A Magical Christmas Getaway in Alsace

A Magical Christmas Getaway in Alsace

A Magical Christmas Getaway in Alsace

If I had to name my favorite place in France to visit during the holiday I would immediately recommend the Alsace region! Located in East of France near the border with Germany, Alsace is a beautiful region and made Christmas one of its specialty! All the cities are playing along: there are plenty of Christmas markets and the houses are nicely decorated! It’s a real Christmas fairy tale! To enjoy a magical Christmas getaway in Alsace, read below all you need to know!

Here are the cities you should not miss:

  • Colmar
  • Riquewihr
  • Strasbourg

 

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, all the Christmas markets are cancelled in the cities of Alsace this year 2020. BUT this region worth the visit nonetheless as all the houses will be decorated to keep the Christmas spirit alive!

Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. Thank you!*

Colmar is THE city where you can experience the magic of Christmas! Half-timbered houses, canals, cobblestone streets, Christmas markets, and Christmas decorations everywhere: the list of reasons why you should visit Colmar is long!

Christmas markets in Colmar

There are 6 Christmas markets in the historic town of Colmar. Each of them has their own specialty!

  • Place de la cathédrale: the Gourmet market. This one is entirely dedicated to food! It’s open every day from 10 am to 10 pm.
  • Also Place des Dominicains: this Christmas market is close to the beautiful church Eglise des Dominicains. You can find here pretty Christmas decorations for example.
  • And Place de l’Ancienne Douane: this used to be the heart of the Old Town and it’s very lively during Christmas! A great place to shop for contemporary creations as well as traditional Christmas decorations.
  • Place Jeanne d’Arc: here you will get the atmosphere of a traditional Alsace village! It’s dedicated to local products.
  • Lastly in La Petite Venise you have the Children’s Christmas Market. If you want to treat one or many kids, you should go there!

 

Dates and hours:

2020 – Cancelled because of the pandemic

2019 – from the November 22nd to December 29th 2019. Mon-Thur: 10 am to 7 am, Fri-Sun: 10 am to 8 pm. Reduced hours on the 24th and 25th of December.

Best places to take photos in Colmar

Well known for its colorful houses, Colmar is a dream city! Most of the best places to take photos in Colmar are located in the Old Town, around an area called “La Petite Venise”. La Petite Venise or Little Venice is the name given to the course of the Lauch River in Colmar. This name probably came from the original line of the houses on both sides of the river, which serves the southeast of the city.

  • Maison dite “au pèlerin”: the most photogenic house of Colmar! Located at the crossroads of the Grand’Rue and the Place de l’Ancienne Douane.
  • Bridge in Rue des Tanneurs with a very nice view of the Lauch River and the colorful houses of the area.
  • Quai de la Poissonnerie: a street full of pretty colorful half-timbered houses.
  • Bridge in rue des écoles: a second bridge offering a very pretty view of the Lauch River and the pretty houses of the Quai de la poissonnerie.
  • Au Vieux Pignon: a nicely decorated souvenir shop. Located in 52 rue des marchands 68000 Colmar.
  • Pont St Pierre: a bridge over the Lauch River with a fantastic view of the river and the half-timbered houses.
  • Brasserie des tanneurs: a restaurant with a pretty storefront and interior. Located in 12 Rue des Tanneurs 68000 Colmar.

Want to know more? Take a look at my article about the Best Instagram Photo Spots in Colmar.

Where to stay in Colmar

Colmar is not a village: it’s the third largest commune in the Alsace region after Strasbourg and Mulhouse. So the city might be bigger than what you expected! Therefore I would recommend you to stay in a place as close as possible to the Old Town and to the Christmas markets. Like this you can do everything by walking.

