If you’re in the market (ha, see what I did there?) for a charming and smaller Christmas market in a quaint little German town—complete with a picturesque river running through it—then look no further than the Monschau Christmas market.
save now, travel later
Monschau is a fantastic place to visit any time of year, but it’s especially special during the holidays. Seeing the town dressed up makes it extra pretty…and if you can manage to be there on a day when it snows? It’s basically like walking around a Hallmark movie set!
GOOD TO KNOW: Pay special attention to the Monschau Christmas Market 2023 dates below, because they are not open every day.
I heard about the magical Monschau Christmas Market ever since we arrived in Germany back in 2020. But, the pandoozy put a kink in things and canceled it for two years in a row.
Thankfully it was back on for this year, so we put it at the top of our list.
And when I say, “we” and “our” I mean me, my mom, and my friend, because we visited the Monschau Christmas market during the day.
Sorry, husband and kiddos, but sometimes it’s more fun to play hooky and go to Christmas markets during the day for a fun outing.
The Important Stuff About the Monschau Christmas Market
Here’s everything you need to know about the Monschau Christmas Market, including the dates and times for the 2023 season.
*The content below is the info I’ve gathered, along with my own opinions, tips, and suggestions. I encourage you to double-check opening hours/dates before heading out to the 2023 Monschau Christmas market.
PRO TIP: If you plan on visiting the Monschau Christmas Market, BRING CASH. Yes, some places will probably have and accept credit cards, but the town largely relies on cash transactions.
Monschau Christmas Market 2023 Dates
The Monschau Christmas Market in 2023 runs every weekend during the Advent season beginning 24 November through 23 December.
To break that down, here are the 2023 Monschau Christmas market dates:
24 November—25 November
1 December—3 December
8 December—10 December
15 December—17 December
22 December—23 December
The Hours for the 2023 Monschau Christmas market season haven’t been announced yet, but these are the dates from last year:
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am until 9 pm
Sundays from 11 am until 8 pm
Admission to the Christmas market is free.
⫸⫸⫸Don’t forget: Before you leave, check out the official Monschau Christmas Market page for hours, dates, and current updates
How to Get there
Monschau is located in western Germany in North-Rhine Westphalia on the border with Belgium. I highly suggest arriving by car.
Since Monschau’s old town is small and pedestrian-only, there is limited parking and the city is suggesting you take advantage of their Park and Ride nearby. There’s information on this service here.
However, if you arrive early enough, keep reading about where you can park.
Getting to Monschau from:
- Geilenkirchen/Brunssum area: 1 hour
- Aachen: 50 minutes
- Cologne/Bonn/Düsseldorf: 1.5 hours
- Spangdahlem: 1.5 hours
- Brussels: 2 hours
- Ramstein: 3 hours
- Stuttgart: 5 hours
If you’re looking to make a day of Christmas market hopping, I’d suggest starting here, then head over to the Aachen Christmas market for the afternoon less than an hour away, and then go to Schloss Merode in the evening.
I’d save the Cologne Christmas market for a full day on its own.
Where to Park
We’ve been to Monschau multiple times and always park in the same place. If you arrive early enough you can most likely park in one of their two paid parking lots. *Note: we visited the market on a Friday morning and arrived at 10 am; an hour before the stalls opened and there was plenty of parking available. I’m not sure what it would be like on a weekend.
Parking near the Glashütte
We almost always park here. There’s a daily rate of €7 with toilets in the corner. Save time to visit the little “mall” at this parking area. We’ve picked up several fantastic souvenirs (Polish pottery, glass-blown art; gorgeous glass candle holders) from this one spot!
Parking near the Aukloster
We’ve parked here before, but I prefer the place above because of the shopping we do before we leave town. This spot is fine, too, and it’s actually closer to the main Christmas market area. When we’ve parked before they’ve only accepted coins, but that may have changed recently. There are also toilets near this spot as well.
There are free toilets next to both parking lots. Amazing, right?
Where to Stay
I’ve personally never stayed in Monschau, but every time we visit we think about how delightful it would be if we did stay there. The town is sprinkled with BnBs all over the place. Here are a few I’ve had my eye on:
Find the perfect place to stay here:
For the Kiddos
This is definitely a smaller market without many attractions. The Monschau Christmas Market does have a small carousel open for this season, although we noticed that it didn’t open right at 11 am.
There is also a playground near the Glashütte parkplatz on the other side of the river as you’re walking into town.
All About the Mugs
I won’t lie: mugs are probably one of my favorite things about European Christmas markets. If you’re new to markets, here’s a quick rundown on how the Christmas market mugs work:
When you get a drink at a Christmas market, they typically* come in a festive and unique mug—each market has its own design (and sometimes they’ll have multiple to choose from). You pay a deposit for the mug with your payment for the drink. Then, you get your money back when you return your mug…unless you don’t return it.
The mugs are excellent souvenirs and fun keepsakes to remember your time at the markets.
*Some places, mostly in countries outside of Germany (France and Belgium at least), serve their drinks in reusable plastic cups. Some of them will have the town’s name on them, and some of them won’t.
Mugs at the Monschau Christmas Market
We were actually surprised to see multiple mugs in Monschau, and they were all pretty good choices. My friend and I brought home the ones in the top photo, and my mom brought the maroon mug home.
They each had the town’s name on them, but they did not have a date.
What to Eat at the Monschau Christmas Market
Here’s where the market kinda dropped the ball for us. There were multiple food stands, but they all slightly fell short. And wow…I didn’t take any pictures of the food. So sorry!
The smoked salmon was delicious, but it was seasoned with gigantic salt crystals that just made it extra salty. It was also more expensive than other markets. I will say that the rosemary potatoes were delicious.
There was a sign for mushrooms across from the salmon place, but it sadly wasn’t open when we were there. Instead (since I was craving mushrooms), we got it from another stall that had a plethora of other foods, but they didn’t have that much flavor compared to others we’ve tried at different markets.
We had a chimney cake, which was delicious, but slightly on the smaller side. (Again, compared to other markets.)
The highlight of the food was actually from a ham and sausage vendor (across from the carousel). It was delicious.
What to Buy at the Monschau Christmas Market
Despite Monschau being a smaller market, I managed to find plenty to buy. I walked away with a handmade (in Lithuania) tea-light home. Y’all, if you collect these little homes, the price here was a steal! You’ll find it at the chocolate stall of all places.
I also got the softest winter beanie made out of alpaca fiber/wool (seen in the pic avo.
We also got some of the famous Monschau mustard. If you’re a fan of the condiment, do not leave the town without tasting it (free samples) and buying some mustard!
There were plenty of other fun trinkets and stores in town. I’ve picked up pretty art prints, jewelry, delicious whiskey (according to my husband), and more.
My Thoughts on the Monschau Christmas Market
I’ve always loved Monschau, and their Christmas market—although smaller than most—was delightful. You can spend an hour or so walking through it, or you could spend all day there.
This market would be delightful and charming at night, and if you can spend the night there, that would be even better!
More Christmas Market Fun
Check out more guides for Christmas markets near Monschau: