In 2020 I got to revisit Colmar while Hielke and I were on our way to Italy, so Hielke could see this town which I had enjoyed so much the year before when I visited it with my mother and sister for a long weekend. Colmar is the perfect holiday destination because of the many activities you can do: wine tasting, cycling in a beautiful surrounding, twirling with colorful houses in the background and enjoying all the flowers that are displayed in the flower season. It is the perfect destination for a long weekend or a pit stop on your way to another location.

Why visit Colmar

Even though Colmar is a “capital city” it still preserved an old town charm. In the “Petit Venise” area you will find many colorful, traditional half timbered houses next to charming canals that are surrounded by beautiful flower baskets.  When you walk through the old town, it feels like you are walking through a life size gingerbread house-town. I absolutely loved the flowers that were hanging from the balconies, underneath the typical French shutters, but I can imagine this town being even more breathtaking when visiting in the Christmas weeks. During Christmas the whole town lights up and is fully decorated and there are many Christmas markets. I definitely want to go back to Colmar someday during Christmas!

As we visited in summer, the town was super vibrant and all the terraces were packed with people until late. The Alsace is the home to one of my favorite wines: the Riesling and there were many opportunities to taste some regional wines. It is really easy to visit some wineries from Colmar. Near Colmar there are many small and big wineries, so there is something for everyone’s taste.

Where we stayed

Colmar is the perfect location for a stay in the Alsace, it is the capital city of the Alsace and is located in the heart of the Alsace. As it is a larger city, there is a train station (with direct trains to Paris), you can rent bikes, you can do some shopping and there are many restaurants to choose from. Colmar is a really popular city, so book your hotel in advance to make sure you are in the right location and make restaurant reservations to dine in the option of your choice.

Airbnb (2020): As we wanted to run into as little people as possible we decided to stay in “Refined charming B&B city-center tasty breakfast”. This B&B was located close to the train station and a short walk from the city center. Due to COVID we were able to park for free behind the apartment building, which was perfect. We paid € 90 for our room with a private bathroom. The owner was a lovely woman, who prepares a delicious breakfast for € 12,50 per person. I highly recommend staying in an Airbnb near the city center!

Ibis Styles Colmar Nord (2019): I did not love this hotel as much even though I usually like the comfort of an Ibis hotel. The breakfast area was really chaotic once it was crowded, with children running around everywhere, the Wifi did not work very well and the hotel was a € 17 taxi ride away from the city center (if you calculate in these extra costs the hotel gets pretty expensive).  Rooms cost about € 100 per room, depending on the season. The hotel does have a little pool, so it is a good option when you have children. Especially if you want to do some wine tasting, it is easier to stay in the city center. I read terrible stories about parking in Colmar, but we discovered you could park really cheaply in the parking garage next to the train station, this costs about € 5 for a full day. Apparently Colmar built some new parking garages, which solved the parking problem, so most info you will find on the internet is outdated.

Unfortunately we did not stay in a gingerbread house

Traditional food

The Alsace is not only known for its wines, but also for its traditional cuisine. The most important dish you will encounter is Flammkuchen. Flammkuchen looks like a pizza, except it has crème fraiche instead of tomato sauce and it is usually eaten with bacon and onions. You will run into Flammkuchen everywhere in the Alsace, you will not be able to escape it! It is a delicious meal, but you will grow tired of it 😉

You will also run into Munster cheese, which is a regional cheese. It is quite a tangy cheese, which melts really good, so you will also find it in dishes such as fondue and tartiflette.  

A Wistub is a traditional restaurant/wine bar in the Alsace. They only serve traditional meals, such as sauerkraut, bibeleskas and lamb. Inside, a Wistub looks like you are in a restaurant on the ski slopes, with funny details and a lot of chunky wood. A visit to a Wistub is a must if you are in the Alsace. We had dinner at Wistub de La Petit Venise and we would really recommend this restaurant. The food is delicious and the waitresses are really kind and explain the menu in English. Wistub Brenner is a local favorite as well. It is sensible to make a reservation, because the Wistubs are really popular for dinner.

Cycling in the Alsace

Another must do activity is cycling in the Alsace. We rented bikes at Colmar Cycling, they are located at the station of Colmar and you can make reservations in advance. We rented ebikes for € 28 a day. The Alsace is quite hilly and we really liked having an ebike instead of a regular bike. Colmar Cycling is open until 7 PM, which really gives you a full day for cycling, without being in a rush.

We cycled along the route des vins d’Alsace…
Where we would spot lovely villages and landscapes like these
You could carefully wander around the vineyards

We cycled from Colmar to Eguisheim to Kaysersberg back to Colmar, this was about 35 KMs. I have to admit that I sometimes found cycling in the Alsace quite dangerous. At times there was no cycling lane and we also had to cross two roundabouts with cars. This was very different to my experience in the Wachau valley, where the cycling lanes were well indicated and plenty. But we had a very fun day. The cycling is a really good way to enjoy the beautiful hills of the Alsace and it gave you the opportunity to do some wine tastings. Along your cycling route, you will bump into several small wineries where you can stop for a spontaneous tasting.

Eguisheim definitely was my favorite town on the cycling route

We especially loved Eguisheim, this village is built surrounding a church and it has little alleyways all around the church. Eguisheim makes for the perfect morning wandering through the town. It wasn’t too crowded in the morning, so you could take solo pics with pink half timbered houses and the beautifully flowered fountains. Kaysersberg is very beautiful too, but it has some big squares, which makes it seem very crowded. In Kaysersberg there is a lovely little stream, which definitely adds charm to the town, but the many touristy shops did take some of the charm away. However the landscapes surrounding Kaysersberg are some the most beautiful in the area, so Kaysersberg is already worth visiting just for that!

The main square of Kaysersberg was really crowded like this

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