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Last updated on September 12th, 2023 at 07:55 pm

Are you curious how you can see the most charming Christmas markets in Europe all in one incredible itinerary? Well, the answer is a dreamy road trip through Alsace for Christmas. The Alsace region in France is teeming with charming villages that come to life with cozy Christmas markets each holiday season. The best way to get to the small festive towns hosting Christmas markets is to rent a car for an Alsace Christmas market road trip. During our epic Alsace Christmas market road trip itinerary, my friends and I visited about a dozen Alsace Christmas markets and stayed in some adorable historic towns. My Alsace Christmas market guide and itinerary will ensure you have the best week in Alsace exploring Christmas markets and supporting small local businesses. This post has been updated for 2023.

Strasbourg Christmas light displays angels and the notre dame

This post will guide you through planning the best road trip to experience all the Alsace Christmas markets, from the large ones in Strasbourg, Colmar, and Mulhouse to the small and charming ones in Eguisheim and even the alternative ones in Kingersheim. I’ve included some driving and car rental tips to help you prepare for navigating small historic towns and busy Christmas markets with a car in Alsace. As always, I give you information to give back this holiday season with eco-friendly tips, ways to support local artisans, and the best vegetarian food to eat!  

Note: Our actual itinerary was slightly different than the one I recommend here, and that is because I lived and learned. The final result is an adjusted itinerary considering all the things I wish I had known – but thankfully can pass along to you. 

Alsace Christmas Market road trip 8 day itinerary

Don’t forget to pin this to your favorite European Christmas market planning board! Looking for more Alsace, Christmas Market Content? Then don’t miss:

QUICK LOOK

  • Alsace is known to have some of the best Christmas markets in the world, including the Christmas capital of Europe
  • With dozens of charming and historic villages hosting markets, a road trip through Alsace is the best way to see them all
  • I spent a week scoping out the best markets by car and feature them all in this 7 day Alsace road trip itinerary
  • As always I have the best sustainable tips for a mindful Christmas experience.

Sustainable Tips for Alsace Christmas Market Road Trip

To prepare for a mindful road trip to the Alsace Christmas markets, make sure you pack:

  • Reusable shopping bag – you’ll do lots of shopping – and I know you already have one at home, so you don’t have to buy a new one while traveling. 
  • Reusable utensils because you’ll be eating a lot of food!
  • Bring an umbrella, so you don’t have to buy a second one!
  • Check out my packing guide to German Christmas markets, which is similar and has winter items featuring sustainable brands. 

Use the Pfand System

The Alsace Christmas markets do a good job of encouraging recycling the Vin Chaud or mulled wine cups. When you purchase Vin Chaud, you will pay an extra Euro for the cup, but don’t worry, you’ll get the money back when you return the cup. Make use of this system, and don’t mindlessly toss your mug in the trash. Aren’t circular economies the best? They are great for the economy and environment!

Strasbourg Pfand System

Avoid Glitter and Plastic

Look for things that are glitter and plastic-free. We even found a lot of great booths selling upcycled and recycled items. Comsumable items such as foods, jams, wine and snacks are another great way to purchase without adding to clutter. You can also think of gifts that you will likely use all year – or all winter like a nice new set of knit hat and gloves.

Shop and Support Local

The Christmas markets in Alsace were primarily local handmade goods, which is excellent. However, there were some cheaply made mass-produced items in the mix. Make sure you shop and support local artisans. Ask the vendor where the products come from or check the label. 

Go Bio

You’ll find bio wine, cheese, and other delights at many markets. Supporting bio produce helps local farmers and our friendly pollinators.  

Vegan and Vegetarian Food

The French are not known for their vegan food, so it is pretty hard to find many meatless options at the Alsace Christmas markets, but they do exist! There was always at least one stand selling a vegetarian option. I found the most common foods: tomato, mushroom, cheese baguettes, veggie Tarte flambee, potatoes in all shapes and sizes, tapenade, and vegan soup. Just keep looking until you find something, but I recommend always having a veggie or vegan snack handy just in case you get angry.

Lebanese flatbread from Strasbourg Christmas market

Invest in Carbon Removal

Keep an eye on your mileage. At the end of your trip, you can offset your carbon or sign up for an ongoing carbon capture program via Tomorrow’s Air.

Alsace Road Trip Tips

Renting a Car

The best place to start your Alsace Christmas market road trip is in the capital of Strasbourg. If you already live in Europe, you’ll first travel by train to reduce your carbon output. 

If you are coming from outside of Europe, the best way to reach Strasbourg is to fly direct into any major hub, including Munich, Paris, or Geneva, and then navigate by train to Strasbourg.    

