It’s that time of year again. Everything will be sparkling, shops, streets and even houses will be decorated and of course the Christmas markets will be set up. One of the first places that pops to mind, when it comes to Christmas Markets, would be the Alsace region. The region is awe-inspiring even when you visit it normally, and when the Christmas sparkle is combined with it, you feel as if you have stepped into a fairy tale. And who loves fairy tales the most? Children, of course. For this reason, I think Alsace Christmas Markets is really a great travel route for children. You have come to the right place to solve your questions and plan your Alsace travel itinerary. In this article, I will share the places to visit in Alsace, the most beautiful Christmas Markets, the dates of Christmas Markets, special notes for children, accommodation and transportation in detail. Here is my guide to Alcase with kids, have a nice reading.
Alsace Travel Guide with Kids
The gingerbread houses of Alsace both attract children and adults. I think it makes more sense to wait until the child is at least 3-4 years old to go to Alsace, I personally recommend children to see this fairytale world in a more perceptive way, but of course it is up to you to take them at any age. I will start with accommodation suggestions, then I will continue with Christmas markets and places to visit in general.
Kids Friendly Alsace Accommodation Guide
Accommodation will be more expensive than usual during the Christmas season and places will sell out quickly, so I recommend you make your reservations early. I will list the hotels by location and booking points.
Aparthotels in Alsace: Résidence Les Rives de la Fecht (Ingersheim-8.2), Résidence Pierre & Vacances La Petite Venise (Colmar-8.2), Reflets Sur La Lauch (Colmar – 9.7), Aparthotel Adagio Access Strasbourg PetiteFrance (Strasbourg-8.2)
Kids Friendly Hotels in Colmar: Le Colombier (8.4), Relais & Châteaux La Maison Des Têtes (8.9), L’Esquisse Hotel & Spa Colmar (9), Hotel Saint-Martin (8.2), Ibis Budget Colmar Centre Gare (7), James Boutique Hôtel (9)
Kids Friendly Hotels in other Villages in Alsace: Relais et Châteaux Le Chambard (Kaysersberg-9), Best Western Hotel & SPA Le Schoenenbourg (Riquewihr-8.6), Hotel Colmar Vignes Eguisheim (8.8), Hôtel L’Auberge Alsacienne (Eguisheim-8.5), Le Hameau d’Eguisheim (8.9)
You can check here to see all available hotels in Alsace.
Alsace Christmas Markets Itinerary – The Most Beautiful Christmas Markets
I will write about the most beautiful spots in Alsace and the Christmas markets that are set up there. Even if you don’t go to Alsace at Christmas time, each of the places on this list are very photogenic, you can do the same itinerary, you can read about the places to visit and things to do in Alsace later in the article.
When and where will the Christmas Markets be held in Alsace in 2023? I will give dates and locations for each place on our route. Apart from the markets, there are events in the evenings, such as storytelling with music, costumed parades such as lantern parades, treasure hunts, etc. until Christmas.
Strasbourg Christmas Market: Open from November 24 to December 24. Christkindelsmärik, the oldest Christmas Market in France, is held in Place Broglie. Other places where markets will be held are Place Kléber (where the big tree is set up), Place de la Cathédrale, Place du Château, Place Grimmeisen, Place des Meuniers, Place Gutenberg, Place du Temple Neuf, Place du Marché aux Poisson, Place du Corbeau, Place St Thomas and Place Benjamin Zix.
Colmar Christmas Market: Open from November 23 to December 29. Christmas markets in Colmar include Place des Dominicains (Alsatian handicrafts and decorative items), Place de la Cathédrale (Alsatian cuisine), Place Jeanne d’Arc (food and drink), Place de l’Ancienne Douane (tourist souvenirs), The Koïfhus (indoor market with handicrafts and decorative items). There is also a Christmas market for children in La Petite Venise.
Eguisheim Christmas Market: Open from November 24 to December 23. There are around 30 stands and the market is spread over 2 different squares. The first and bigger one is located in Place du Marché aux Saules and the second and smaller one is located in Place Monseigneur Stumpf.
Riquewihr Christmas Market: Open from November 25 to December 21. The Christmas market takes place on Place Fernand Zeyer and Esplanade des Remparts, and extends to Général de Gaulle Street.
Kaysersberg Christmas Market: Open from November 24 to December 19. Christmas Markets will be set up in Cour de l’Arsenal and Place de la Mairie. There is also an exhibition at the Salle de I’Arsenal.
Ribeauville Christmas Market: Open on the weekends of December 2nd, 3rd and 9th and 10th. You can see Christmas stalls along the Grand Rue.
For transportation to Alsace region and from villages to each other, I will explain the details in the transportation section at the end of the article. Especially those who will not rent a car should definitely read that part.
Things to see and do in Alsace
If you go during the Christmas season, you probably won’t need to do anything other than visiting the streets and markets of these villages, but I’m including things to do in case you go at a normal time. The houses in these villages are decorated with baskets, bunnies and eggs during Easter, and in spring and summer they welcome you with flowers, so there is a reason to visit every season.
Strasbourg Things to Do: The main places to visit in Strasbourg are the historic city known as Grande Île, Strasbourg Cathedral, St. Paul’s Church, Maison Kammerzell, Petite France, Ponts Couverts. If you like visiting museums, you can visit the modern art museum Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg, the history museum Musée historique de la ville de Strasbourg, the museum special to Alsace, Musée Alsacien. If you have time, I recommend going to Parc de l’Orangerie with the kids, it’s a really great park. You can also take a canal tour.
