By Rajyashree Singh Roy Chylik
One always hears about big cities situated along the River Rhine, with their magnificent cathedrals, prominent castles standing high on the hills which look sometimes straight out of fairy-tales. All of that is true and nice; however, there are also some small overlooked towns worth visiting. One such quaint town not too far from Cologne is Bad Münstereifel.
Bad Münstereifel is a historical spa town located in the district of Euskirchen. It stands in a valley surrounded by woods which makes the town look even more picturesque. In autumn the whole place looks very colourful with all the various shades of leaves turning gold and red, and cobbled streets with the old-fashioned houses add a special tinge. However, Bad Münstereifel is pretty also during other seasons, each giving it a different hue. The Christmas market here draws a lot of attention. Due to its location between hills, the winter often brings snow. Of course, spring and summer are also colourful and enjoyable in this town. If one has a day to spare during their visit to Cologne, I would highly recommend a trip to Bad Münstereifel.
Travel to Bad Münstereifel from Cologne is simple and does not take more than 80 minutes by public transport. It is possible to reach this town by train from Cologne Central Station with a change at Euskirchen. One needs to take a Regional Train in the direction Gerolstein (RE22) or Kall (RB24). In Euskirchen one then needs to change to another train or a bus to reach Bad Münstereifel. Train (RB23) is, of course, faster but the frequency is lower than Bus (801). In both cases, the tickets fall under the “Preisstufe 5”, which is approximately 12 € one way (see VRS page). Upon reaching Bad Münstereifel Bahnhof, one needs to walk just about 2 minutes to reach the town gate.
From the town gate, you can take a stroll up the promenade along the River Erft which flows through the town. Depending on what one wishes to do, there are a few options. I personally like to walk around and soak in the old town atmosphere. You can also explore some of the museums like the Pharmacy Museum (Apotheken-Museum), Puppet Museum (Puppen und Spielzeug Museum) etc. When the weather is good, you can also walk around the walls of medieval fortification, which are still enclosing the historical centre of the town. After exploring the sights and before making your way back to Cologne, you can sit in one of the cafes or pubs located by the River Erft with a good view on the castle Burg Münstereifel (which is now converted into a hotel) and enjoy a hot or cold drink depending upon the weather and the mood.