It is said that Colmar is the essence of Alsace. With its half-timbered houses, flower-bedecked homes, and multitude of canals and bridges, the city seems to have been taken out of a romance. Wander through its cobblestone streets, taste its regional specialties, stride across neighboring vineyards—love at first sight, guaranteed!
Half-timbered houses, flowers and heritage
It's impossible to remain indifferent to Colmar. Here, you can enjoy the sweetness of life drawn from the historic pedestrian center as you stroll through its streets admiring the buildings' facades. Check out the House of the Heads and its 105 grotesque masks that decorate it. Admire the Pfister House with its angled bay windows, wooden galleries, octagonal turrets and murals depicting biblical and secular scenes. Another must-see sight is the Collegiate Church Saint-Martin, with its remarkable Gothic architecture. Beautiful during the day, Colmar is a wonder at night thanks to outdoor wall lights revealing new outlines and reliefs. Indeed, this is the theme of the Féerie des lumières (Wonder of Lights) tour organized every Saturday, from April to October, by the city's tourism office.
Féerie des lumières guided tour
Along the riverside
The best way to discover Little Venice, an emblematic district of Colmar, is aboard a flat-bottomed boat. Sail on the Launch river, which irrigates the canals crossing the district, and begin reliving the journey of market gardeners who used to cross it to take their products to the market building. A must-see spot is the fishmonger's district, connecting Little Venice to the area of Tanneurs. It was here, in these houses with colorful and sometimes quirky facades, where the fishermen of the city lived. The pier also served as an auction house.
Take a boat trip
Bæckeoffe, sauerkraut, späetzle, pretzels—these are the taste of Alsace, which Colmar has to offer in spades for sale in its covered market. This brick-and-stone building in Little Venice brings together some 15 merchants offering local products: meat, poultry, cheese, farm products, but also pretzels, wines and Alsace eaux-de-vie brandy, flowers and other spices. A must-taste is flammekueche, a flambéed tart with a very thin dough base and a mixture of cream, cottage cheese, bacon and onions (often called "Alsatian pizza"). Head to one of the city's winstubs, former wine bars converted into inns, to sample local cuisine. Save room for Gilg's kougelhopf, in old Colmar, or Bredele cookies, traditionally eaten at Christmas, that the Alsatian biscuit house makes all year long.
Alsatian biscuit house
Colmar covered market
Colmar in a bottle
There is a good reason why it is called the capital of Alsatian wines! In Colmar, vineyards bloom down to the historic center, as in the rue de l'Ange, where "Domaine Martin Jund" is located. This family-operated winery, whose wines are certified organic farming, implements a reasoned culture of grapes. During tastings offered by the house, visitors can learn more about the different wines of Alsace: Riesling, Gewurtztraminer or sparkling crémant wine, all products made from grapes harvested in the region around Colmar. A few blocks away, "Domaine Robert Karcher et Fils" welcomes us in an old farm dating back to 1602. There, among one-hundred-year-old oak barrels, we discover the vineyard's production planted on the land of Harth, a municipality of Colmar.
Domaine Martin Jund
Domaine Robert Karcher et Fils
From vineyards to castles
Colmar is the perfect starting point to discover the most beautiful villages of the Alsace Wine Route. Eguisheim, Kaysersberg or Riquewihr—along the route is a parade of vineyards. You can also take a walk in the romantic Schoppenwihr park, the first organic botanical garden in France, unless you prefer to take the Route des Cinq Châteaux (Route of the Five Castles), which includes the three castles of Haut-Eguisheim, Hohlandsbourg Castle and Pflixbourg Castle.
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• Plan your trip to Alsace