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Last updated on November 23rd, 2023 at 09:52 am

Are you curious about the best place in Europe to spend Christmas? Christmas in Colmar, Alsace, France, is one of the most magical places. Every square inch of the town is decorated to the max – almost as if one of Santa’s elves spewed Christmas cheer all over the place. Colmar has a total of six Christmas markets to explore. But the fun doesn’t end there. Colmar is the perfect launching point to visit some of France’s most beautiful towns as they enter the advent season. You can easily reach the Christmas markets of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg using the Colmar Christmas Shuttle. These small towns embody the essence of old European Christmas; you’ll feel you’ve been taken back in time. This Colmar Christmas market guide covers all the best things to see and do in Colmar for Christmas and how to visit the surrounding Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg’s Christmas markets all in one magical itinerary. This post has been updated for 2023!

Magical Colmar Christmas Market Guide and Itinerary

This Colmar Christmas market guide is part of my 8-day Alsace Christmas market road trip itinerary. Make sure you read these posts together to spend a magical week visiting the best markets in the Alsace region of France during Advent. But, before we get started, let’s cover some of the basics. 

QUICK LOOK

  • Colmar is a charming town in Alsace, France
  • The Colmar Christmas markets are some of the best in Europe
  • Use this guide for a magical Christmas Colmar
  • Two-day itinerary features nearby medieval towns

How to Get to Colmar

By Car: If you’re following my Alsace road trip itinerary, you’ll arrive after visiting the Strasbourg sustainable Christmas markets. Assuming you picked up your rental car in Strasbourg, it is about 50 minutes along with the A 35. I love using Discover Cars to find the best car rentals, as it is an easy-to-use aggregator to find the best rates and locations. 

Colmar Christmas Market ferris wheel and christmas tree

By Train: Colmar is easily accessible by train for those already in Europe. I always advocate for train travel within Europe to reduce your carbon output. Plus, the trains are comfortable, and you can sit back and relax as the snowy landscapes unfold. The best way to reach Colmar by train is to first navigate to Strasbourg. You can then take the non-stop TVG train to Colmar, only about 25 minutes from Strasbourg I love using Omio for travel in Europe as it is easy to find the best connections on an English website without any extra cost.

If you’re coming from outside mainland Europe, you’ll want to fly to any hub, including Strasbourg, Basel, and Stuttgart, and plan your route by train. Don’t forget to offset your journey. 

Colmar Christmas tree and bauble

2023 Colmar Christmas Market Dates

Colmar Christmas Market Dates and Opening Hours

We officially have dates for the 2023 Colmar Christmas markets

2023 Colmar Christmas Market Dates

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

2023 Riquewihr Christmas Market Dates

  • November 25 – Dec 21, 2023
  • Sat-Sun: 10 am – 7:30 pm
  • Mon-Fri: 10 am – 6:30 pm
  • To save energy, all the Christmas light displays will be shut off promptly at 10 pm.

2023 Kaysersberg Christmas Market Dates

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

2023 Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Dates

  • December 2-3, 2023
  • December 9-10, 2023
  • Advent decorations in the city from November 25 – December 20, 2023

If you want to see everything, the ideal 2023 Colmar Christmas market dates are December 2-3 or December 9-10, allowing you to see Colmar and the surrounding Alsatian towns for their Christmas markets. This suggestion is optimized for when the Christmas shuttle is running, and all markets in Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg are open. It is best not to plan your trip for Christmas Eve or Day to avoid early closures and limited hours and activities.

Colmar timber houses decorated for Christmas markets

I know, I usually tell you to avoid places like this on weekends because of crowds, but this is the only way to experience markets in all four places. But, I’m not joking when I say be prepared for crowds on weekends.

If you don’t like mega-crowds, visit during the week. This means you will miss a few smaller markets, but that’s ok! The smaller towns are still very festive and decorated for the entire Advent season, even when the markets aren’t happening. Most shops sell Christmas gifts and locally made products. So, if you don’t want to deal with massive crowds or can’t plan your trip to align on those weekends, worry not; you can still use public transportation or drive to see these towns all dressed in their Christmas best. The towns are so festive during Advent; we enjoyed exploring the towns more than some of the markets. So, don’t feel like you are missing out. 

Colmar Christmas Market Decorations

How Much Time to Spend in Colmar for Christmas?

If you plan to take full advantage of the Colmar region and visit the small Alsatian towns nearby for Christmas, you’ll need to plan your itinerary carefully. While the Colmar Christmas markets are open from the end of November to the end of December, several nearby smaller markets are open only on a few weekends.

