In November last year I took a bucket list trip to Colmar to experience the incredible Christmas market. For years my Pinterest account had been filled with romantic pictures of half-timber clad buildings in pastel colours and I couldn’t wait to finally see it! During the planning I read about Eguisheim, a tiny village close to Colmar that looked even more picturesque. Immediately I recognised a scene I had seen multiple times on Pinterest but always assumed belonged to Colmar (own pic below). Eguisheim won the award ‘Favourite French Village’ in 2013 and I found a gorgeous B&B on Booking.com. That sealed the deal for me and I booked a night in the village, which gave me roughly 24 hours in Eguisheim. You could spend just one day in Eguisheim but to truly experience the tranquility of the village, I suggest you stay the night too. I have based the below 24 hour Eguisheim itinerary on things you can do year round. However, if you visit in winter, I strongly suggest that you experience the Christmas market in Eguisheim.
Travel From Colmar to Eguisheim
Eguisheim is roughly 7km from Colmar and can be done as either a day trip or as an overnight stay. I really struggled to find information about public transportation and the buses I found seemed really infrequent. Because of this I decided to take a taxi from Colmar to Eguisheim. I didn’t pre-book a cab and simply grabbed one that was parked outside Colmar train station. The ride from Colmar train station to Eguisheim Tourist Office set me back 15 euros. A bit expensive if you travel solo, but not too bad if there is more than one person travelling. If you really want to go by bus, you can find time tables here. Buses 208 and 440 go between Colmar and Eguisheim. Alternatively, in summer some people choose to cycle through the countryside. You’re in the middle of wine country and the scenery is beautiful, so this might be a good option for you.
If you visit during the Christmas Markets, you can grab the Christmas shuttle between Colmar and Eguisheim. A day pass costs 5 – 8 euro depending on day and lets you travel between the two all day. A pretty good deal if you ask me. There are two stops in Colmar; one by the train station and one by the parking lot Scheurer Kestner (closer to the city centre). The bus stop in Eguisheim is outside the post office. If you have the tourist office on your left, walk out the village and straight down the road. Pass the big car park on your right and keep going until you reach a small roundabout. The bus stop is on your right.
Where to Stay in Eguisheim
There are quite a few hotels in Eguisheim but as mentioned, finding a gorgeous B&B on Booking.com was one of the main factors that convinced me to visit the village. Le Hameau d’Eguisheim is a family owned B&B with a perfect location right inside the circular village streets. The family also owns a vineyard and produces Ginglinger wine, which you’d be foolish not to try. It has almost full marks on Booking.com (do you really need more convincing?) and is one of those impossibly chic but cosy places. I mean, look at this place. Oh, and breakfast is included. This is a Bed AND Breakfast after all. Upon arrival I got a full tour of the place and a welcome glass of wine. Just to let you know that this was not a sponsored stay, it’s just that awesome.
24 Hours in Eguisheim
Start the morning right with breakfast in the B&B’s old wine cellar before you head out for a morning walk. With a population of roughly 1,600 Eguisheim is not exactly a massive metropolis and the best activities are pretty simple (and relaxing). So, we’re starting the day with a self-guided walking tour! The Alsace region is famous for its wine production and outside the village you can follow a path through the vineyards. Unfortunately I visited in November, so the vineyards were not looking their best. Even so, the scenery surrounding the village is gorgeous.
The walk starts by the camping site and has signs around the path showcasing the different types of grapes produced. The estimated walking time is about 2 hours. Unfortunately I was only able to walk part of the path as my knees were having a bad day. Health comes first, but I wish I could have seen the full tour and especially in full bloom. Before you start your walk, I would recommend taking a small detour down the left of the path to visit the storks. Eguisheim are famous for their nesting storks and are trying to bring them back in healthy numbers to the region. If you’re visiting in the warmer months, also keep an eye open for stork nests on the roofs of the village.
Hopefully you’ve worked up an appetite after your morning walk! For such a small village, Eguisheim packs quite a punch when it comes to gourmet restaurants. If you’re after local Alsace cuisine (and it’s some good cuisine), Restaurant Au Vieux Porche should be high on your list. This smart restaurant has a wine list the length of Harry Potter (the full series). As a matter of fact, it’s so long it’s separate to the food menu and browseable on an iPad. You might need some time to scroll through this one.
In terms of food, I tried the sea bream with potatoes and saffron flavoured sauerkraut. This is where I discovered that fermented cabbage and I are not a love story waiting to happen, but the fish was beautifully cooked. Regardless of your feelings about fermented cabbage, this place is worth a visit so dress up and brush up on your wine knowledge.
For the second part of the day, you should explore the actual village of Eguisheim. Pick up a map from The Tourist Office with a suggested walk that takes you through the main streets of the village. The streets are built in a circle (which I was massively confused by at first) and are an easy walk. Eguisheim is very much about admiring the architecture and eating nice food, not ticking off sights. Check out some of the local produce, one of most unique shops I found was dedicated to mushrooms. Tapenade, dried mushrooms, flavoured pasta, you could find everything. Also stop off for a glass of wine, I suggest you try the Ginglinger wine at Le Hameau d’Eguisheim if you haven’t already.
I’ve travelled a fair bit in Europe and what do you get plenty of in Europe? Churches. Big, small, decorated, simple, old, new, you name it. I don’t think I’ve been to any European city and not visited at least one church or cathedral. You can find Eglise Eguisheim in the village, but my favourite was the tiny chapel Château Saint-Léon. There was something about the simple peace and serenity in here that I really enjoyed. It was tiny, but I think it might be one of my favourites in Europe. Eguisheim was also the birthplace of Pope Leo IX, of whom you can find a statue close to the chapel.
During your walk, make sure you stock up on water or snacks for the evening. Shops close early and there is no supermarket style shop (at least not that I could find!).
Eguisheim is a popular day trip from Colmar and a lot of tourists don’t seem to spend the night. This means you can have the streets almost to yourself at night. To round off your visit, go for a quick evening walk and then head for dinner. For more local Alsace cuisine, I enjoyed my meal in Kas’Fratz. This restaurant is located close to the chapel and you eat in the basement. The interior is rustic and I tried the tarte flambée, which was really tasty. Tarte flambée looks like a pizza but is very thinly rolled dough traditionally topped with creme fraiche, onions and lardons. I also added emmental cheese and mushrooms. Strongly recommend.
Eguisheim might not be a huge metropolis or have a multitude of sights. What it does offer is relaxation, a slower pace of life and good food and drink. This time around, that is exactly what I wanted out of my holiday and I’m very happy I went. If the same applies to you, set aside at least 24 hours in Eguisheim to get lost among the winding streets lined by pastel coloured houses. Have some amazing food, try the local wine and simply relax. After all, that’s why you’re here.