Monschau - historical gem in the Eifel

The market square of Monschau

Monschau - small town on the Rur

You have to know it, otherwise you will pass it. Would Monschau not be one of the goals of our pleasure trip through Nordrhein-Westfalen, we would never have known that this beautiful place exists. The ring road passes above the village without revealing a view of the historic old town, its castle and the valley of the Rur. Only an inconspicuous small sign indicates that a street branches off into the historic center. Our navigation device guides us around the town to the other entrance on Laufenstrasse. This is the one Hotel Lindenhof *in which we stay. The dignified and well-maintained Garni Hotel is located about ten minutes walk from the village center and just a few steps below the historic mustard mill, which is known far beyond the town.



Above the roofs of Monschau
Above the roofs of the city


Monschau - historical gem in the valley of the Rur

We park our car at the hotel and follow the running street into the village. The further we go down the hill, the clearer is that this place is special. When the tarred road finally merges into narrow alleys with bumpy cobblestones and modern architecture is replaced by medieval half-timbered houses, Monschau has already won our hearts. Here time seems to stand still. If a car did not occasionally rattle past us and work its way around the tight bends, we might think we have a journey back in time. 1198 is first mentioned in the annals of history.

The Rur in Monschau
The Rur in flows through the place

A half-timbered town

Some already quite crooked house facade is based on the neighboring house. The half-timbered houses lining the town street are also narrow. Left and right, the banks of the Rur valley rise steeply until they reach the vast areas of the High Venn, over which the wind blows unrestrained. Monschau and its houses, on the other hand, are sheltered from the stiff breeze - and perhaps from many a misfortune in its history - in the depths of the valley. If you live here, you have to walk well. Because except the roads along the Rur, it goes straight from the city center over narrow streets and stairs uphill.


The Red House in Monschau
The Red House in Monschau


Monschau owes its prosperity to Protestant clothiers

In the city center, on Scheiblerplatz, there is a really magnificent building: the Red House. This owes its name to the color. It was once the seat of the Scheibler cloth-making dynasty. Protestant cloth makers, who fled Catholic Aachen during the Thirty Years' War, helped Monschau to prosper. Montjoie, as Monschau was still called at that time, granted its residents freedom of religion. Therefore, the cloth-maker refugees were able to settle here. They thanked the city by making it rich.

The Red House is one of the largest houses in the cityscape of Monschau and testifies to the success of the Scheibler cloth maker family. It was at the same time a house, an office, and a warehouse. It also housed the workshops in which the fine cloths were made. These were exported from Monschau to all of Europe. It was not until the Prussian customs policy in the 19th century and the secluded location in the Eifel that cloth-making in the city fell. The last spinning mill closed its doors in 1982.


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The market square of Monschau
Monday morning in the market square of Monschau


Today tourism in Monschau plays the main role

When we take our first walk through Monschau on Sunday afternoon, there is hustle and bustle in the city. Buses bring visitors into the place who are just as impressed by its beauty as we are. On Monday morning, however, we have the city almost to ourselves. Many of the stores are still closed or are just getting ready for the week ahead. The place seems a little sleepy after the Sunday weekend business. This gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at the place.


Sherlock Holmes in Monschau
Sherlock Holmes in Monschau


What has Sherlock Holmes lost in Monschau?

We come across the enigmatic metal figure of Sherlock Holmes on the banks of the Rur, where the Laufenbach flows into it. With the typical pipe in his mouth, the flat cap on his head and the long coat, the figure is hard to miss. In fact, however, the statue of Sherlock Holmes is reminiscent of a writer from the Eifel: Jacques Berndorf - once a renowned freelance journalist - began writing crime novels in the 80s, the locations and stories of which he researched in detail and reproduced in detail in his books.

If Berndorf writes about a road in the Eifel, in which three lime trees stand, then this road really exists, and if one visits these, one finds the described trees. How could it be otherwise: Monschau also appears in his Eifel thriller. So if you want to learn something about the Monschau region and the Eifel, you can do so in a very entertaining way with the reading of the Eifel thriller of Berndorf.