You’ll want at least 2-3 full days in the Colmar region – 1-2 days for Colmar and 1 day for nearby Christmas markets. Depending on your travel type, you might want 3 nights to take it at a slower pace and avoid traveling at night. If you don’t mind packing things in, 2 nights and 2-3 full days should be plenty. 

Where to Stay in Colmar for Christmas

Colmar has many hotel options at Christmas, from modern boutique hotels to historic luxury accommodations. While I have been to Colmar for Christmas, I haven’t stayed the night, as we prioritized staying in small Alsatian towns rather than using Colmar as a hub. In hindsight, though, I wish we would have, as parking in smaller cities is a nightmare. Colmar is a great hub, but you might enjoy the more rural towns as we did. The choice is yours!

Living in Germany and having been to Alsace a few times, I know the area well and have picked a few spots that I think are ideal for your Colmar Christmas itinerary, and I know my readers and fans of boutique hotels will love. All the hotels have a rating higher than 8 on booking and I would book the next time I’m in Colmar for Christmas Markets. 

Colmar France Christmas Market

La Maison des Têtes is a luxury five-star hotel in historic Colmar oozing charm. The price tag is a little high, but this is the whole package and includes modern, luxurious rooms, fine dining, and great reviews. This is the ultimate place to cozy up during the winter months. 

Le Rapp Hotel is in the heart of old Colmar, so you can walk out the front door into Christmas magic. The hotel has modern and historic rooms and a sauna to warm up as you explore the Christmas markets.  

If you prefer a more modern experience, Paul + Pia is a colorful alternative boutique hotel just outside the city. This hotel is highly rated and exactly where I would choose to stay. Colmar can get very busy during the holiday, so staying away from the center allows for a more relaxed and quiet holiday. The hotel is near a parking garage. 

Booking a cozy apartment in the heart of Colmar is also a great choice. This adorable apartment offers a look inside a historic building with modern updates. This apartment would be my choice for a more romantic Christmas getaway in Colmar with my husband. 

Colmar Christmas Market Booking.com

Winter Weather and What to Pack for Colmar

What to pack for winter in Colmar France

Layers are always best, and you’ll want to ensure you have a solid coat and good rainproof walking shoes or winter boots. 

For more ideas on what to pack, refer to my Christmas market packing guide to Germany, which has a similar climate. 

Day 1: Explore Colmar’s Christmas Markets

Colmar Christmas Market Guide

There are a total of 6 Christmas 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 Christmas markets and historic streets are covered in white Christmas trees and rustic decorations, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The smells of roasting nuts and mulled wine make you feel as if you’ve been transported into a European Christmas fairy tale. 

Colmar Christmas Market-36

My favorite thing about Colmar is that Christmas is everywhere. Teddy bears hang from balcony windows, and frosted glass baubles fill your vision. Most markets are close together, and with so much decoration around the city, you can easily venture out and explore Colmar without an itinerary or purpose. You’ll surely experience everything and then some on your own. If, however, you want to make sure you visit all six markets, I’ve got you covered with the low down on each market. 

Gourmet Market Star 

This was easily my favorite market in Colmar. A new addition in 2018, the Gourmet Market Star features 9 gourmet food stalls serving hot, fresh, and local cuisine. This isn’t your standard Christmas market food, such as fried potatoes and roasted nuts. The food here comes from renowned chefs. I ordered a bowl of truffle risotto and paired it with a festive glass of Champagne. Hello, bougie Christmas market food – come to momma. Other options included gourmet soups, roasted chicken, and more delights. Of course, if possible, I’ll remind you to skip the unethical Foie Gras and opt for one of the vegetarian dishes. The market serves food from 10 am – 10 pm. The space is rather small, and it is standing room only. Make sure you bust out your reusable utensils.  

Truffel risotto Colmar Gourmet Christmas Market

As you explore the Colmar Christmas markets, keep an eye out for other tasty Christmas market food, including, Vin Chaud or mulled wine, potato pancakes covered in cheese, vegetarian savory (or sweet) crepes, and roasted nuts. These are all vegetarian and essential Alsace Christmas market foods.

This foodie market closes at 9 p.m., which is later than most markets. So, feel free to grab some food on your way out!

