Colmar is a small town in northeast France, sitting very close to the border of Switzerland. It is part of the famous Alsace wine region and sits along the Alsace wine route, which runs north to south throughout the region. The closest sizable airport is located in Basel, Switzerland. Catch a flight here and then make your way to Colmar. There are a few options to reach Colmar from the Basel airport.
Catch a bus (FlixBus) to Colmar, taking about 1 hour – check available times in advance and book if a time is suitable for your travel day
2a. Take a bus (Line 50) from right outside the airport to the Basel SBB (main train station). Exit the airport on the Swiss side as you will need to stay on the Swiss side to get the bus to the train station. These buses seem to run every 10 minutes. You can purchase a ticket at the machine right at the bus stop. The bus ride from the airport to the station is about 20 minutes. There are about 2 trains per hour heading to Colmar from Basel SBB and a train ticket is about 15 euros. The faster trains take 45 minutes to reach Colmar from Basel and slower may be closer to 75 minutes.
2b. Take a bus (Line 11) or car from the airport to the Saint Louis train station (10 minutes from Basel airport); then take a 30 – 40 minute train from Saint Louis station to Colmar station. Train tickets are about 15 euros, and trains typically run every 30 minutes. Exit the airport on the Swiss side as you will need to stay on the Swiss side to get the bus to the train station. (Line 11 bus seems to be less frequent than line 50 which may determine which option you end up choosing)
The town itself is small, making it a very walkable city. There are canals running through the town, so if interested, you can see the town from the water by taking a cruise through the canals. Another option to explore is to rent bikes. Although you will not need them in the town, it is a nice way to visit the surrounding countryside and other Alsace villages.
When looking for accommodations in Colmar, try to stay in or around Le Petite Venise. This neighborhood in Colmar has cute houses making you feel like you are in a fairytale. It is also centrally located and will provide a good home base location when visiting Colmar and nearby Alsace towns.
Area in Colmar with the iconic colorful houses, making you feel like you are stuck in a fairytale. This area is very picturesque, and a perfect spot to find a meal or a terrace for a drink if visiting when there is nice weather.
Wander through the historic city centre, getting lost in the small, cobblestone streets. Stop in a boutique shop, grab a pastry from a local patisserie, or enjoy a meal in this area.
Eguisheim is another village near Colmar with tons of wineries. The journey to Eguisheim is about 30 minutes by bike as it is only 7 kilometers from Colmar. It is one of France’s favourite wine towns with ~30 wineries. Many of the wineries have free tastings, where you can then sit for a glass or buy a bottle if you wish. A few wineries will have more formal tastings you can select from, costing only a few euros.
Before heading to Eguisheim, keep in mind most wineries do not open for tastings until 13:30 or 14:00. Thus, if arriving beforehand, plan to explore the town and grab lunch. You can easily explore the town in an hour so no need to rush to Eguisheim early in the day.
Once you are ready to wine taste, just wander around the town and pick wineries that look good to you. That being said, the below are a few we walked by and tried.
Rent bikes from Colmar Cycling – Velodocteurs, right near the train station, for a day to see some of the beautiful vineyards and wineries outside of Colmar. If you email ahead of your trip, you can make a reservation for the rentals in advance. They require an ID and deposit to rent the bikes, but upon return the deposit is returned. We rented city bikes for the day and it was only 8€ / bike.
At this restaurant you can purchase tickets to a boat canal cruise and see the town from the water.
Located near Little Venice, this market has lots of treats and snacks worth trying. Pick-up a pretzel for on the go or sit down for a drink in the market.
Strasbourg is a quick train ride from Colmar and can be a nice day trip if spending a few days in Colmar.
The fairytale town gets dressed up for Christmas, with decorations all around the town, Christmas shops, and markets spread throughout the village.
Before visiting Colmar, research a few restaurants that interest you for dinner and make a reservation ahead of your visit. The main reason for this note is because we found many restaurants were already full when we inquired about a table for the evening.
Patisserie with french pastries
Closed on Sundays, this pastry shop and restaurant has excellent croissants and coffee for a quick sit-down morning snack.
Tea and brunch spot in Little Venice. They also have some delicious cookies you can buy to takeaway or enjoy with your drink.
Boulangerie (French bakery) in the center of town with an assortment of pastries, baguettes, sandwiches, and other French treats
Cute cafe providing a great place to sit on the cobblestone streets and grab a glass of wine alongside a small charcuterie platter for an afternoon snack
French restaurant as an option for dinner or just grabbing a glass of Alsace wine.
French restaurant a few minutes from the Canal and Covered market. They serve traditional dishes from the region. If interested in trying the local cuisines, be sure to get a flammekueche, which is a flatbread with a cream sauce and a different assortment of toppings.
If looking for something different than the French cuisine, try this Italian restaurant. It is a casual restaurant where the waiters were very friendly and the Italian food was a nice change from the local options.
Delicious gelato shop, with 30+ flavors available to order
Small patisserie in the center of Eguisheim selling local treats
Colmar sits in the Alsace wine region of France. If hoping to visit vineyards, check out some of the local wineries, and enjoy the wine region, plan to visit in late spring, summer, or early fall. This is when you will likely have the warmest weather and the vineyards will be prettier to visit. Although the Alsace wine region produces all types of wine (white, rose and red), it is most often associated with its white wines. For this reason, it is especially nice to enjoy the wines on a warm sunny day on a terrace.
Alternatively, if interested in exploring Colmar when it is dressed up for the holidays, plan your visit in December. At this time, Colmar will get you in the holiday spirit, as the festive decorations transform the fairy tale town into a Christmas village.
The little town of Colmar can easily be visited in a day (or even half a day), making it a perfect short weekend destination. Two nights in Colmar gives you enough time to see the town itself, and also make a day trip to nearby wineries or the other little villages.
If interested in seeing more in the Alsace region and plan to use Colmar as a home base, extend your trip to a few more days. With extra nights, you would be able to visit Eguisheim, explore other nearby towns, take a day trip to Strasbourg, and plan trips to specific wineries outside the towns.
This French wine region is especially known for its dry white wines. There are a few pinot noirs produced, but the vast majority will be white wines produced from the Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gewürztraminer grapes.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks