colmar gorgeous timber buildings

Is Colmar Worth Visiting? My Honest Opinion

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Colmar is a stunning French town in Alsace that looks like the movie set of Beauty and the Beast. It’s so easy to understand why visitors flock to Alsace, and in particular, flock to Colmar. I legit squealed when I saw my first canal here (yeah, it was embarrassing).

However, despite Colmar’s seemingly endless charm and beauty, I still wanted to explore the question “is Colmar worth visiting?” in this post.

Why? Well, as a frequent traveler, I understand that while a town might be popular on Instagram and in magazines, it still might not work for everyone’s itinerary, especially in a country as big as France. 

Not to mention, travel goals are very different. Whereas one person might be smitten with fairytale towns (like Colmar!), another person might be turned off by the over-the-top cuteness.

Ultimately, I sincerely hope that this guide encourages you to visit Colmar (or skip it if it doesn’t work for you).

colmar is beautiful in the early morning

Is Colmar Worth Visiting? It Depends

Personally, I think Colmar is worth visiting. I love adorable European villages as a solo traveler, so unsurprisingly, I was smitten by Colmar’s picturesque canals and color half-timbered houses. 

I also happened to visit Colmar during the spring fair, and had a great time drinking hot homemade apple cider and buying wonderful Easter gifts for my family. Seeing all the local artists show off their work was a delightful surprise for me. 

However, I know every single traveler is different. If you’re the sort of traveler who wants to avoid touristy towns, then I am not sure if Colmar is the place for you. You might prefer to rent a car and discover another Alsatian village that isn’t accessible by train. 

Furthermore, if you’re the sort of traveler who loves big cities and lots of action, then obviously Colmar isn’t going to be your first option.

I’ll break down what I liked and didn’t like about Colmar in this post, and hopefully, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you on your adventures to France.

colmar has a lot of adorable signs everywhere

The Pros of Visiting Colmar

Okay, so Colmar is beautiful. I loved it so much and want to come back. 

And let’s face it. Obviously, there are several pros to visiting Colmar since it’s such a popular village in Alsace. I always say the popular destinations are popular for a reason.

So, here are a couple cool things that stood out to me when I visited this beautiful town. 

Honestly, it was a lot harder to find downsides to visiting Colmar!

delicious hot chocolate in colmar
Colmar is Worth Visiting for This Hot Chocolate!

Accessible by Train

Don’t want to drive? No problem. Colmar has its own train station. While you might not initially think this a huge deal, for the region, having a train station is a big benefit.

Believe it or not, a lot of Alsace’s smaller villages are only accessible by car, or by joining a guided bus tour.

I have nothing against renting a car, and have done so many times, but let’s not kid ourselves: renting a car is still a pain in the butt! Personally, I prefer not to drive when traveling alone in Europe.

exploring the park on a cloudy day in colmar

Fortunately, Colmar’s train station is centrally located, only about a ten minute walk from the attractions, and is a small station too. It’s very easy to navigate, although challenging if you have mobility issues. I don’t know how it will be in the future, but when I visited, the train station was under construction, and I couldn’t find any lifts.

With that being said, Colmar has plenty of direct routes. For example, several daily trains run between Colmar and Strasbourg each day, as well as other cities such as Mulhouse and Paris.

Colmar’s train station makes adding it to your itinerary a piece of cake!

exploring colmar's canals
Is Colmar Worth Visiting? This Smile Would Say YES!

Fairytale France

Like I said, Colmar is fairytale France. This town feels exactly like Belle’s opening song in Beauty and the Beast. I actually wanted to burst into song once I walked into La Petite Venise with all its colorful houses and canals.

It’s hard not to feel excited when visiting Colmar. You truly feel as if you’ve been transported to another time and place, and if adorable half-timbered houses are what you want to see in Europe, then Colmar is the perfect stop for you.

And gosh, I know travel writers overuse this word, but Colmar is just so quaint. 

enjoying the wonderful spring decorations in colmar

Festivals 

Like I said, Colmar has some super awesome festivals. I loved their spring fair so much.

Of course, though, Colmar is most famous for its Christmas Markets in December. Lots of my travel blogger friends adore the Alsatian Christmas Markets. The illuminated Christmas trees, mulled wines, gingerbread treats, and crush of happy people definitely attract tourists, and I do have a bit of a soft spot for a Christmas visit. 

However, the Christmas markets are also packed. Crowds aren’t everyone’s jam. 

