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.

Englischer Garten in Munich in the winter

The English Garden is a popular place to gather, enjoy and recreate in, even during the winter.

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.

The boathouse in the Englischer Garten in Munich.

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.

The Seehaus restaurant and biergarten.

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.

HITT Tip: A superbly located place to stay in Munich is the Hotel Gästehaus Englischer Garten. Family owned and quaintly tucked into a corner next to the park, the hotel provides a convenient and friendly base to explore the English Garden and, of course, Munich. Note some rooms have en suite bathrooms and some do not, plus there are a few small apartments the hotel also manages a couple of doors down with small private patios. Transportation is convenient too, and you’re as good as smack in the middle of the hopping university area with restaurants, clubs, bars and theaters.
Heads up! This information on Englischer Garten was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.