Before you arrive in Strasbourg, you should already have your car rental organized. I recommend renting from Sixt or Avis, as we had an awful experience with Enterprise. They gave away our car and did not try to remedy the problem. We traveled at the end of November, and vehicles seemed to be already booked, so make sure you plan ahead and pick up your car on time. 

I recommend booking your train travel with Omio as they allow you to book with major train companies all in one easy to understand English booking system.

car rental alsace christmas market road trip

When renting a car, ensure you have the legal items such as the yellow vest and a flare required by French law. You’ll also need to ensure you have insurance, a driver’s license, and emergency numbers. The Alsace wine region gets snowy, and if you want to go to some of the small towns, it is helpful to have snow or all-season tires and be comfortable driving in snow. You may also encounter small, narrow, and one-way cobblestone streets.

Parking

The Alsace Christmas markets are very popular, and there is a lot of competition for parking. Fortunately, some of the markets had parking lots set up just for the markets. However, there were times we could not find parking, and with terrible congestion, we had to skip of one of the markets on our list. I suggest you plan to park outside the towns, prepare to walk in, and always look for free large parking areas before arriving. 

Have a Designated Driver

We passed through several markets during the day and drove to one market at night. There were three of us on our trip, and we always had a sober driver to get us home safely. It can be tempting to drink your share of Vin Chaud, but the roads can be pretty dangerous in winter. 

Alsace wine christmas markets

When to Plan Your Alsace Christmas Itinerary

IMPORTANT: It is very tricky to visit all the markets I have listed here – in fact, near impossible with seven days or less. Pay attention to the dates! Some markets are only open on weekends, while others are only open a few days in December. You will likely need to choose if you want to visit the small villages surrounding Colmar, such as Kaysersberg, or if Pfaffstatt near Mulhouse looks more interesting to you, as you can’t be in two places at once. Don’t stress though, all these towns are decorated for Advent, and even if you miss the official market, you’ll have a great time exploring and passing through. 

Obernai christmas markets decorations

This itinerary is meant to be a loose guide to help you see as many markets as possible and choose which ones you want to prioritize. You can also just go with the flow like we did and not stress about which markets are open. We enjoyed some of the towns’ festive decorations even if the vendors of the Christmas market were closed.

I suggest starting in Obernai on a Thursday or Friday in December to see all three villages around Colmar over the weekend. Do not plan your trip too close to Christmas as most markets are closed.

Stop 1: Obernai Christmas Markets

We chose to save Strasbourg for the end, so as soon as we picked up the car, we headed straight for Obernai to spend the night. I suggest you spend a full day in Obernai and one night. 

Obernai Christmas Markets

There are four markets in total, but they are all very close together and within walking distance. It helps that the town is decked out to the max with Christmas cheer, so I encourage you to explore beyond the markets, enjoying the town bursting with festive decorations. 

Obernai Christmas market decorations

Autour de Beffroi

Obernai is known for its gourmet food. So, it is no wonder that my favorite Obernai Christmas market, Autour de Beffroi, is a gastronomic delight. Tucked behind the bell tower, this is every foodie’s dream. You’ll find dozens of stalls selling local artisanal cheese, honey, wine, beer, pastries, and more. This is the market to support local producers and farmers. We enjoyed chatting with a man from Provence who spends his days perfecting delectable picketed onions and vegetarian tapenade. We stocked up on tapenade and baguettes for the road trip. 

Autour de Beffroi gourmet Christmas market

Place du Marché

The main market is located at Obernai’s central square, Place du Marché. The feature highlight is a tall, glittering tree, a few rides, and a handful of stalls. The market has a handful of booths with vendors selling hand-crafted items such as hand-blown glass, wreaths, and wooden decorations. 

Place du marche Obernai Christmas market

Place de L’Etoile

For those traveling with families, they will want to visit Place de L’Etoile for rides and opportunities to meet Santa. 

Place Nehrer

Just outside the city wall is a market at Place Nehrer where you’ll find a model village and lots of Christmas sweets.  The best way to get there is along Rue du Marché to see the houses decorated with teddy bears and gaudy decorations.  

Alsace Christmas Market Road Trip

2023 Obernai Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24, 2021, to December 31, 2023 
  • Mon – Thurs: 10 am – 7 pm 
  • Fri – Sun 10 am – 8 pm. 
  • The market is closed on Christmas Day and has limited hours on the 24th and 31st. 

