Some years ago already, the Lonely Planet guides voted Alsace first among the top ten regions to be discovered in the world. Yes, Alsace is unquestionably spectacularly beautiful. A very special combination of history, culture, scenery, and especially food and wine makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in all of Europe.
Regularly the city of Colmar, in the heart of Alsace but also in the middle of the Upper Rhine valley, came up among the awarded places to go.
As every year since 2009, the “European Best Destinations” reveals in January the cities in the running for the award of the Best European Destination of the year. This selection is established after examination of 260 localities through Europe.
This year, the little Colmar (70,284 inhabitants only!) has been designated among the 20 best places of interest in Europe, alongside very big cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin and many others.
From January 18 to February 8, 2018 it was up to Internet users (yes you too could vote) to decide on the candidate cities supreme title, by voting online.
On February 8, 2018 Colmar was voted the 3rd Best Destination in Europe !
Go to the website of European Best Destinations and see the results.
Click here: www.bit.ly/ColmarEBD2018
More about the city of Colmar
Right in the middle of Alsace, there is Colmar. The wealth and fame of Colmar is dating back to the 13th century, making it a must-see historical center with prestigious monuments.
Colmar is full of romantic places to enjoy: the little Venice, the quai de la Poissonnerie, the area of the Tanners …
City of Art and Culture, Colmar offers some prestigious museums including the now famous Unterlinden museum, which is a must to visit. The four seasons are marked in Colmar by events such as the famous wine fair (August), Christmas and Easter markets, music festivals including the international music (July) and jazz (September) festivals.
- Colmar was declared 2nd best Christmas market in Europe, and 1st Christmas market in France, by vote audience of visitors in 2017
- Colmar was listed among the 52 destinations to see in the world, by the New York Times in 2016
- According to the survey conducted by European Best Destinations in 2017, Colmar was among the 19 best medieval cities of Europe,
- Colmar was awarded “Best destination for Easter”, following a poll directed by European Best Destinations in 2017
- According to TripAdvisor, Colmar is part of the top 10 places that seem straight come out of a fairy tale.
The pearls of the Alsace Wine Route
Colmar as a tourist destination is not only an isolated city. Colmar is the “capital city of Alsace wines”. The City is abeam some of the most famous Alsatian vineyards which are spreading over picturesque hills just some kilometres to the West. Colmar is crowned with a bunch of exquisite fairy tale villages of the Alsace Wine Route.
Just a stone’s throw from Colmar we have Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim, Ribeauvillé, Bergheim … They are the jewels in the crown of Colmar, they produce fantastic wines but they also look today exactly as they did in the 16th Century. Yes, lost in a sea of vineyards climbing the foothills of the Vosges mountains, they too look as they came straight out of a fairy tale!
Riquewihr is a famous village of Alsace, very well-known for its architectural heritage, a picturesque medieval walled town of 1100 inhabitants, spared by the destruction of the two world wars. Riquewihr is also famous for its wines and its Christmas market.
In 2017 Riquewihr was voted “Most beautiful village of France” by the association of the Japanese travel trade.
Our visitors enjoying their stay in one of our romantic holiday apartments in the medieval defence wall of Riquewihr know that Colmar and the other typical wine villages are less than half an hour away. Here around we are for sure in one of the Best Destinations in Europe.
Kaysersberg (the hill of the emperor) is a pretty medieval city of 2700 inhabitants located some 10 kilometres West of Colmar. In the old medieval times, Kaysersberg was in important fortified position controlling the valley which connects Colmar to Lorraine through the Vosges mountains and the pass named Col du Bonhomme.
Following the vote of viewers, Kaysersberg won the 2017 edition of the TV show Le Village préféré des Français (The favorite Village of the French). The Christmas market is a must visit.
The small (1700 inhabitants) but famous wine village of Eguisheim lies at the foothill of the Vosges mountains, some 5 kilometers south-west of Colmar.
Eguisheim has pretty half-timbered houses and is one of the most beautiful villages in France. The village is famous for its wines (beautiful wine festival at the end of August) and its magnificent Christmas market. In 2013, Eguisheim was voted Favorite Village of the French by the TV show of the same name.
15 kilometers north-west of Colmar and 4 kilometers from Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé (4700 inhabitants) is a pretty medieval town dominated by three castles. Surrounded by renowned vineyards, Ribeauvillé is known for its wine and gastronomy fair which takes place every year in July. The first weekend of September is the fiddlers’ festival, a 600-year-old event. During the first two weekends of December is held the very famous medieval Christmas market.
Surrounded by its medieval ramparts, Bergheim is 17 km north of Colmar and 10 km south-west of Sélestat. For centuries and up to the present day, the vineyard culture has marked the seasons of some 2100 inhabitants. There are some good restaurants in this pretty village and during the month of December, a path of Christmas cribs runs through the streets of the village.
The international reputation of Colmar is actually seen by a clientele from all continents and by laudatory qualifiers on the websites and in the world press.
Welcome to Colmar, a destination to discover throughout the year.
Only 25 km North of Colmar, Selestat is the third largest city in Alsace for heritage wealth, behind Strasbourg and Colmar. The city (20,000 inhabitants) has two large medieval churches, a medieval urban ensemble, as well as a very rich collection of Renaissance books preserved in the Humanist Library (World Cultural Heritage). Selestat is also endowed with an important natural heritage since the territory of the city is largely included in the natural reserve of Illwald. The town is very close to the Alsace wine route and the Haut-Kœnigsbourg castle.
Sélestat has been labeled “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (City of Art and History) since February 19, 2016. Sélestat is also known for the oldest written mention of the Christmas tree (1521). Every year in December there are several exhibitions around the Christmas fir topic.
Colmar and the wine route under the supervision of so many castles!
25 km north-west of Colmar, the impressive castle of Haut-Kœnigsbourg, a former castle of the twelfth century, dominates the vineyard and the plain from the top of its pointed mountain, 750 meters above sea level. The castle is seen from far away. I always thought that his silhouette lit up at night was the beacon of Alsace. The Haut-Koenigsbourg castle is worth a visit, whatever the season.
But there is not only the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. From north to south of Alsace, there are more than 80 strongholds, mostly ruined, which still stand on the heights of the Vosges. All year round, they are favorite destinations for hikers. In the heart of Alsace, not far from Colmar, I particularly like the castles of Ortenbourg (at the entrance of the Val de Villé near Sélestat), the Eagle’s park at the castle of Kintzheim, the 3 castles of Ribeauvillé (Saint-Ulrich, Girsberg and Haut-Ribeaupierre), the castle of Kaysersberg, Hohlandsbourg overlooking the access to the valley of Munster, the 3 dungeons of Eguisheim … But there are many others still hidden in the forest.
Colmar, gate to the Rhine and Germany
Less than 20 kilometers East of Colmar, after passing Neuf-Brisach and its World Heritage fortifications built by Vauban, we find one of the most magnificent and important river in Europe: the Rhine. Cross it at Breisach am Rhein and you will be in Germany and almost immediately in the Kaiserstuhl vineyards and a little further, at the foothills of the Black Forest, near Freiburg im Breisgau (with a wonderful cathedral), you will get to know the wines of Baden. Climb a little further and you will reach the HochSchwarzwald, the highest part of the Black Forest.
From the top of the Vosges to the Black Forest, our Upper Rhine region, encompassing both banks of the Rhine with Colmar right in its center, ranks definitely high among the best destinations to visit in Europe.
February 8, 2018 Colmar was voted 3rd European BEST Destination
Click here to check the results of the vote: www.bit.ly/ColmarEBD2018