If you’ve ever scrolled through Pinterest for travel inspo, you’re likely to have stumbled upon Colmar, a fairytale town found in France. This magical place is located right near the German border, and is the third largest city in the Alsace region (after Strasbourg and Mulhouse). Not only is it beautiful, it’s a hub for wines for the region – Alsatian wines are typically white, with their Rieslings and Gewürztraminer being the most notable. Colmar is a perfect weekend getaway - soaking in picturesque sights and enjoying a glass or two along the way. Yes please!
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Colmar is easily accessible via the Strasbourg and Basel airports, and can be reached by bus, car or train. From the Basel airport, we had pre-booked a Flix bus to Colmar (20 euros for roundtrip journey). I’d recommend pre-booking if you’re hoping to go this route – the bus we had booked was full. From the airport, it only took 45 minutes to get to the Colmar train station, which is a 10-20 minute walk to the centre.
a.m. – breakfast & exploring colmar: For breakfast, head to L’atelier de Yann, a pastry shop and restaurant right near the historic centre. We got to try kugelhopf and have yummy lattes out on their cute little terrace which looks out at a church. They’ve also got eggs and quiches if you’re looking for a more substantial breakfast. Another highly recommended spot in Colmar is Jadis et Gourmande – if you’re visiting on a weekend, bear in mind they’re closed on Sundays.
Colmar a small place and isn’t jam-packed with things to do, but walking around and taking in the views is the best activity to do here by far. Walk around the historic centre and make sure you head to Little Venice, an area surrounding canals and dotted with Colmar’s iconic picturesque buildings.
For a different perspective of the village, head to the bar inside Le Krutenau restaurant. Here you can buy tickets for a 30-minute canal cruise aboard a wooden boat. A ticket will run you 8 euros, and you’ll get a time slot for a cruise (they pass every 5-10 minutes but are tiny and thus fill up fast).
After disembarking, head to the covered market right by Little Venice. They’ve got dozens of stalls where you can buy freshly made pretzels, homemade cheeses, and lots of other little goodies.
p.m. – wine tasting & local eats: If the market’s salty pretzels have got you feeling thirsty, it’s time for a little wine tasting. The Alsace is one of Europe’s top wine regions, and you can taste fabulous whites without even leaving Colmar!
First on the list is Robert Karcher, where you can have a tasting free-of-charge – the expectation is that you leave with a bottle (and with delicious wines and pricing hovering around 8-10 euros, you’ll want to). We sat up at the bar (happily accompanied by the winery’s resident cat), but they’ve got tons of tables should you want to sit back and relax a little. We particularly loved the Gewurztraminer here.
Next up is a tasting at Martin Judd, only a 5-minute walk from the previous tasting room. They’ve got different tasting menus here, including different numbers of tastings and options (such as trying cheeses as part of your tasting). Pricing varies depending on what you choose, but you’re looking at 4-10 euros. They’ve got a tiny little outdoor seating area with two tables, and we were lucky enough to snag a spot. Otherwise you can taste their wines indoors as well.
For me, wine always stirs up an appetite – try a staple from the region and go on the hunt for tarte flambées (also referred to as Flammkuchen). These are essentially super thin crust pizzas, covered in white cheese or crème fraiche and topped with onions and bacon lardons. These are available at almost every restaurant you walk by, and we decided to stop at the unassuming Brasserie des Arcades - not a place to write home about, but we were hungry and the tarte flambées did the trick!
Continue taking your time to walk around and take pictures (there are soo many buildings and they are all soo beautiful). Window shopping (or real shopping!) is another great activity to do here, given there tons of cute shops in town, including the cutest little Christmas store.
After freshening up for dinner, we headed to Restaurant Meistermann for dinner. We found that a lot of the restaurants (even breakfast ones) seemed to require reservations ahead of time as many were fully booked for the Saturday night we visited. If you’re going to research dining options beforehand, make sure you book ahead of your trip to guarantee getting a table. Fortunately, we found a spot that did have availability that evening and was only a 5-minute walk from the historic centre.
The décor was quaint, and they served a 3-course menu for 28 euros which included many Alsace classics – they’ve also got a good wine list and Alsacien beers on tap.
a.m. – breakfast & sunshine basking: Time to get up and head out on the hunt for the delicious pastries France is so famous for! We headed to Au Croissant Doré, a cozy bakery with indoor and outdoor seating. By the time we visited (11:30am), they were unfortunately out of almost all their pastries, but we did get to have a delicious apple pie out on their street terrace. Go early to snag the freshest baked goods and a spot outside!
From here, head out for a final stroll around Petite Venice. If the weather is on your side, plan for a pit stop at Le Krutenau, where you purchased tickets for the boat the day before. Their terrace is the only one we saw that had full sun, so be sure to stop by here on a sunny day to soak in the rays over some local Colmar beers.
p.m. - bike ride to eguisheim: Head to straight to the train station to rent bikes to make your way to the neighbouring village of Eguisheim. When we arrived at the rental shop, Colmar Cycling - Velodocteurs around 2pm, there were only two bikes left – I heard you can pre-book by calling in, so that might be a safer bet (especially if you’re looking to rent a few bikes). We kept the bikes for roughly 3 hours, which cost 7 euros per person.
At the bike rental, you can pick up a map that outlines the path to get from the station to Eguisheim. I was a little nervous about having to bike alongside any busy roads, but the route will take you on dedicated bike paths all the way from A to Z. The ride is generally quite flat and a lot of it is actually through farmland, so it’s easy and enjoyable. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the Eguishem centre (which sounds longer than it felt). Upon arriving, there will be a large parking lot up to your left – there are several bike racks here for you to lock up to.
Eguisheim blew my mind – somehow, it seemed even cuter and quainter than Colmar and felt less busy. The buildings seem to literally have appeared out of a fairy tale, and the narrow cobble-stoned streets add even more to the surreal effect.
If you’ve gotten your fill of ogling at the architecture, make a pit stop at a winery (they’re literally everywhere). We stopped at Paul Schneider, which has a cute little terrace out back on which you can enjoy a glass.
Once you’ve stirred up an appetite, stop in the town square for a cute setting to enjoy lunch. We opted for Caveau d’Eguisheim, where we had more flammkuchen (had to get our fill before heading home!) They also serve wines from the winery right next door, Domaine Emile Beyer. For one last tasting before heading back to Colmar, we ducked into Wolfberger. They haven’t got a tasting package per se, but you can walk around the store and select the ones you’d like to try (with the expectation being you bring back a bottle or two).
Once you've had your fill of Gewürztraminer (if that's possible), pick up your bike to make you way back to Colmar via the same bike path you followed to get to Eguisheim – dropping your bike off at the train station allows for an easy journey home (or onto the next destination!)
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what to pack.