Special Christmas Events in Obernai

Obernai has many special events, including Christmas concerts in December and the town’s impromptu appearances of Christmas characters such as Santa and St. Nick. Christmas carols and stories happen on the days surrounding Christmas. Ask your accommodation for the events during your stay. 

Obernai Christmas market

Where to Stay in Obernai for Christmas

We stayed in the Hotel la Diligence, a charming, locally owned hotel in an authentic timber building in the middle of town. You can see the main Obernai market from most of the windows. The staff was lovely, and the accommodation was comfortable and decorated for the holidays. Our hotel was the white building in the photo below! 

Hotel la Diligence Obernai

Where to Park

You can park for free overnight at any street parking spot. However, at 9 a.m., if you are still there in the morning, you might get charged. A free parking lot called Parking Remparts is just outside the city walls. 

What to Eat for Vegetarians

If you’re not eating at the market, Obernai has many great food options. Try L’Eden Libre de Gluten for vegetable soup and gluten-free pastries. For lunch, I recommend BioGourmands, an organic vegetarian restaurant with many healthy, fresh dining options. For dinner, I recommend La Cour de Meme, which has a vegan Tarte flambée. 

tarte flambee Alsace vegan food Obernai

Stop 2: Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg Christmas Markets

After leaving Obernai in the morning, we headed toward Eguisheim, where we stayed for two nights. Along the way, we stopped in Colmar for the entire day before moving on to Enguisheim and other villages. However, in hindsight, I would recommend staying in Colmar, parking your car and leaving it there, and taking advantage of the Colmar Christmas Market Shuttle, which runs on the weekend. Therefore, I suggest visiting this area over the weekend to take full advantage of this experience, as some markets are open only on weekends. However, if you are adverse to crowds, visit this area during the week and enjoy the Christmas decorations around the smaller villages. You’ll want two full days in Colmar.

Colmar Christmas markets

I have created an incredibly detailed guide to the Colmar Christmas markets and an itinerary to visit the villages of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersber for their Christmas markets. I cover all the Colmar markets in detail including how to use the Christmas market shuttle, so head over to that post and pin it to help you make the most of your time in Colmar. 

Colmar Christmas Markets

There are 6 markets in Colmar, each with a different theme, so exploring these markets in full will take up most of your day. Colmar markets are known for “art and tradition,” You’ll find plenty of hand-crafted art pieces intertwined with traditional food and gifts. The Colmar markets and winding streets are covered in white Christmas trees and decorations for a modern and upscale feeling. 

Colmar christmas markets

Gourmet Market Star – My favorite market in Colmar was a new addition in 2018 and an excellent option for a mindful road trip in Alsace. Nine different stalls at this market serve hot, local, and fresh gourmet food. Make sure to skip the unethical Foie Gras and opt for the vegetarian truffle risotto. 

Colmar Christmas gourmet christmas markets truffle risotto

Indoor Craft Market – Another top contender for my favorite market, the indoor craft market is the best place to get handmade crafts. The fine selection of ceramics, jewelry, home goods, glass ornaments, and wood crafts will make a special and unique gift for yourself or a loved one. The craft market is located in an old medieval building for the perfect setting – save your money for this one. 

Handicraft market Christmas market Colmar

Place Jeanne d’Arc is a more traditional market featuring the best of Alsace. You’ll find plenty of artisanal local foods and drinks such as schnapps, cheese, biscuits, and wine. It is a great place to grab snacks for the road or something to serve on Christmas day. I recommend visiting this market later in the evening or at night, as the snow-covered huts light up at night. 

Colmar Christmas Market Place Jeanne d’Arc

The other two markets at the Dominican Square and Place de L’Ancienne Douane are more traditional. You’ll find essential Christmas decorations and plenty of Christmas market foods such as potato pancakes, Tarte flambee, and Vin Chaud. While they weren’t my favorite markets, they have a nice historic setting near the Dominican church, the Schwendi fountain, and the old customs house. There is also a kid’s market for those traveling with families. 

Colmar Christmas markets

2023 Colmar Market Dates and Times

  • November 23 – December 29, 2023
  • Monday – Thursday: 11 am – 7 pm
  • Friday – Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Limited hours on Dec 24-26

Special Christmas Events in Colmar

Colmar has plenty of special events for Christmas, including children’s choirs, concerts, and guided tours of the Christmas markets at dusk. 

Where to Stay in Colmar for Christmas

Colmar has lots of options, from modern boutiques to historic luxury. While we didn’t stay there for this trip, I know the area well and have picked a few spots ideal for your Alsace Christmas Market road trip. 

