Spend the day touring stately manors set amid verdant lawns. In the evening cheer on one of Germany’s best small soccer clubs.
Hard to pronounce, but easy to love, Moenchengladbach is one of Germany’s greenest cities, filled with parks. This outdoorsy atmosphere perhaps explains the relative dominance of Borussia Moenchengladbach, the city’s soccer team. Cobbled together from two historic small towns, the city is a green retreat in the middle of the Rhine Valley, characterized by its peaceful atmosphere as well as its beautiful architecture. Become a citizen of Moenchengladbach, also known as Gladbach, by cheering on the team at Borussia-Park.
Moenchengladbach’s parks are distinctive sights. Begin in the Bunter Garten, which cuts Gladbach in two. The long, narrow park features playgrounds, public art, a botanic garden and an aviary. For something a little wilder, go outside the city to the rivers, lakes and forests of the Maas-Schwalm-Nette Nature Park, which stretches to the Dutch border.
Tour some of the Rhineland’s most beautiful castles, from the 16th-century Schloss Rheydt, with its yearly Renaissance fair, to the moated Rococo Schloss Dyck and its stunning interior decoration. Explore the treasury of the Basilica of St. Vitus, which holds an impressive collection of illuminated manuscripts and a cloth said to have been laid at the Last Supper. For more modern art, visit the postmodern Abteiberg Museum whose building stands out starkly in the historic center.
Moenchengladbach is part of the Rhine Valley industrial zone, but its slightly remote location explains its rural but well-connected character. Düsseldorf, the biggest city in the area, is a 35-minute drive or train ride from the Old Town. Several of Germany’s biggest train lines run through Düsseldorf, with connections throughout the country and farther away. Get to Düsseldorf international airport in 30 minutes by car or a little bit over an hour by train. The relatively spread out nature of Moenchengladbach’s urban footprint means that it can be useful to rent a car to get around.
Get wrapped up in Moenchengladbach fans’ energy in the Kapuzinerplatz and on Waldhausener Straße, whose atmosphere on game nights is second only to being in the park itself.