Indoor Craft Market

Okay, this one might actually be my favorite market, or at least it is a close second. The craft market is THE PLACE to get all your handmade items, such as pottery, jewelry, furniture, blown-glass ornaments, and unique wood gifts. The best part is this market is located inside a historic medieval building. There are plenty of opportunities to meet the artists and crafters behind the gifts you purchase as you explore over 20 booths. Make sure you save money for this one because some gifts are premium quality. 

Handicraft market Christmas market Colmar

Dominican Square

As you enter Colmar, this may be one of the first Christmas markets you encounter. This market is in the court year of the small Dominican church. The church is a charming backdrop with stained glass windows glowing at night. However, this market is a bit basic, with many typical Christmas decorations and gifts in rustic wooden stalls. In my opinion, the best part of this market is the ambiance at night, and make sure to grab a Vin Chaud as you stroll into dusk.

Colmar Christmas Market-4

Place de L’Ancienne Douane

This Colmar Christmas market is tucked into the city’s heart. The market stalls line the small river channel that runs through the city. The focus is more on the historic ambiance with the Schwendi fountain and the old customs house. You’ll find a mix of unique, authentic gifts and standard Christmas market items.

Colmar Christmas Market decorations

Place Jeanne d’Arc

Step into a magical Alsacian village with twinkling lights and cozy huts lined with snow. Here at Place Jeanne d’Arc you’ll find plenty of artisanal foods and drinks such as schnapps, cheese, biscuits, and wine. This is a great place to stock up on more snacks for the road, or consumable gifts. I recommend visiting this market in the late evening or at night, as it really lights up.  

Colmar Christmas Market Place Jeanne d’Arc

The Children’s Market

Finally, if you are visiting Colmar with your family, you will want to visit The Children’s Market in Colmar. This is the ideal place for families with rides and apple cider. They even had a nativity with animals. This is definitely the most kid-friendly zone in Colmar during the Advent season. 

Special Christmas Events in Colmar 2022

Colmar has loads of special events for the Christmas and Advent season.

  • Every other day, starting on Nov 23, 2023 you can join a Christmas Market Tour for a local insider look at the markets between 4:30 pm – 7 pm. The tour costs 10 euros. Tickets should be purchased in advance. Most tours are conducted in French, with a few events in German and one in English.
  • Little Venice lights up on two nights with a children’s Choir on Dec 20, 2023. There are other concerts and Christmas events in Colmar throughout the season, and you can check the calendar.
  • If you are really in Alsace just for the wine and the Christmas season is an added bonus, then you do not want to miss the Christmas wine tasting at Karcher wine cellar. This must be booked in advance, and you’ll try Alsatian wines and learn local Advent folklore.
  • There is an ice rink outside the city center at Place Rapp. Enjoy festive skating and special events such as ice hockey games and shows. It costs 2 Euros to skate, and I recommend trying this at night when the rink lights up!

Day 2: Visit Alsace Villages – Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg

You’re in for a treat on the second day of your Colmar Christmas market itinerary. You’ll be taking advantage of the Christmas Market Shuttle that runs from Colmar, stopping at Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg. These are three adorable medieval towns in Alsace, and they come alive during the Christmas Season. 

Christmas decorations in Colmar

Using the Colmar Christmas Shuttle

A weekend Christmas Shuttle will take you to all the fantastic towns near Colmar. If you drove to Colmar, I highly recommend parking the car and using the shuttle. We had a nightmare of a time trying to park in these small towns and actually missed our opportunity to experience some of the magic – I don’t want that to happen to you. There are two lines, and they both depart from the Colmar GARE central train station. 

2023 timetables are not yet announced. The timetable for 2022 is available and likely to remain the same. However, times are subject to change, and it is in your best interest to check for updated information with the tourism office or the timetable. 

  • Line 1: Colmar > Kaysersberg > Riquewihr > Ribeauvillé > Colmar
  • Line 2: Colmar > Ribeauvillé > Riquewihr > Kaysersberg > Colmar

Colmar Christmas market decorations

So, this is a circular route, and two lines are running in opposite directions. Adult tickets are 8 Euro, and you can buy tickets from any of the stops, so in this case the Colmar train station. You can also buy them at a local tourist office.  There are also some public transportation options. I recommend asking the tourism office or using Google Maps to help you navigate this system.  

Riquewihr Christmas Market Guide

Riquewihr is ranked one of the most beautiful villages in France, and it comes alive during Christmas. Due to an unfortunate traffic situation, we missed this market. Hopefully, you can visit by taking advantage of the Christmas market shuttle or just visiting the town on a weekday without the market. This adorable village is still tucked away inside a historic wall. Surrounding the walls are rolling vineyards growing the finest Alsace grapes. Inside the walls, the cobblestone streets are lined with brightly painted timber houses. This town is quintessential of small-town Europe.