Colmar Things to Do: In general, you can wander the streets of the historic old town and see many beautiful buildings. The main places to visit and photo locations in Colmar are La Petite Venise, Pont Rue des Ecoles, Brasserie des Tanneurs, Quai de la Poissonnerie, Au Vieux Pignon, St. Martin Church, Dominican Church, Saint Matthieu Church, Unterlinden Museum and Musée du Jouet de Colmar (toy museum). The location of the photo above with the Christmas tree you see the most on Instagram is Maison au Pèlerin. 😉 Apart from these, you can take a canal tour or tour the city by taking the tourist train. There is also a 12-meter replica of the Statue of Liberty in memory of Auguste Bartholdi, the Colmar-based sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty in New York. You can go to see it if you are interested.
Eguisheim Things to Do: This was voted the most beautiful village in France in 2013. The streets of the village are planned in a circle, you can easily visit all the streets by turning around. You can complete the circle in half an hour by following Rue de Rempart, but it will take longer because you will want to take photos of each house. 🙂 I can say that Saint Léon Square with the Saint Léon statue pool, Saint Léon chapel and Saint-Léon-Pfalz castle is the most famous place in the village. You can also visit the Église Saints-Pierre-et-Paul.
Riquewihr Things to Do: This is another village to get lost in its streets. You can see Renaissance houses along Charles de Gaulle street. The Dolder Tower, the museum inside and the Tour des Voleurs are worth a visit.
Kaysersberg Things to See: The Sainte-Croix Church and Kaysersberg Castle are notable landmarks in the village, which is easy to get around. You can also visit the Schweitzer Museum.
RibeauvilleThings to Do: Walk along the Grand Rue and you will see the beautiful houses of the village. Some highlights are the Chapel of St. Catherine, Tour des Bouchers, Siedel Hubert, St. Grégoire Church, Place de la Sinne and Place de la République.
Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg: This is also a beautiful chateau in the region, if you have a long time and want to see something other than these villages, you can add it to your plan. Kids will like it too, my son loves places like this.
What to Eat in Alsace?
The most famous food in the region is Tarte flambée or Flammekueche, a pizza with cream cheese, onion and bacon cubes on a thin dough. Another dish you’ll see a lot on the menus is Choucroute garnie, where they serve sausage, boiled potatoes and German-style sauerkraut together. Baeckeoffe, a stew with potatoes and meat cooked in wine, is another traditional dish. As a street flavor, Bretzel of the Germans is very common here as Pretzel. Alsace is also France’s famous vineyard route, so be sure to try their wines. By the way, traditional bars and restaurants that stand out with their wine are called Winstub.
Restaurant Recommendations in Alsace
Breakfast: Colmar – Au Croissant Doré, MOKKA Café Déjeuner Goûter, Le Boudoir, Air Bagels
Strasbourg – Oh My Goodness, Café Bretelles, Coffee Stub, L’atelier 116
Lunch and Dinner: Restaurant Au Coin des Pucelles – Strasbourg, Saint Sepulcre – Strasbourg, Le Tire Bouchon – Strasbourg,Version Originale 68 – Colmar, Le Fer Rouge – Colmar, Restaurant L’Epicurien – Colmar, Restaurant L’Ecurie – Riquewihr, Restaurant du Château – Kaysersberg, Caveau d’Eguisheim, Winstub La Flammerie – Ribeauville, Kas’Fratz – Eguisheim
Michelin Starred Restaurants: La Table d’Olivier Nasti – Kayserberg, La Table du Gourmet – Riquewihr, Restaurant 1741 – Strasbourg, Buerehiesel – Strasbourg, L’Atelier du Peintre – Colmar
There are more Michelin starred or guidebook restaurants in this area, you can find out if you go to different towns. I just chose the ones on the route I wrote.
Transportation in Alsace Region
First of all, let me tell you about transportation to Alsace. I flew to Basel Airport (EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg) because it was the closest airport to where I was. This is an airport that leads to France, Germany and Switzerland, you will exit from the French gate. The most comfortable way to visit this region is of course renting a car. If you are not going to rent a car, let me tell you how to get there by public transportation. You take the bus number 11 from the airport and arrive at Gare de Saint Louis train station. Here you take the train to Strasbourg with a stop in Colmar. You can get off at whichever village you will be staying at. Or if you are staying in one of the other villages, you have to get off in Colmar and take the bus. There is also a shuttle service between November 25th and December 18th during Christmas time, you can also go with them. I will write both bus and shuttle routes below. Shuttle’s current price for 2022 is 6€ on weekdays, 10€ on weekends, children under 12 are free. If you come in spring and summer, you can rent an electric bike in Colmar and visit the villages by bike.
Eguisheim Shuttle 3 is available daily from Colmar, but the last bus from Colmar is at 18:40 Monday-Thursday, Friday-Sunday at 20:50. If you want to use the bus, you need to take the R030, R031 or R040 of Fluo Grand Est.
Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Kaysersberg: You can take shuttle 1 and 2 from Colmar from Friday to Sunday, but there is a bus every 2 hours on Fridays and every half hour on weekends. If you want to use the bus, you can take Fluo Grand Est buses R016 for Riquewihr, R013 for Kaysersberg, R016 and R017 for Ribeauville.
I hope my travel guide to Alsace with kids will be useful and you will have a nice trip in Alsace. If there is anything else you would like to add or ask, please write in the comments so that everyone can benefit.