One Day in Colmar (Best Day Trip Itinerary)

A perfect itinerary for one day in Colmar (+ a map with all must-see places, the best wine bars and tips on how to see Colmar on a day trip from Strasbroug).

Situated in the Alsace region of northeastern France, Colmar is one of the most beautiful French towns. Its charming canals and colourful half-timbered houses decorated with flower pots make it look like something out of a fairy tale. Colmar lies along the famous Alsatian Wine Route, which winds through vineyard-covered hills and medieval villages.

Initially a Roman settlement, Colmar’s history can be traced back to the 9th century. Due to its strategic location near the border, the town has changed hands between France and Germany several times over the centuries. The result is a unique blend of both cultures, which you can see reflected in the architecture, language and food. Think of it as France with a twist.

Best 1-day Colmar Itinerary

Many people only visit Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, but the rest of the region is just as impressive. Others usually take a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar and don’t stay overnight. While it’s possible to explore this picturesque town in a few hours, I suggest spending at least one night there. Colmar is enchanting in the evenings, particularly during the Christmas season. Plus, you’ll have the chance to try some delicious Alsatian food.

This 1-day itinerary for Colmar includes all the essential attractions, along with recommendations for excellent restaurants and bakeries. If you’re visiting Colmar on a day trip from Strasbourg, you can easily follow this itinerary without making any changes. And in case you’re staying longer than one day, you’ll find some great day trips at the end of the post.

One Day in Colmar Itinerary (for first-timers)

  • Try the quiche Lorraine at L’atelier de Yann
  • Visit the iconic St. Martin’s Church
  • Admire Pfister House, the most famous house in Colmar
  • See the Old Customs House
  • Explore the picturesque Little Venice
  • Try the amazing Croque monsieur at Mokka Café
  • Visit Unterlinden Museum, the most popular museum in Alsace
  • Try Alsatian cookies at Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie
  • Taste local wines at Le Cercle Des Aromes

In my view, spending one day in Colmar is the bare minimum to experience this charming town truly. Furthermore, within a 30-minute car ride, you can find several fairytale towns like Riquewihr, Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, and Ribeauvillé. Yet, if your time is limited, I’ve included suggestions on how to explore Colmar on a day trip from Strasbourg right after this one-day itinerary.

Tips on your 1-day Colmar itinerary

Stay overnight – I strongly suggest staying overnight if possible, as Colmar gets quite crowded during the day with many tourists visiting on day trips from Strasbourg. During peak seasons (especially Christmas time) some smaller alleys could be completely blocked by crowds. I was glad that I decided to stay a few days, so I could explore the town early in the mornings before the crowds arrived.

Accommodation – have you booked a hotel already? Be sure to check your hotel’s location to ensure it’s in a convenient area (see my guide on where to stay in Colmar).

My favourite place to stay in Colmar: Hotel Le Maréchal
Why: excellent location, directly on the canals in Little Venice, gourmet restaurant on-site
What I like: charming rooms in Alsatian style with canal views, fantastic breakfast

Restaurants – if you’re visiting in the summer or during the Christmas time, make reservations a few weeks in advance. During my trip in December, it wasn’t possible to reserve a few days ahead for most of the restaurants. Many had signs that they were fully booked, and there wasn’t even an option to wait for a table.

Book tours or skip-the-line tickets with GetYourGuide or Tiqets (you get a mobile ticket + free cancellation). Tickets from attractions’ official websites are mostly non-refundable.

Mapfind here a map of this 1-day itinerary for Colmar (with all attractions and restaurants’ websites).

One Day in Colmar Itinerary

Morning

Breakfast at L’atelier de Yann

09:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Start your one day in Colmar with breakfast at L’atelier de Yann. Located right next to the cathedral, this café offers amazing desserts, sandwiches and quiches. It is my go-to spot for breakfast and lunch. I recommend tasting the quiche Lorraine, vanilla éclair, vanilla flan or the Nirvana chocolate cake.

atelier yann quiche
Quiche Lorraine at L’atelier de Yann
atelier yann cake
Nirvana chocolate cake at L’atelier de Yann

St. Martin’s Church

10:35 AM – 11:05 AM

St. Martin’s Church is located in the heart of Colmar. While commonly called Colmar Cathedral because of its grandeur and importance, St. Martin’s Church was never officially a cathedral. However, it briefly served as a cathedral from the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) to the Concordat of 1801 during the French Revolution.

