What if I told you that you could step foot into a real-life fairytale town? Would you believe me? Well stop dreaming and start believing, because have I got the destination for you! Nestled in the north-east of France, close to the German border is where you will find the ever-charming town of Colmar. Full disclosure, I can’t guarantee that you will meet your very own Prince Charming here, but it’s worth a shot, right?
Still rather undiscovered, the delightful town boasts an adorable old town, museums and architectural landmarks. It is definitely one to add to your bucket list. Colmar sits within the Alsace wine route, (one of France’s best wine regions,) and the capital of the region is none other than Colmar itself.
OKAY YOU’VE CONVINCED ME, BUT HOW DO I GET THERE?
Well unfortunately there are no horse drawn carriages so we princesses (and princes) can’t make an epic entrance, but fret not, it’s easy to make your way and start your fairy tale in Colmar itself. Now Colmar does have its own airport, but its not served by very many flights. The closest international airport is EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, which is served by frequent flights from numerous European cities.
From EuroAirport there are two major options to reach Colmar:
1) Car Hire: Hire yourself a car from the airport and enjoy the freedom of driving to the charming Colmar. The drive time from the airport is roughly 45 minutes. Car hire cost varies so check out some rental options.
2) FlixBus: Car hire isn’t always an option for everyone so why not jump on the FlixBus? Plus, that way you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere to park the car. There are four daily services between EuroAirport and Colmar with prices ranging between €9 and €20. The bus journey takes roughly between sixty to ninety minutes and comes fully equipped with charging sockets and free onboard wifi. Pre-purchase your ticket online to get the best price.
Tip: Make sure you exit the airport terminal via the French exit, as the departure point is located on the French side.
WHERE CAN I GET MY SLEEPING BEAUTY ON?
Colmar has hotels aplenty. You shouldn’t have any problems finding a hotel in the town, however if you’re after a hostel, things start to look rather bleak. Airbnb is also another prominent option in Colmar, and this is the direction in which I went. I had a wonderful experience renting a beautiful room in a modern flat located just a short 5-10 minute walk from the old town centre.
WHAT SHOULD I SEE AND DO?
Colmar’s traditional houses and colourful streets make just wandering the streets an activity in itself. Make sure you dedicate some time to aimlessly wandering and losing yourself in it’s charm. Don’t forget that this town is also a wine capital so get your hands on some world class wine and why not pair it with some spectacular cuisine.
1. LITTLE VENICE & THE FISHMONGERS DISTRICT
Best explored on foot, wander through the winding streets of Little Venice. Discover the enchanting coloured houses, delectable restaurants and canals that define Colmar. After strolling through the lanes, take to the water and cruise along the canal, taking in the sights from another perspective.
Canal cruises cost €6 and the return journey takes 25 minutes.
2. THE COVERED MARKET
Everybody loves a good market and this one is right in the heart of the Fishmonger’s District. Sample local Alsatian produce at this delicious market, and what a better place to do so? Enjoy traditional meals over the canal whilst taking in the delights of the colourful district.
3. ALSATIAN WINE TOUR
It would be rude not to sample as many wines as possible, especially when visiting the capital of the region! You can find multiple wine tours operated by tour companies, including full and half day packages. I found these to be quite expensive, and out of my budget, but I have an alternative for you. Head to the Tourist Office and pick yourself up a map of the Alsace Wine Route, then make your way to Lulu Cycles. Here you can hire yourself a bicycle and have your own independent wine tour. Enjoy riding with complete freedom through stunning vineyards surrounded by rolling hills, old chateaux and enchanting villages. A full day bike hire will cost you €10.
WHERE CAN I DINE?
Colmar plays host to a multitude of Michelin star restaurants, which although that sounds incredible, doesn’t really allow for a spontaneous dinner. As a solo traveller, I never have an issue finding a dinner location but in Colmar, I was sorely mistaken. The majority of restaurants that I came across required reservations, even for one, but there are also other restaurants in town that don’t require reservations.
- Kamie – Great for light bites and cosy coffees. Snuggle up for the best Pain Au Chocolat you’ve ever had
- Le Boudoir – If you’re a big tea fan, this is the place for you. An extensive tea menu with almost any infusion you could dream up.
- Patisserie Gilg – Simply put, the best macarons you will ever have in your life! And at a decent price too. They also have plenty of other desserts if you’re not a macaron gal (or guy).
- Marché couvert de Colmar – High quality local produce with community vibes. Enjoy your meal on the charming terrace overlooking the canal.
- Alsako – Humble café with quick service and traditional eats. Sit outside for spectacular views of the Koïfhus.
- La Romantica – Italian and Alsatian cuisine with a homely vibe. The traditional Baeckeoffe is definitely worth a try. Brasserie Schwendi Bier u Winstub – Pub style restaurant in old town. Simple yet hearty meals.
If you wanted to treat yourself to a Michelin Star dinner ensure you book in advance, check out the selection here.
Having been voted Europe’s best hidden gem (2015) and listed by New York Times as a Top Place to Go in 2016, its surprising that Colmar still sits rather off the beaten tourist track. But being as charismatic as it is, its popularity is ever growing so make sure you visit before it loses its unique untouched vibe.
So, what are you waiting for? Stop waiting for your fairy godmother, stop wishing upon stars and book your visit to Colmar now!
Have you visited Colmar, France? We would love you to share your own tips and favourite spots with our readers in the comments below. Read Next > 10 Of The Most Fabulous Cafes In Paris