Going to Colmar, France seemed as though I stepped into the story of Hansel & Gretel. What an enchanting town!
This was an impromptu day trip for me. I had a short trip planned to Basel, Switzerland and wanted to squeeze in seeing another city and Christmas Market. I did a quick check on the map and saw that Colmar, France was nearby. I checked the train schedule and found out it was only a 45 minute train ride. That was that, decision made – off to Colmar I went.
What a lucky pick it was!! Colmar is a small town and it was very easy to find the town center walking from the train station. All that I had known about Colmar was that it had a canal running through center that was lined with the unique colorful little buildings and homes …. and there were five Christmas markets scattered throughout the town.
If I had known how charming Colmar was, I would have stayed overnight. The town lights up in the evening and adds a completely new perspective. Nonetheless, my day trip in Colmar was spectacular.
The Christmas Market:
The markets in Colmar had the most variety of items being displayed and sold as compared to the other Christmas markets I had visited. An incredible selection of different gastronomic delights: gingerbreads, chocolates, oysters, pretzels with all sorts of toppings & fillings to name a few, and of course, Vin Chaud everywhere. The gift and crafts were abundant as well; ornaments, decorations, toys, laces, enamelware….just so many beautiful items to choose from.
The Colmar Christmas markets are open daily, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day from November 21 (2014) through December 31st. There are five markets spread throughout the town, all very easy to find and are all walking distance from each other. Here is a map of the town with a layout of all of the markets.
It is an easy and inexpensive trip from Italy. If you plan ahead you can get the 22€ each-way ticket to Basel from Milan. From Basel you can buy a regional train ticket from SBB.ch (Switzerland’s main train company). SBB does offer discounted train tickets to visit the Christmas Market towns.
If you plan to be in this area for a few days, plan on visiting the market in Mulhouse, France as well. It’s a town between Colmar, France and Basel, Switzerland, on the same train line. I didn’t have enough time to go to Mulhouse, but it was recommended by fellow market visitors on the train.
TIP: Staying in a hotel in France is less expensive as compared to Switzerland. Switzerland is beautiful, but it is an expensive country!
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