Here are some options:

  • AirBnb Chez Yann: a modern apartment with parking and terrace that can accommodate 4 guests. It’s 8 min walk from the city centre. I stayed there in August 2019.
  • Booking Beauty and the Beast Old Town: cosy apartments in a shopping street the city centre that can accommodate up to 4 guests. I stayed there in December 2019. No parking close to the apartment as it’s in a pedestrian street, but free parking possible a bit further.
  • Booking Les Appartements de Home Petite Venise: in the heart of the Old Town, those apartments are located in Quai de la poissonnerie in the Petite Venise. This is one of the most photogenic areas of Colmar! No parking close to the apartment as it’s in a pedestrian area but free parking possible a further.
  • Just in case, you can find more ideas here: Booking hotels in Colmar.

Where to eat in Colmar

Colmar is ultra touristy during the Christmas season. If you want to have lunch or dinner in a specific restaurant I would recommend you to book it in advance or go very early.

Here are some suggestions from breakfast to dinner:

  • Le Boudoir: a cosy teahouse that welcome you for breakfast, lunch and tea time. Location: 15 Grand rue in Colmar.
  • Le Croissant Doré: a traditional café with a cute pink facade with a croissant. They serve food for breakfast, lunch and teatime. Location: 28 rue des marchands in Colmar.
  • La Soï: one of the best restaurants in Colmar to serve the iconic Alsatian tartes flambées (a cross between a savory tart and a pizza: a thin sheet of unleavened dough spread generously with crème fraîche, and sprinkled with slivered onions and bacon). Location: 17 rue des marchands in Colmar. It’s open for lunch and dinner. As it’s one of the most popular restaurant in town, go there early!
  • Le Petit Schlossberg: a great restaurant serving all the Alsatian specialties. This is also a grill restaurant with a lot of meat options. Location: 2 rue de l’Ange in Colmar. It’s open for lunch and dinner.

Riquewihr

Riquewihr is a medieval village standing on hill surrounded by vineyards. The Old Town is very picturesque with its cobbled streets and pretty rainbow houses. Therefore it is officially one of the most beautiful villages in France!

Christmas markets in Riquewihr

The Christmas market in Riquewihr is rather small. You can find it in place Fernand Reyer and on Esplanade des Remparts. Also there is La Guinguette de Noël: a private Christmas market held in a historical winemaker’s property in the heart of Riquewihr.

Nevertheless Riquewihr is so photogenic that you should definitely put it on your list for a magical Christmas getaway in Alsace!

Dates and hours:

2020 – Cancelled because of the pandemic.

2019 – From the November 29th to December 22nd 2019. Mon-Fri: 10 am to 6:30 pm, Sat-Sun: 10 am to 7 pm.

Best places to take photos in Riquewihr

In Riquewihr you will be able to admire the amazing decorations of the houses and feel the Christmas vibes to the fullest! If you just walk around in the little streets you will find many cute corners to capture! The beautiful decorated facades of the half-timbered houses are definitely a feast for the eyes and the camera!

Here are some of the best places to take photos in Riquewihr:

  • Le Comptoir des Authentics: a home decor store which facade is decorated with cute teddy bears. Location: 1 Rue Kilian in Riquewihr.
  • Féerie de Noël: this Christmas decoration store has a lovely pink facade with nutcrackers decorations. Location: 1 Rue du Cerf in Riquewihr.
  • L’Arbalétrier: this restaurant with a traditional sign hanging from the top of the facade is located in a charming little street. Location: 12 Rue du Général de Gaulle in Riquewihr.
  • Place Voltaire: there is a beautiful fountain in the middle of pretty colorful half-timbered houses.

Where to stay in Riquewihr

Riquewihr being very small and close to Colmar, you can totally stay in Colmar and come to Riquewihr by car during the day (25 min drive). Once you are arrived you can park your car in the parking lots around the Old Town (2 euros/hour) or a bit further for free.

But if you want to stay in Riquewihr, here are a few suggestions:

Where to eat in Riquewihr

Great news: there are plenty of restaurants in the streets of Riquewihr! And you can also buy snacks in the boutiques and at the Christmas market.

As I want to help, here are some restaurants for you:

Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region and the formal seat of the European Parliament and other international institutions. But Strasbourg is also called the capital of Christmas!

