Munich is known for its historical gardens, with the park at Nymphenburg Palace established in the 17th century and the English Garden in the 18th century. Today, both visitors and locals can enjoy the great outdoors in public parks with a total land area of more than 2,300 hectares.
1. The royal park – Nymphenburg Palace
You can’t help but feel like royalty when taking a stroll through the park of Nymphenburg Palace. In the gardens dating from the 18th century, small splendid buildings such as Amalienburg, Badenburg and Pagodenburg are waiting to be discovered. Basins, fountains, lakes, bridges, pavilions and decorative gardens are perfectly suited to stimulate the visitor’s imagination. In the mood for a baroque garden? The historical canals, fountains and boscages in the park of Schleissheim Palace will take you back to a courtly past.
2. Most central park – Hofgarten
Directly next to the Residenz, the city palace of the Wittelsbach rulers, the Hofgarten invites strollers to enjoy the sun. The laid-back atmosphere is emphasised by the crunching of pebbles underfoot as you stroll the paths, the quiet clicking of boule balls and the sounds of tango music from the dancers who pirouette gracefully in the Hofgarten pavilion.
3. Largest park – English Garden
The English Garden with its 400ha of parkland is said to be even larger than New York’s Central Park. It offers abundant space for sports activities and bicycling, while the quiet and idyllic northern part with its vast meadows is ideal for those in search of rest and relaxation.
The park’s southern section is livelier – for example, at the Eisbach, where river surfers ride the waves. And on the meadow beneath the Monopteros (below), slack liners, ice cream vendors and bongo players romp about. There is also the beer garden at the Chinese Tower, where visitors can enjoy snacks and hops.
4. Most varied park – Botanical Gardens
The renowned historical Botanical Gardens with their 14,000 species of plants adjoin the Nymphenburg Palace park to the north. In winter, the greenhouses (below) with their tropical temperatures, exotic plants and beautiful butterflies are a great place to get away from the rain, cold and slush.
5. Most historical park – Olympic Park
More than 40 years after the 1972 Summer Olympics, fireworks, concerts, an open air cinema and the Tollwood cultural festival still draw visitors to the Olympic Park in the north-west of the city. The impressive tent roof constructions are a popular backdrop for bicycling, sledding and skateboarding activities. For professional athletes, it is also a special experience to compete in an Olympic stadium.
6. Wildest park – Hirschgarten
Nearby, the Hirschgarten with live deer, a water playground and Munich’s largest beer garden (above), invites visitors to linger. The Hirschgarten boasts a long history. In 1780, Elector of Bavaria Charles Theodore had an animal garden established on a fenced-in plot, where about one hundred fallow deer were settled. Just a few years later, it was opened to the public.
And if you’re in Munich at the end of July, the Magdalenenfest summer festival, which takes place every year in Hirschgarten, is a must-visit.
7. Most natural park – Banks of the Isar River
Flowing down from the mountains, the Isar River passes through the entire city from Hinterbruhl in the south to Unterfohring in the north. Vast gravel banks, floodplains and wooded high banks make up the surrounds. The plains provide nesting for birds and some beavers have made their home not far from the Deutsches Museum. On sunny days, even as early as in February, lightly dressed sun worshippers flock to the gravel banks (below) for picnics and parties.
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.