I made the perfect daytrip to Monschau and Aachen in July 2021. When we visited there were no border restrictions for Dutchies visiting Germany, so that was the perfect timing to make a quick visit to Germany. I was super surprised by how pretty Monschau and Aachen were and I definitely recommend making a visit. Monschau is about 45 minutes of driving from Aachen, so you can easily combine the two towns in one day. Monschau did suffer from the floods in July, but you can now visit Monschau again.
Monschau is a little village located in the Eifel, a mountain range in west Germany and east Belgium. I never heard of it before I read about it on a blog, but it is pretty famous with cycling enthusiasts. If you are one of the regular readers of the blog you probably know that I find the half-timbered houses in Germany very charming, so each time I have an opportunity to visit one of these so-called fachwerk villages I visit one. I didn’t expect to find one so close to the Dutch borders, but Monschau is the perfect little town to visit. It is beautifully surrounded by lush green hills, which gives it a very angelic vibe. You can walk through the main town in about 30 minutes and it is impossible to miss the highlights as the town consists of just a river, a few streets and a main square. What I particularly liked about Monschau is that you can find very entrancing restaurants and original stores. You get that holiday feel without it feeling overly touristy/busy with trashy souvenir stores. If you are looking for an original place to stay you can stay in the youth hostel in Monschau Castle, overlooking the little town. We visited on a Friday and could easily find a (cheap) parking spot, I can imagine it being more crowded on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
People who live in Limburg already knew this, but I was super surprised about the prettiness of Aachen. Aachen had been recommend to me before but I never managed to fit it into my schedule and I was happy that I finally did. Aachen is a city, that is just big enough to feature many sights and a good variety in restaurants, but still maintain that small town charm. We spent an afternoon in Aachen doing a city walk, you will find that a lot of the old town is pedestrian which makes a city walk super relaxed. You can bring a visit to the Aachen Cathedral for free which I highly recommend. The Cathedral is Italy worthy, but has a Moroccan style blue ceiling: a very impressive combination. Little Hugo was super exited visiting the Cathedral and loved all the colors! Most of the sights in Aachen surround the Cathedral and by walking you will run into them pretty easily. The cobblestone streets and medieval walls rivaled Belgium, while you can find cuisine of all over the world in Aachen. We only spent a few hours in Aachen but we were very impressed, it is very suitable for a weekend getaway.