Christmas markets in Strasbourg

The Christmas market of Strasbourg is the!oldest of France It was created in 1570; at this time it was called Christkindelsmärik (Alsatian dialect meaning “Market of the Christ Child”).

There are 11 markets spread out across the small city centre and more than 300 wooden chalets.

  • A scenic Christmas market takes place on the square of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg.
  • And in Place Kléber you can find the great Christmas tree. With it’s 30+ meters it’s  one of the biggest natural Christmas tree of Europe! It lights up every day at 5 pm. There is also an ice-skating rink and the Village of Sharing (Village du Partage).
  • The guest-country village is Place Gutenberg – this year Lebanese village & Georgian market.
  • Additionally Strasbourg’s oldest and largest Christmas market is taking place Place Broglie.
  • In Place du Château you will find the box of shows
  • Place du Marché aux Poisson hosts the Alsatian Christmas delicacies market (bredele biscuits, wines, mulled wines, foie gras and beers)
  • Do not forget the Carré d’or Christmas market, curated by the merchants of the Carré d’Or, located Place Broglie.
  • Place Saint Thomas showcases a true Christmas village
  • And in Place des Meuniers there is the Alsace farmers’ market, where producers serve up the best local products (such as spirits, nougat, mushrooms, honey and compote).
  • Also you can find the market of the Magi (le marché des Rois Mages) in Place Benjamin-Zix.
  • And lastly the OFF Market and the alternative Christmas tree are taking place in Place Grimmeissen. Here you can find unique gift ideas from local, socially responsible and ethical organisations, such as vintage furniture, custom clothing, original crafts and organic foods.

 

Dates and hours:

2020: Cancelled because of the pandemic.

2019 – From 22nd November to 30th December 2019. From 11 am to 8 pm every day, December 24: from 11 am to 6 pm, December 25: closed. Open at night on Fridays until 9 pm and Saturdays until 10 pm.

Best places to take photos in Strasbourg

Strasbourg is blessed with an enchanting Old Town, standing on an island over the Ill River. As a consequence it is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site!

Here are some of the best places to take photos in Strasbourg:

  • Restaurant le Tire-Bouchon: with its adorable facade decorated with plenty of teddy bears, this one is my favorite by far! Location: 5 de la rue des tailleurs de pierre in Strasbourg.
  • La Petite France: the charming historical quarter of Strasbourg with its cobblestone streets, canals and pretty half-timbered houses.
  • The Cathedral: one of the major landmarks of the city.
  • Pont couverts: three bridges cross the four river channels of the River Ill that flow through Strasbourg’s historic Petite France quarter.
  • Place Kléber with the Great Christmas tree.

Where to stay in Strasbourg

Strasbourg being a big city you will get plenty of accommodation options matching all your possible needs!

Nevertheless here are a few ideas:

Where to eat in Strasbourg

Strasbourg is full of cafes, restaurants and bars. Therefore you will have many possibilities to eat all types of cuisine!

A few places that I liked:

  • Salon de thé Grand’Rue: a very large selection of amazing homemade pastries and desserts. They also serve breakfast and lunch. Location: 80 Grand Rue in Strasbourg.
  • La Part Thé: restaurant and tea salon offering breakfast, lunch, desserts and pastries.  Location: 42 Grand Rue in Strasbourg.
  • Bloom: a great cafe for breakfast, brunch, lunch and desserts. Location: 2 Place des Meuniers in Strasbourg.
  • What The Cake ?: this cute cafe is a good place for a hot drink and a dessert. You can also go there for breakfast and lunch. They have vegan and gluten free options. Location: 51 Rue du Fossé-des-Tanneurs in Strasbourg.
  • Le Tire-Bouchon: the restaurant with the teddy bears on the facade is also a great place to eat Alsatian food. Location: 5 rue des tailleurs de pierre in Strasbourg.
  • Le Stras: French cuisine with fresh food inspired by the seasons. Location: 9 rue des dentelles in Strasbourg.

I am sure you will love to visit Alsace during the Christmas season!

