A Sparkling New Year's Route: Alsace

One of the most beautiful details that make the winter season spectacular is the New Year's Eve, a time when colorful lights shine, the cinnamon scent of hot drinks wafts through the air, and the joy of shopping reaches its peak. In most European cities at this time of the year, New Year's markets start to take place, drawing people into the magical atmosphere. We are heading to the Alsace region.

The Alsace region is famous for its magical markets that transform the dark winter days each year into an enormous New Year's Eve celebration. While this region, located in the northeast of France, stands out with its rich history and culture, it turns into a fairy tale with its unique Christmas markets, especially in December.

About Alsace Region:
The Alsace region is like a fairy tale land of villages big and small, located in the northeast of France and sharing a border with Germany. This region is mainly located east of the Rhine River and hosts cities such as Mulhouse, Colmar, Haguenau, especially Strasbourg.
Alsace is especially famous for its New Year's Eve atmosphere and is an attractive destination for tourists with its history, cultural richness and special architecture.

Do you want to enter the New Year in a different city? Be sure to consider these cities before making your plans for New Year's Eve!

When to visit Alsace?
Alsace offers different beauties every time of the year depending on the purpose of the visit.
The spring and fall months offer mild weather and landscapes full of blooming vineyards in Alsace. This can be a great time to see the wine production process and taste wine.

During the Christmas season, Alsace offers a fairytale atmosphere with its sparkling streets. Villages decorated with colorful lights, traditional Christmas markets and streets filled with hot drinks can make for an unforgettable experience.

How to get to Alsace?
There are several different transportation options to get to Alsace. Determining which option works best for you can be planned depending on where you start and your personal preferences.

Transportation by Air
The closest airport to Alsace is Strasbourg Entzheim. Entzheim, which is about 10 kilometers from the city center, has more domestic flights and international flights may be infrequent.

France - Basel Mulhouse Airport, which is 1 hour away from the region, may be your choice for transportation by plane. One of the most important features of Mulhouse Airport, which receives flights from Turkey every day, is that one door opens to Switzerland and the other to France. It can be inclusive for those who want to draw a wider route.

Transportation by Train
Getting to Alsace by train is also a common option. High-speed train lines connecting major cities such as Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse can help you create a route between different areas with the French railway company SNCF.

Transportation by Bus
The bus is also a budget-friendly option for getting from Strasbourg to the airport and the villages in the region, but it can be time-consuming for short trips due to its low frequency.

Transportation by Car
Since the Alsace region covers an area consisting of small villages and the city of Strasbourg, renting a car is one of the most logical options to travel comfortably without time constraints. You can easily reach Alsace from many cities in France via highways. Our recommendation for renting a car is to make your rental online in advance in order not to waste time in the area, since most people prefer this alternative, and to complete the insurance and delivery procedures in the area and set off by taking your car quickly.

Christmas Markets in Alsace Region
The Christmas markets in Alsace are like a fairy tale land where colorful stalls decorate the stone streets of the historic towns... At the same time, under the colorful lights and white snow cover, visitors feel as if they are walking through a Christmas postcard. In the shadow of the historic cathedrals, the marketplaces are filled with wooden stands reflecting the traditional architecture of Alsace.
From wood carving to ceramic work, from traditional Alsace confectionery to specially designed souvenirs, the Christmas markets offer visitors a unique and special shopping experience. Food stalls, hot pretzels, Alsace sausages and the famous Christmas wines are also listed among the must-try items for those who want to taste the region's specialties.

Even a 3-day route to visit the villages where the Christmas markets are set up, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the history, culture and warm hospitality of the region, can take you away from reality and make you live dreams.

Colmar Christmas Markets
Colmar is one of the most charming and historic cities in the Alsace region, attracting visitors at all times of the year, but its charm is completely different during the Christmas season, with Christmas markets set up in different parts of the city. They add to the city's already wonderland-like atmosphere and offer visitors an unforgettable experience. Usually running from the last week of November until the end of December, Colmar's Christmas markets offer a cozy atmosphere, traditional Alsace flavor and an experience full of Christmas cheer. As the events and dates may change every year, we recommend you check the latest information before you visit.

