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Strasbourg vs Colmar hotels for Christmas Markets?

We are booked for the Best of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, 8 day tour during the Christmas Market season and plan on adding on 4 nights post-tour. We are fairly new to European travel although we aren't totally wet behind the ears as we took the 21 day BOE tour last spring.

We haven't traveled by train on our own but looking at the schedules it seems like Vienna to Regensburg is a straight shot. Regensburg to Stuttgart has a train change in Nuremberg. Then Stuttgart to Strasbourg, another straight shot is available.

I've searched back through the forums and it seems people are split between staying in Strasbourg and Colmar although Rick seems to prefer Colmar for its cozier feel. I tentatively have reservations on hold, one at Strasbourg (Hotel & Spa Le Bouclier D'or) and one in Colmar (Saint-Martin). The difference in price is astounding and I have a feeling the Strasbourg hotel is a little too formal for us. Saint-Martin in Colmar seems more our style. I guess my question is which city is truly best if the Christmas markets are a priority for us? I know the Cathedral in Strasbourg is something we'll want to see as well.

Any advice here or have I already answered my own question?

Posted by
16071 posts

Colmar has several Christmas Markets and boasts "Best in France" (in the opinion of the Colmar Tourist Board). I have the feeling you might be Christmas Marketed out by the time you get there.

Posted by
14335 posts

I spent a day at the Strasbourg markets (including plenty of time for a cathedral visit), a day at the Colmar markets. Colmar is beautiful then, every shop facade had wonderful, imaginative decorations, plus the ones in the shop windows. The hotel is very central and you'll be able to walk everywhere. Strasbourg is bigger and more spread out. I liked the French markets much better than the German ones. There are other Alsacian villages that have beautiful markets and decorations, closer to Colmar than Strasbourg.

Posted by
697 posts

Now im wondering if we should skip Stuttgart and add another day to the Alsace?

I was all settled on staying in Strasbourg and day tripping to Colmar.....We could stay one night in Colmar and two in Strasbourg and skip Stuttgart. Sigh.

Posted by
6337 posts

I can't imagine why you'd have to split your time between Colmar and Strasbourg moving from one hotel to another for one night. They're only 1/2 hr apart on the train - stay in one and visit the other, no need to pack up and move. Stay at whichever hotel appeals to you more.

Posted by
577 posts

I loved both Colmar and Strausbourg. My advice is not to visit Christmas market in Colmar on a Saturday. Wall to wall people and not very enjoyable. I would like to go back to both these places.

Posted by
86 posts

I rented an apartment in Colmar last spring. it was right in the historic part which has a patio on the roof and you view the roof of the Dominican church and the tower of the St. Martins. The rooms were wonderful, with kitchens and use of washing machines. Very reasonably priced. Stay in Colmar, you will love it. PS the rooms are almost above a Boulagerie that has Almond Croissants to die for! Contact me for more info if interested!

Posted by
14335 posts

I just realized you are going past Stuttgart! You absolutely should spend a night in Stuttgart do see the medieval market in nearby Esslingen. The Stuttgart market is also very nice.

Instead of doing extra nights post-tour, why not do them pre-tour, so you don't have to backtrack. If you can't fly into Strasbourg, maybe Stuttgart. Even Frankfurt is an option, you can take the train (1 or 2 connections) or the Lufthansa shuttle bus. Either will take about 2.5 hours. Fly home from Vienna.

Posted by
697 posts

@Chani, I can't do pre-tour, I'm afraid. Our tour starts on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and unfortunately we both have to work Thanksgiving day. If we fly our friday, that puts us in Munich on Saturday. I think we will just "chill" in Munich until our tour starts on Sunday. I really planned us up last trip and I think an unplanned day will make hubby happy!