The English Gardens are known the world over, but there are plenty of other beautiful green spaces in Munich. Head there when the bustle of the city gets too much, for a little R and R. 16% of the city is dedicated to parks, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to kick off your sandals and relax with a novel.
Peaceful, idyllic and still something of a secret in Munich’s city centre is the poet’s garden/Finanzgarten, located between the Hofgarten (Odeonsplatz) and Haus der Kunst. There’s plenty of shade to be found, and statues commemorate cultural greats – Heinrich Heine, Frédéric Chopin, Confucius and Russian poet Fjodor Iwanowitsch Tjuttschew are all remembered here.
Rosengarten an der Isar
The Rosengarten is a tranquil place to sit for a couple of hours with a good book. Situated between the Schyrenbad and the Isar, they have hundreds of roses (including a Heidi Klum rose), a garden dedicated to sensory touch and a small area full of poisonous plants. It’s just as educational as it is relaxing, and the large empty space behind the stream is nature’s perfect playground for kids in the summer months.
Munich’s Westpark has been in existence since the 1980s, and is huge. There’s an amphitheatre for an open-air cinema, lakes, beer gardens, Japanese pagodas and plenty of spots to BBQ. On Sundays you can head to the park to engage in some laughter yoga, before heading to the Wirtshaus for smoked fish. If you’re lucky, you can catch the turtles sunning themselves on the rocks in the lake, soaking up Munich’s rays.
The Hirschgarten is a park and beer garden of around 40 hectares, located in the west of the city. The beer garden is Bavaria’s largest with around 8,000 seats (whether it’s the world’s largest is disputed), and it’s fun to sit with a Hendl and beer and watch the deer graze nearby.
The botanical gardens are worth a visit at any time of year. Entrance costs 4.50 €, and you can discover a myriad of plants and animals in the gardens and greenhouses – turtles, butterflies and toads sit amongst the roses, tulips, cacti and Alpine plants. My favourite month to visit is April, when the smell of wild garlic passes through the park and the roses are starting to bloom.
You can wander to the Schlosspark from the botanical gardens, to sit in the grounds of the Palmenhaus with an ice cream (or on Christmas Day, a bowl of punch),
Located south of the zoo, next to the Isar, the Hinterbrühler See is a lovely spot for a stroll and some lunch. In summer, you can hire rowing boats and pedalos to explore the lake – keep your eyes peeled for the turtles that live there! If the lake freezes over in winter, it’s a popular spot for curling and ice skating. The Gasthof Hinterbrühl on the west side of the lake has a beer garden with ca. 1,000 seats and there’s a playground (including trampoline) for the kids.