An oasis of green right in the middle of Munich: the Englischer Garten is equivalent to the size of around 640 football pitches, making it the largest inner city park in the world.
The Englischer Garten in Munich connects the natural landscape of the Isar meadows in the north of Munich with the old town over a length of five and a half kilometres. Sights in the Englischer Garten include the Monopteros with its unique view, the surfers at the unique Eisbach wave, the Japanese Tea House and Kleinhesseloher See (lake). Don't miss the traditional Kocherlball or the Christmas market and beer garden at the Chinesischer Turm.
The Eisbachwelle at the entrance to the Englischer Garten thrills surfing fans and onlookers from all over the world. It is considered the world's most constant, biggest and best river wave in the middle of a big city. For 40 years, people have been surfing here in almost all weathers.
The people of Munich love the Englischer Garten: on nice days they enjoy the sun on the meadows, play football or go for a walk. A carriage ride through the park is particularly romantic. In winter, with good snow conditions and cold temperatures, you can even go cross-country skiing here or skate your laps on the Kleinhesseloher See.
On a small hill, perfect for sledding in winter, lies the Monopteros an ornamental temple in the Greek style. The view from this Greek-like temple is worthwhile at any time of year, because you have all the most important sights of Munich city centre at a glance: the Frauenkirche, the Theatinerkirche and the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall).
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you can walk through the woods, meadows and along the waters of the garden in the quieter northern part, get some fresh air and let your mind wander. With its 375 hectares, the Englischer Garten is one of the largest inner-city parks in the world – there's the perfect spot for everyone.
The lawn in the park is perfect and our author finds out why the Englischer Garten is so green.
More than 225 years ago, Elector Karl Theodor had the park laid out as a public garden for the people. At first it was called Theodor's Park, but soon the name Englischer Garten (English Garden) became established – because it was not laid out as a geometrically designed French Baroque garden, but in the natural style of an English landscape park.
With the Englischer Garten, the actually unpopular Elector also wanted to give the bourgeois part of society the opportunity for leisure and recreation. At first, however, the people of Munich were extremely sceptical and ignored their new park. This new concept of leisure was too alien: “As a rule, the Munich resident does not go for a walk, he only goes to some inn ... That is why the delicious English Garden ... is so lonely, so extinct,“ wrote the writer and publicist August Lewald in 1835.
Munich's way of life can also be found in the four beer gardens located in the park – at the Aumeister, at the Chinesischer Turm, in the Hirschau and at the Seehaus directly at Kleinhesseloher See. If you just want something to eat, stop by one of the many kiosks – such as Milchhäusl or Fräulein Grüneis.
Every year in the early hours of the morning on the third Sunday in July, the famous Kocherlball takes place at the Chinesischer Turm. Thousands of early risers dressed in traditional costume gather with picnic baskets, candlesticks and tablecloths to share an old tradition. In the run-up to Christmas, the Christkindlmarkt takes place in this magnificent setting.
Good to know: The social upheavals at the end of the 1960s led to a movement of nudists in Munich. Especially in the Englischer Garten around the Eisbachwelle (river wave), many stripped naked, which led to amusement but also discussions throughout the city. When the European and eventually even the international press began to report on the “nudists“, people travelled from all over the world to see for themselves what was happening in terms of free body culture. Today there are designated nudist areas in the Englischer Garten such as the Schönfeldwiese and the Schwabinger Bucht.