If you are at all familiar with France you’ve no doubt heard of the fairytale town of Colmar. It’s said to be the jewel of the Alsace region and the inspiration behind the village in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. After a couple of minutes of walking through ‘Little Venice’ you’ll see why! Colmar, like Strasbourg, is most photographed in the spring and summer with an explosion of flowers hanging from windows. However, the holiday season bring about a whole different look and trust me when I say, it’s absolutely magical. Thinking about spending Christmas in Colmar? Here’s everything you need to know about Colmar Christmas Markets.
Colmar Christmas Market Locations: Where to Stay
Colmar old town is about 15-minute walk from the train station. This is where all the Christmas markets are and, ideally, it’s, therefore, the best place to stay. It is very small, however, and can get pricey during the festive season so feel free to look for places outside of the town as well.
For some suggestions on where to stay in the old town of Colmar, consider:
Also, I want to mention that since Colmar is so tiny, it is a perfect day trip destination from the nearby bigger Strasbourg. This is how I visited the Colmar Christmas markets and it was really easy. I’ll share more on how to do that below but keep it in mind because Christmas markets in Strasbourg are pretty incredible so I absolutely recommend combining them.
Colmar Christmas Markets: What to Expect
Christmas markets in Colmar, France have a different opening date every year, so make sure to check on the tourism site ahead of time. Usually, they start the last week of November. Markets open at 10am and close rather early; 7pm most nights, 8pm on weekends.
Colmar has 6 Christmas markets in total, all very close together to the point where they actually tend to almost intertwine together. Which, really, just makes it that much more magical. The Colmar Christmas markets can be found in the following locations:
- Place Des Dominicains
- Place de l’Ancienne Douane
- Place Jeanne d’Arc
- Koifhus- Indoor Market
- Little Venice (Petite Venise)
- Gourmet Market Place de la Cathedrale
The markets here are much smaller than what you will find in Strasbourg, but don’t let that deter you because they still have plenty of charm.
Food is a common find at the Colmar Christmas markets. You can expect to find a number of stalls selling red or white mulled wine along with cider or hot chocolate. Of course, it wouldn’t be a French Christmas market without crepes and baguettes for sale as well! And, as per the Alsace region, you’ll find lots of little local Christmas cookies called bredel that are great for munching as you wander along or to take home to friends and family for the holidays.
You’ll also find plenty of Christmas ornaments and handmade goods including pottery (another popular souvenir from this region) or linens. Other common items for sale include jewellery, toys for children, and even artwork.
Don’t just browse the market stalls though! There are plenty of really cute Christmas stores in Colmar as well where you can find some great finds!
Colmar at Christmas: Prettiest Places to Photograph
I’ll be honest, all of Colmar is beautiful and if you are anything like me you’ll be walking around with your cellphone in one hand and camera in the other. I took SO many photos.
Little Venice is the most picturesque area and it’s done up with Christmas lights and decorations as well during the holiday season. The canal area is stunning, and keep walking across the bridge and down the streets and you’ll find yellow, blue, and pink houses that truly do look like they belong in Beauty and the Beast.
As you leave Little Venice and enter the main part of town you’ll find brightly coloured houses lining all the streets and Christmas decorations everywhere. To be honest, everything is worth looking at. Just don’t forget to look up to see the displays as well!
Colmar at Christmas: A Perfect Day Trip from Strasbourg
Colmar is really small, so instead of spending my time there, I chose to visit as a day trip from Strasbourg. It’s only 30 minutes by train and trains seem to run about every half-hour so it was incredibly easy.
I arrived early in the morning to take photos before the crowds came (good idea) which meant that by 3pm I had done and seen everything I wanted to so I headed back to my base in Strasbourg. It did, sadly, mean that I didn’t get to see Colmar’s Christmas markets all lit up at night, however, I could have stayed longer if I wanted to.
Personally, I think it might have been nice to spend 1 night here, but no more than that. Since I was travelling with a large suitcase I preferred having a base to explore the region so I didn’t have to keep packing up. For me, Colmar was a perfect and easy day trip from Strasbourg.
You can book your tickets ahead of time or, you can do what I did, and just buy from one of the machines at the station. It’s super easy and you can use your credit card. Just remember to validate your ticket at one of the yellow machines before boarding the train!
Final Tips for Visiting Colmar at Christmas
Adding Colmar to your Christmas market list? You absolutely should! But, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- Midweek will be much quieter on the weekend so, if you can, try to arrange to visit Monday-Thursday.
- Colmar is popular year-round, especially at Christmas. So book well in advance!
- Dress warmly, but also prepare yourself for rain. It was about 8C when I visited at the end of November, but there was rain in the forecast for the week I spent in Alsace. I recommend bringing a travel umbrella in case.
- Bring a reusable bag/day pack for your purchases. Most vendors just wrap things in paper rather than provide bags which can make it tricky to carry things around. I brought this packable day bag (that I love) and it was perfect for Christmas market shopping.
- While it doesn’t have the same security measures as Strasbourg, you will see a large number of police/military/security walking around the markets. It’s protocol after the attacks of 2018, so don’t stress.
Colmar is a stunning town, especially at Christmas. So, if you are in the area during the holiday season do not miss the Colmar Christmas markets!