Latest posts by Michael Hodgson (see all)
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Created at the behest of Prince Carl Theodor in 1789, the Englischer Garten in Munich, Germany, is one of the largest city parks in the world. And, we can attest, it provides for a magical and wondrous escape from the clamor and bustle of Munich’s busy urban streets.
Designed by a Brit working for the Bavarian Army, it was named “English Garden” because it was laid out in the style of an English country park. Just as New York’s Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate do, the Englischer Garten offers a network of paved and unpaved pathways providing 78-kilometers of exploration for runners, walkers and bikers alike – want more? Then jump over onto neighboring Isar River paths to go hundreds of kilometers more (enough?), including more green spaces that aren’t officially part of the garden. There are rivers, canals, forested corners, bridges, ponds and restaurants. In the winter, the Englischer Garten is an urban retreat for Nordic skiers as well.
Naturally, because this is Munich, there are a number of large (and, in nice weather, often packed) beer gardens. One is listed as Munich’s second largest beer garden with reportedly over 7,000 seats (No, we didn’t count them). It sits adjacent to the Chinese Tower, an actual 75-foot high pagoda originally built in 1789. The pagoda has burned to the ground multiple times, but each time has been rebuilt to the original designs specs. Nearby is a restored children’s carousel in the Biedermeier style with carriages, wagons, carriages and 20 carved wooden animals.
Our favorite place to sit and wander quietly is around Kleinhesseloher See, a small lake (that’s what “see” means) where the painting at the top of this story was created. If you are lucky, you can find an open bench – just watch out for all the runners and walkers since the 1.5-kilometer lake loop is a popular one (plus it is one of the paths sanded in the winter so you can perambulate and stay upright!). From lakeside, you can watch small boats, including pedal boats ply the waters of the lake, all rented at the boathouse next to upscale Seehaus (“lakehouse”) restaurant. The restaurant is open year round and is one of the other beer gardens located within the English Garden. The northern end of the Englischer Garten starts here and borders directly on the Isar River. There is a weir at Oberfohring to facilitate crossing, as well as a large bridge over the main road. A pedestrian undercrossing has also been planned.
At the most northerly end of the Englischer Garten park (the quieter, more serene area), the Restaurant Aumeister also houses a beer garden – hey, it’s Germany! Never want to be too far from the opportunity to quench your thirst (In fact, as of this writing, Google maps calls the Englischer Garten “a huge urban park with a beer garden…. That’s a way to get down to the basics!).
Another pretty destination to enjoy is the Japanese teahouse, built in 1972 on an artificial island in the Schwabinger Bach (“creek”) at the southern end of the Englischer Garten, which abuts downtown. Not too far way is the classical circular Monopteros temple, added in 1836 and offering a great Munich panorama, especially at sunset.
If you are going to Munich, a stroll, pedal, jog, ski or just sit in the park is a do-not-miss experience. Plus, depending on the season, there are cultural events, Christmas parks and other often-impromptu goings-on to enjoy.
Read more travel tips for Germany
What to do in Germany planning map
In the map below, pins mark the exact location of the sites and places to see mentioned in our articles and travel tips on Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name of the destination or location as well as any additional information, including links to stories and articles. This map is the perfect place to begin planning what to do in Germany for several days, one week, two weeks or more.
The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow was completed in 1934 and is part of the Haavel-Oder waterway connecting the Elbe and Oder river basins. The waterway begins in Berlin at the Spandau lock and opens into the West Oder at the border area between Poland and Germany. Watching ships being raised and lowered in this ship elevator is amazing. A true engineering marvel.
Kleinhesselhoer See, Englischer Garten
Sophie Scholl Memorial
Planten Un Blomen Garden
St Nikolai Kirche
International Donaufest in Ulm
Drei Annen Hohne
Wernigerode Train Station - Brockenbahn
Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower
The rolling foothills of the Harz mountains that surround Quedlinburg feature forested terrain with open, rolling meadows, some hills and plenty of farmland – perfect for those who need to stretch the legs and mind a bit on an easy wander. We’d heard about the Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower (“Altenburgwarte”) that was located approximately 0.5 miles (just under 750 meters) from the southwest edge of town, on a sandstone ridge overlooking the village below.