Christmas in the Alsace is a special time of year. Each small town, village and city has a Christmas market. Some towns have a market opened every day of the week while others are only on the weekend. What you can be sure of is the month leading into Christmas will be filled with markets in the Alsace.
The Alsace is located in North-Eastern France and shares borders with Germany and Switzerland. Traditional Alsace Christmas markets are full of stalls selling local foods, wine, crafts and Christmas decorations. The air will be thick with the smell of the warm winter Ghluwein as you stroll the markets. The biggest and most well-known are the Strasbourg and Colmar Alsace Christmas markets. Come and experience an Alsace Christmas with some of the best French Christmas markets.
Strasbourg Christmas Market
The world-famous Strasbourg Christmas Market began way back in 1570 when some enterprising locals set up a few stalls in front of the cathedral to sell their products. Today the Strasbourg Christmas market has spread all through the city centre with well over 300 stalls selling everything Christmas. What makes Strasbourg special is that the whole city centre embraces the market culture. Decorations adorn the buildings, music fills the air, and at night lights illuminate the city.
Christmas Market stalls are filled with traditional regional crafts such as handmade toys, embroidered table cloths, and linen, pottery, and jewellery. If you are looking for Christmas decorations you will find them in abundance with figurines to hang from the tree to table size nativity setups. The food stalls will have your mouth watering. Traditional sweets and cakes, mulled wine, foie gras, choucroute garnie, flammkuchen and more await you.
Where is the Strasbourg Christmas Market located?
The Strasbourg Market is centred around the world-famous Strasbourg Cathedral (once the tallest building in the world), with streets and squares leading off the cathedral filled with Christmas stalls as well. Pretty much where there is space there will be Christmas market stalls in Strasbourg.
When is the Strasbourg market held?
The market runs from around the 20th of November each year untill around the 30th of December.
How to get to Strasbourg Christmas market:
Catching public transport is the easiest way to access the Christmas market in Strasbourg. The central station is located within easy walking distance to the old town market area. If you are driving you will find parking in the city hard to find. The best car parking options for the Strasbourg Christmas Market is the park and ride system.
There are 12 places located on the outskirts of the city that you can park and catch a tram into the city center. The cost is only 4.20 euros per car for up to 7 people including transport by tram into the city. You can catch a train from Paris in a little over 2 hours and Basel in around 1 hour.
It has just been announced in recent days the Strasbourg Christmas Market for 2020 has been cancelled due to covid
Ribeauville Christmas Market
Starting from November end, you can walk into any of the villages of the Alsace region and experience the festive mood. The traditional Christmas markets of each village in this region have something of its own to attract you.
At Christmas time, Ribeauvillé, a beautiful little town situated on the Alsace Wine Route springs into action and takes the visitors to medieval times. The town center becomes the center of attraction and has everything to do with its theme. Be it animated scenes with men with camels, dancers, jugglers, wanderers on the streets or the musicians playing medieval music, or kiosks serving festive food and drinks such as mulled wine with spices, sweet and savory treats like pastries, pretzels, gingerbread, Christmas cookies and boar on the spit with barley beer, it has several things to offer to both young and old. The souvenir shops have traditional hand-made cribs, Advent’s crown, and wreaths, candles, hand-made dolls besides many more craft products.
The apartment in Ribeauville was in an amazing location only 50 meters from the main tourist street. Excellent facilities such as a washing machine, dishwasher, full kitchen and modern bathroom. We can’t wait to come back and stay againBec – from Wyld Family Travel
Decorated festive tables with wistful expensive boxes are exhibited for free by the Beauvillé company of Ribeauvillé. During the Advent period, the sight of this traditional, wine-growing village Ribeauvillé with its magical decorations is wonderful. The tasting sessions in between exhibitions and musical concerts give an unforgettable experience. Ribeauville Saint Nicolas takes your children into the dark alleys of Ribeauvillé in search of lost children while narrating the story of his legends and the search ends up in the city garden.
Where is the Ribeauville Christmas Market located?
You will find the Ribeauville Christmas market held all the way up the Mina street (Grand Rue) with more stalls in the small squares along the way.
When is the Ribeauville Christmas Market held?
The Ribeauville Christmas Market is held on 2 weekends near Advent from 10 am until 7 pm on Saturdays and 10 am until 6pm on Sundays
How to get to Ribeauville Christmas Market:
You can catch the bus from Colmar (bus 106 and 109 ) and Strasbourg to Ribeauville. If you are coming by car you can park at Parking Ville de Ribeauville at 1 Place du Gén de Gaulle, 68150 Ribeauvillé, France for an hourly fee. An insider tip is to try the free parking lot that is located on Rue du Rampartde la Streng.
Contributed by NISHA & VASU from Le Monde, the Poetic Travels.
Colmar Christmas Market
Outside of Strasbourg, Colmar is the most well known and visited town in the Alsace region. You will find stalks nesting on the buildings, you will find buildings looking like they are straight out of beauty and the Beast and you marvel at the little Venice area of the city.
The decorations fit in perfectly with fairytale colorful houses of the old town area. The Colmar Christmas Market is all about strolling, strolling the streets, strolling the stalls, just taking the magic that is Christmas in Colmar France.