If you visit Alsace for Christmas, you might also like this article: The Best Instagram Spots in Colmar.

And take a look at all my articles about the other beautiful places to visit in France!

Save it for later on Pinterest!

About Me

Hello! I am Ophélie, an avid traveller, photographer and foodista. I am French and I live in Paris.

This blog, will give you all my secrets: my best addresses (sightseeing and food) all around the world and in Paris, and my travel and lifestyle tips!

 

Let’s keep in touch!

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47 Comments
  • Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    Posted at 00:03h, 17 May Reply

    I am so desperate to visit Colmar, and the whole Alsace region in general! But it looks even more magical at Christmas! As if it could look any more fairytale.

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 11:55h, 17 May Reply

      It’s really dreamy during the Holiday Clazz! i hope you will get the opportunity to see it by yourself!

  • Suvarna Arora
    Posted at 13:03h, 07 November Reply

    Beautiful pictures as always Ophelie. It is such a dream to visit the Alsace region during Christmas. I hope to visit someday.

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:34h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you Suvarna! I wish you can see it by yourself one day, it’s magical!

  • Bisola
    Posted at 16:35h, 07 November Reply

    Honestly your pictures on your blog are always so STUNNING! Goals honestly!!!!! Colmar looks gorgeous, oh my gosh, I wonder what’s going to happens with the Christmas markets because of covid

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:36h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you SO MUCH Bisola! The Christmas markets are cancelled this year but the cities will still be decorated!

  • Nilima
    Posted at 16:35h, 07 November Reply

    Such beautiful pics! Colmar is straight out of a fairy tale😃

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:36h, 09 November Reply

      This town is such a dream Nilima! I hope you can visit it!

  • Kriszti
    Posted at 16:59h, 07 November Reply

    I wish I could go for a Christmas getaway in the Alsace region this year! Your photos are so magical and I’m dying to visit this region, especially Colmar. Hopefully next year!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:39h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you Kriszti! I really hope you will be able to catch up with the Christmas magic next year!

  • Zoe
    Posted at 18:09h, 07 November Reply

    Pretty post about Alsace. Its a beautiful place and I hope to visit in 2021!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:42h, 09 November Reply

      You will love to visit this amazing region Zoe!

  • Krista
    Posted at 18:10h, 07 November Reply

    Alsace looks like a beautiful area to spend time around Christmas. Lots of great photo spots too with all the colourful buildings!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:43h, 09 November Reply

      All the towns of Alsace are so photogenic Krista! And it’s even better during the Holiday!

  • Elena Pappalardo
    Posted at 20:26h, 07 November Reply

    Such a gorgeous post! This French region has always been on my bucket list and now I’m seriously considering a winter visit in the future! Beautiful photos as always!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:44h, 09 November Reply

      You can only enjoy visiting Alsace in winter Elena! It’s charming!

  • Sam
    Posted at 20:44h, 07 November Reply

    All your photos have me dreaming of going! Hopefully next year they will be open and ready to enjoy! Amazing post!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:46h, 09 November Reply

      I am glad the photos motivated you Sam! You will love it there!

  • Nina Travels
    Posted at 20:47h, 07 November Reply

    Wow, great post and I have not visited any of the suggested Christmas markets. Hope the pandemic is over soon and that we get our travel lifes back, including the amazing and fairy tale December destinations.

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:47h, 09 November Reply

      I cannot wait for that too! The Holiday is such a nice moment to travel and we all deserve some Christmas magic!

  • Helena
    Posted at 21:02h, 07 November Reply

    I’ve been to Colmar in winter and seen how magical it is in the snow, but I’m still yet to go to Alsace during Christmas. Strasbourg was the plan this year but now it’s postponed I have to add Riquewihr to my trip too!!

  • Katja
    Posted at 21:21h, 07 November Reply

    Awww this was the plan for this year´s Christmas markets but it looks like we will have to postopne once again. My fiance is French and we currently live in Germany so I decided we simply have to visit Alsace haha! Lovely photos, looks like a fairytale 🙂

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:52h, 09 November Reply

      You can still go to see the decorations Katja, I am sure it will be pretty even without the markets opened this year!

