Travel Guide Europe France Alsace Colmar





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Colmar is a city in the Haut-Rhin deparment in the Alsace, located in the northeast of the country, close to the border with Germany and is the capital of the department as well. It calls itself the wine capital of the Alsace region and has about 70,000 inhabitants.

Colmar has also attained popularity by being the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty. Colmar has well preserved its rich cultural and architectural heritage and has a number of Medieval and early Rennaisance buildings. The streets of Colmar have a lot of twists and turns as they wind through the historic centre. Most of the tradional houses are half timbered and have flower boxes in the window during the summers.



Sights and Activities

  • Well preserved old town
  • Many architectural landmarks, including fountains, monuments and statues
  • The Unterlinden Museum, 1, rue d' Unterlinden. It is a most interesting museum situated in a medieval convent near the tourist information center. Entrance costs €8 for adults and €5 for children and students under age 30, but this includes an excellent audio guide for many of the paintings. The museum exhibits objects of very different types e.g. furniture, armour, paintings, knitted carpets, and silverware, but its highlight is definitely the Isenheim altarpiece by Gruenewald, a revolutionary Alsatian Renaissance painter. Even if you are not much into art it is still shocking to see how modern and inventive this painter was. The collection also includes paintings by Holbein the Elder, Renoir, and Picasso. The museum also shows some very interesting touring exhibits and also musical events. The locals are very proud of this museum and many people turn out for the openings of exhibits.
  • Churches: Église Saint-Martin, Église des Dominicains, Église Saint-Matthieu
  • Musée d'histoire naturelle et d'ethnographie
  • Musée Bartholdi
  • Little Venice, with canals of course
  • Maison des Tetes (House of the Heads) - Renaissance building and old wooden house



Events and Festivals

Colmar holds wine festivals nearly every month of the year offering wine samples accompained by a locally made cake.

In summers(mid-May to mid-September) folk dance performances are held every Tuesdays place de l'Ancienne douane




Colmar has a relatively mild climate with comparatively dry weather, a good micro-climate for the famous Alsace wines. Average precipitation throughout the year is about 600 mm, mostly falling during the warmer summermonths from June to September. Temperatures are around 24 degrees Celcius during the day during these months, while from December to February temperatures are just around 5 degrees with nightly frost most common in January. Snow is possible as well during this time.



Getting There

By Plane

Colmar is about 60 kilometers south of Strasbourg and even much closer to Mulhouse. The Euro Airport Mulhouse/Freiburg/Basel has most flights with many lowcostairlines serving the area, including flights to Turkey, other southern Europe destinations as well as many cities throughout the west and central parts of the continent.

Strasbourg Airport (SXB) is another option (with no lowcostairlines though) with Air France and a number of other airlines operating flights throughout west and south Europe, as well as Tunis, Casablanca and Algiers.
Colmar has an Airport itself but is usually not used by travellers.

By Train

Colmar is located along a railway route between Strasbourg and Basel with trains running frequently, usually every hour. From Freiburg im Breisgau, a train goes to the border at Breisach. French Railways, SNCF goes to Colmar (35 to 60 minutes, 35 daily weekdays, 22 daily weekends).

By Car

Colmar is about half way between Strasbourg and Basel, just west of the A35 highway, that runs north to south through the Alsace, more or less parallel on the German border. When coming from Germany, you can follow the A-5 Autobahn, until exit 64a, Bad Krozingen, and follow the L162 and the 31 until Breisach, where you need to cross the Rhine. There the 31 become the D415, that leads to Colmar.

By Bus

From Germany, there are buses from the border at Breisach, which has a trainlink with Freiburg.



Getting Around

All of Colmar's attractions are concentrated in its old town. For a medieval city, it is surprisingly big, but you can nonetheless get around on foot with no difficulty.

Trace operates about a dozen bus routes in Colmar. One way ticket costs €1.4, pack of 10 tickets €10.20, Alsa+ 24hrs Colmar Agglo ticket costs €3.5 and allows unlimited rides inside the city and Colmar agglomeration for 24 hours.




Alsace is known for its pastries. Kugelhopf is a well-known cake similar in shape to the American Bundt cake and has raisins with powdered sugar on top. You can buy traditional ceramic Kugelhopf pans in any tourist shop with recipes to make at home. During Easter, small cakes molding from lamb-shaped pans are made. They are served with a ribbon around their necks and topped generously with powdered sugar. Macarons are also found in specialty sweet shops and also in the frozen isle of the supermarket (try the Monoprix in the center of the town), which can be eaten straight from the box frozen. Note that they are not like American macaroons (coconut haystacks) but are the French version composed of two small, pastel colored cookies made from almond flour (which has a melt-in-your-mouth quality) with an icing in between. In sweet shop you will also find Meringues, made from whipped egg whites and sugar, dyed in pastel colours and then baked. Make sure to try the tarte aux poires, which is a pear tart with an eggy custard filling with baked pears.

Tarte flambée (Flammekueche in Alsatian, or Flammkuchen in German) is the Alsatian equivalent of pizza, though extremely different. Traditionally, it is made of a thin layer of dough, covered with crème fraîche (rich sour cream), cheese, onions, and bacon (lardons in French). It is baked very quickly in an extremely hot oven so that it gets crispy. Legend has it that the dish was a solution to the extra scraps of dough left over from the bakers. Other regional specialties include the Black Forest cake (with raspberry, cream and sponge) and quiche Lorraine.

Alsace is also famous for their Bretzels (pretzels in English). They are fresh baked and soft with generous amounts of salt. Sometimes you can find them with melted cheese on top accompanied by smoked salmon or ham.

Alsace is also famous for their Sauerkraut (or choucroute in French). This is fermented cabbage served hot with boiled potatoes and a variety of meats. Choucroute aux Poissons (with fish) is becoming more widespread.

  • Maison Rouge, 9, rue des Ecoles. A restaurant in the touristic part of the city. The food is good, the service a bit slow. Have escargot for starter.




Alsace is a traditional area of wine production and its wine is widely esteemed in France and outside it. In Christmas time try the cooked orange juice with honey and spices and also the spiced (or mulled) wine served hot in many of the creperies or bars. Alsatian wine is very unique and similar to some German wines. A popular tour is to take the Routes des Vines and sample the wineries along Alsace. Two well known wines that comes from Alsace are Muscat (fairly sweet) and Gewürztraminer (very sweet, more so than wines of the same name produced in other regions). In any of the creperies, they will serve an apple cider, slightly alcoholic. Doux is the sweet version and Brut is the dry version. This is not an Alsatian specialty, all of the ciders come from Brittany on the Northern Coast, but it seems all French people enjoy crepes and cider so authentic restaurants catering to these foods are widespread. Eau de Vie is a very strong alcohol, similar to a vodka but produced from fruit, which gives it a distinct flavor. It was originally produced by the monks of the region. Look for the Eau de Vie de Mirabelle, which is a regional plum unique to Alsace.




  • Maison Martin Jund, 12, rue de l'Ange, ☏ +333 89 41 58 72. This small hotel is family owned and they make their own wines. The building is extremely historic and is within walking distance of museums and bike rental companies. Bathroom is shared but rooms have their own shower and kitchen furnished with utensils. €28-50.
  • Hôtel Les Têtes, 19 Rue des Têtes, ☏ +33 3 89 24 43 43, fax: +33 3 89 24 58 34, ✉ [email protected] Officially classified as an historic monument, this 4 star hotel and gourmet restaurant is set around a beautiful medieval courtyard. From €280.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.


See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.


La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 48.0806788
  • Longitude: 7.3599721

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This is version 27. Last edited at 15:07 on Sep 6, 19 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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