St. Martin’s Church is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, featuring intricate stone carvings, beautiful stained glass windows and soaring spires. It was constructed between 1235 and 1365 from Vosges sandstone. Inside, you can admire the stunning stained glass windows, depicting biblical scenes, as well as an 18th-century Silbermann organ.

While I found the exterior of St. Martin’s Church to be more impressive, be sure to take a quick look inside as well.

colmar saint martin church
St. Martin’s Church is a must-see during your one day in Colmar
saint martin church inside
Inside St. Martin’s Church

Pfister House

11:10 AM – 11:20 AM

Pfister House (Maison Pfister) is one of the most famous houses in Colmar. It features woodwork and carvings typical of the Renaissance era. The facade is decorated with intricate designs, including biblical scenes and inscriptions.

Pfister House was built in 1537 by Ludwig Scherer, a wealthy merchant. Later in the 19th century, the Pfister family acquired the house, hence its name.

The house is not open to the public, but you can admire its magnificent facade from the street.

 pfister house
Pfister House is a must when visiting Colmar

Koïfhus

11:25 AM – 11:35 AM

Colmar was an important trading centre within the Holy Roman Empire. In 1354, it even joined the famous League of the Décapole, a trading alliance of ten free imperial cities in Alsace.

The Koïfhus, also known as the Old Customs House, played a crucial role in the city’s trade. It served as a central place, where merchants and traders met to do business and pay taxes on imported goods. Also, meetings of the League of the Décapole were held here.

Completed in 1480, Koïfhus is the oldest public building in Colmar. Today it hosts various art exhibits and cultural events throughout the year.

Koïfhus
Koïfhus is the oldest public building in Colmar

Little Venice

11:45 AM – 12:20 PM

Little Venice (or Petite Venise in French) is the most picturesque place in Colmar. It is famous for its charming canals, bridges and half-timbered houses, which make it look like a fairytale village straight out of a storybook.

The neighbourhood gets its name from its resemblance to Venice because of the small canals that wind their way through the area. These canals of the Lauch River were originally built in the Middle Ages and were used for transportation and trade.

I love how the decorations along the canal change with the seasons. You’ll see flowers in spring, and in December, there are lights and Christmas decorations. For the best views of Little Venice, head to Rue Turenne.

colmar little venice
Little Venice – a must for your 1-day Colmar itinerary

A short walk from Rue Turenne, you’ll find the Quai de la Poissonnerie, known as the fishmonger’s district. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, this was where the town’s fishermen and boatmen lived and sold fish. Stop at Pont Rue des Écoles for the best view of the fishermen’s houses. If you’re visiting during the Christmas season, make sure to return in the evening when the houses are beautifully lit up.

I found Quai de la Poissonnerie much more charming than the famous Little Venice, especially during the Christmas season.

quai poissonnerie
Quai de la Poissonnerie is one of the most picturesque places in Colmar

Lunch at Mokka Café Déjeuner Goûter

12:30 PM – 02:00 PM

For lunch head to Mokka Café. It’s a lovely small café, offering delicious sandwiches for lunch. Their Croque monsieur is amazing, one of the best I’ve ever had in France. Keep in mind that they only serve these for lunch between 12 PM to 2 PM, and they have a separate menu for breakfast.

mokka cafe dejeuner gouter
Mokka Café – the best brunch place in Colmar

Afternoon

Unterlinden Museum

02:10 PM – 04:00 PM

Unterlinden Museum is the most popular museum in Alsace. It is known for its extensive collection of Upper Rhenish medieval and early Renaissance art from the 15th and 16th centuries. One of the highlights of the museum is the Isenheim Altarpiece. It is a masterpiece of German Renaissance art created by Matthias Grünewald in the early 16th century.

The Unterlinden Museum occupies a former 13th-century Dominican convent, which adds to its historical charm. You can explore its Gothic cloister, the chapel and the lovely courtyard.

The museum has two buildings connected by an underground gallery. It’s really big, so make sure to grab a map at the front desk so you don’t get lost.