Monschauer Dütchen and Vennbrocken
Monschauer Dütchen and Vennbrocken


Sweet specialties from Monschau

On our tour through Monschau, we notice the many cafés such as the Café am Roten Haus, the Schloßcafé in the Hotel Royal or the Café Kaulard, which are filled to the last seat on Sunday afternoon. When asked if there were any special specialties in Monschau that we should know, our companion replied: “Of course! There are the Monschau Dütchen, the Vennbrocken and of course the Printen. ”

The Printen will probably fight back Aachener on the other hand, if Monschau claims their invention for itself. But the sachets are guaranteed to be typical of the place, which are bag-shaped biscuit bags filled with ice cream, cream or fruit and served with coffee. The Vennbrocken are pralines that are reminiscent of the peat briquettes that were once cut in the High Fens. The Vennbrocken are filled with marzipan, cream Cointreau truffle or crispy nougat. The Christmas-smelling Printen are made in Monschau and the Eifel all year round, as they are needed for certain recipes that are cooked all year round. The most famous example of this is the Rhenish Sauerbraten, whose sauce is refined with Printen or Printen spices.


Miss Klein from the Café am Roten Haus in Monschau
Miss Klein from the Café am Roten Haus in Monschau


And finally ...

Monschau has many sites worth visiting: its history, which is beautifully reflected in its historic cityscape; the mentality of its inhabitants, which is best known in the Eifel crime novels by Jacques Berndorf. And the sweet specialties that we discovered in the cafes on site. Monschau has even more to offer in terms of cuisine.


That has to be in the suitcase for the visit to Monschau

    • Comfortable Shoes. In Monschau you walk a lot.
    • forget comfortable pumps not, because in some Monschau restaurants you dine in elegant surroundings.
    • A backpack, where you put a picnic. For longer hikes we recommend one backpack.
    • An Camera* for the photo opportunities that Monschau offers.


Here is our collected tips on how to enjoy the Eifel can. Or take a look at Petar's video and follow us on our visit to Monschau:


Do you already know:


Source: own research on site. We thank you NRW tourism and Tourism Monschau for the friendly invitation to this pleasure trip. More tips for enjoyment Traveling in North Rhine-Westphalia you will find Enjoyment in NRW or follow the hashtag #noNRW on Facebook or Twitter.

We participate and contribute to the blog parade Small towns in Germany, There you will find other interesting small towns that are worth a visit.

More travel tips for Slow Travel Travel can be found at these links. Discover others cities in Germany.

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Monschau - historical gem in the Eifel

Monika Fuchs

Monika Fuchs and Petar Fuchs are the authors and publishers of the Food and Slow Travel blog  TravelWorldOnline. They have been publishing this blog since 2005. TravelWorldOnline has been online since 2001. Their topics are trips to Savor, wine tourism worldwide and slow travel. During her studies Monika Fuchs spent some time in North America, where she - partly together with Petar Fuchs - traveled to the USA and Canada and spent a research year in British Columbia. This intensified her thirst for knowledge, which she satisfied for 6 years as an adventure guide for Rotel Tours and then for 11 years as a tour guide for Studiosus Reisen around the world. She was constantly expanding her travel regions, but curiosity still gnawed at her: "What's beyond the horizon? What else is there to discover in this city? Which people are interesting here? What do they eat in this region?" As a freelance travel journalist (her articles have appeared in DIE ZEIT, 360° Canada, 360° USA, etc.), she is now looking for answers to these questions as a travel writer and travel blogger in many countries around the world. Petar Fuchs produces the videos on this blog as well as on YouTube. Monika Fuchs from TravelWorldOnline is among Germany's top 50 bloggers in 2021. Find more Information about Monika and Petar Fuchs here.

9 thoughts too "Monschau - historical gem in the Eifel"

  1. Dear Monika,

    what a pretty town! I have never heard of Monschau, but I think that I would like it there ... I really like such old town centers. To be honest, I have never eaten Sauerbraten. Should I catch up ?!

    Best regards,

  2. I love Rhenish Sauerbraten! :-) And in such a city he is sure to eat the best. Nice if the place has managed to attract tourists. So many actually pretty rural NRW place has not made the jump and neglected.

    Kind regards

    1. Liebe Sabine

      There is hardly any danger in Monschau. On the weekend we were there, a lot of people were traveling around the city. It was quite pleasant on Monday morning when we almost had the city for ourselves.

      Best regards,

  3. I have to admit that I really like such small places, with half-timbered houses, small streets and then a small river meanders through. It has something rustic. Thanks for the insight how beautiful Germany is.

    1. Hi Anja,

      Monschau is already a special place with its half-timbered houses and the buildings from the past centuries. That makes the place picture very authentic.

      Best regards,

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