We had an amazing stay at this apartment in Colmar. It was a big roomy and well equipped with everything you could need. It was in easy walking distance to shops and sites of ColmarMark from Wyld Family Travel
From the moment you arrive in Colmar the Christmas spirit is alive with decorations, sights, and sounds. If you’re lucky you may experience the children’s choir singing carols on boats in the Little Venice area. Colmar has squares and streets leading in all directions filled with stalls and amusements for kids. You will even find a Christmas market area for kids at Colmar featuring colourful cottages, a nativity scene, and a post pox to send Santa a letter.
Crafts, crafts and more crafts at Colmar market, wooden figurines, tin cups, embroidered fabrics, and Christmas decorations are the items of choice, and dear I say along with some of the best wines in the Alsace, Look out for the Wolfburger stand, they are one of the best wineries in the district.
Where is the Colmar Christmas market located?
The Colmar Markets are centred around the old town and the Little Venice area of the city.
When is the Colmar Christmas market held?
The Colmar Christmas market normally opens on the last weekend of November and goes through until the end of December
How to get to Colmar
Colmar is connected by train to both Strasbourg in the north and Basel Switzerland in the south. Arriving From Paris, it takes a little over 3 hours by train with a change in Strasbourg. Driving to Colmar is easy with access off the A35 highway. There are plenty of parking options in the city centre.
Contributed by Bec from Poland Travel Expert
Mulhouse Christmas Market
Mulhouse in the Alsace region of France hosts one of the best Christmas markets in the Alsace region, and is filled with delicious foods, gorgeous Christmas crafts, mulled wine, and an amazing festive atmosphere. A giant 30 meters high Christmas tree dominates and is covered with thousands of fairy lights.
What makes Mulhouse unique to other markets in Alsace is the beautiful Christmas themed fabric that decorates the town every year. The area was traditionally home to textile manufacture and a new design is chosen annually to showcase as that year’s signature fabric. Elaborate decorations are everywhere and the focal point is the Renaissance era Town Hall where the entire facade is draped in the fabric. Inside you can purchase it in minimum quantities of half a meter to make your own Mulhouse-themed Christmas decorations and gifts, as well as beautiful hand-made Alsatian themed Christmas decorations.
The other highlight of Mulhouse’s Christmas market is the giant ferris wheel in the main square. It’s beautifully lit up by night and a ride will give you stunning views out over all the festivities and the buildings in the old town.
Where is the Mulhouse Christmas market located?
The Mulhouse Christmas market takes place in the main square at Place de la Réunion and the surrounding streets
When is the Mulhouse Christmas market held?
The Mulhouse Christmas market usually opens the last week in November and ends the week of Christmas (before Christmas Day)
How to get to Mulhouse
The Europa Airport (Basel, Mullhouse Freiburg) allows you direct access to Mullhouse and the Alsace towns beyond. Mullhouse can be reached by car from Strasbourg in a little over an hour on the A35 and Basel in under 30 minutes on the A35.
Accommodation in Mullhouse
Recommended by Kylie Gibbon from Visiting Dordogne
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Riquewihr is one of the most magical villages in Alsace during the Christmas season. No matter where you look, each timbered house is a sight to behold. The Christmas decorations are some of the most detailed and elaborate in the region. With a myriad of Christmas lights and ornaments, a walk through the cobblestone streets feels like a true fairy tale.
The village itself is tiny so the Riquewihr Christmas market is smaller in size than most markets in the area. But Riquewirh is so photogenic, it cannot be missed!
The Riquewihr Christmas market is the perfect spot to sample some of the most delicious Alsatian wines and food specialty. Grab a loaf of Pain d’Epice, try a sweet white wine and some local Muenster cheese. A lot of delicious food can be sampled at La Guinguette de Noël, which is a private Christmas market held in a historical winemaker’s property in Riquewihr.
The Alsace France is an amazing destination anytime but for Christmas lovers, winter is the best.
Where is the Riquewihr Christmas Market located?
Some of the most gorgeous Christmas decorations can be found at Le Comptoir des Authentics: tucked into a side street (1 Rue Kilian) this store is decorated with adorable teddy bears in a winter wonderland theme. Also not to be missed is Feerie de Noel (1 Rue du Cerf), a charming pink store with nutcracker themed decorations.
When is the Riquewihr Market held?
You can visit the Riquewihr Christmas markets from November 28, 2020 until December 20, 2020.
How to get to Riquewihr
Riquewihr is easily reached from Colmar in under 20 minutes by car. There is car parking around the outside the walls of the town. Their multiple daily buses from Strasbourg that will have you in Riguewihr within an hour.
Accommodation in Riquewihr
Contributed by Julie at Wandering Sunsets
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has you inspired to visit the Christmas Markets in the Alsace. There are so many Christmas Markets in the Alsace to visit that will have you entertained and inspired on your Alsace Christmas vacation. For more amazing ideas on where to holiday in France and the Alsace click through to our France Destination Guide page for more brilliant inspiration.
Some more travel inspiration for your trip to France and the Alsace Region
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband, traveler, and chief destination marketing manager at Wyld Family Travel. Having been to over 35 countries worldwide he knows a thing or 2 about traveling with kids and now traveling with teenagers. He has been writing first-hand, expert travel guides on this website for over 6 years and has featured on numerous other popular well-known websites. When he is not talking, dreaming, or planning travel he can be found working in disability support.