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Ophorus Tours - Colmar

Alsace

Colmar

We organize both half day and full day trips from Colmar to the most famous landmarks of the Alsace region. Our private or shared wine tours of Alsace will take you along the Alsace wine route that is surrounded by vineyards. We also conduct fun & informative walking tours and Christmas market tours in winter.

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Learn more about Colmar

Colmar Travel Guide (Alsace, France) Colmar the capital of the Haut Rhin offers a great deal of unique attractions and activities. The small town of Colmar is one of the most exquisite of France with its historic center with French and German influences, grand rue, quai de la poissonnerie, st martin's church, medieval half timbered houses such as the “maison des tetes” and small winding canals. The town also houses one of the most impressive 16th century painting – the Issenheim Altarpiece - that is located in the Unterlinden Museum. If you are staying in Colmar and wish to visit Colmar with a certified guide then don't hesitate to contact us. A bit of History The first mention ...

Colmar Travel Guide (Alsace, France)

Colmar the capital of the Haut Rhin offers a great deal of unique attractions and activities. The small town of Colmar is one of the most exquisite of France with its historic center with French and German influences, grand rue, quai de la poissonnerie, st martin's church, medieval half timbered houses such as the “maison des tetes” and small winding canals.

The town also houses one of the most impressive 16th century painting – the Issenheim Altarpiece - that is located in the Unterlinden Museum. If you are staying in Colmar and wish to visit Colmar with a certified guide then don't hesitate to contact us.

A bit of History

The first mention of Colmar as a town dates back to 823. The town of "Colombie" is mentioned in the letter of donation of Louis the Pious. In those days, the area is dominated by the Merovingian clan. The town is granted the status of Imperial City in 1226 and in 1278 Colmar obtains its communal freedom that will lead to the building of the first town hall in 1295.

The first port of Colmar, named the Ladhof, is built in 1337 at the junction of the Thur and Lauch rivers. Certainly one of the most important historical dates for Colmar is when the town joins what is known as the Decapole - an alliance formed in 1354 by ten imperial cities of the Holy Roman Empire located in Alsace. The towns that form the alliance pledge to help each other in case of exterior agression.

One of the most important monuments of Colmar that is still visible today, the Koïfhus, is built in 1480. The building serves as a warehouse, a customs building as well as a meeting center for the deputies of the Decapole. After the Thirty Years War and the victory of the French and Swedish armies, the treaty of Munster establishes that all 10 Imperial cities of the Decapole become French, which includes the town of Colmar.

During the 17th and 18th century the town of Colmar suffers from differents sieges from both the French and Holy Empire armies until finally the Treaty of Nimègue ends the war and Colmar becomes a Royale French City. In 1800, the town becomes the Capital of the Haut-Rhin Department and in 1841 the town inaugurates its train station and the railway line that links Basel to Strasbourg.

After the war of 1870 that sees the defeat of France against the Prussian army both the Alsace and Moselle region become part of the Prussian Empire. After the defeat of the German army at the end of WWI, the Alsace and Lorraine region are taken back by France and Colmar becomes French again.

During WWII, in November of 1944, the effect of two advances done by the U.S 6th Army and the French 2nd Armored Division led to a semi-circular bridgehead centered on the town of Colmar that come to be known as the Colmar Pocket. It will take close to 3 months for the Allied forces to finally defeat the German army in this area and Colmar will be liberated on the 2nd of February 1945.

Maison des Têtes

Built in 1609 by Architec Albert Schmidt for the merchant Anton Burger, is a perfect example of German Renaissance architecture. The name of the building comes from the more than 100 faces and masks that decorate the three story façade. The pinion of the building represents a barell maker is a work of art made by Auguste Bartholdi. The building was renovated in 2012.

Pfister House

Dating back to 1537, this house is the first example of Renaissance architecture in Colmar even though some caracteristics are still Medieval. Built for a wealthy hat maker, Ludwig Scherer, the architectural features include a two-storey bay window set in an angle, and octogonal turret, a wooden gallery and murals that represent bibical scenes. The name Pfister comes from the owners that occupied the building from 1841 until 1892 and that renovated the house.

Bartholdi Museum

This museum is dedicated to the sculptor Auguste Bartholdi who was born in Colmar in 1834 in the house where the museum is located. Bartholdi is famous for having designed Liberty Enlightning the World, better known as the Statue of Liberty. The museum houses a number statues, busts, paintings and drawings done by Bartholdi. A whole room is dedicated to the Statue of Liberty.

Covered Market

The covered Market of Colmar dates back to 1865 and was built by architect Louis-Michel Boltz. Located next to the Lauch River that enabled local farmers to bring their produce by boat, the building is a perfect example of early industrial construction as the material used include brick, iron and iron ore. A stroll through the market will have you taste some of the Alsace local delicacies such as alsatian wine, tarte flambée and foie gras.