  •  La Maison des Têtes is a luxury five-star hotel in historic Colmar oozing charm. This is the whole package, and you get what you pay for. Parking is available near the hotel for a fee.  
  • Le Rapp Hotel is in a great location and includes a spa. Private parking is available.
  • Paul + Pia is a colorful alternative boutique hotel just outside the city, perfect for those who don’t like staying near all the crowds. The hotel is near a parking garage. 

Colmar Christmas market attire

Where to Park in Colmar

 St. Joseph’s church has free parking; however, you must walk a bit to access the old town. There is paid parking lot located close to the old town. All my hotel recommendations have parking options as well. 

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

The gourmet Christmas market here has some of the city’s best food, including a few vegetarian options, so I recommend stuffing your face with truffle risotto or vegetarian crepes. If you are looking for vegan food, Tabula Rasa is the best spot, and L’Arpège has a highly-rated vegetarian menu. 

After exploring Colmar, you’ll want to head to all the charming surrounding villages the next day. 

Riquewihr Christmas Market

Riquewihr is one of the most beautiful villages in France, and it comes alive during Christmas. Visit Christmas vendors nestled under traditional timber houses. This quaint town lights up for Christmas, and you’ll enjoy sipping Vin Chaud meandering through a historic town.  Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity to visit Riquewihr, one of our biggest travel fails. We saw the outside of the city, which looked so freakin’ cute. To avoid the same mistakes we made, make sure you read my full Colmar Christmas market guide. 

Riquewihr Alsace France with vineyards

2023 Riquewihr Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 25 – Dec 21, 2023
  • Sat-Sun: 10 am – 7:30 pm
  • Mon – Fri: 10 am – 6:30  pm
  • All lights shut off at 10 pm to save energy

Where to Park

Parking and traffic are a nightmare. While plenty of park space is on the outskirts of town, it can fill up quickly. We missed our chance to visit due to traffic, so I recommend the Colmar shuttle.

Special Christmas Events in Riquewihr

The Men’s choir will sing on December 1, 2023

Ribeauvillé Christmas Market

Ribeauvillé is a medieval town that genuinely goes all out for Christmas. Although crowded, this was one of the most charming stops. The village goes all out, embracing the Medieval spirit as street performers and musicians parade around the streets in traditional clothing. At dusk, creatures from fairytales come out and haunt the streets.  You’ll feel transported back in time as vendors wear medieval costumes, sell Vin Chaud in chalices, and serve hearty stews. This festival isn’t so vegetarian-friendly, but you’ll be able to find some soups, bread, and sweets hidden among the roast pig.  

Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Alsace France

The Christmas market dates are very limited, and while we visited the town, it wasn’t on the market date. Don’t stress too much, though; the town is very festive for the whole season, and you will enjoy meandering the streets and window shopping at some of the local stores.

2023 Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • December 2-3, 2023
  • December 9-10, 2023
  • Sat: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Sun: 10 am – 6 pm
  • Advent decorations in the city from November 25 – December 20, 2023

Where to park

We parked here, but I recommend taking the shuttle if it works out for you. 

Kaysersberg Christmas Markets

There are two markets in Kayersberg, but the entire town of Kaysersberg feels like a Christmas market. All the local shops and stores decorate for Christmas, and you can do plenty of holiday shopping with or without the markets. Take some time to hike to the Kaysersberg castle for a lovely view and check out the fairy tale exhibit. 

Marché Noel is tucked away in a little alleyway behind Eglise St. Croix In the shadow of the impressive cathedral. Vendors from 30 market stalls sell mostly unique handmade gifts. I bought a ring made from upcycled paper.

Kaysersberg Christmas Market

Farmer’s Christmas Market  The farmer’s market features some of the best Alsatian delicacies packaged for Christmas. That day, I was the designated driver, so I drank plenty of apple cider while my friends tried the wine. This is a great place to buy local honey, cheese, spirits, and more. 

Kaysersberg Farmer's Market

2023 Kaysersberg Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • Fridays – Sundays starting Nov 24 and ending Dec 17, 2023
  • Bonus days: Dec 18-19, 2023
  • Advent decorations in the city from November 24 – December 29, 2023
  • Hours: 10 am – 8 pm

Kaysersberg timber houses at Chrismtas

Where to park

If you decide not to take the shuttle and visit on your way to Eguisheim, park at a large gravel pit just for Christmas market parking around this location. We did have to walk just a bit to get to Kaysersberg. 

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

We didn’t eat much here as we packed some snacks and had dinner in Eguisheim. But, the Farmer’s market had some vegetarian Tarte flambée. L’Alchémille is a fine dining experience in which you can request vegetarian food. According to Google Maps, Restaurant Au Lion d’Or has a vegetarian and vegan menu. 

