When we set course for the High Fens two weeks ago, the weather wasn’t all that great. Big, dark clouds threatened to literally rain on our parade on the very first day of our trip. And hiking in nature isn’t really that idyllic with that hanging over your head. So, it was time to go for the bad-weather option; visiting a city.
But as I have already mentioned in my previous post, the city of Eupen wasn’t really a place we were able to spend our entire afternoon. Nothing close really peaked our interest either. So we glanced across the border, to the little town of Monschau. Okay, it was a little bit cheating on my “discovering-Belgium”-plan, but it just looked like such a pretty place and something so different from what I’d been seeing for the last couple of months! I caved. We crossed the border with Germany and like a fairytale I fell in love.
Monschau is a medieval town in the Eiffel region of Germany and one of the most popular destinations for a one-day getaway. With it’s half-timbered houses and narrow cobblestone streets, an idyllic town to stroll through and just soak up the ambiance. It’s also the center of the Eiffel National Park, so the perfect point of departure for longer hikes.
When we arrived, the dark clouds were still present but the sun was forcing her way through the deck of clouds. A small miracle? Definitely a sign that it was a good idea that we had changed our plans. Not that she really won the battle. But still.
We parked our car on the bend of the Burgring, closest to the town. From there you can see Monschau down in the valley. Which also means some altimeters up and down. But for some pretty views, something I won’t complain about, not even for one second.
From the Burgring, it’s a short walk to the Monschau Castle. This fortress was build around 1217 and expanded in the fourteenth century. You can only visit the courtyard of the castle, where in summer there are also lots of concerts and festivals. We chose that place to enjoy our lunch pick-nick, with a nice view on the town below us.
If you do want to see the inside of the castle; book yourself a room in the youth hostel that’s located there. A pretty unique place to stay it seems and one that I’ll definitely put on my list for when I return to the area.
From the castle, we walked down to the Roer river. Instead of heading immediately for the center of town, we turned right and crossed the river first into the city park. If you can still call it a park, that is. You disappear between the trees and immediately feel like you’re in the middle of a forest. Hello nature!
It’s quite a bit of climbing once again, as you’re going up the other side of the valley, but the views on Monschau are so worth it. We went to the Antoniuskapelle and then on the path that’s parallel the river, to the center of Monschau.
The minute you walk onto the first cobblestone streets surrounded by the typical white timber houses, it feels like you’ve stepped into an old fairytale. We visited on a Thursday afternoon, so fortunately the place wasn’t overwhelmed with tourists. There was just a nice ambiance of a few people wandering around. Perfect.
The Markt of Monschau is one of the coziest squares of town. With it’s location along the water, you get one of the iconic views of the city, with the little bridge to the Hotel Zum Stern. Isn’t this amazing?
We enjoyed a coffee and cookie break on the terrace of Café Kaulard and just soaked up the holiday atmosphere. Bliss! Oh how I’d missed that feeling. If the sun had been shining, it would have almost been too perfect.
Overjoyed, we continued our exploration of the medieval place. Browsing through some souvenir shops, marveling at the old houses and trying not to get tempted to buy everything from ice cream to bratwurst.
But still, we saved the best for last. One of the best views on town can be found on Langer Pfad, on the north side of the river. That of course meant a bit more climbing once more, but obviously it was worth it.
And then back down again. We sure collected quite a bit of altimeters during our exploration of town. But we weren’t done yet. Still had one more stop to make! Thé iconic Monschau view. The river view from the little bridge in front of the Monschau city church, with the red house ‘Rotes Haus‘ in view. That’s the one in the picture on top of this post.
It was the perfect place to end our blitz visit to Germany. I finally felt like I got to taste a little bit of history and culture again, even if it was just for a couple of hours. The only downside is that it made me anxious to see more and finally travel again the way we used to. Hopefully soon!