Colmar is a city located in the Grand Est region of France. Colmar is located just ten miles from the Rhine River and France's border with Germany, between Strasbourg and Mulhouse. Colmar is an ancient city, dating back to before the 9th century when it was first mentioned during the Saxon wars of Emperor Charlemagne.
Due to its strategic position near the German border, Colmar has been captured several times during history, including by Sweden during the Thirty Years War and twice by neighboring Germany. In the modern age, Colmar has become a popular tourist destination. Colmar is popular with travelers due to its position near the Vosges Mountains and its beautiful old town, which features an array of Renaissance-style architecture. As a result, Colmar is often considered one of the most picturesque cities in France.
Fun Fact: It rarely rains in Colmar. The city only receives around 24" of rain every year, creating the perfect climate for producing Alsatian wine.
Things to do in Colmar
Colmar boasts loads of historic sights, beautiful views, and quaint local attractions, so you'll have plenty to do while relaxing in this classic Alsace city. Here a few great local attractions to get you started on your vacation:
Take a stroll with your significant other through the Butterfly Gardens. These botanic gardens within a giant greenhouse with hundreds of vibrant, free-flying butterflies.
Peruse nicknacks and enjoy local cuisine at the Covered Market of Colmar. The covered market first opened in 1865 and offers over 20 stalls selling baked goods, cheeses, souvenirs, and more.
Learn about local cultural heritage at the Dominican Church. The construction of this church started in the late 13th century and contains many important pieces of local artwork, including paintings by Martin Schongauer.
Admire the beauty of La Petite Venise. Also known as "Little Venice," this area of Colmar features trendy Italian eateries and classic Alsatian houses overlooking a serene canal. Anybody looking to splash out on an extravagant dinner will want to book a table at the highly-rated JY's.
Awaken your inner child at Musée du Jouet. This museum plays host to hundreds of dolls, toys, video games, and more. One of the biggest attractions is a huge train set, which covers the entire second floor.
Transit options in Colmar
Local bus service (TRACE)
Regional trains from Colmar Station (TER)
Taxi Ranks (Absolu Taxi Services Colmar, A3TM Taxis)
Luggage storage in Colmar
Colmar is the perfect place to visit if you're searching for a French city with gorgeous architecture, tons of history, and classy restaurants. After stuffing yourself with local cheese and sipping on Alsatian wine, you won't feel like hauling your luggage around town. Lucky for you, Bounce has several convenient luggage storage services in Colmar, where you can drop off your bags before going about your day. Jump the Bounce app today and find a storage facility near you!
Activities and attractions in Colmar
Unterlinden Museum - The Unterlinden Museum is one of the most popular museums in Alsace. It was given the title of Musée de France, which classifies it as one of France's major state museums. This historic museum dates back to the 13th century when a local Dominican order founded a religious convent. During the French Revolution, the Dominican sisters left the convent, and it fell into disrepair. The building was revived in the 19th century by local archivist Louis Hugot, who transformed it into a museum.
The museum currently has an array of religious iconography and artwork spanning over 7,000 years of history. The undisputed highlight from the museum collection is the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald and Niclaus of Haguenau. The altar was painted at the Monastery of St Anthony during the 16th century and is considered Matthias Grünewald's masterpiece. Unterlinden Museum also holds works by some of the most famous names in modern art including Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, and Georges Rouault. You can't bring large bags into the Unterlinden Museum, so stop off at a Colmar luggage storage service before visiting.
Musée Bartholdi - Colmar is home to another of France's state museums, Musée Bartholdi. This sculpture museum is dedicated to world-renowned artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who was born in Colmar. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi created dozens of incredible statues and monuments in his lifetime and is best known for designing the Statue of Liberty.
Many intriguing sculptures are on display at Musée Bartholdi, including models used in designing the Statue of Liberty and Fontaine Bartholdi, two of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's most famous works. You'll also find the museum has a courtyard which houses the impressive Statue des grands soutiens du monde.
Château du Hohlandsbourg - There are several ruined castles dotted around Colmar, and one of the best is Château du Hohlandsbourg. The castle was constructed in the late 13th-century on the orders of Rudolf of Habsburg, who sought to protect Colmar from invasions. The castle stood overlooking Colmar until the 17th century. During the Thirty Years War, Alsace soldiers blew up the castle in order to avoid it falling into enemy hands.
Nowadays, you can tour the ruins with or without a guide and learn about this remarkable structure's history. Château du Hohlandsbourg also offers some beautiful vistas from atop its walls, with panoramic views of Colmar and the surrounding forest.