Colmar's Christmas markets and attractions in the city's historic squares and around the cathedral are waiting to delight you. To get into the Christmas spirit on the cobblestone streets, with a mulled wine in your hand, you can visit the markets set up around Place Jeanne d'Arc, Place des Dominicains, Place Jeanne D'Arc, Place de l'Ancienne Douane, Koïfhus and Place de la Cathédrale surrounded by medieval architecture, the amusement park that dispels the darkness of the night with its colorful lights, the huge markthall with food and beverage products and Petite Venise just beyond. Don't forget to make a wish and hang a keychain on the bridge...

Places to stay in Colmar: https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en.html?city=-1421049&aid=1939100&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Riquewihr Christmas Market
In Riquewihr, classified as one of the "Most Beautiful Villages in France", you can enjoy a walk along perfectly lit streets. On the main road to Colmar and half an hour from Colmar, the center of this village turns into a Christmas village. A few kilometers of gently sloping streets will transport you to a wonderland where you feel disconnected from the outside world. Local cheesemongers, croissant shops and macaron shops await you, while decorative objects, jewelry and banana bread crowned with aromatic flavors await you at the market stands at the exit of the city.
Places to stay in Riquewihr: https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en.html?city=-1462005&aid=1939100&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Kaysersberg Christmas Market
The medieval village on the banks of the rushing Rhine lights up at dusk with the Christmas spirit, and the smells of mulled wine, Christmas cakes and gingerbread cookies fill the festive atmosphere. The Kaysersberg Valley, 40 minutes from Colmar, is famous for more than its Christmas markets: White wines... You can see vineyards along the road to the village.
Places to stay in Kaysersberg: https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en.html?city=-1433417&aid=1939100&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Eguisheim Christmas Market

With its picturesque and cozy texture, the village, which every visitor, without exception, wanted to liken to a place, was reminiscent of the Aegean villages for us. Listed among the Best Christmas Towns and Villages, the village is one of the must-see areas in the Alsace region. Almost the entire small square of the town is set up as a Christmas market. The magical and fairytale-like atmosphere, the medieval streets, the decorations of the partly wooden houses and marketplaces, the lighting, the original productions of the artisans... Everything contributes to this timeless atmosphere.

Places to stay in Eguisheim: https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en.html?city=-1425030&aid=1939100&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

Strasbourg Christmas Markets
The Christmas markets in Strasbourg are set up in a series of squares and streets spread across different parts of the city, offering visitors unforgettable moments in the historical fabric of the city.
Place de la Cathédrale is the largest market in Strasbourg, with the enormous and imposing Notre Dame Cathedral. This is probably where many of the photos with the carousel, which has become the symbol of the city, are taken. You can find everything from chocolate to handicrafts, from mulled wine to baguette bread, and a small pop-up shop sells only Christmas tree decorations.

Place Kléber is Strasbourg's largest square, with a market and a huge Christmas tree that can be seen for miles around.
On the historic Place Broglie square, a marketplace is set up with colorful stands, illuminated decorations and a festive atmosphere. Place Benjamin-Zix, close to Kléber, offers a cozy atmosphere with small stands.
Place Gutenberg is a large square in the historic heart of Strasbourg and offers a variety of handmade goods and food and drink stalls. If you want to try the famous Alsace sausage, this is the place to go.

One of the most attractive places in France is La Petite France in Strasbourg. Even if the New Year's market is not established, it is one of the city's centers of attraction.
If you have time, you can add Turckheim, Ribeauville, Munster and Obernai, which have become small Christmas villages, to your travel route.

Places to stay in Strasbourg: https://www.booking.com/searchresults.en.html?city=-1471697&aid=1939100&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2

What to Eat in Alsace?
Alsace is a region of France with a very high frequency in terms of food and drink and a lot of Michelin-starred restaurants. An unexpected little door may offer you a Michelin-starred restaurant.

When it comes to Christmas markets with local delicacies, most of the eating and drinking moments can take place on foot. You can try Baguette Flambée, a combination of different ingredients and cheese on baguette bread, tartiflette, a combination of potatoes and cheese, pretzel, the famous German bun, Alsace sausage, mulled wine, French-Alsatian crêpe, gingerbread cookies, banana bread and delicious chocolates.

