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Colmar versus Strasbourg in December

Hi everyone! I know that this question has been asked several times over the years (I have read all of the previous posts) but I am hoping to gather some information from someone who has traveled to either place in the last couple of years. We are two fifty something couples who are visiting the Alsace region in early December for four days. We plan to visit both places during our visit to the area regardless of where we stay. Our budget is $300 euros per night. Can anyone suggest lodging in either city or why one city is preferred over the other?

Thank you in advance for your assistance!

Posted by
173 posts

We stayed in Colmar last Sept and it was wonderful. We rented an apt. through VRBO right in the middle of the city, but was very quiet and price was only 78 euros a night so you will have no problem with your budget.
For me, I prefer the smaller cities so I would stay in Colmar over Strasbourg, as it is a larger busier city. You can take the train easily from Colmar to Strasbourg, in fact, I would recommend that over driving into Strasbourg. Depending on weather in Dec. you can rent bikes in Colmar and bike to all of the little wine villages on the route de Vin. Plus staying in Colmar, you are close to going into Germany to visit Freiburg, which we enjoyed as well.

Posted by
11281 posts

Strasbourg is a beautiful city, magnificent cathedral, river, canal boat rides, good restaurants. It is not a large city and is very walkable.
You will be in Alsace in the winter so Strasbourg is a much better choice.
We loved the villages of Alsace and also stayed in charming Riquewehr. The only place we didn’t really care for was Colmar; it disappointed us after seeing so much beauty elsewhere in Alsace.

Posted by
22 posts

Thank you Karen and Suki for your responses!
Suki, would you mind sharing where you stayed in Riquewehr?
Karen, would you happen to have the address of your VRBO

Thanks again for your assistance!

Posted by
7049 posts

You can't go wrong with either city, or with staying in one of the villages (if you have a car). Both are wonderful and I enjoyed spending a day in Strasbourg (loved the cathedral and took a river cruise), but I stayed in Colmar for 2 nights. That's just a personal preference for smaller cities/towns - my choice in any region is usually a town with 50k-75k with good transportation connections. Colmar is about 77k, Strasbourg is about 280k, that's a big difference in my book. I think in December either one would be fun with the Christmas markets.

Posted by
22 posts

Nancy,

I think your post nudged me towards Colmar. Where did you stay in Colmar?
Thanks!

Posted by
44 posts

If you're interested in night life, I would say Strasbourg might be the better choice. Colmar is pretty quiet at night. Also, even though the population of Strasbourg is much larger, it doesn't feel at that big geographically since the city proper is on an island in the Ill River.

I've certainly betrayed my bias towards Strasbourg, which I found to be a more interesting and authentic place. Colmar began to feel touristy to me after a couple of days. It does have slightly better access to the charming wine villages like Riquewhir, Kaysersberg, and Eguisheim, but if you're renting a car, the different shouldn't be too significant.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for the info, Philip Z. I’m finding that a lot of properties are booked already so I may end up in Strasbourg. Can you share with me where you stayed in Strasbourg?

Posted by
27 posts

Hi Kevin,
We stayed at Hôtel l'Abbaye d'Alspach in Kaysersberg for the Alsace region Christmas markets. It is about 10 minutes away from Colmar. There are several other little towns about 10 minutes away from each other that you can visit too. Turkheim had all homemade ornaments at their market! If I remember right it was only 120.00 Euros a night. Great breakfast and AMAZING homemade Glühwein! ( I did not like the German version.) Eigelsheim (sp?) is super cute too!

Posted by
44 posts

We stayed at this AirBNB in la Petite France in Strasbourgh: https://bit.ly/2HdgXnC

Super cute, and fun location, but definitely only big enough for 2 people. We'll be staying closer to the cathedral next week, in an apartment that sleeps 4. If that goes well, I can report back. :)

Posted by
7049 posts

As a solo traveler this looks like it's right up my alley. Thanks for posting it Philip.

Posted by
2443 posts

Strasbourg at Christmas is spectacular. The decorations at night are not to be missed. Seeing it in the daytime is fine but not as good. We took a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar during the Christmas markets. Colmar (which we had visited the previous summer and loved) was very enjoyable and cute but no comparison to Strasbourg at Christmastime. We stayed at the Hotel Cathedrale in Strasbourg which is right in the thick of things. I highly recommend this hotel.