Stop 3: Eguisheim and Turckheim Christmas Markets 

We stayed in Eguisheim for two nights and used it as a launching point to explore the region. The drive from Colmar to Eguisheim is a quick drive. However, I suggest detouring a mountain pass to look at the region’s history and panoramic views of Alsace. From Colmar, navigate first to Pflixbourg Castle, then Hohlandsbourg Castle, Hagueneck Castle, Three Castles of Eguisheim, and finally Eguisheim, where you will spend the evening. 

three castles of Eguisheim Alsace

Eguisheim Christmas Market

Eguisheim won the “Cities and Villages of Christmas” award, honoring authentic towns and heritage that light up with the Christmas spirit each year. While the market is rather small, the cozy ambiance and authentic feel made this easily one of my favorite stops on our Alsace Christmas market tour.

Eguisheim Christmas market entrance

Eguisheim’s only Christmas market is in the heart of the old town in St. Leon Square – tucked in, right below the chapel. Pass through the festive gate off Grand-Rue and enter an unbearably cute market oozing warm, festive feelings. Eguisheim prides itself on selling traditional hand-crafted gifts and gourmet delicacies. With more than 30 stalls, there is a little something for everyone. Don’t miss the area around the St. Leon fountain for decorations and a nativity scene. 

Eguisheim Christmas market historic city center

2023 Eguisheim Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24 – Dec 30, 2023
  • Hours TBA, but the 2022 hours were as follows
  • Sun-Fri: 9 am – 7 pm 
  • Sat: 9 am – 8 pm 
  • Closed December 24-26, 2023 

Christmas Wine Experience 

Alsace is known for its wine, and you’ll probably have noticed the rolling vineyards during your road trip. Well, make sure to stop by any of the vineyards and wine cellars in town and ask for a recommendation to pair with your Christmas meal – or to enjoy back at your accommodation. I recommend Leon Beyer, Wines of Alsace, or Domaine Emile Beyer. 

Alsace wine for sale at the Christmas markets

Special Christmas Events in Eguisheim

Most evenings, a night Watchman accompanied by musicians will tell you stories of Eguisheim’s history. 

The Procession of Lights in honor of St. Lucie will likely happen on December 13, 2023, though the official dates are not announced. This is a parade through the town, where you can take a lantern and follow Christkindl and angels in a magical experience. 

Before the market closes for Christmas, there is a live nativity and story experience featuring stories from Hans Christian Andersen.

Eguisheim Christmas market

Where to Stay in Eguisheim for Christmas

One of the highlights of our entire Alsace road trip was staying in a yellow timber house along a cobblestone street in Eguisheim. I can not recommend the place we stayed in enough. This cozy blue timber house has a rustic charm while providing all the modern conveniences. We were excited to hole up here for two full nights and pretend to live in a Christmas fairy tale. 

Eguisheim Christmas markets where to stay

The place we stayed was a historic choice, which, to us, added to the charm. However, if you want something more modern, I would check out this place down the road or this option, which is more accessible for those unable to climb steep stairs – as we had some very steep stairs in our house.

Where to Park

While my recommended accommodation, Notre Maison, technically had parking, entering and exiting was a terrifying nightmare. The parking hole was along a TINY one-way cobbled street, and it took expert driving skills to get in and out. To save yourself a world of stress and panic, I suggest paid parking outside of town. Trust me, it is not worth saving a few extra bucks.  

There is also a Town Hall car park and Marronniers, which are paid but likely to fill up. There is also La Tuilerie Car Park and Millenaire Car Park, which are free but far away. 

Where to eat for Vegetarians

With two vegetarians in our road trip crew, we ate at Restaurant Dagsbourg both nights and enjoyed the heck out of our cheese pizza. This place is super casual, and the wait staff is very friendly. For breakfast, I recommend Marx Bakery for croissants and coffee. 

Turckheim Christmas Markets

Turckheim Christmas market is a small but adorable market you simply can not miss on your Alsace Christmas road trip. I recommend visiting this market in the afternoon as you’ll want to be there well before 5 pm for a special event! We arrived at this market too early in the day and season and were super bummed to miss some of the events. 

Before heading into Turckheim, enjoy a slow morning in Eguisheim, grabbing a pastry and making coffee before driving to the adorable town of Niedermorschwihr to visit Castle Winick. While this town isn’t particularly Christmassy, the timber houses here are picturesque, and the views of the surrounding vineyards are stunning. After a little exploration, head to Turckheim to catch the Advent goblins before returning to Eguisheim for a second night. 

