Monreal – medieval half-timbered idyll in the middle of the Vulkaneifel
Around 40 kilometers from Koblenz is the magical town of Monreal on the Moselle slate road. Time seems to stand still here. Nestled between gentle hills, the medieval town lies in the Elz Valley. Lovingly restored half-timbered houses are lined up and in summer, colorful geraniums also decorate the beautiful house fronts. In between, the small Elzbach meanders through the historic village and in the center three small stone bridges cross the flowing water. The middle driving bridge is adorned with a statue of St. John of Nepomuk, as well as the lion monument, unique in the Rhineland.
The parish church (15th century) and the Georg chapel in the cemetery (13th century) are exciting witnesses of the Middle Ages.
The romantic castle ruins of Löwenburg and Philippsburg tower above the town on the mountain. Below, in a protected location, the vines grow on the hills of the Eifel.
In picturesque Monreal, it is almost a bit like an open-air museum, because it offers a picture of past centuries. No wonder that Monreal is also affectionately known as the “Pearl of the Elz Valley” and even received an award for “Germany’s most beautiful village” in 2004.
➤ The best time to explore Monreal is during the week. Most tourists visit the village on weekends.
Monreal – from the beginning until today
Monreal has been populated for a long time. Findings from pre-Christian times show this. The village was first mentioned in 1229 under the name “Mons Regalis”, meaning “Königsberg”. The noble counts of Virneburg founded the village in the Middle Ages. They surrounded it with a protective city wall and additionally guard the place through the two castles on the mountain.
In 1632 the settlement was destroyed by Swedish and 1689 by French troops.
After the Thirty Years’ War, an important cloth industry developed in Monreal, which fell victim to industrialization in the second half of the 19th century. All that was left was the lovingly restored half-timbered houses from the 15th to 18th centuries.
Today, young people live and work in the village, producing antiques and handicrafts in their workshops. Often you will find artists, hobby painters and historically interested people in the tranquil place, for whom exciting guided tours are offered.
➤ In December – usually on the 3rd weekend in Advent – a rustic Christmas market takes place on the historic market square.
Ascent with foresight
The two castles Löwenburg and Philippsburg offer a breathtaking view of the romantic and dreamy corners of Monreal. A narrow path leads up to the ruins. Once at the top, there is a wonderful view of the Eifel and the narrow Elztal.
Hiking on the dream path “Monreal Knighthood”
For all those who want to follow in the footsteps of the Monreal Knights, there is a hike on the almost 14 km long round tour “Monrealer Ritterschlag” – Germany’s most beautiful hiking trail 2011. It begins in the center of the medieval half-timbered village and leads on steep and narrow Paths through fascinating gorges and natural forests around the village. Of course you also pass the two castle ruins high up on the mountain. The path always offers fantastic views and far-sightedness and is sure to make every hiker’s heart beat faster. The five-hour hike will definitely be an unforgettable experience.
➤ The simply classified circular hiking trail requires a lot of stamina and the uneven paths should only be entered with suitable footwear to ensure good sure-footedness. And please don’t forget your camera – it’s worth it!
Arrival and parking
The half-timbered village of Monreal is located near Mayen, near Koblenz. There are designated parking spaces for visitors. There are 57 options at the train station, which are only approx. 350 meters from the town center and therefore only a few minutes’ walk away. Both the way to the center of the village and the arrival of the parking spaces are signposted.
There is another parking space in front of the sports field. Just follow the signs here.
In another 200 meters behind there is another possibility to park the vehicle. From the pétanque pitch, the entry into the dream path “Monreal Knighthood” is ideal.
You can find more information about parking and about Monreal here.
➤ There are only a few parking spaces in the village that are reserved for residents.
The surrounding area of Monreal
Monreal is an ideal starting point for further discovery tours in the region. Numerous castles are nearby and there is also a lot to explore on the rivers Ahr, Mosel and Rhine.