Overlooking the Roer River, Monschau is a former textile manufacturing town near Germany’s border with Belgium. Its medieval centre has remained largely unchanged for centuries and is clustered with beautifully preserved half-timbered houses. Dominating the town is a 13th-century castle hosting open-air concerts in the summer.
Things to do in Monschau
One of Monschau’s most famous landmarks is the Red House, which once belonged to the Scheibler textile industrialist family. It showcases the living culture of the 18th and 19th centuries, with period furnishings decorating its lavish interior. Valuable antiques and tapestries adorn the Rococo-style rooms while a magnificent oak staircase serves as a centrepiece.
Watching over the town is Monschau Castle, which has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times throughout its past. Ringed by fortified walls, it offers magnificent views across the town from its courtyard, where classical music concerts are held during the summer Monschau Festival. Also visible from the castle are the ruins of the Haller, a formerly roofed watchtower offering the best vantage of the Rur Valley.
Foodies should make a point of visiting the historic Senfmühle Monschau, where mustard has been made for more than 120 years. Sample some of the 19 varieties of mustard produced here, alongside local jams, chutneys and chocolates. Also not to miss are the 19th-century Coffee Roasters Wilhelm Maassen and the Brewery Museum Felsenkeller where vintage brewing equipment is exhibited.
Getting around Monschau
Monschau is a 40-minute drive from Aachen and 1.5 hours from Cologne. Cologne Bonn Airport is also 1.5 hours away and has flights to destinations across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Buses are the main means of getting to Monschau and the town is compact enough to explore on foot.