The Easter Festival, for me, was just perfect. The spirit of spring was in the air as flowers bloomed around me, and I truly enjoyed my experience. 

So try to visit Colmar during a festival! 

bikes are readily available in colmar

The Cons of Visiting Colmar

Ugh, are you ready for the downsides of visiting Colmar?

Truth be told, I had a hard time thinking of them, but even I can admit that visiting Colmar might not be for everyone. I wanted to be honest and transparent with you.

So here are some reason why you may opt out of adding Colmar to your itinerary.

exploring colmar's quiet streets
Me Seeking a Quiet Street in Colmar.

Lots of Tourists

Ugh, I know, shocking, right? Tourists flood into Colmar every single day. Weekends and holidays are especially crowded.

While it’s easy to understand Colmar’s appeal, tourist crowds are unappealing and overwhelming. For example, I was jostled around quite a bit trying to get pictures of the canals when there was room for everyone to do so. Very annoying.

Furthermore, I’ve actually spoken to a few locals who speak negatively of the Christmas Markets, because over-tourism is such an issue in December. 

Of course, you’re able to limit your interactions with other tourists by staying the night in Colmar or visiting outside of the high Christmas season. 

cute window with decorations in alsace

Quite Small 

Colmar is small compared to neighboring Strasbourg. For some people, smaller towns are absolutely perfect, but others love the buzz of larger cities.

To tell you the truth, as much as I loved Colmar, I don’t think I would stay here for longer than two nights. Colmar is a wonderful base, but at the same time, it would be easy to get bored if you spent too much time here.

At the end of the day, if you’re a traveler who thrives in cities, then my advice is to actually do a cute afternoon exploring Colmar and then head back to Strasbourg for a night out. Strasbourg is also very, very, very pretty, but offers more attractions, restaurants, and nightlife than nearby Colmar. 

colmar's church steeple looking over the town

Random Closures

I hope I don’t sound like a brat, because I don’t expect people to work through holidays or even work every day, but, uh, a lot of shops and attractions were closed in Colmar on Monday. Which was disappointing.

Not to mention, random closures happen for “extraordinary” reasons. What are those reasons? I don’t know. These closures are almost impossible to avoid or predict in advance.

For instance, when I visited Colmar, St. Martin’s Church was closed for “Mass Purposes Only” from Sunday all the way until … Wednesday. I was raised Catholic. That is one really, really, reallllly long Mass, even for Easter, haha. 

I guess what I’m saying is do what you can to avoid closures, but go with the flow and try not to get upset when shops or museums close their doors.

As a side note, do not do what I did and go to Colmar on a Monday if you’re visiting just one day. Weekends might be more crowded, but hey, at least the churches and shops will be open for business.

amazing homes in colmar center france

Colmar Travel Tips

I hope this guide helped you figure out the question “is Colmar worth visiting?” Truthfully, I think Colmar is worth your time, especially if you’re spending ample time in Alsace.

I wanted to wrap up this post by sharing a couple of final travel tips.

quiet and peaceful canals in colmar

What Should I Bring to Colmar

You don’t have to pack anything incredibly special for Colmar. I didn’t! I did, however, have a couple of essentials for exploring Colmar.

  • Comfortable Shoes: Make sure to wear comfy shoes in Colmar’s streets. Heels aren’t a great idea. I loved these fashionable sneakers and my feet felt great all over France – including Colmar. 
  • French Phrasebook: Colmar may be a popular tourist spot, but not every person speaks English. Locals are welcoming and kind, especially if you speak a little French, so I recommend you try it! Either use an app (like Duolingo) or pack a French phrasebook for your trip.
  • Travel Insurance: This is more a general tip than strictly for Colmar. But always have travel insurance when visiting France. Check your credit card’s policy or opt to use World Nomads, which I’ve used several times in the past.
  • Travel Umbrella: France has a lot of on and off rain, especially if you visit Colmar in the spring like I did. So bring that travel umbrella to avoid getting too wet!

the art museum in colmar has so many lovely pieces of art

Where Should I Stay in Colmar

Spending the night in Colmar is a lovely idea to avoid most of the day trippers. Colmar doesn’t have as much accommodation as nearby Strasbourg (which I also loved and think is worthy of a visit), but you’re still able to find a cozy place to rest your head at night.

is colmar worth visiting? absolutely for the canals

So is Colmar worth visiting? I hope you were able to make a decision, and my guess is that you were able to include Colmar in your France itinerary! Have a wonderful time exploring France and Alsace. It’s truly worthwhile.