How to Get to Colmar
By Car: If you’re following my Alsace road trip itinerary, then you’ll be arriving by car. Assuming you picked up your rental car in Strasbourg, it is about 50 minutes along with the A 35.
By Train: Colmar is pretty accessible for Europeans. 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 first to navigate to Strasbourg. From there you can take the non-stop TVG train to Colmar which is only about 25 minutes!
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.
2022 Colmar Christmas Market Dates
If you plan to take full advantage of the Colmar region and visit the small Alsatian towns in the vicinity for Christmas, you’ll need to plan your itinerary carefully. While the Colmar Christmas markets are on from the end of November to the end of December, several nearby smaller markets are open only on a select 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’re a person that doesn’t mind packing things in, then 2 nights and 2-3 full days should be plenty.
Christmas Market Dates and Opening Hours
2022 Colmar Christmas Market Dates
- November 24 – December 29, 2022
- Monday – Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm
- Friday – Sunday: 10 am – 8pm
- Limited hours on Dec 24-25
2022 Riquewihr Christmas Market Dates
- November 26 – Dec 20, 2022
2022 Kaysersberg Christmas Market Dates
- November 25-27, 2022
- December 2-4, 2022
- December 9-11, 2022
- December 16-20, 2022
- Advent decorations in the city from November 25 – December 20, 2022
- 10 am – 8 pm
- The market is not open on Christmas
2022 Ribeauvillé Christmas Market Dates
- December 3-4, 2022
- December 10-11, 2022
- Advent decorations in the city from November 26 – December 20, 2022
The best dates for 2022 to visit Colmar and the surrounding Alsatian towns are December 3-4 or December 10-11. This suggestion is optimized for when the Christmas shuttle is running, and all markets in Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Kaysersberg are open. Do not plan your trip between the 22-26 of December. Most markets are closed on Christmas and the days before and after. As tempting as it is to spend Christmas day drinking Vin Chaud under Christmas lights, you will be sorely disappointed.
All dates and times are subject to change due to the ongoing pandemic. Please do independent research or reach out to the tourism office for the latest up-to-date information.
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. However, it is worth noting that the towns are still very festive and decorated 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 take advantage of public transportation to see these towns all dressed in their Christmas best. The towns are so festive during the advent season, we enjoyed just exploring more than shopping at the markets in some of the smaller towns.
Where to Stay in Colmar for Christmas
There are lots of hotel options for Colmar 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 towns rather than using Colmar as a hub. In hindsight, though, I wish we would have, as parking in smaller cities is a nightmare. Living in Germany and having been to Alsace a few times, I know the area well and have picked a few spots I think are ideal for your Colmar Christmas itinerary. I also added a few cool spots I know my readers and fans of boutique hotels will love. All the hotels have a rating higher than 8 on booking and would book the next time I’m in Colmar for Christmas Markets.
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 – modern luxurious rooms, fine dining, and great reviews. This is the ultimate place to cozy up during the winter months.
Le Rapp Hotel is located in the heart of old Colmar, so you can essentially walk out the front door into Christmas magic. The hotel has both modern and historic rooms, and a sauna so you can warm up as you explore the Christmas markets.
If you prefer a more modern experience then 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.
Winter Weather and What to Pack for Colmar
Layers are always best, and you’ll want to make sure you have a solid coat and good rainproof walking shoes or winter boots.
- A stylish winter jacket in a neutral color. I’m also generally a huge fan of 3-in-1 jackets as you can peel off the layers or add them on as needed. They are expensive, and can be bulky, but they are great to handle any weather. Any of these 3-in-1 jackets for men would be great as well.
- European style is also very chic and pea coats styled a nice scarf and warm layers underneath would also work very well in Colmar.
- In the photo, I am wearing an insulated rain jacket with a long sleeve shirt underneath.
- A cute scarf, a knit hat, and Patagonia mittens. You might be able to buy these from a Christmas market stall to support a local knitter.
- Waterproof boots. You can go for some stylish black ones, a more neutral color, or booties. These boots are great for men.
- I wore a combination of thicker leggings and jeans.
- For women, I’m a huge fan of wool skirts paired with leggings.
- Of course, base layers are never a bad idea if you are generally a cold person, but overall I found the temperatures not too cold end of November.
For more ideas on what to pack, you can 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,” and you’ll find plenty of hand-crafted art pieces intertwined with traditional food and gifts. The Colmar markets and historic streets are covered in white Christmas trees and rustic decorations, offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Smells of roasting nuts and mulled wine make you feel as if you’ve been transported into a European Christmas Fairy Tail.
My favorite thing about Colmar is that Christmas is everywhere. Teddy bears hand from balcony windows, and frosted glass baubles fill your vision. Most of the markets are close together, and with so much decoration around the city, you can easily just 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 was easily my favorite market in Colmar. A new addition in 2018, this market 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, 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.
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.
Indoor Craft Market – Ok, 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 in 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 your money for this one because some of the gifts are premium quality.
Dominican Square is of the first markets you might 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 lots of 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.
Place de L’Ancienne Douane is tucked into the city’s heart. The market stalls line the small river channel that runs through the city. The focus here 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 cookie-cutter basic items.
Place Jeanne d’Arc invites you to step into a magical Alsacian village with twinkling lights and cozy huts lined with snow. 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. I recommend visiting this market in the later evening or at night, as it really lights up.
The Children’s Market is a place for families with rides and apple cider. They even had a nativity with animals. This is definitely the most kid-friendly zone in all of Colmar during the advent season.
Special Christmas Events in Colmar 2022
There are loads of special events happening in Colmar for the Christmas and advent season.
- Every other day, starting on Nov 25, 2022 you can join a Christmas Market Tour for a local insider look at the markets between 4:30 pm – 7 pm. The tour costs 7 euros, tickets should be purchased in advance, and they are conducted in French, with a few events in German and one in English.
- Little Venice lights up on two different nights with a children’s Choir on Nov 26, 2022, and Nov 30, 2022. 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.
- Just outside the city center at Place Rapp, there is an ice rink. 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! Ice Skating is open from Nov 24- Dec 31, 2022.