If you’re visiting in the high season, I’d recommend booking a skip-the-line to the Unterlinden Museum here.

unterlinden museum
Isenheim Altarpiece at Unterlinden Museum

Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie

For some delicious bredele (tradional Alsatian cookies), make your way to Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie. They are famous for their wide variety of speciality biscuits, including butter cookies, macaroons, gingerbread and soft bredele. You can buy a mixed bag and sample different types. I really enjoyed their macaroons, especially the pistachio, banana chocolate chip, and rum & raisin flavours.

maison alsacienne biscuiterie
Head to Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie for delicious Alsatian cookies

Dinner at Le Cercle Des Aromes

Finish your one day in Colmar with dinner at Le Cercle Des Aromes. It’s a great wine bar, where you can taste different wines from the Alsace region. They also offer great charcuterie boards with different local cheeses and cold cuts.

Another awesome wine bar for local wines is L’Un des Sens. I recommend ordering the foie gras, trout rillettes and some local cheeses. I’m not usually a fan of foie gras, but this one here was amazing.

les cercle des aromes wine bar
Charcuterie board at Le Cercle Des Aromes
un des sens wine bar
Tapas at L’Un des Sens

For a gourmet dinner, make your way to Les Racines. Located just outside the tourist area, this local restaurant is a hidden gem. Order the Menu Saveurs Gourmandes, which includes a starter, main dish and a dessert. I tried the fish with sweet potato purée and the Mont Blanc cake, both delicious.

les racines restaurant
Fish with sweet potato purée at Les Racines
les racines dessert
Mont Blanc cake at Les Racines

More ideas for one day in Colmar

Take a canal cruise

The best way to explore the picturesque Little Venice is by taking a canal cruise. The cruise starts at Pont St.Pierre and takes you along the canal, lined with colourful half-timbered houses.
The duration of the boat ride is about 30 minutes, with departures every 15 minutes.

Marché Couvert

The Alsace region is famous for its delicious cuisine, which blends French and German influences. To discover more of its local cuisine, head to Marché Couvert. This covered market offers a wide array of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, artisanal bread, pastries and other regional specialities. It’s a fantastic opportunity to sample and purchase authentic Alsatian ingredients.

colmar marche couvert
Head to Marché Couvert for Alsatian specialities

Dominican Church

The Dominican Church (Église des Dominicains) was originally built in the 13th century by the Dominican Order. It is known for its magnificent stained-glass windows from the 14th century. One of the most notable artworks in the church is the Virgin of the Rose Garden, a sculpture of the Virgin Mary surrounded by roses. This masterpiece was created in 1473 by Martin Schongauer.

Note that the church now serves as a museum, and therefore, a small entrance fee applies. The Dominican Church is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Manneken-Pis de Colmar

Colmar has its own Manneken-Pis, situated in a small square near the Koïfhus, the historical customs house. It is a replica of the famous Manneken-Pis statue in Brussels, Belgium. The statue was a gift from the city of Brussels to Colmar in 1922, in memory of the hard times both cities faced during the German Occupation.

manneken-pis colmar
Manneken-Pis in Colmar, a gift from the city of Brussels

Bartholdi Museum

Bartholdi Museum (Musée Bartholdi) is dedicated to the life and works of the famous French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi. He is best known for designing the Statue of Liberty, which was gifted to the United States by France.

The museum occupies the birthplace of Bartholdi, a 17th-century house in the heart of Colmar. The collection includes many of Bartholdi’s artwork, including small sculptures, decorative items and larger monuments. One highlight of the museum is a special gallery, dedicated to the Statue of Liberty. You can see different models, sketches, and documents about its design and construction.

If you’re arriving by car, at the northern entrance to the town, you can see a smaller-scale replica of the iconic Statue of Liberty. It was created to honour the 100th anniversary of the death of Auguste Bartholdi.

Choco Story

Choco Story is a must for every chocolate lover. The interactive exhibits guide you through the journey of chocolate, from its origins in Mesoamerica to its spread and popularity in Europe. Also, you can see some impressive chocolate sculptures, including a replica of the Statue of Liberty.

You can book your Choco Story ticket here.

colmar choco story
Choco Story museum is a must for every chocolate lover

Colmar Christmas Market

If you’re visiting Alsace in December, don’t miss the Colmar Christmas market. It is one of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets. There are a total of 6 markets, all located in the Old Town within walking distance of each other.

