The Top 8 Things to See and Do in Monschau, Germany

| Photo by Willian Matiola on Unsplash
Anwesha Ray

Monschau is a small town in Germany‘s Eifel region, and a place where time seems to have stood still for over three centuries. It is the cultural hub of the Eifel area and a great base for exploring the fascinating wilderness of the Eifel. Monschau’s romantic lanes, beautiful timbered houses, and medieval walls make it the perfect place for a quiet, restful holiday.

1. Rotes Haus

Architectural Landmark

Rotes Haus (Red House), the former headquarters of the textile-industrialist Scheibler family and now a museum, is the most famous landmark in Monschau. While the 18th-century red brick house stands out from the half-timbered buildings around it, its simple exterior does not give any indication of the castle-like lavishness of its interior. The museum is done in luxurious Rococo, Louis XVI, and Empire-style furnishings, and boasts antique and valuable pieces of furniture, tapestry, and artifacts. However, what steals the show is the self-supporting oak staircase that winds up three floors and depicts various stages of textile production.

2. Burg Monschau

Architectural Landmark

Photo by Robin van Holst on Unsplash

The origin of Burg Monschau (Monschau Castle) is pegged at the beginning of the 13th century. In the following century, it was heavily fortified with ring walls and walled walkways. The castle witnessed instances of plunder, destruction, abandonment, and reconstruction, before finally been renovated as a lively youth hostel, which is still popular to date. Though tours of the castle are not offered, you can enjoy a lovely view of the town from its courtyard. The courtyard is also the venue for occasional festivals and concerts.

3. Senfmühle Monschau

Historical Landmark

To witness for yourself how the town’s famous mustard (Moutarde de Montjoie) is made, head to the historic Senfmühle Monschau (Mustard Mill Monschau). The family-run mill has been producing delectable mustard in the same traditional way for over 120 years, and is known for producing 19 varieties of mustard, each more delicious than the last. Visitors are welcome to taste and purchase mustard, jams, chutneys, liquors, and even mustard chocolates!

4. Altstadt

Historical Landmark

Photo by Kian Lem on Unsplash

The Altstadt (Old Town) is a dreamy place for a stroll. The heart of Monschau is made of row upon row of picture-book timber-framed houses with window flower-boxes, romantic cobbled streets, quaint shops tucked away in obscure corners, and the infectious chatter seeping out from the many cafés. Come Christmas, and the Old Town turns into a magical wonderland with twinkling lights, rows of stalls, and the heady aroma of yummy goodies.

5. Rursee cruise

Natural Feature

When in Monschau, make it a point to take a cruise on the Rursee on an electric boat. Enjoy sweeping views of the lush vegetation and mountains of the majestic Eifel National Park as the ship sails noiselessly across the calm waters. The boats operate only between April and October.

6. Hellenthal Nationalpark Eifel

Natural Feature

Hellenthal National Park, around 20 km outside of Monschau, is a great idea for a fun family outing. This 64-acre park is home to deer, raccoon dogs, fallow deer, sika deer, roe deer, lynxes, wild cats, moufflons, and many other exotic species. However, the star attraction of this park is the falconry show, in which raptors and owls earn applause from the crowds with their awesome tricks.

7. Monschau Glass Works

Architectural Landmark

Monschau Glass Works is a fascinating place to explore for both adults and children. Expert glass-blowers demonstrate how a hot mass of sand, potash, and lime transforms into beautiful glasswork. Afterwards, you can the browse glass figurines, sculptures, crockery, décor, and more in the exhibit space, and make a purchase if you see something you like.

8. Exploring the Eifel region

Natural Feature

Photo by J Z on Unsplash

The Eifel region boasts over 240 km of hiking trails. These paths are of varying length and difficulty, and meander through a unique landscape of volcanic crater lakes, forests, and moorlands crisscrossed by streams and rivers. En route, you will get plenty of opportunities to indulge in sports and explore historic towns. Additionally, the region offers great conditions for cross-country skiing and biking.

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