I can’t believe that it’s taken me seven months to put a spotlight on the Englischer Gartens. It’s a travesty – I should have done this a long time ago. The EG is my favorite place in all of Munich – maybe even in the world. At least what I’ve seen of it so far, anyway. It’s comparable to New York’s Central Park only it’s in Europe and it’s bigger. I think. I’ve never actually been to Central Park. So don’t quote me on that.
The Englischer Gartens (aka the English Gardens) stretches from the main city center, near Odeonsplatz, to the city’s northeastern limits. It’s about 1.4 square miles of beautiful landscaping, walking, bike, and horse trails, rivers, lakes, over 100 bridges, beer gardens, and playgrounds. It was created in 1789 by an Anglo-American guy named Benjamin Thompson, who was also a Bavarian war minister, and was extended and improved upon over the years by some other German guys. It started off as a military garden so soldiers could have hands on knowledge of agriculture and a safe haven for recreation but that didn’t really catch on and in the spring of 1790, the English Gardens was opened to the public. Over the years, the park grew and soon gained the reputation of being one of the world’s largest urban public parks.
Below the cut, a million and a half pictures and my loyal adoration for Munich’s most treasured park. Enjoy!
The English Gardens is home to some notable landmarks such as the Isar and Eisbach rivers, Monopteros (a Greek style temple), the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower), a standing wave made popular by river surfers, the Kleinhesseloher See (Lake) and Seehaus beer garden, and the Japanese Teahouse.
Fortunately, I’ve visited all of these landmarks and each one is better than the last (depending on the order of your opinion, I suppose). In fact, the house in which I live rests on the bank of the Eisbach and we can see the English Gardens from our backyard. Especially now that it’s winter and all the leaves are gone, the sunrise through the trees every morning is truly a breathtaking thing to witness. When I’m in good spirits and feeling motivated, I often go on morning runs on the trails near my house and I find that these are the most peaceful moments of my day. The EG has a lot to offer and I, for one, am more than willing to enjoy its bountiful generosity.
In the summer, the park is a great place for sun bathing, picnicking, bike rides, walking, and river swims. The Isar, however, is really cold seeing as it’s water supply comes straight from the Bavarian alps. The current is also very strong and it’s not uncommon to see (and hear) young kids floating quickly down the river on a hot summer afternoon. In the EG, nude sunbathing is permitted so it’s likely that you’ll see a lot of wrinkly, sun scorched old men and brazen, bare breasted woman lounging around (or standing around, showing off). In fact, my best memories of my summer in Munich come from the days spent in the EG. My friends and I would spend hours lounging around, laying out in the hot sun. There was always something to do, some park performer to listen to, somewhere nice to sit with shade nearby should we need it. We also had a few good experiences in the beer gardens – especially so during the World Cup when Jessica and I watched the England vs. Germany game at the Chinese Tower with at, what seemed like, thousands of other people. There will never be another experience quite like that.
As the seasons turned, the EG became even more amazing. I didn’t think that it was possible. I can’t even count the number of times that I wandered into the EG with my camera once autumn had fallen. The colors that surrounded me were unbelievable and the serenity that enveloped me was enough to make me feel like nothing could ever touch me. Before the cold weather set in, I got in my share of autumn bike rides, walks, and picnics and even enjoyed the beer gardens a few more times. I could post 200 pictures (seriously, I have an entire album, or ten!) of pictures from the EG in the fall. But here’s like… half of them. Ha.
In the winter, the EG is still beautiful and in an entirely different way. After one of our first major snowfalls and on a gloriously sunny winter day, I took a walk through the EG and was still surprised by its splendor. It sparkled under a fresh layer of pristine, white snow and even though I was freezing cold and shivering, I was still ridiculously happy to be there. Plus, in the winter the Chinese Tower beer garden had been transformed into a Christmas market – something that you have to see to truly understand.
The Englischer Gartens are incredible and if you ever come to Munich and don’t visit the park then you are certifiably insane. Everytime I walk into the gardens I am overwhelmed with the romance of it. I daydream of returning someday when I’m all grown up with my husband or my family and sharing the EG with them and enjoying it all over again. It’s the most peaceful place in all of Munich and it is my favorite place to be in the city. The next time you are in Munich, add it to your list of places to go. You will not regret it!