Find everything you need to plan the perfect winter vacation in my Colmar Christmas market guide.

colmar at christmas
Festively decorated half-timbered houses in Colmar

Colmar on a day trip

As it’s a small town, it’s entirely feasible to explore Colmar on a day trip from Strasbourg. If you start early, you can follow this itinerary without making any changes. However, if you have only half a day you can skip the Unterlinden Museum unless you’re specifically interested in religious art. It’s a big museum and it will take up most of your time (approximately 2 hours for a visit).

If you’re here for the Christmas markets, a day trip to Colmar won’t be sufficient. There are several markets to discover, especially beautiful in the evening, something you’d miss on a day trip.

Colmar day trip

  • Try the quiche Lorraine at L’atelier de Yann
  • Visit the iconic St. Martin’s Church
  • Admire Pfister House, the most famous house in Colmar
  • See the Old Customs House
  • Explore the picturesque Little Venice
  • Try the amazing Croque monsieur at Mokka Café
  • Visit Unterlinden Museum, the most popular museum in Alsace
  • Try Alsatian cookies at Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie

2-day Colmar itinerary

Staying overnight in Colmar allows you to explore the town without the crowds that typically arrive just before noon on day trips. I highly recommend this option if you’re not short on time.

Use the above-listed Colmar itinerary for your first day. Depending on the season, you can spend the second day exploring the Christmas markets (in winter). Another option is to take a day trip to any of the pretty towns along the Alsace Wine route. Eguisheim is one of my personal favourites.

2 days in Colmar

  • Day 1: St. Martin’s Church, Pfister House, Old Customs House, Little Venice, Unterlinden Museum
  • Day 2: Christmas market (winter) or day trip to Eguisheim (summer)

Where to stay in Colmar

The best area to stay in Colmar for sightseeing is Vieux Colmar (the Old Town). This is the historic town centre, where you can find famous attractions like St. Martin’s Church, Pfister House, Unterlinden Museum, and Little Venice. Furthermore, the Colmar train station is just a 15-minute walk away, providing convenient access to trains.


Hotel Le Colombier – Best mid-range

Guest rating: 8.4 | 3,210+ reviews

Hotel Le Colombier is a perfect base to discover Colmar and the Alsace region. Nested in the picturesque neighbourhood of Little Venice, it’s only a stone’s throw away from the Old Town and many restaurants and wine bars. The organic breakfast features fresh bread, pastries, and local specialities such as Les Confitures du Climont.

Why book – 5min walk to the Old Town, organic breakfast, private parking on-site


L’Esquisse Hotel & Spa – Best luxury

Guest rating: 9.0 | 1,490+ reviews

For a luxury stay, L’Esquisse Hotel & Spa is the best option. The hotel is situated next to Champ de Mars Park, a short stroll from the Old Town. There is a superb Spa centre with a swimming pool and hammam, where you can unwind after a day of sightseeing. The hotel’s JY’s restaurant, awarded 2 Michelin stars, offers a gourmet experience.

Why book – 5min walk to the Old Town, Spa by Clarins, organic breakfast

colmar old town
Half-timbered houses in the town centre

Getting around in Colmar

Colmar is a small town and its main attractions are close to each other, so walking is the most convenient option. If you’re tired of walking, you can opt to board the sightseeing train and explore it by train instead. You can take the train from rue Kléber, near the Unterlinden Museum, in front of the Japanese restaurant Le Nagoya. The train operates daily, departing every half hour.

If you want to explore more, there’s a self-guided walking tour marked on the ground with brass plaques with the Statue of Liberty. This is the Colmar Tourist Trail, which is 6.1km (3.8 miles) long and takes you through the most popular places in the town. You can download a map of the Tourist Trail here.

How to get to Colmar

By air

The closest international airport to Colmar is the EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. To get to Colmar from the EuroAirport, you have to first take the Distribus shuttle 11 to Saint-Louis Train Station. From there you can take a direct train to Colmar (once every hour).

By train

Colmar is easily accessible by train from some of the major French cities. It’s a 40min train ride from Strasbourg and a 2h20min ride from Paris (from Gare de l’Est). The Colmar city centre is approximately a 15-minute walk from the train station.

By car

If you’re arriving by car, there is a free car park near the train station. The ones, which are closer to the city are usually paid (find here a list of all car parks).

Day trips from Colmar

Strasbourg

strasbourg cathedral

Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, is located approximately 40 minutes away by train. It is known for its picturesque old town and its cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Strasbourg is larger than Colmar and offers a lot more to explore. That’s why I suggest staying overnight instead of just doing a day trip from Colmar.