Posted by
22 posts

I’m so appreciative of each of you taking the time to respond.
Yes—Philip—please report back on your latest venture in Strasbourg!
Thanks Mary for your feedback! I am convinced that we need to visit both Colmar and Strasbourg after all the responses.

Posted by
5697 posts

Thanks for posting the question -- we are pondering this for December. In 2017 we spent two December nights in Strasbourg, two in Colmar (Ibis near the Christmas markets) and both were great.

Posted by
22 posts

Laura B:

Just the fact that you are thinking of returning again—says a lot!!!
I have been researching the past couple of weeks. I’m sure you know this already but book as soon as you can—so many properties are booked for our dates in early December.

Posted by
15618 posts

It seems to me that some of the answers here are ignoring the Christmas markets and are therefore not relevant. If you want to spend your time seeing the delightful, beautiful, charming decorations and visiting the markets, stay in Colmar, which is close to the other villages. It's also an easy day trip by train to Strasbourg. Google "Noel en Alsace" for all the details.

When I visited, I had only 2 days. I got to Strasbourg by train in the morning, stored my luggage at the station and spent the day there, then took an evening train to Colmar for 2 nights, one full day, and then another train back to Germany. Strasbourg's markets were more extensive but felt more commercialized. In Colmar, nearly every shop had gorgeous, creative decorations, both the facades and the windows. The markets were more family-oriented and my impression was there were many more locally produced products and crafts. My guess is that the nearby villages are similar to Colmar. I would not recommend the place I stayed, my first choice was Maison Martin Jund but was fully booked.

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for the information on the website, Chani and your perspective!

I am looking forward to exploring this magical area.

Posted by
16479 posts

We spent two nights in Colmar last August and loved it. We stayed in an apartment in Petite Venise named Reflets sur la Lauch, which I highly recommend. There are five apartments in the building, both one and two-bedrooms. We stayed in the one-bdr. Terrace Apartment, with a beautiful view across the canal to three of the prettiest houses in Little Venice. The apartment is modern and tastefully decorated.

They don't have their own website, but you can see photos and book on booking.com, or find the individual apartments listed separately on Airbnb.

https://www.booking.com/hotel/fr/reflets-sur-la-lauch.en-gb.html?aid=356980;label=gog235jc-1DCAsoTUIUcmVmbGV0cy1zdXItbGEtbGF1Y2hIM1gDaLQCiAEDmAEJuAEHyAEN2AED6AEBiAIBqAIDuAKZoOLmBcACAQ;sid=d48ac6ac55aa8e84de266da7308ff22f;dist=0&keep_landing=1&sb_price_type=total&type=total&

Posted by
22 posts

Lola,

Thanks so much for your suggestion! I am hoping that they have reservations available!

Posted by
10 posts

We went to several Christmas markets last Dec. We stayed on Colmar for three nights. The first day we arrived, we went to the Colmar markets, the second day we took the train to Basel for the day and the third day we took the train to Strasbourg. Colmar was a great location for us; the the other two cities were 30-50 minutes by train. We stayed near the train station. My husband had big time back issues as was using walking sticks so I didn't want to be far from the trains and staying in one hotel for a few days was easier than changing hotels daily. As I recall, Colmar is a very pretty town with a canal running through it and several Christmas markets.

Posted by
11281 posts

We stayed at Hotel L’Oriel in Riquewehr which was OK. Very good location. Dinner nearby at La Grappe d’Or was excellent!
I can’t recall the name of our Strasbourg hotel( I am presently traveling, away from notes) but we loved the city.
We just did not click with Colmar.

Posted by
107 posts

Colmar.

In 2017 we stayed in this place http://www.martinjund.com , which is reviewed in the Rick Steves book. It was absolutely delightful. It's the original family homestead which has been expanded over the centuries is now a huge barn looking affair. The family lives there and runs their wine business from there. We stayed in the converted attic studio apartment, which occupies the 4th and 5th floor. Kitchen, washing machine, 3 beds. Photos are here https://www.theimpartialobservers.com/p77083545