As you visit during Christmas, you’ll find the entire town lit up as if in a magical fairy tale and window boxes decorated to the max. There is only one market here, and vendors are nestled in their wooden huts beneath the historic buildings. You’ll find plenty of Christmas goodies, snacks, handicrafts, and unique gifts. 

Colmar Christmas Market

Special Christmas Events in Riquewihr

  • The Men’s choir will sing on December 1, 2023, starting at 8:00 p.m. The show will take place at Place des Trois. It is free, but you are encouraged to leave a donation.

Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Guide

Ribeauvillé is a medieval town that truly goes all out for Christmas. This was one of the most charming stops along the way, and my travel crew and I enjoyed meandering the streets, gazing at all the decorations. While this festival is only open for two weekends in December, it is totally worth visiting if you can swing it. Unfortunately, we just passed through the town on a day when the market wasn’t open, but the area was still decorated, and shops were still selling gifts. I definitely want to come back here during the market day.

The entire town embraces 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 as vendors wear medieval costumes, sell Vin Chaud in chalices, and serve hearty stews. This experience is the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing Christmas from medieval times. 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

Kaysersberg Christmas Market Guide

I loved the Kaysersberg markets because they had an ample selection of artisanal handmade gifts and local food. There are two markets here, but the Christmas feeling extends beyond the markets as the entire town of Kaysersberg lights up for the holiday season. Even as you wander the main shopping street, each storefront and timber house is lit up with lights, displays, and cheer away from the holiday vendors.

You can do plenty of Christmas shopping away from the official market booths, and Kaysersberg has loads of boutique and local art shops. I encourage you to spend ample time exploring the entire town, including a small hike to the Kaysersberg castle for a nice scenic view of the town and surrounding vineyards. If you want a genuinely horrifying experience, you can also visit the fairy tale exhibit for a strange puppet display. 

A Traditional Alsace market is tucked away in an alleyway behind Eglise St. Croix. In the shadow of the impressive cathedral, 30 glowing market stalls are filled with cute handmade gifts. I bought a ring made from upcycled paper. It is a bit spooky as the market is parallel to a graveyard, but the Christmas ambiance keeps you warm and cheery. The market is best if you enter near the town hall and exit into the main shopping street to continue exploring the town. 

Farmer’s Christmas Market is full of all the best gourmet delights of the Alsace region packaged for Christmas. Buy local cheese, wine, bio Vin Chaud, honey, herbs and spices, apple cider, and more. I stocked up on many great treats to take home to spice up our holiday cooking and appetizer trays for visiting friends and family. 

Kaysersberg Farmer's Market

Special Christmas Events in Kaysersberg

  • Open for the entire festive season, there is a hall of Christmas trees in Kaysersberg. Different local artists decorate trees, and each tree has a unique flair. One is decorated in hand-blown glass, while another is in fabric and textile patterns. The trees are displayed at 39 Rue du General de Gaulle, Arsenal Hall.
  • The Men’s choir will sing on November 26, 2023 in Kaysersberg.

Kaysersberg Castle Christmas Market

If you stay a third day, you can explore the parts of Colmer you missed. Otherwise, you can continue with my full Alsace Christmas market itinerary, including stops in Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Eguisheim, and more!

Discuss and Share

I hope this post sparked your curiosity to see the beautiful region of Alsace at Christmas time. The Christmas markets in Colmar and the historic villages of Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg are unparalleled to anywhere else in Europe.  You’ll experience the true magic of Christmas in Alsace with this detailed two-day itinerary and guide to Colmar Christmas markets. 

Spend the Perfect Christmas in Colmar and Surrounding Villages

  • Are you dreaming of Christmas in Alsace, France? Which Christmas market looks like your favorite?
  • Have you visited Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg during Christmas? Share your experience.
  • What is your dream destination for Christmas in Europe?

Make sure you pin and share this guide to Colmar Christmas markets to share the holiday spirit.

Plan Your Entire European Christmas Market Adventure!

Looking for more German and European Christmas market content? Don’t miss:

Colmar Christmas Market Guide and Magical 2-day itinerary
Magical Colmar Christmas Market Guide and Itinerary
Spend the Perfect Christmas in Colmar and Surrounding Villages