Niedermorschwihr Alsace town

Marché Noel

Turckheim has only one market in the town square near the town hall. This market has a unique design in that all the stalls are built to look like cartoon Christmas huts. I think the concept is that this is a village built by elves or goblins. What makes this market so unique is the massive advent calendar. The calendar is part of three Christmas houses, each with eight doors. Every day in December, a new door opens, revealing a surprise. This is part of a show that happens in the evening, and a story is told alongside the surprise reveal. 

Turckheim Christmas markets

I wasn’t super impressed with the stalls. While there were some cute handmade souvenirs, most of the stuff wasn’t to my taste. But we did arrive very early in the season (late November), and some of them hadn’t even opened yet. Instead of shopping, I enjoyed a warm vegetarian bread bowl and local craft beer. The appeal to me here was the special events, the cute town, and the unique theme of the market. 

2023 Turckheim Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24 – December 30, 2023
  • Hours TBA, but 2022 hours were as follows:
  • Fri, Sat, Sun: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Mon-Thur: 2 pm – 7 pm
  • Closed Christmas Day

Special Christmas Events in Turckheim

Every day in December at 5 p.m., a street lamp light opens the Advent calendar. There is then storytelling regarding the theme of the revealed image. This is a great way to learn about the region’s history. 

Turckheim Christmas market

Every night at 9 p.m., the night watchman walks through the streets to wish everyone a good night. You are welcome to join, and on NYE, there is a special song and well wishes for the new year. 

Where to Park

Parking was a bit iffy, and make sure not to drive through the historical center, or you’ll regret it. We finally found some free parking, but it will likely be hectic during the peak holiday season. 

Turckheim Christmas market gate

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

I had a great tomato soup in a bread bowl from one of the market stalls. Husser bakery had some vegetarian quiche and excellent pastries. We stopped in for a hot cup of coffee. 

bread bowl Alsace Christmas market

Stop 4: Thann, Guebwiller, and Mulhouse Christmas Markets 

As we drove from Eguisheim to Mulhouse, where we stayed one night, we stopped by all the small markets between the two towns. Honestly, this made for a jam-packed day and night. If you prefer slower travel, book two nights in Mulhouse. After leaving Eguisheim, our first stop was the Cernay-Thann region, then several markets in the Mulhouse suburbs, and finally, the Guebwiller Bleu Nöel. By the time we checked into our hotel in Mulhouse to explore the Christmas markets there, it was late evening. Thankfully, the Mulhouse market is open late, and we also had some time the next morning to explore the markets again. 

Alsace Christmas market road trip decorations

Thann Christmas Market

The Thann Christmas Market hosts the main event for the entire Cernay-Thann region. I want to point out that there is no Christmas market in Cernay, despite what we were led to believe. Anyway, the festivities in Thann cover three market areas spread through the city: Place Joffre, Place St. Thiébaut, and Place de Lattre de Tassigny.

Thann Christmas market christmas trees

We entered our first market along Place du Bungert, welcomed through a festive tunnel with Christmas lights and decorations. The market stalls were full of unique handmade goods along with traditional souvenirs. We all bought hand-knit hats and gloves to keep us warm throughout the season. We meandered through Thann, checking out the other smaller markets.

2022 Thann Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24 – Dec 24, 2023
  • Tue-Fri: 2 pm – 7 pm
  • Sat-Sun: 10 am – 7 pm
  • Closed Mondays

Special Christmas Events in Thann

Two Sundays in December, Santa and his elves repel down the bell tower of the main church at dusk and give candy to children. 

The highlight of the Thann Christmas market is all the decorated trees. There are about 17 in total, and they are just about everywhere as you explore the market stalls. You’ll notice each one is decorated differently, honoring traditions from each of the 17 towns in the region. The queen of them all is the largest, representing Thann, and it is located by the church.

Where to Park

We parked at a free parking lot. We didn’t need too much time since we only spent a few hours here

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

Thann had an unconventional stand selling vegetarian Pad Thai and spring rolls. Honestly, this was a welcome break from some Christmas foods and the perfect snack to keep us going all day. 

Guebwiller Christmas Market

Guebwiller is known as the Blue Christmas Market. The town lights up with a blue hue as their Christmas tree and cathedral all embrace the cool trend. Why Blue? Nöel Bleu honors a local ceramic artist who uses blue in their pieces. Guebwiller has only one Christmas market, which is split into two areas. 