Alsace Wine Tours & Day Trips from Colmar

Outside of Colmar, the choices for day tours are numerous. We organise small group half day as well as full day trips from Colmar. The Route du Vin is an option for all the wine lovers. Typically, we will follow the Alsace wine route and stop in beautiful villages where you will participate in several wine tasting sessions. Alsace white wines are varietal wines and your driver/guide, expert in wines, will introduce you to the local wine making methods and talk about the local grape varieties such as pinot gris, riesling, gewurztraminer, sylvaner, muscat and the others.

The area is also dotted with traditional villages such as Kaysersberg or Riquewihr that you can visit on our villages tour departing Colmar and that alone make for a great excursion. These small villages have kept their authenticity with their cobblestone streets, flower decked windows and medieval houses. During winter, the villages transform themselves and organise authentic christmas markets that offer a great number of options for shopping and just living the christmas moments.

If you are staying a few days in Colmar, then the nearby mountain ranges are also quite an attraction. With the Vosges Mountains located just a short drive away, a tour to that area is synonym to local gastronomy as this is where Munster cheese is produced as well as some of the most tasty local spirits and eau-de-vie. The ‘route des Crêtes’ is also a must as this ridge road is one of the most impressive of France.

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FAQ

  • How do you get from Paris to Colmar?

    Colmar is located at about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Paris. You can of course rent a car in Paris and reach Colmar by highway. Most travelers opt for the train as there is a TGV fast train that links Paris to the Alsace region of France. In fact, there are 3 direct trains that will take you from Paris to Colmar without having to change trains. The fastest possible option will have you travel 2h20 minutes only, making Colmar easily accessible by train from Paris.
  • Is Colmar worth visiting?

    Absolutely! Colmar is part of the most charming small towns of France. In fact, the town was elected as the European Best Destination in 2020. Colmar is home to a wonderful Heritage that has been preserved through time, lovely canals, an impressive selection of quality restaurants and shops with high quality products. The town is also a perfect starting point for sightseeing & wine tours of Alsace.
  • Should I stay in Colmar or Strasbourg?

    This is a recurring question for those of you that wish to visit the Alsace region of France. In fact both destinations make for a great starting point for Sightseeing & Wine Tours and we offer day trips and wine tours out of both Colmar and Strasbourg. So the main difference is that Colmar is a small town set more or less in the middle of the Alsace Wine Region. Strasbourg is a regional capital, home to the European Parliament. Here, you will have more choices when it comes to hotels, restaurants and things to do in town. Your choice will therefore depend on what type of activities or ambiance you are looking for when in town.
  • Is Colmar ideal for Wine Lovers

    Yes, absolutely. If you love wine and especially white wines, Colmar makes for a perfect destination to visit & wine taste in some of the best wineries of the Alsace region. The varietal white wines produced in this part of the Alsace region are made with famous grape varieties such as Riesling, Sylvaner, Muscat, Pinot Gris or gewurztraminer.
  • Where is Colmar located in France?

    Colmar is located in the Alsace region of France that borders Germany, in the Haut-Rhin department, in the East of France.
  • What is the most popular Alsace wine tour from Colmar?

    The most popular Alsace wine tour from Colmar is our small group Alsace wine tour shared full day trip from Colmar that will have you visit 3 wineries during the day.
  • Do you offer day trips from Colmar that do not include wine?

    Yes, absolutely! Our Gems of Alsace will have you visit charming villages and towns as well as the mightly Haut Koenigsbourg castle. If you do wish to taste some wines then that will be possible but on your own.
  • As an Alsace Destination Specialist, what are some tips you think are useful?

    As a local operator of tours, activities & day trips from Colmar for more than 10 years now, we certainly have some very helpful tips that we would love to share with you. 1. As a charming small town of France, Colmar is certainly a perfect destination if you want to speak with locals and learn about Alsace culture and traditions. Even though at first Alsatians can seem to be a bit mistrustful or suspicious, making a few efforts in French and letting them know about where you come from and your visits in the region will should brake the ice.

Reviews from our Colmar trips

  • by Masaya (Japan)

    13, Jul 2019

    Our guide showed us 3 villages and all of them were so cute. We had enough time to relax at all the places. The vineyards we visited were exceptional...
  • by Christian (Germany)

    05, Aug 2019

    War eine super Tour, sehr schöne Weingüter.
  • by Glenys (New Zealand)

    14, Oct 2019

    Our tour guide was Jean-Yves, he was very knowledgeable about the wines and the region. He looked after our small group like we were good friends, he...
  • AnacoTom

    19, Oct 2019

    Great Introduction to Alsatian Wines
    Audre took is to 3 marvelous wineries. Each of the hosts were great ... We learned a lot from each one about...
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