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You’re probably more familiar with seeing photos of Colmar at Christmas, with the huge street decorations, oversized teddies adorning houses and the the twinkling lights of the Christmas market.
Colmar has become hugely popular over recent years and is now one of the must-see destinations when visiting the Alsace region of France. But of course that popularity has also made it more expensive during the peak seasons over Christmas and also in the spring/early summer when the already colourful town comes into full bloom, so you might be wondering when is the best time to visit Colmar.
When is the best time to visit Colmar, France
I chose to visit Colmar in the off season - late February/early March. It was very cold and Europe was experiencing the ‘Beast from the East’ so I was actually lucky enough to get snow while I was there! At this time the town was very quiet, there were still a few tourists but nowhere near as many, I was able to take pictures without crowds in, eat at the best restaurants without making reservations and get cheap flights and accommodation.
Flights - £61 Return from Gatwick to Basel
Accommodation - 27 euros for my own room and bathroom at IBIS Colmar Centre
Total for flights and accommodation = £88
Of course if you’re wanting to visit to see the town during Christmas market time, or to see it in bloom then travelling at those peak times are unavoidable. But if you just want to see this quaint colourful town or maybe as part of a larger trip around the Alsace and Strasbourg area, then I definitely recommend travelling in the off-season or shoulder seasons.
You can read my post on how to get to Colmar here.
Photo locations in Colmar
La Petite Venise
Called Little Venice for it’s place along the river, this is probably the most famous photo location in Colmar. The road is called Quai de la Poissonnerie and you can find the bridge these photos are taken from where the road meets Rue des Écoles. I would recommend going here early in the day as it is a popular spot and also remember these are actually people’s houses - they don’t want to find a full photography session on their doorstep when they’re trying to go about their day.
Walk to the other end of this row of houses for a different perspective and to get the curve in the street.
This is the view from the bridge over La Launch. The road with the bridge on is called Rue Turenne. In the summer this view is lined with flowers and people dining outdoors. But with a sprinkling of snow it was beautiful too. This is an easy one to photograph at any time of day since you will not be hindered by crowds.
Although this looks like a public square, it isn’t labelled as one on the map. You can find this area where Rue des Marchands and Grand Rue meet. To get this view there are some stones steps you can climb and get this angle from above. The restaurant on the left in the photo is called Le Fer Rouge; I had a wonderful 3-course meal here with red wine for 35 euros.
Same place, different view…
Below the stone steps I mentioned for the shot above, there are stone archways leading through to a public courtyard. I used these arches to frame this shot.
The famous pink Christmas house
You might be forgiven for not recognising this location! It is well-photographed on Instagram when it is completely covered in Christmas decorations.
Unfortunately when I visited there was a lot of building work in front of it so I couldn’t get the shot I wanted, but the location is just down the Grand Rue from the last shot. Where Grand Rue meets Place de l’Ancienne Douane and Rue Basque.
The second photo above is the buildings just to the left of the pink house, remember to look up in Colmar, there are so many colourful and beautifully detailed facades.
Colmar is so photogenic, just wander around and explore
The nearby town of Eguisheim
So technically this isn’t Colmar, Equisheim is a medieval village southwest of Colmar and can be reached easily in 14 minutes by car/taxi or you can do what I did and rent a bike to cycle along the scenic river and country fields to reach it (it was very cold when I did this in Feb/March so just be cautious if roads are slippy!).
Eguisheim isn’t huge, there isn’t a lot to see and do but it is worth visiting this beautiful, colourful town if you can! This is the most well-photographed street in the village and it’s called Rue du Rempart S. You’ll most likely come into the village on Grand Rue, if you do, it’s the second street on your left.
Take some time to wander around Eguisheim, it’s only small so it’s easy to do in an afternoon. Here are some of my favourite snaps from there.
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Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.
Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.
Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with Booking.com so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.
Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.
Travel Insurance: I currently use SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. Which allows me to pay a rolling monthly fee to cover my long term travels.
My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.