Beside St. Léger church shines a bright blue Christmas tree and a handful of Christmas market stalls and rides for kids. An immersive LED display is projected onto the church for an eye-capturing, blue experience. All this sets the mood as you shop for handmade gifts. 

Guebwiller Bleu Noel Christmas market

As you walk to the next market area, ensure you don’t miss the Town Hall lit with iconic blue lights. An eco-friendly ice skating rink is the center of the show. The rink uses minimal energy and a progressive material that isn’t ice. I’ve tried one of these rinks before, and don’t worry – they are just as fun! That isn’t the only eco-friendly thing on the market. Guebwiller is known for its bio produce and gourmet foods, and many of the stalls here sell bioproducts for an eco-friendly Christmas!

2023 Guebwiller Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays only 
  • Starting Nov 25 and ending Nov 24, 2023
  • Wed, Sat, Sun: 3 pm – 8 pm

Special Christmas Events in Guebwiller

Every weekend, a parade of lights down the main road connects the two areas of the Christmas market. Fire dancers, an LED light show, and street performers put on an electric festive display. The event happens after dark. There is also an ice skating rink at the central square. 

Guebwiller Bleu Noel Christmas market ice skating rink

Where to Park

We struggled to find parking. To be honest, traffic was a hot mess in this small town. We finally found parking near the main church, but it took several go-arounds and navigating one-way streets. I would suggest parking outside the city a bit and walking to town.

Mulhouse Christmas Market

I wrote a comprehensive guide to the Mulhouse, Pfaffstatt, and Kingersheim Christmas markets. Head to that post, pin it to your European Christmas market planning board or bookmark the page. I share all the best tips for visiting the market and how to see all three in one go.  

Mulhouse Christmas market Ferris Wheel

The main market takes over the Place de la Réunion, with hundreds of festive stalls selling food, Vin Chaud, handmade, and your standard gifts. The decorations and lights at this market are top-notch, and you might notice that the lights and decorations have a similar theme. Mulhouse is a textile producer, and a new Christmas fabric is debuted each year. This fabric pattern has become the theme of the market. You can buy this textile at the textile hut in the Town Hall. It is traditional to turn it into pillows, curtains, and other household items. 

Mulhouse Christmas Market stalls

Another highlight is a massive Ferris wheel that takes you high enough to see the tip-top of the Temple St. Étienne.  

2023 Mulhouse Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24 – December 27, 2023
  • Mon – Thurs 11:00 am – 8 pm
  • Friday: 11:00 am – 9 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm
  • Closed Christmas Day

Special Christmas Events in Mulhouse

Guided tours happen every Saturday at 5 p.m. Tours are only in French and start at 5 Place Lambert.

Mulhouse Vin Chaud

Where to Stay in Mulhouse

The hotel we stayed at in Mulhouse closed and is now owned by another company. However, the new hotel’s design looks similar, and the latest property has good reviews. The best part is that we could essentially walk out the front door, and within a couple of steps, we were at the Christmas market. I can comfortably recommend La Maison Hotel Mulhouse Center.

Where to Park

The hotel has secure parking in a nearby garage for about 2 euros. It was easy to access and an excellent location for the hotel and the Christmas market. 

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

I ate vegetarian Tarte flambee from one of the Christmas market stalls. Mulhouse is a bigger city with plenty of vegetarian restaurants, including PUR, Bio Fresh, and La Tambouille de Nainbus.

Pfastatt Christmas Market

The Pfastatt Christmas Market is a medium-sized community market on the outskirts of Mulhouse. The market is tucked away, and the ambiance feels like you’re inside a secret elf forest. The locals were very welcoming, and we even found ourselves in the middle of a French trivia contest. Several community halls you enter are filled with tables and locals selling their handy crafts.  

Pfastatt Christmas Market stalls

2023 Pfastatt Christmas Market Dates

  • November 24-26, 2023
  • December 1-3, 2023
  • Friday: 4 pm – 8 pm
  • Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
  • Sunday: 11 am – 7 pm

Kingersheim Christmas Market

The Kingersheim Christmas Market is ideal for the eco-conscious Christmas enthusiast. The entire market contains recycled, upcycled, and sustainably made local products. Before you enter, there is a thrift store where you can purchase second-hand clothing as a gift – or for yourself. The decorations, such as snowmen made from recycled bicycles, are the icing on the cake.

