The beautiful town of Colmar is located in north-eastern France and is sure to steal your heart as soon as you step off of the airplane. The city has charming cobblestone streets, cute houses with a medieval style, and captivating canals that run throughout the town. Colmar has been under the ownership of both France and Germany several times, especially during World War II, resulting in architecture and culture that is a mixture of both places. The city is known for being aesthetically appealing which is why it is the perfect vacation spot.
This town is so stunning that it was apparently used as the inspiration for the village in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, so if you are traveling with kids then they are sure to enjoy exploring Colmar. Just walking around town can make you feel as though you are in a fairytale, but if you are searching for family friendly activities to do with the kids then you have come to the right place. Find the nearest baggage locker in Colmar to stow away your backpacks and belongings while you are out and about in the city. Once you've completed your tour for the day, pick up your things. It couldn't be easier!
Go to the Colmar Christmas Market
One of Colmar's most famous attractions is the cheerful and energetic Christmas Market. If you are visiting anytime between late November to December just after Christmas day then you can stop by one of many markets, open for a duration of 6 weeks every year. Many people choose to travel to Colmar just to see the markets, so be aware that they can get busy especially when it is closer to Christmas.
There are several areas around the city that are decorated for the festivities with wooden pop-up booths that sell all sorts of things. Come here to shop for holiday decorations, small gifts and trinkets as well as food, beer and wine. Grownups should definitely grab a glass of Ghulwein, which is the popular hot wine that can keep you warm while you browse the rest of the stalls. For kids, there are amusement rides and Ferris wheels set up, especially around the Old Town area.
Explore the Little Venice Area
A great way to get to experience the charm and character of the city is to explore the Little Venice area, locally known as Petite Venise, which is designed with traditional half timbered buildings, colorful houses and canals. It is recommended to take some time to just walk around and discover everything Little Venice has to offer.
This part of the city used to be the old merchant's quarters and is where many tanners, butchers and fishmongers had set up shop. Fun fact: the colorful houses were painted in a way to represent your profession, and today this area is still bright and vibrant.
See the Colmar Statue of Liberty
Did you know that France has its own French Statue of Liberty right here in Colmar? It is a replica of the original statue in New York although it is not as big, standing at 12 meters high. The sculpture was created in honor of Auguste Bartholdi who was the famous sculptor that built the real Statue of Liberty, and who was actually a citizen of Colmar.
The statue is situated in the middle of a roundabout in an ordinary part of the city which often catches people off-guard. If you or the kids have never seen the Statue of Liberty, it can be fun to visit this one while you are in Colmar.
Go to a Museum
A great way to spend an afternoon as a family is to explore the different museums, and Colmar has several that are suitable for children. Firstly, there is the Unterlinden Museum which is a fine arts gallery housed in a Dominican convent from the 13th century. Try the Musée Bartholdi if you enjoyed seeing the Statue of Liberty, as it is a museum dedicated to its famous sculptor.
Another good choice is the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography. It includes some interesting exhibits and is not too big, making it suitable for children. One of the popular favorites is the Toy Museum which is sure to keep all kids entertained with toys from the 1800s to now!
Go See the Colmar Tourist Train
Although Colmar is one of the small towns in France and it does not have any of your usual tour buses, it does have something even better. Head to the Colmar train station in the Old Town to get a ticket for the Tourist Train which will take you on a ride and introduce you to all of the top monuments and landmarks in the area.
The guided tour lasts for a bit over half an hour and includes an audio commentary available in 16 different languages. The kids are sure to have a blast on the trains and you can do some sightseeing at the same time, which makes it the perfect family outing. The trains are also electric and environmentally friendly! The station is found near the Unterlinden Museum and they depart about every half hour or so every day of the week.
Go on a Boat Tour
Looking for another way to get around Colmar? There are some gorgeous canals running throughout the city and if you are up for it you can see Colmar's cobbled streets from a different point of view by taking a boat tour. The half timbered houses and colorful buildings look different from the waters of Lauch River than they do on land and it is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
On your boat ride you will be taken along the river and underneath small bridges, some of which are so low that you will need to duck to pass underneath them, so pay attention! Bring your camera to capture that picture-perfect shot when you get the chance.
Visit the Market Hall
Colmar's Market Hall can be a great place to bring kids since there are so many things to do, see and experience here. It was constructed back in the mid 18th century and its purpose varied over the years. Now it is a favored covered market that both locals and tourists like to shop at and is where many artisans and eateries are located.
