River in Monschau, Germany
Photo by Frans Berkelaar  –  Link

Monschau

Germany

Monschau is a small, picturesque town tucked away in the German Eifel, a low mountain range close to the border with Belgium. With its cobbled streets and traditional half-timbered houses it's the ideal destination if you're are after a quiet, relaxing holiday in Germany, with plenty of scenic streets to get lost in while leisurely exploring for hours.

As well as having a load of sights to visit, Monschau is a great base to explore the surrounding natural beauty of the Eifel National Park, with over 240 kilometres of hiking trails and opportunities for mountain biking and skiing. A trip to Monschau is, therefore, super varied, making it ideal for laid-back travellers as well as the more adventurous among us.

Things to see and do in Monschau town

  • Explore Rotes Haus (Red House) - Monschau was a major centre for textile production until the 20th century, and this museum is the former headquarters of the textile producing Scheibler family. Today, the house is brimming with lavish furnishings and antiques, as well as a gravity-defying oak staircase which depicts the different stages of textile production. Admission costs €5.
  • Take a stroll round the Altstadt (old town) - Life doesn't get much more picturesque than in Monschau old town. Wander at your leisure admiring the fairytale-esque timber-framed houses, quaint shops, and traditional cafes. Trust us, you can spend hours here, especially if the houses have a dreamy dusting of snow.
  • Visit the Felsenkeller Brauhaus and Museum - This one's for the beer lovers amongst you. The Felsenkeller Brauhaus and Museum is a 150-year-old brewery with a dramatic black slate cellar you can tour. Admire the quirky collection of bottles and antique brewing tools, before heading to the beer garden next door for a pint. Admission costs €3.

Other notable sights include the historic Mustard Mill (Senfmühle Monschau), St Lambertus Church in the Kalterherberg district, and the Sandskulpturen (a gallery of impressive sand sculptures).

The Monschau Festival and Christmas Market

The Monschau Festival - During the summer, the courtyard of the Monschau Castle (Burg Monschau) becomes an open-air music venue, transforming this historic castle into a musical haven. Performers range from solo artists to full orchestras, with a performance happening most afternoons/evenings throughout August. If you're in Monschau when the festival is running definitely grab some tickets.

The Monschau Christmas Market - Between November 24th and December 23rd Monschau's picturesque market square transforms into a winter wonderland, with little wooden huts decorated with fairy lights and Christmas ornaments filling the space. There are loads of local delicacies on sale to sample and buy for loved ones, including Printen gingerbread cakes, Monschau mustard, and famous Monschauer Dütchen (traditional cone-shaped sponge cakes filled with fresh cream and fruit). Set against the backdrop of half-timbered houses, this market really does feel like it's come straight from a Christmas story.