Christmas Markets: Colmar vs. Strasbourg
Updated: Mar 9
Have you ever pictured yourself walking around the French Christmas Markets, with a hot cup of Vin Chaud in one hand and the other holding your loved one?
Now that you are excited to make your way to the Alsace region of France, you have the hard option of choosing the best Christmas market to visit. Let's run you through quickly on our experiences and see if we can help you decide which one or perhaps both markets to visit.
This city has to be one of the most picturesque locations to host a Christmas market. The old beautiful city is home to over 70,000 inhabitants and has to be one of the cutest and cosiest towns. For the large number of locals it still has that small town feel. It is a stunning place, even without all the tinsel and decorations. The river that flows, splits the streets and snakes its way down, gives it another element of charm. Little Venice it is named and you can really see why. One of the best things about Colmar is that the whole town gets involved with Christmas. Each one decorating their homes and businesses so "you get a real jolly feel" the moment you enter the town centre. The well presented town can be walked around easily, so take your time to enjoy the gourmet markets as well as drinking plenty of Vin Chaud (hot wine). There is plenty of opportunities to purchase those Christmas gifts for loved ones and of course get those amazing pictures to print and turn them into Christmas cards.
When you enter the old town and walk across either of the footbridges, you immediately get a sense that Christmas is just around the corner. There are many Christmas markets located around Strasbourg and each one is worth visiting. Being a city, here the markets are much bigger than Colmar, with even more options to choose from. The 30 meter tree within the centre has to be one of the biggest and most magical Christmas trees we have ever seen. The best part about it is the tree is actually a real one and was re-planted there in the centre, especially to get decorated for Christmas. Within the main square, there is a large ice skating rink so you can also throw on some skates and show your "skills" on the ice.
The one thing that this city does better in our opinions, is there are plenty more options for food and drinks, so make sure you leave plenty of room in your belly to pick and taste what the region has to offer. Be sure to make your way over to Petite Paris. The businesses and homes that rise out of the water beside the canals there are stunning. You can make use of a boat trip to explore the canals and get another perspective of this great city.
When you walk throughout the city and come across the Cathedral, it is insanely big and reeks of beauty. This is one of the best looking cathedrals and has a Christmas market at the front entrance of it, making it even more glamourous.
All in all, in our eyes it's not a competition of which is best. Both places have magnificent decorations, stalls and places to eat. They are both great and worth visiting. You really can't go wrong. One of them is a grand city and the other has a cute small town feel. We had such a great time at both and are now even more pumped for Christmas. If you have been to both, we would love to know if you preferred one over the other!
If you have access to a vehicle, we highly recommend taking the Alsace wine route and pop in to all the other Christmas markets along the way. The surrounding towns are very close to one another that it is extremely convenient to park and walk around. We stopped in Riquewhir to check out their Christmas markets - it's worth a look. Why don't you book one night in Colmar and one in Strasbourg to get the best of both worlds?
Tip: If you get up early enough, you will have the towns to yourself to get those epic pictures.
Merry Christmas x