It’s hard to narrow down where you should go when it comes to Christmas markets in Europe. There are so many great ones in Germany, France and even Switzerland that it becomes challenging to pick just one. Our favorites are in the Alsace region and this guide focuses on the charming fairytale town of Colmar and why we think the Colmar Christmas market is worth a visit.
Vendors selling unique Christmas gifts
The Colmar Christmas market is full of vendors selling various wares. But these aren’t just cookie cutter stalls full of boring goods. Most of the items at the Christmas market were special and ranged from hand-knit gloves to chocolates to cakes to cute ornaments.
Christmas drinks: mulled wine & hot chocolate
The Alsace region (specifically France) has a special system for those who love mulled or hot wine. You can buy a cup for a euro and then have it filled at any drink vendor (about 2-2.5 euros to fill it). At the end of the day, you can return it to any vendor and get your euro back! It’s a great environmentally friendly way to sip on wine all day.
Alternatively, if you want something non-alcoholic, you can opt for hot chocolate.
Charming and nostalgic Christmas market decor
We couldn’t get enough of the Christmas decor at the market. There were so many adorable teddy bears, reindeer, snowflakes, hearts and anything else winter-themed you can think of. They made for the cutest decorations on the outside of the fairytale buildings of Colmar.
Less crowded than the Strasbourg Christmas markets
Strasbourg is well known for its Christmas market and understandably, attracts thousands of visitors annually. While Colmar’s Christmas market sees its fair share of travelers, it isn’t quite so infested with tourists that you can’t enjoy it. As such, it remains a great market to visit, lively but not over the top.
Centrally located Christmas market
It’s super easy to access Colmar as it’s located within a few hours from a few major European airports. It also is within driving distance of some pretty amazing European cities like Geneva so if you wanted to make a two week trip out of it, you could easily do so. Colmar does a great job providing parking places and there are a handful scattered on the outside of Old Town Colmar.
Adorable Old Town Colmar
If you get bored of the Christmas market, you can easily make your way to a coffee shop or restaurant if you’re still hungry. There are several great ones in Old Town Colmar and since it’s pretty cold during the month of December, you’ll probably want to find a place to sit and thaw in after a few hours wandering around the market. There are also plenty of shops to duck into so if you’re finished eating, go and shop!
Colmar’s Christmas market is both indoors and outdoors
Most of the Colmar Christmas market is outdoors but there is a small section that is entirely indoors. This is a great way to warm up, grab a bite or buy some fun foodie items.
Not overwhelming to walk around
While the Christmas market in Colmar isn’t small, it’s just enough to keep you occupied for a day or two without leaving you overwhelmed. We loved that there was plenty to do but not so much that we felt exhausted from walking around endlessly.
Great Alsatian Christmas market food
Christmas market food is delicious. Since Colmar is located in the Alsace, it has German influences so you’ll see a lot of sausages and sauerkraut. We highly recommend both!
Other Alsace Christmas markets nearby
We don’t think you’ll get bored of Colmar but if you happen to find yourselves ready for the next adventure, you can make your way to three other nearby Alsace Christmas markets: Strasbourg, Eguishim, and Riquewihr. Remember that the refillable cup system is honored in these markets as well.
Eguishim Christmas Market
Eguishim is a very small town in the Alsace and is located about 15 minutes by car. There is a large parking lot on the outskirts of town that is easy to park at and then walk from to the center of the Christmas market. Several food options exist in this town but don’t expect a large variety as this market is quite small. Filled with adorable Christmas decor, Eguishim is the perfect place to spend a few hours before you continue your Christmas market road trip.
Riquewihr Christmas Market
While the town of Riquewihr is larger than Eguishim, it still doesn’t come close to the size of Colmar. Regardless, there are still numerous unique vendors that are fun to check out. The town of Riquewihr is located about a 20 minute drive from Colmar and is incredibly charming and one of the top highlights is the store of Feerie de Noel, a charming Christmas shop that’s filled to the brim with Christmas decor including ornaments and smokers, trains, etc.
It’s totally worth a stop as it’s unique and fun to browse through. You can’t bring food or drink into the shop and once you enter you have to follow the walkway out to the exit (no backtracking is allowed to avoid congestion and theft).
There are many other reasons to visit Colmar during December besides the ten above but we think these should be convincing enough. Colmar makes a great base to explore other Christmas markets or towns nearby so don’t be afraid to plan a few days for the region.