Are you looking to visit a fairy tale town in Germany? Go to Monschau – one of the best fairy tale towns in Germany. Tucked away in the hills of the Eifel region of Germany, near the Belgium border, lies the prettiest of towns. Time has stood still in Monschau. It has remained virtually untouched over the past several centuries. Just as if it was torn from the pages of a fairy tale book.
Whether you plan a day trip to Monschau or plan on staying a couple of days, here are the top things to do in Monschau.
How to Get to Monschau
Up until 1918, Monschau was actually known as Montjoie (in French), as it used to be part of Belgium. Today, it sits just 2 km from the Belgium border. Monschau is a popular day trip from Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
- Aachen Germany – 32-km or 40 minutes
- Liege Belgium – 60-km or 1-hour
- Maastricht Netherlands – 73-km or 1-hour – Check out our Guide to the Historical City of Maastricht
The easiest way to get to Monschau is to drive. Park your car just outside of the small town and take the short walk until you come across a small footbridge.
Top Things to Do in Monschau
VISIT RED HOUSE
One of the first historic buildings you will notice is Red House or Rotes Haus. Dating back to 1756, it was the former home of the Scheibler family, who were prominent cloth merchants.
Today, it’s a small private museum offering a guided tour. They tell the story of how 4,000 to 6,000 spinners and weavers produced woolen materials which were exported to countries as far away as Turkey and Russia.
GAZE UPON THE RUR RIVER
The Rur River flows right through the town of Monschau. It starts in the north from the mountains in Eifel national park and meanders through many towns along the way. You will see local fisherman out getting their catch of the day with trout and salmon found here.
There are several footbridges that you can take in the views of the Rur River. It is just so pretty. As it catches the light and the sound of the soft rustling of the water as you stroll through the town.
TOUR THE OLD TOWN
The Old Town, or Altstadt is definitely a dreamy place for a stroll. With its winding cobblestoned streets and its half-timbered crooked buildings. You will feel as though you have stepped back in time. The row upon row of picture-book buildings are awe-inspiring. With no two alike, take your time to gaze upon each one.
Visit the quaint shops, like the all-year Christmas store, a traditional coffee roasting house, and a glass-blowing workshop, just to name a few.
TAKE THE PANORAMIC ROAD
Take the panoramic road that starts straight after you cross the Rur River at the Market Square. It leads you up the hill to a terrace where you can enjoy panoramic views of Monschau. From here you can actually see how small Monschau is. How it’s nestled between the hills with the Rur River winding its way through the town. There are over 300 buildings that are listed as historic monuments in this town. Thankfully, because Monschau was left intact after WWII.
EXPLORE THE MONSCHAU CASTLE
The 13th century Burg Monschau (or castle) overlooks the town. It features a heavily fortified ring wall and walled walkways. Unfortunately, it fell to ruins and was abandoned in the early 1800s. Since then been renovated and operates as a youth hostel. Though tours of the castle are not offered, you can enjoy a stunning view of town from its courtyard. It’s a steep walk up to the castle, but well worth it for the views.
GO TASTE TESTING AT MONSCHAU MUSTARD MILL
The Mustard Mill or Senfmühle dates back to 1882, and is one of the last historic mills in Germany. It continues to produce the traditional mustard recipe, along with 19 other varieties. To visit the historic mill, it’s a 15-minute walk up the hill. Or you can visit the small shop in the Altstadt where you can sample and buy their 19 unique flavours of garlic, horseradish, honey, curry, tomato, and many more. Each mustard is sold in the traditional pottery jar just as they did centuries ago.
SIT AWHILE IN THE MARKET SQUARE
Head to the market square after you have enjoyed exploring all of what this small town has to offer. The surrounding cafés and restaurants fill out the square with their tables and chairs. All of them look equally charming and offer traditional German cuisine. It’s buzzing with people come lunch time when the entire town stops to eat.
Enjoy the traditional kaffee kuchen, or coffee and cake, which can be enjoyed mid-morning and mid-afternoon throughout Germany. In Monschau they specialize in apfel kuchen and apfel strudel (apple cake and apple strudel).
As a holidaymaker…
Undeniably, our visit to Monschau did not disappoint. Considered to be the most beautiful town in this region, Monschau makes you feel like you have stepped back in time. It’s definitely one of the most picturesque European towns.
Monschau is a must see fairy tale town to visit any season, however, it is known for its Christmas market.