Find out more in my complete 1-day Strasbourg itinerary.

Alsace Wine Route

alsace wine route riquewihr
The beautiful town of Riquewihr on the Alsace Wine Route

Alsace is famous for its white wines, making up around 90% of the wine produced there. The main grape varieties grown in Alsace are Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Muscat, and Sylvaner.

The Alsace Wine Route, or Route des Vins d’Alsace in French, is a famous wine route in northeastern France. It spans about 170 kilometres (106 miles) from north to south, passing through charming villages, vineyards, and historic towns.

The Alsace Wine Route goes through many pretty villages, such as Kayserberg, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and Eguisheim. With their colourful half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and medieval churches, they are ideal destinations for day trips. You can find the most popular villages on the Wine Route here.

You can explore the Alsace Wine Route on your own, but keep in mind that you’ll need a car. There is no convenient transport to most of these small villages or wineries. That’s why I highly recommend taking The 4 Wonders of Alsace Day Tour. This tour will lead you through the picturesque villages of Eguisheim, Kayserberg, Ribeauvillé, and Riquewihr. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste Alsace wines like Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.

Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Just a 30-minute car drive north of Colmar, you’ll find the impressive Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. This 12th-century château is one of the most famous castles in Alsace.

Sitting on a rocky hill in the Vosges Mountains, the castle offers stunning views of the Alsatian countryside. You can visit the castle and explore its rooms, including the chapel, the hunting trophy room and the living quarters.

You can book in advance your ticket to Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg here.

How to get to Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg
Take a train from Colmar Train Station to Gare Sélestat (10min journey). From there you can take the Haut-Koenigsbourg shuttle bus (line 500), which will take you to the castle.

Best time to visit Colmar

The best time to visit Colmar for warm weather and less crowds is in May, June and September. The busiest times are during July, August and December (due to the Christmas Market). If you’re planning to travel during these months, I suggest booking your accommodation as early as possible.

The Colmar International Festival takes place during the first two weeks of July. It’s a classical music festival, featuring numerous concerts at historic locations such as Église Saint-Matthieu, Koïfhus and the Théâtre Municipal.

The Alsace Wine Fair, also known as Le Salon des Vins d’Alsace, is held annually at the end of July. It’s not just about the fantastic Alsatian wines, but it’s a ten-day celebration featuring concerts and exhibitions.

Between late March and early April, Colmar is decorated for Easter. And by the end of November, it transforms into a fairy tale with the opening of the Christmas market.

Faqs about visiting Colmar

How many days in Colmar?

One day in Colmar is sufficient to explore the town and see its most popular attractions. However, if you’re interested in wine tasting or exploring the picturesque towns nearby Colmar, I’d suggest extending your stay to 2-3 days.

Is Colmar worth visiting?

Colmar is definitely worth visiting. Known for its colourful half-timbered houses and scenic canals, it’s one of the most picturesque towns in France. Colmar is especially charming during Easter and Christmas when the town is beautifully decorated for the festivities.

What is Colmar famous for?

Colmar is famous for its historic architecture, colourful half-timbered houses and pretty canals. It is also known for its tasty Alsatian white wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Additionally, its Christmas market is among the most beautiful and festive in France.

What to do in Colmar for a day?

Spend a day in Colmar exploring its charming Old Town with colourful half-timbered houses. Take a stroll in the picturesque Little Venice district and then visit the Saint-Martin Collegiate Church. If visiting during Christmas, enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Christmas market.

What is the most beautiful village near Colmar?

One of the prettiest villages near Colmar is Eguisheim. It’s famous for its well-preserved historic centre with colourful houses and lovely flowers. Eguisheim is recognised as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France (Plus Beaux Villages de France).

Is Colmar nicer than Strasbourg?

Both Colmar and Strasbourg are beautiful cities, each with its own unique charm. Colmar is famous for its colourful half-timbered houses and scenic canals, while Strasbourg has a stunning cathedral and a beautiful old town. Yet, Colmar is slightly more picturesque than Strasbourg, thanks to its fairy-tale atmosphere.

Can you do Strasbourg and Colmar in a day?

While it’s technically possible to visit both Strasbourg and Colmar in a day, I wouldn’t suggest it if you want to fully enjoy each city. Spend at least one full day in each of them, so you can enjoy their charm, taste local food and see the sights without rushing.

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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

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