This week we are changing the pace and going to be talking about a romantic little town that, surprisingly, doesn’t get a lot of attention. And maybe that is just the way the visitors and town of Monschau like it. And while it used to be an industrial town with a focus on textiles, it now bills itself as a health climate resort city and focuses on providing an interesting and relaxing experience for visitors.
It does and during the 1700s was actually part of France. The city is in the very south west corner of North Rhine-Westphalia right on the border of Belgium. It is in the Eifel region in western Germany which is a low mountain range. Though this area in Germany and Belgium are both a German-speaking community now, it does have French roots.
It is very picturesque, a small mountain city with a river running through the middle of it. It is full of the half timbered houses we talked about a few episodes ago. Most of the buildings here have not changed much in 300 years. Windy little narrow streets intersect the city and many of the streets still have cobble stone from giving the whole place a rustic old world Europe feel.
There is a multitude of different types of accommodations from expensive fancy hotels to more modest places stay for frugal travelers. There are bed and breakfast type establishments as well as a large number of rental apartments that look very comfortable.
As for what you can do here, there are also quite a number of different attractions and activities for visitors. Let me go over a few of them to try and peak your interest.
One of the most known museums in the city is called “The Red House”. It is a beautiful baroque style building, actually 2 buildings, that used to be the home of the towns major cloth maker which was the former industry here. You can see what life was like in the culture and lifestyle of the 18th century bourgeoisie.
There is also a brewery that has brought forgotten beers back to life, a glass works that teaches as well as informs, and a wonderful castle that often has art and music exhibitions.
Something that I know would interest me is their Brewery Museum. Here you can the old techniques of brewing beer from the 1800s in a rock cellar environment. The Brewery was open for over 100 years when it closed down in the 90s. It reopened about 2 ½ years ago and have resurrected two of their beers. Both a dark and a pills. You can enjoy these after the tour in a garden terrace.
They have a glass works that takes you through 2000 years of glass-making history. They show visitors how glass product creation can be both artistic and functional at the same time.
There is a sand sculpture museum, nothing to do with glass, that has amazing landscapes, castles, and people all built out of sand.
And speaking of castles, all visitors must take time while in Monschau to visit the city castle that was built around the 13th century. While the castle itself stands very impressive in the city, also it is worth noting that renowned artists and famous orchestras frequent the castle for performances.
There are some places in Germany with this title and the air in these areas are supposed to be crystal clean and free from pollutants. Monschau offers visitors much in the area of natural relaxation being in the Eifel region of majestic untouched forests.
Plan a trip to the forested area yourself or sign up for any of the group excursions being offered. You can hike, stroll, bike, or simply find a spot to relax. And, it might be a bit cold right now in March, but when it warms up a bit the Rur river and surrounding lakes make great places to spend the day away from it all.
If you want to relax in a beautiful old mountain town, look into Monschau.