Don’t go looking for singing Disney princesses in this place, but we won’t blame you if you do. This magical little town in Northeastern France looks like it popped straight out of a storybook.
From its sweet cobblestone streets to the intricate maze of rainbow-colored houses to the miniature train that rambles around town, everything in Colmar just lives and breathes fantasy.
Millions of tourists who visit this tiny town every year cannot fail to fall in love with this place. It’s been called “the most beautiful town in the world”, “the most beautiful town in Europe”, and “one of the most attractive towns in Alsace”.
Pick which description you see fit. It has constantly received a four flower rating (the highest) from the European Tourism Board since 1984 and was awarded the National Blossom Grand Prize on 1994.
Colmar is a bit of France, Germany, and even Italy all at once. Most people would say it feels mostly like Germany, with the half-timber houses, the cuisine, and the fine brusque wines.
It got its nickname “Little Venice” from the many canals it’s been built on, in which tiny boats drift along romantically. And those colorful window shutters of all styles and personalities, plus the plethora of flowers in all nooks and crannies are just undeniably French.
Local transportation includes “Le Petit Train” a bright green kiddie train that lazy adults can freely ride without being laughed at, Colmar’s take on gondolas that float in and through the canals, and a princess’s dream come true: fancy horse-drawn carriages.
It’s got a wishing well, a toy museum, a hotel with creepy heads carved on its walls, a built-in town-wide year-long light show, and a sincere dedication to the preservation of its local bird species that platforms were built on rooftops for the storks to build nests on. That’s right. Stork nests. High turrets. Broad daylight. Crazy.
And while it can’t get any better than this, some guy in Malaysia got so inspired by this town’s beauty he decided to replicate it in his own country. It’s a great alternative for the more budget-conscious traveler. Sort of.