Croissants and macaroons, which are not available in the stands but sold in small places in the Christmas villages, are of course indispensable in France. Cafe Bretelles, a breakfast shop with a queue in front of it in La Petite France, and Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie, a macaron shop in Riquewihr, where you can hardly choose among the crowds, are not to be missed. You can also choose Pierre Herme in Strasbourg Galeries LaFayette for macarons.

What to Buy in Alsace?
The Christmas markets in the Alsace region are shopping spots in their own right. Ornaments, chocolates, souvenirs, wood accessories, handcrafted products, wines and cheeses that carry the texture of the city are all available at the markets.
If you are interested in souvenirs that are available in most European cities, you may prefer Hema and Flying Tiger.
Strasbourg's luxury shopping stop Galeries Lafayette can also expand your gift range with its exclusive brands.

Where to stay in Alsace?
Since the Alsace region is mostly made up of small villages, it is a destination where life ends early, as is familiar from the outskirts of European cities. Due to the early darkness and the closing of the Christmas markets around 20:00 in the evening, there is a long silence after this time. For those who prefer to stay in such quiet towns and villages, you can choose one of the many boutique hotels with local architecture.
Since the villages in the region can be visited in a short time, you can choose to stay in Colmar, which is relatively more developed than Strasbourg and the villages.
Relais et Châteaux Le Chambard
The family-run Hotel Le Chambard in Kaysersberg offers a luxurious and comfortable stay. Inside the hotel, you can enjoy typical local cuisine at the Bib Gourmand Winstub and the 2 Michelin-starred Gault & Millau, or fine dining accompanied by fine wines.

L'Esquisse Hotel & Spa Colmar
L'Esquisse is a 5-star hotel and spa located in the heart of the historic center of Cormar, inside the Champ de Mars. Its uniquely elegant spaces offer a contemporary representation of the French art of living. If you want to visit authentic places in the city and stay at the standards you are used to, you can choose this luxurious experience.

L' Hôtel & Spa Ribeauville
L' Hôtel & Spa, an elegant boutique hotel in Ribeauvillé, strives to offer its guests a unique accommodation experience, from the spa to the Turkish bath, from exquisite gastronomic experiences to elegant details.

Hannong Hotel & Wine Bar
Right in the heart of Strasbourg's city center, a few minutes' walk from the biggest Christmas market and Galeries LaFayette, the stylish four-star hotel has the architectural texture of the city and modern touches in its rooms.

Alsace Tour Route Suggestion
Alsace is a great place to plan for a long weekend, especially during the New Year, so follow these suggestions as you plan your itinerary.
Day 1
- Departure to Basel-Mulhouse Airport and exit from the French gate.
- You can easily rent your car here, it will save time to make the online transaction and only do the signature process in the field.
- After a 3-hour flight, the 2-hour time difference will save you as much time as if the journey took only 1 hour, so you can keep the first day's program a bit busy.
- Your first stop may be Eguisheim, since it is a small village, it may be enough to spare 1.5-2 hours of time.
- Then, you can turn your route to Colmar and spend the whole day here, or you can go to Strasbourg at the closing time of the markets and make your accommodation here.
Day 2
- Today you can spend the day exploring Strasbourg's Christmas markets, shops and the city and end the night with some sweet music on the bar street.
Day 3
- Depart at the earliest and visit Riquewihr and then Kaysersberg.
- If you have the opportunity to stay one more night, you can turn your route to Basel for your last night and add the Christmas market around the monastery as a bonus to your Alsace tour, so you can see another city. Taking advantage of the two gates at Basel-Mulhouse airport can save you time, just remember that you will have to pay extra if you do not drop off the car at the gate where you pick it up.

Notes for Alsace
- The markets are usually open from 10:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and from 10:00 to 20:00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On Christmas Day, December 24, they close at 17:00.
- For transportation to the villages and to make your own route, you can find the Alsace region's Christmas markets and events calendar on https://www.noel-colmar.com/en/ .
- Please note that during the hours when the markets are active, transportation into the city is blocked and you have to leave your car in the parking lots near the center. It is better to go according to the weather conditions...
- If you find it difficult to plan the whole route and transfer between centers, you can also take advantage of the tours of the Alsace region organized by most tourism companies, but you may have to choose between immersing yourself in the magic of the environment and following a guide.