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Colmar is a city in Alsace, France.

Get in

Colmar lies between Basle and Strasbourg. There is a direct train connection from both cities. If you arrive from the German side, there is a bus leaving near the boarder at Breisach (to which there is a direct train from Freiburg). Driving the car to Colmar will lead you along the same route. Even the comfortablity of the journey is comparable to that of public transport: There is a motorway connecting Basle and Strasbourg but only a normal road from Freiburg.

By air

If you arrive by plane you will probably use one of the closest airports: Euroairport at Basle (with a variety of low cost flights) or Strasbourg (with none). Other airports in the area are Baden Airport, Stuttgart, Zurich and Nancy.

Get 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.


Colmar's old town is the main attraction if you come to Colmar. It is stunningly beautiful and well preserved. You should allow yourself a day to stroll along Colmar's old streets and many many shops.

  • Maison des Tetes (House of the Heads) - a Renaissance building decorated with faces, and the Pfister House, a marvellous old wooden house, one of the oldest in Colmar.
  • Dominican Churchworth visitig only because of a famous Schongauer painting
  • St. Martin Church, which is entirely made of yellow stone
  • Unterlinden Museum It is an interesting museum situated in a medieval convent near the tourist information. It exhibits exponents of very different arrays, 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.
  • Bartholdy Museum, dedicated to the sculpture of the Statue of Liberty who was native to Colmar.


Wandering about Comar's old streets is the best way to explore it. There is a variety of shops of differnet sorts. The Alsatian cousine is also omnipresent (in restaurants as well as specialist stores).


Most recommended is to buy clothes and shoes in Colmar. The variety is satisfactory and the prices lower than in neighbour Germany, Switzerland and even Strasbourg. Apart from these you could find typical crafts which can be bought as souvenirs. Food and wine are also major components of the Alsatian prodcution, so look below for relevant tips.


Alsace is known for its pastries. Kugelhopf is a well-known cake similar in shape to the American Bundt cake and has raisons 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. Macaroons 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 coloured 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 flambee (or Flemkusch in Alsatian) is an Alsatian concurrence to the Pizza, though extremely different. Traditionally, it is made of a thin layer of dough, covered with cream fraiche (light fresh cheese that doesnt truely have an American equivilent), cheese, onions, and bacon (lard 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 specialities 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 Sauer Kraut (or chou croute in French). This is pickled cabbaged served hot with boiled potatoes and a variety of meats. Chou Croute aux Poissons (with fish) is becoming more widespread.


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.



Although Colmar was French for most of its modern history (as all of Alsace & also Lorraine), it has changed nationalities many times over history between France and German. During WWII Hitler reclaimed Alsace (it was annexed to France after Germany lost WWI) and it is quite shocking to see photographs from the time with Nazi flags hanging through the streets. Cultural supression of local culture led to the francification of Alsace (and Colmar with it). Notwithstanding, you will still hear a lot of German spoken in Colmar, some because of the numerous tourists from neighbouring Germany and Switzerland, but some spoken by native Alsacians, also speak German. Alsatian is the native language of the residents, although it is dying out because many young generations do not speak it. Alsatian is NOT German, although it shares many similiarities and sounds similiar. In some parts of the city, and on streets signs in Strasbourg, streetsigns will be written in French and Alsation underneath. Among the minority languages of France, Alsacian is the most prosperous one nowadays, and many Alsatians will be delighted to be adressed in Alsatian rather than in French (though not all of them). If you do not speak French, German will always be the next preference. English is unfortunately not widely spoken, however if you politely address someone in French they may make an effort to help you.

Get out

You can use it as your starting point for travels in Alsace.

  • Vosge Massive is nearby and offers a lot to nature lovers (in winter as well as in summer).
  • Alsatian Vineyard Route passes through Comar. Some of its medieval villages are justifiedly popular among tourists (Riquevihr, Ribeauville (Rappoltweilen), Kaysersberg...) whereas others are virtually unknown, but have a charm of their own (like St. Hypolite in the mountains). All of them offer beautiful medieval architecture, wonderful wine, good Alsatian food and a lovely pastoral atmosphere.
  • Hochkoenigsburg, a reconstructed medievil castle on the top of the mountain near Selestat(Schallstadt).
  • Strasbourg and Basel (Basle) are close by and are interesting cities to visit.
  • Across the German side you will find the beautiful Black Forest.
  • Near Basle Laufenburg is another beautiful medievil town situated on both banks of the Rhine with a lovely route along the Rhine leading to it.
  • The historical casino town of Baden-Baden is also a short travel away.

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