Well congratulations. because if you’re looking how to travel from Strasbourg to Colmar, it’s likely you’re planning to visit one of France’s most amazing regions, so well done!
Yes if you hadn’t guessed from this opening sentence, there’s no question that the Alsace is one of my favourite regions in France thanks to its Medieval fairy tale villages, interesting history and cross-cultural roots, delicious food (obvs this is France) and amazing vineyards and wine.
Top that off with some charming French views, some epic camping options and some good cycling opportunities and you’ve got yourself a slice of La Belle Vie!
It means beautiful life yeah!
You all still with me?!
Hope so, because in this post I’m going to tell you how to travel from the region’s capital – Strasbourg – to one of its most famous and beautiful towns – Colmar – where many travellers base themselves when exploring this part of France.
Taking in these 2 destinations is s great way to get a feel for the region as you move from the Alsace’s main transport hub of Strasbourg (where you’re likely to arrive) to one of its more quaint areas (where you’re likely to experience the real charm of this region).
So let’s dive straight in and talk about all the ways to get between Strasbourg and Colmar including train, bus, car or bicycle!
- 50 Best Places to Visit in Western Europe
- Full Guide to Planning your Perfect Alsace Wine Route Trip
- Visiting Strasbourg Cathedral: All You Need to Know
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When to Visit Strasbourg and Colmar
There’s no question in my mind there are 2 best times to visit both Strasbourg and Colmar or, in fact, the Alsace region in general.
Located over in the east of France, straddling the German border, there are many similarities between this part of France and their neighbours across the border and one of the key cultural cross-overs are the Christmas markets.
Yes the Alsace region has some of the best and oldest festive markets in France and heading here to see the magical historic towns lit up like something out a fairy tale should not be missed.
The other key time to visit this region is during the summer, when the hot, warm and long days are perfect for getting outside and enjoying the wonderful nature, landscapes and villages.
Summer also lends itself to some great camping and vineyard touring and this is a really fantastic way to experience the Alsace.
Alternatively, these great Alsace Airbnbs make excellent options for families, groups or those seeking a bit more comfort too.
No matter, which time of year you visit however, the following information about getting from Strasbourg to Colmar will remain the same – just beware that in busy high seasons you may need to book tickets even further in advance and things may be a little more crowded.
How to Get to Strasbourg
Catching the Train to Strasbourg
Strasbourg has a large and well-connected train station that services many destinations within France as well as internationally.
The most popular train routes for tourists tend to be from Paris, with the journey taking around 2-2.5 hours care of a high-speed TGV, or from nearby Frankfurt in Germany with Deutsche Bahn trains.
Learn about this journey in the article I wrote all about how to travel between Frankfurt and Strasbourg if you’re looking to make the short hop across the border – it’s actually very easy because these cities are so close!
Trains also run from Strasbourg to the neighbouring countries of Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands, which really means the world is your oyster… or at least Europe!
If you’re travelling to Strasbourg from the UK, like I was, then I highly recommend hopping on the Eurostar from London to Paris, catching the metro across the French capital and then hopping on another train straight out to Strasbourg.
This is a really easy flight-free journey to make if you’re looking to keep your carbon footprint low.
As always, I recommend booking all your European train journeys in advance through Trainline, including the Eurostar.
Booking online in advance is going to give you the best-priced tickets and with Trainline’s handy app you can arrange e-tickets, meaning you don’t have to mess around with collecting any passes at the station.
Trainline also make navigating trains in Europe easy, with everything converted into English in one easy-to-read format.
You can also pay in multiple currencies and booking online with them is totally secure – winning!
Taking the Bus to Strasbourg
If budget is a real issue for you and you’re perhaps booking late in the day (meaning the cheapest train tickets aren’t available to you), then you may want to consider catching the bus to Strasbourg.
Again, you’re most likely to be doing this from Paris, where Flixbus runs direct buses that take roughly 5-6 hours and are direct.
