little Venice in Colmar with the Lauch canal
Little Venice in Colmar with the Lauch canal

Colmar's museums

Is it raining during your day trip in Colmar? Are you keen on history and culture? Then you should visit a museum while in Colmar.

  1. Musée Unterlinden: this is a must-visit in Colmar. Housed in a former convent, Musée Unterlinden is famous for its impressive art collection, including the renowned Isenheim Altarpiece. It's a cool mix of medieval and modern art, so there's something for everyone.
  2. Musée Bartholdi: If you're into sculptures and history, check out the Musée Bartholdi. It's dedicated to the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, Auguste Bartholdi. This museum, in his birthplace, showcases his sketches, models, and sculptures. It's a neat insight into his life and work.
  3. Natural History and Ethnography Museum: For a change of pace, head to the Natural History and Ethnography Museum. You'll see there local wildlife, fossils, and artifacts from different cultures. It's not just educational but also really fun to explore, especially if you're curious about nature and different ways of life.

Must do's for a Colmar day trip from Strasbourg

Bring a souvenir back from Colmar

When in Colmar, you've got to grab some souvenirs to remember your trip.

Here are my best spots for places to find unique, local souvenirs:

  • Épicerie Hansi: This place is perfect for authentic Alsatian goodies. Think sweet and savory Alsatian treats like bredele cookies, spaetzle, and pretzels. They also have local drinks – liqueurs, eaux de vie, whisky, and Alsatian beer sets. Plus, you'll find typical tableware and books. Also, there's a museum right there, so you can learn a bit while you shop.
  • Au Vieux Pignon: This shop is unique. It's in a building from 1588, so just stepping inside is like traveling back in time. They've got a bunch of nice souvenirs that's perfect for gifts or keepsakes.
  • Alsace Boutique: If you're into modern Alsatian pottery, this is your spot. They also have cute plush toys, home decor, and printed textiles featuring Jeannala and Seppala – two beloved Alsatian characters. It's a great place to find something a bit different and very local.

Have a snack in a tea room or café

You're starting to know me: I juste LOVE having sweat break and drinking hot drinks in coffee shops (by the way, I wrote an article about my best spots to drink coffee in Strasbourg - just saying!)... It's obvious that I recommend you take a tea/coffee break when exploring Colmar!

If you're craving a slice of something sweet and hearty, Jadis et Gourmande is the place to be. This café has a unique and cozy vibe, perfect for indulging in their generous and delicious pie slices. Just a heads-up – it can get quite busy, especially during tourist season. So, to prevent from waiting, I recommend making a reservation over the phone.

For a touch of British elegance in Colmar, head over to L'Artémise. This artisanal tea room and patisserie is a haven of comfort and tranquility. It's the ideal spot for a laid-back tea time. The calm atmosphere here makes it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

Gourmet break at Jadis et Gourmande in Colmar
Enjoying a gourmet pause in Colmar at Jadis et Gourmande!

Culinary experiences in Colmar: local cuisine

If you're planning to have lunch or dinner in Colmar, I recommend several traditional restaurants for Alsatian or French cuisine. To make sure you have a place, I recommend you book by phone:

  • Brasserie Chez Hansi, 23 Rue des Marchands
  • Restaurant Au Koïfhus, 2 Place de l'Ancienne Douane
  • La Brasserie des Tanneurs, 12 rue des Tanneurs
  • La Cocotte de Grand-Mère, 14 Place de l'École

Enjoy your day trip in Colmar from Strasbourg!

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About Audrey
Hi, I'm Audrey! Since I arrived in Strasbourg for my studies, I've fallen in love with this city. I love good food, escape games and long walks. Hope to guide you well in Alsace:)
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