Come here to try some of the best Alsatian cuisine dishes and ingredients from local butchers, bakers and farmers. In total there are about 20 unique stalls selling something interesting whether it be meats, cheeses, fish, fruits and vegetables, pastries or quality products made in Colmar.
Experience the Alsace Wine Route
One of the highlights of the Alsace region is the famous wine route. Since the Alsatian vineyards stretch for over 100 kilometers they are influenced by all of the surrounding towns, including Colmar. The route travels through the base of the Vosges Mountains and all the way from Marlenheim to Thann.
Although the youngest kids can't taste the wine they can still appreciate the landscapes of the wine route and learn something new about how the wines are made. The different varieties are actually all derived from the Pinot Noir grape type but now there are several different flavors like Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling wine, to name a few. If you can't make it all the way to the wine route you should at least stop by a local winery or vineyard while you are visiting Colmar.
We talk about the beautiful Alsace Wine Route in our guide on Colmar hikes. Take a look!
Stop by the Schwendi Fountain
One of the landmarks worth noting in your itinerary is the Schwendi Fountain. This gorgeous structure is located in the Place Schwendi which is one of the city's small squares and is a beautiful site on its own. The fountain is designed with a bronze statue and four lion heads where the water spouts out.
Aside from stopping by to admire the fountain, the Place Schwendi is a nice spot for taking a stroll and relaxing. There are also many restaurants in the area where you can grab a bite to eat if you get hungry.
Admire the Architecture in the Old Town
There are lots of places in the city with old buildings and medieval structures. If you find yourself in Colmar Old Town we recommend checking out the Pfister House which is ornately designed and made with impressive detail. It is a mix of the Renaissance and medieval style that makes it stand out from the other buildings.
While you are in the area you should also stop by some of the old churches, like the Gothic style St. Martin's Church. Its exterior is made of pink, yellow and red sandstones, and with a green tiled roof and stained glass windows, it is one of the most beautiful structures in the city.
What Are the Best Family Activities in Colmar?
Are you looking for fun things to do in Colmar with younger kids? All small kids love Christmas time which is why the Colmar Christmas Markets are one of the best activities for younger children. They will have a blast listening to holiday music, snacking on treats and searching through souvenir shops.
Colmar has lots of interesting museums that are perfect for young kids. They can see new things in an interesting and interactive environment and maybe even learn something new, too!
The Colmar Tourist Train is a popular choice for many families that have visited Colmar, and young children seem to love it. Not only is riding in the train exciting but the activity is educational as well.
When it comes to fun things to do in Colmar with older kids, try these suggestions. There is no doubt that the Little Venice area of Colmar is gorgeous and it is the perfect spot for a day trip during your family vacation. Since there will be a lot of walking, it might be an activity that is better suited to older children.
Taking a boat ride through the canals of Colmar can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. You will need to sit still in the boat and you also have to stay quiet during some parts of your trip which is why older kids might have a better time than younger ones.
If you have older children, experience the Alsace Wine Route. One of the best parts of this French city is the good wine, and visiting the wine route is definitely one of the highlights. The activity does include wine tasting and in some cases, kids aged 14 or older are allowed to try samples, with permission from their parents.
Free Things to do in Colmar with Kids
Why not see the Colmar Statue of Liberty? This famous statue replica in Colmar is one of its top landmarks and definitely worth stopping by. It's a bonus that you don't have to pay to see it!
The Market Hall is free to stop by, although you will have to pay if you want to buy anything. It is worth grabbing a souvenir or sampling some of the good food if you don't mind the extra cost.
Take time to stop by the Schwendi Fountain. This beautiful fountain is a must-see structure in Colmar. You can come to see it for free and there is much to do in the area while you are there.
And remember to admire the architecture in Old Town. Stopping by Colmar Old Town should definitely be on your list of things to do. Come and explore it anytime since you can browse the cobblestone streets for free.
Visit Colmar on a Family Vacation
If you feel like traveling from your family home and are looking for nice vacation spots, then you should consider going to the quiet city of Colmar. The historic town has medieval buildings as well as modern attractions that can be fun for people of all ages, from young kids to grown adults. Go to a museum, stop by a local market, try the delicious Alsatian cuisine or go sightseeing as a family in Colmar, just make sure to bring a camera so you can capture the memories that you make together.