There’s also a night time service which takes around 9hours, leaving late at night and getting you into Strasbourg in the morning.
Flixbus also runs services from Strasbourg onto the German cities of Frankfurt, Heidelberg and Freiburg, as well as direct services to Zurich in Switzerland, Milan in Italy and a lot of other destinations within France, such as Lyon.
Flixbus has free wifi, free power sockets, as well as free luggage allowances, onboard toilets and their app is great for storing eTickets and checking the location of your bus live.
I’ve used Flixbus as a budget traveller across Europe and can I highly recommend their efficient and safe services.
Book your journey to or from Strasbourg with FlixBus at the best rates here.
Flying to Strasbourg
Strasbourg has its own airport, with regular flights arriving from across Europe, including direct services from 31 destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Palermo, Athens, Brussels, Bucharest and Istanbul.
This is can be a quick way to get to the city, but is also worse for your carbon footprint.
If you do want to check prices and departures for flights to Strasbourg however, then I highly recommend using Skyscanner who include a huge number of airlines in their searches and therefore offer some of the best deals around.
And finally, you can also drive to Strasbourg.
Good highways connect Strasbourg with Pairs (around a 5 hour journey) as well as Germany and other parts of France.
Getting Around Strasbourg
Once you’ve arrived by train, bus or vehicle, you’ll then want to know how to get to the centre of Strasbourg, where all the main attractions lie.
Strasbourg has an extensive tram network, which is the quickest and easiest option for getting around the city and includes park and ride options for those with a car. This is known as the Relay scheme and there’s a lot of information about it here.
The tram network runs every day from 4:30am until just past midnight and includes 6 lines.
Once you’ve got into the centre of Strasbourg, the best way to get around is then using your 2 feet as a lot of this city is pedestrianised and quite compact.
It’s also a beautiful city to wander, especially in the summer months along the river as you pass some many historic buildings.
You can also bike around the centre and Strasbourg’s VeloHop scheme is great for those who need to rent a bike on either a long or short term basis to get around.
Learn more about this scheme here.
Your Time in Strasbourg
Ideally I’d allow 2 nights for your time in Strasbourg.
The first night should give you the day to arrive and orientate yourself, check in to your accommodation and perhaps visit a museum or enjoy a drink and a meal on the river.
When it comes to accommodation in Strasbourg, I highly recommend this incredible apartment, which is right in the historic centre with views of the Cathedral. Modern, stylish and fully equipped with air-con, this place offers incredible value for up to 6 people.
The next day can then act as a full sightseeing day in the city, with Le Petite France and the Strasbourg Cathedral being top of your list.
Learn about how to visit these 2 Strasbourg icons, as well what to do if you have more time in the city, in this complete travel guide to Strasbourg I wrote.
How to Travel from Strasbourg to Colmar
The distance from Strasbourg to Colmar is just 64km which means it’s quick and easy to travel between these 2 destinations.
You can make this journey via train, bus, car (or if you’re feeling really brave) bicycle too!
The factors that are likely to determine which option you choose are price, equipment / fitness levels, amount of luggage you have, length of your overall trip and level of luxury or adventure you want.
You may also want to consider your carbon footprint.
Using public transport or a bicycle are of course the most eco-friendly options here.
The car is the least eco-friendly option, but may be best if there’s a group or family of you travelling together or you have a lot of luggage.
Train from Strasbourg to Colmar
Direct trains runs from Strasbourg to Colmar in under half an hour, making this a quick, efficient and easy option to travel between them.
There’s over 30 different services per day, making it easy to move at any time.
The network used is part of the French highspeed service, the TGV, which travels at speeds of over 300km/hr and offers a great level of comfort with onboard wifi, power sockets, toilet facilities and comfortable seats.
These trains are operated by SNCF and, as both Strasbourg and Colmar only have one train station each, departure and arrival points are easy to define!
Strasbourg’s Station (Gare de Strasbourg) is the second-largest station in France and also has many international departures including to Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland as well as other major cities in France such as Paris.
