Come wintertime, the entire town of Monschau is decked out with an assortment of festive decorations and bright illuminations. Here’s your ultimate guide to Monaschau Christmas Market, as well as things to know before you go.
In 2020, the Monschau Christmas Market was sadly cancelled due to worldwide ongoing events.
Situated in the very West of Germany, close to the tri-country border where Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands meet in a fantastic blend of culture and history, Monschau is a timber-framed delight pierced by a rushing river and home to a collection of welcoming inns and pubs.
Nestled in the foothills of the North Eifel, the delightful settlement of Monschau has plenty to offer even the most discerning of visitors. Highlights of the town include local hiking opportunities, discovering medieval history in the form of the ruins of fortified castles, and snapping photos of half-timbered houses.
Christmas Markets in Monschau
Though Monschau is one of the most magical Christmas markets to be found anywhere in Germany, you shouldn’t go expecting a huge number of stalls or vendor selections.
Instead, the tiny market is spread across a couple of locations across the town, including two indoor market areas for when it rains. So beautiful is this European Christmas market, that in 1999, Monschau received an award for being one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Western Germany.
Monschau Christmas Market takes place all through town, extending from Richters Eck to Rurtrasse. The route that the Christmas market takes place on extends alongside the town’s church and monastery right through to the main market square.
The market opens on the weekends from 11 AM and closes at 9 PM. With this being said, the best way to experience the Christmas Market in Monschau is by night, when the entire German settlement is illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights. There are several beautifully decorated Christmas trees across Monschau.
Christmas Market Food
If there’s one thing Christmas markets across Europe are known for, it’s the delectable smorgasbord of treats on offer, of both the sweet and savoury variety. So if you’re looking for even more drool worthy foodie inspo, be sure to check out our Christmas market food guide, as much of the food listed can be found at the Monschau Christmas market!
Highlights of Monschau
Sample the local delicacies
If you’ve ever been to the nearby city of Aachen (i.e. the place where Charlmemange chose his base from which to run the Holy Roman Empire), then no doubt you’ll have heard of the Printen cookie.
This spiced gingerbread treat is not the only famous sweet cookie to originate in the region. Monschau has its very own version in the form of sweet biscuit which is known locally as Monschauer Dütchen and is served with a filling of cream.
There are several places in Monschau where you can purchase the local sweet treat, though we personally enjoyed sampling it in Café Kaulard “Monschauer Vennbrocken”.
The timber-framed buildings of Monschau are overlooked by several ruinous fortifications which you can hike to easily from the little town itself. The main castle of Monschau dates back to the 13th-century and is today used as a venue for concerts and musical performances.
Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable walking boots when visiting Monschau so as to make the most of all of the walking trails on offer. This Monschau travel tip is particularly pertinent during the winter when the rain makes everything more slippery (and muddy).
Things to know before visiting Monschau
Like most other Christmas Markets, and indeed shops, restaurants, and other professional establishments in Germany, there are many places in Monschau which accept cash only.
All of the Christmas Market stalls, and even some of the pubs in town, don’t accept bank cards and so you’ll want to bring along a sufficient amount of euro to allow you to purchase everything you might need. There are two ATMs in town.
You should also note that unlike larger German markets, such as the Christmas Market of Cologne, Monschau Christmas Market is only open during the weekends, i.e. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays on the four weeks of advent.
How to visit Monschau Christmas Market
For the best experience of Monschau, I recommend staying a little longer than a day and turning your excursion into a weekend-long sojourn. We personally stayed overnight and had a wonderful evening dining and drinking (perhaps one too many!) beers at Zum Haller, which overlooks the river Rur and serves hearty German food in a relaxed inn setting.
Hands down, the easiest way to reach Monschau is by car as public transportation options are limited, especially if you’re not looking to go back and forth between Aachen and instead wish to travel onwards into Belgium or the Netherlands. After all, the only bus between Belgium and Monschau only operates on the weekend. Check here for the best car rental comparison prices.
We personally took the bus from Aachen to Monschau. A single ticket on the 66 bus from Aachen towards Monschau Parkhaus costs €5,60 (the bus accepts cash only, but you’re able to purchase tickets on board) and takes between three quarters of an hour and an hour to get from Aachen to Monschau, depending on the time of the day you visit.
Where to stay in Monschau
As you might expect from such a charming German settlement, Monschau is pretty popular, especially among hikers during the summer months when the hills are covered in leafy forests and the castles provide excellent viewing points over the surrounding Eifel region.
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