Monschau – the Medieval Masterpiece


Located in the western part of Germany, just a couple of kilometers off the Belgian border, Monschau was a must-see place for us. We heard about it since the first time we arrived in Belgium. It took some time for us to get here, but once we did – we could only regret that we did not manage to do that before. On the other hand, we are pretty sure that during end of the spring it looks much better than it would have looked during autumn… Anyway, lets start from the beginning!

Dry Facts about Monschau

Seems like a main square

You know, we just love these and reading all about places after we visit them. Of course, one might say, wouldn’t it be more logical to do that BEFORE going to the place. Well, to those smart-asses, I would say… You are absolutely right, monsieur, but that only applies when you plan your trip at least a day or two before, as for us it was a “what to do on this sunny afternoon… A! Lets visit Monschau!” type of moment. Anyway, here is what we found afterwards.

The city originated around 1195. The name comes from the castle situated on a mountain above the nearby Rur River. It is interesting that this city had a few different ways how it was called. First it was Mons Ioci. Afterwards it became known as Munioie. Finally, for a longest period it was Monjoje, which was for about 700 years. The name, which we know now – Monschau – is official only since the World War I, when it was germanized.

The city has a lot of half-timbered houses, which are well preserved and nearly untouched for 300 years. This makes this town quite a popular tourist attraction nowadays.

Tasty Experiences in Monschau

Half-timbered houses by the river… BEAUTIFUL!

As I mentioned before, our trip was an on-the-spot decision, so we came to Monschau with our stomachs rumbling. The first thing we did – we bought a gingerbread and a bun. It was REALLY tasty! Judging by the quantity of people inside that bakery, we are quite sure it is a popular place around the town. So, we really advise you to try a gingerbread of your own if you find yourself in this beautiful town.

Afterwards, we went for a walk around this magical city. Despite seeing many half-timbered houses in Germany, Monschau left us with a different impression. The river flowing in the middle of the city, specific color tones of the houses… It is definitely quite different from what you can find around Germany. Or at least from what we saw.

My first impression was that if Brugge and some classic ol’ German city like Quedlinburg were to have a baby it would probably look like Monschau.  It does not have so many canals as Brugge and it does not remind you of other German cities with half-timbered houses. But if Monschau was a child, both parents were probably be happy. The city has facial features of both parents

Final Thoughts

Sadly, before summer the river is not at its full potential.

I hope, I managed to give you a brief view of what is Monschau and what you can expect there. If not, I will try to do that, in few short and concrete sentences. 

It is a great small town, absolutely fantastic. If you are up to exploring this part of Europe, for example, by renting a car and you want to set your base in one place, I would say that Monschau really seems like a place where I would like to come back after a day of driving around the region, to sit in the main square and get myself a beer.

Though, if you are a person, who likes to come to one city and spend there a week – after one day you will probably lose interest.

Anyway, I wish that whomever is reading this, will one day get here and then tell me his opinion. As for me – Monschau was great!