Strasbourg’s main station (Gare Centrale) is just 1km from the city centre and very convenient to access using public transport from both the city’s airport and suburbs.
6 tram lines (A to F) travel from the Gare Centrale, as does Bus line 10. You can also walk to the city centre if you don’t have too much luggage.
A shuttle train can take from your Strasbourg’s train station to its airport.
Colmar train station is just a 15 minute walk from the centre, so easy to access with regular trains to other parts of France as well as some international destinations too.
Popular tourist train routes from Colmar include to Paris, Marseille, Lyon, as well as Basel, Zurich, Milan and Freiburg.
As usual, I just use Google maps’ direction feature to navigate my way to stations using public transport or my good old legs!
Buying Tickets for the Train
So now that we’ve covered the basics about travelling from Strasbourg to Colmar by train, it’s time to cover how to buy tickets for this service.
As is commonly the case when booking trains in Europe, you can book direct through the national railway site.
However, I very often find these sites hard to decipher and confusing to use.
Which is why I always book European trains using Trainline, who make everything easy to understand in English!
In general, tickets can be booked up to 6 months in advance and start from as low as €5, but can go up to €25.
Comparing all train services between Strasbourg and Colmar is made super easy by Trainline’s easy booking service, which is totally secure and can be used across multiple currencies and languages.
Plus their simple-to-use app, is great for checking your train is on time, knowing the number of stops before you have to get off the train and for storing your e-Tickets all in one place too!
Yes you can forget the hassle of having to collect any tickets at a station, as tickets with Trainline are all electronic.
Booking online with Trainline allows you to book your tickets in advance too, which is likely to give you the best price.
To secure this cheapest train tickets for Strasbourg to Colmar, booking non-refundable options with no seat reservations are likely to offer the best rates.
When you book with Trainline, you can upgrade to ensure you have seat reservations for an extra €4.
You can also buy semi-flexible fares, which allow for some changes for refunds in the form of vouchers.
This level of ticket costs an extra €6.
You can also buy fully flexible tickets, which are significantly more.
As a budget traveller however, I’d always opt for a standard ticket with no seat reservation and no flexibility, especially on a journey as short as that from Strasbourg to Colmar.
The other thing to remember is that you can absolutely just turn up on the day and buy your train ticket at your departure station then and there.
This won’t give you the best price but, by leaving things to the last minute, it will grant you a high degree of flexibility.
The Train Journey
As with the vast majority of trains in Europe, there’s no need to check-in for your French train ride.
You simply enter the station (either Strasbourg or Colmar) and then check the boards for the platform your departing train will leave from.
Then you just find the platform, board the train and sit in your reserved or a free seat in the correct carriage class if your ticket is unreserved.
Ensure you then have your tickets (or e-tickets) to hand for when a conductor or inspector passes by.
It’s also good to know that there’s no restrictions on luggage with SNCF trains.
As long as you can carry your luggage onto the train, there’s usually ample rack space at either end of the carriages, as well as above seats for smaller bags.
Bikes can also be taken onboard, although these generally need to be booked in advance and are likely incur a separate fee, payable at the time of booking.
If you need to arrange luggage storage in either Strasbourg or Colmar, then I highly recommend LuggageHero – a great left luggage app I’ve used myself across Europe.
Bus from Strasbourg to Colmar
You can also use a bus or coach service to travel from Strasbourg to Colmar and this can be a great option if you are booking last minute and trains are either full or expensive.
If you are a budget traveller, then you can’t go wrong with Flixbus in my opinion.
Prices start from under €5 and peak around €10.
The journey takes just over 1 hour and is pretty direct and efficient.
Buses between Strasbourg and Colmar are operated by Flixbus, with at least 2 direct services daily – one in the morning and one in the evening.
When departing from Strasbourg, you choose to start your journey either from Parc de l’Étoile or Boulevard de Metz 3, and you can get off in Colmar either at Place de la Gare or the CGR Cinema.