Kingersheim eco Christmas market

2023 Kingersheim Christmas Market Dates

  • 2023 dates TBA. The following are the dates and times for 2022.
  • November 25 – 27, 2022
  • Friday: 4 pm – 8 pm
  • Saturday: 11 am – 8 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm

Stop 5: Strasbourg Christmas Markets

After Mulhouse, you can jump on the A35 highway and hightail it north toward Strasbourg, returning your car. We stayed for two nights, and you definitely need at least that, as Strasbourg is known as the Christmas Market Capital, and it is massive. 

You might want to stop in Sélestat on the way back to Strasbourg. It is the birthplace of the Christmas tree. While there is no official market, you’ll find festive decorations and tributes to the Christmas tree, ice skating, holiday lights, and more!

Selestatt Christmas market

I write an incredibly detailed post to spend an alternative Christmas in Strasbourg focused on sustainability and unique markets and events. Please read and save that guide to your Alsace Christmas market road trip planning itinerary boards. The below is just a summary of that post. 

Strasbourg Christmas Markets

Strasbourg has the oldest Christmas market in France, and the entire city comes alive with 300 market stalls spread throughout 11 different markets. I have an entire detailed guide and itinerary to Strasbourg Christmas markets; make sure you save the post to enjoy a sustainable Christmas in Strasbourg.  

If you are a fan of my hipster travel guides, you’ll love the Off-Market. This sustainable market is all about upcycling, recycling, and sustainable gifting. You’ll find a unique Christmas tree that doubles as an interactive art installation. This almost has a burning man vibe, and I thoroughly enjoyed looking through bio goods and sustainable gifts. 

Off Marche Christmas market Strasbourg

The International Guest Christmas Market at Place Gutenberg hosts a different country yearly. When I visited in 2019, it was hosted by Lebanon. We enjoyed eating authentic vegan Lebanese food and the cultural blend of Lebanese and French Christmas.

You’ll want to visit the Small Producers of Alsace market at Place des Meuniers for local gourmet food and gifts. This cozy and rather small market is tucked away and features local artists and producers of the region. This is perfect for your authentic gift. Another option is the Alsatian Delicacies Market at Place du Marche-des-Poissons. This market runs along the river and features different wine, cheese, and meat producers from Alsace. We enjoyed coming here for sunset and watching the river ignite with lights while drinking local wine. 

Strasbourg Capital of Christmas Holiday Lights

The primary market might be the one at Place de la Cathédrale. While this wasn’t the most fantastic market in terms of authentic goods, the ambiance of the massive cathedra and bright lights makes this one of the most awe-inspiring markets in Europe. This is the “Wow, I’m in Europe for Christmas markets. 

The oldest market is the Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie. This is where I ate most, chowing down on fried potato cakes covered in stinky Alsace Munster cheese. Otherwise, the market is a bit tacky and dated, with old carnival-looking stalls and cheap goods.  

2023 Strasbourg Christmas Market Dates and Times

  • November 24, 2023 – December 24, 20223
  • Closed Christmas day
  • The Strasbourg Christmas Market Hours are
    • Opening Day: 2 pm-9:30 pm
    • Everyday: 11:30 am – 9 pm
    • Christmas Eve: 11:30 am – 6 pm

Special Christmas Events in Strasbourg

Strasbourg has many special events, including concerts, community events, DIY workshops, festive bike rides, and more! The program for 2022 is not out yet, but I’ll update you when it is published. 

Strasbourg Christmas Lights and Displays

Where to Stay in Strasbourg for Christmas

We stayed at an ultra-hip hotel that we just loved. Hotel Kaijii by Happy Culture is an affordable and modern hotel in the heart of all the action. We enjoyed our two nights. With an on-site bar, restaurant, and comfortable beds, we enjoyed our 2 nights! There is parking available at a nearby garage for a small fee. But I suggest you return your car as soon as you arrive to save money.

Strasbourg Chriskindelsmarik traditional christmas stalls

Where to Eat for Vegetarians

Strasbourg has plenty of vegetarian options. Ensure you visit the Off Market and International Market for tasty vegan food. The area around Off Market also has some great options, including Vélicious Burger, among other places. 

Looking for more European Christmas market inspiration? Head over and check out my guides to Christmas in Munich and beyond!

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Short on time? Then, book a tour from Strasbourg to taste the Alsace Christmas markets in one day.

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I hope this dreamy Alsace Christmas market road trip itinerary helps you plan the perfect Christmas tour through one of France’s most charming regions. A road trip through Alsace during the Advent season allows you to visit quaint villages for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Alsace is known as the Christmas capital of the world, and if you love Christmas, then spending more than a week slow traveling through the region is one for the bucket list. 

  • Is an Alsace Christmas market road trip something you’ve dreamed of?
  • Which town or village would be your favorite place to visit?

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