  • Lina
    Posted at 21:25h, 07 November Reply

    Oh I can’t tell you how excited I’m for Christmas now thanks to your blog post! Your photos are seriously adorable and Alsace during Christmas looks magical!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:52h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you for your nice feedback Alina! I am also excited about what the Holiday season!

  • Aimee Horgan
    Posted at 21:28h, 07 November Reply

    Woah this is seriously stunning, added to the list for when we can safely travel again (dang COVID). Your photos are beyond stunning x

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:53h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you Aimee! I hope you will see this beautiful region once we can all travel again!

  • Katie Ackerley
    Posted at 21:54h, 07 November Reply

    Oh my gosh how magical! I NEED to spend Christmas here one year! What great advice!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:53h, 09 November Reply

      You will seriously love it Katie! Glad you appreciated the article!

  • Taylor
    Posted at 22:25h, 07 November Reply

    Ah I love Alsace so much! I visited during summer 2018 and I totally want to go back for the Christmas markets. It’s such a magical place and of course your photos are so inspiring. 🙂

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:55h, 09 November Reply

      The atmosphere is so different during the Holiday Taylor! I am sure you would enjoy visiting again for Christmas!

  • Curls en Route
    Posted at 23:51h, 07 November Reply

    Definitely one of the best places around the world to spend Christmas! Wish I could go back!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:55h, 09 November Reply

      I can only agree with you 🙂 !

  • Cosette
    Posted at 00:03h, 08 November Reply

    Such dreamy photos, makes me get into the Christmas spirit already. Added 3 more places to my Christmas markets to visit bucket list.

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:56h, 09 November Reply

      So good to know I made you discover more places Cosette! Alsace is so beautifu!

  • Anuradha
    Posted at 00:08h, 08 November Reply

    I visited Strasbourg and Alsace villages during Summer, but heard so much that how the entire region looks like a winter wonderland during Christmas. And your pictures did transport me to get that feel and vibe! Lovely dresses to go with!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:57h, 09 November Reply

      It’s even better during the Christmas festivities Anuradha! I highly recommend you go there again in winter!

  • Megan
    Posted at 00:31h, 08 November Reply

    These towns look so picture perfect and so cozy and charming! I love the amount of Christmas that is packed in!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:57h, 09 November Reply

      The Alsace region is such a Christmas dream Megan!

  • Carley
    Posted at 01:03h, 08 November Reply

    These really are magical! This is an incredible guide – thanks for sharing! I’d love to make it for 2021 🙂

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:58h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you Carley! I hope you can visit next year and enjoy the Christmas vibes there!

  • Kirsten
    Posted at 01:15h, 08 November Reply

    I remember you sharing these photos on instagram last Christmas and you made me want to visit Alsace at Christmas so bad! It looks so charming and magical. I hope I can make it happen one year!

    • Limitlesssecrets
      Posted at 19:59h, 09 November Reply

      I know how much you would enjoy taking photos there yourself Kirsten, it’s so charming!

  • Natalie
    Posted at 02:54h, 08 November Reply

    This looks so magical, especially with all the Christmas decorations! Also, I love your photos- so beautiful!!

  • Jamie
    Posted at 12:48h, 08 November Reply

    Alsace is such a magical place – love the article and highlighting what to see around Christmas time. Something to look forward to in future years. Colmar looks so clasically beautiful.

  • Anna
    Posted at 15:30h, 08 November Reply

    Looks like such a beautiful place! I would love to visit the Christmas markets sometime.

  • Sara
    Posted at 19:27h, 08 November Reply

    Loved reading your post and especially your photos! The Alsace, especially Colmar has been on my list for such a long time. We even had a little weekend trip planned in March but ended up having to cancel because of Switzerland’s lockdown. It’s such a pity that all the Christmas markets have been canceled, but I’m definitely saving your post for next year (hopefully) 🙂

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