A choice of stops is another great aspect of getting the bus, because it gives you more flexibility and the option to possibly get off closer to your accommodation.
Flixbus has free wifi, free power sockets, as well as free luggage allowances, onboard toilets and their app is great for storing eTickets and checking the location of your bus live.
I’ve love using Flixbus as a budget traveller in Europe and can highly recommend their efficient and safe services.
Book your Strasbourg to Colmar FlixBus journey here.
After Colmar, you can use Flixbus to head on to Verona in Italy, Zurich in Switzerland, Freiburg in Germany or a heap other destinations in France.
If the Flixbus schedule doesn’t work for you, then you may want to check out Eurolines too, who have less frequent departures between Strasbourg and Colmar.
Cycle or Drive from Strasbourg to Colmar
You can also drive or cycle between Strasbourg and Colmar too of course.
The short distance means a quick and easy drive, straight down the A35 and taking around 1 hour, depending on traffic.
Parking is available just outside both city centres (Place de la Mairie is a good option in Colmar), but don’t forget to factor in these costs as well as those of fuel, which can be expensive in France.
Thankfully, there are no tolls on this route, but traffic can be bad as it’s a major thoroughfare.
If you want to see more villages on the way from Strasbourg to Colmar, then choose quieter roads, take a lot of stops at vineyards (although no drink drinking) and make a day of it.
If you’re looking to hire a car in France, then check out Thrifty Car Hire who have some of the best deals around and are both safe and reputable.
The pros to renting a car are flexibility and ability to truly take in the scenery and landscape you’ll pass through.
The cons are the expense, organisation and having to drive in a foreign country.
Renting a vehicle is altogether better if there’s a group of you, because you can share the costs and the driving duties.
You may also wish to try out a carpooling service like BlaBlaCar – as always just exercise caution and common sense when doing this.
Cycling is one of the best things to enjoy in the Alsace region of France and if you really want to push it, you can cycle all the way from Strasbourg to Colmar.
Check out this post I wrote about the Alsace Wine Route for more info about biking in this region or, to learn more about a 5 day itinerary cycling from Strasbourg to Colmar, check out this helpful article.
Taking a Tour from Strasbourg to Colmar
And the final way to travel between these 2 Alsace destinations is to take a tour.
This is an ideal option if you are short on time and simply want to hop over to Colmar from Strasbourg for a day trip – which you can certainly do without being too rushed.
Check out this great day trip option from Strasbourg which will allow you to visit many of the other Alsace regional highlights too, including the village of Eguisheim and its vineyards, Haut Koenigsbourg Castle and my favourite spot in the whole area, Riquewihr.
What to Do in Colmar
And now you’ve arrived in Colmar, it’s time to explore this beautiful town, which sits just 10km west of the River Rhine.
Famous, like much of Alsace, for its beautiful Medieval buildings, strolling through this destination and soaking it all in, especially around the river is absolutely the best thing to do.
Le Petite Venice is the best spot to head for if you’re short on time, parts of which date back to the 14th Century.
You can enjoy a little boat tour here and, of course, sampling the French food and wine is all part of the experience too.
The crossovers between the German and French cultures here (the town has moved between the 2 nations many times over history) is very evident and the whole place really does feel like a film set!
I would say 1-2 days in this small spot is enough to do it justice, with any longer you can enjoy some of the nearby villages.
If you are looking to stay in Colmar, then I highly recommend the top-rated Paul & Pia – Welcome Home Hotel, which offers the best value (and excellent service) very close to the centre … which is definitely where you want to be in this city.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
And that’s how you travel from Strasburg to Colmar to explore one of France’s most beautiful regions.
I hope you’ve found this information, as well as the details I’ve included about each destination, useful.
Have you visited either of these places in the Alsace recently?
Do you have any useful info to add?
If so, then please feel to drop any tips which might help fellow travellers out in the comments box below…