English Garden in Munich
The English Garden (German: Englischer Garten) lies in the center of Munich and with its 373 ha (900 acres) it's not only Munich's biggest recreational area, but also one of the biggest urban parks worldwide, even larger than New York's Central Park.
Inhabitants from Munich love the English Garden, so lets find out, what makes it so special: The park stretches from the center of the city (near Odeonsplatz) to the northern city border and is divided into two sections: The southern part near the city with plenty of people and the northern section near Hirschau, which is much more peaceful.
It's fascinating how much this park changes its appearance from north to south and from morning to evening: in the morning, it is still quiet and peaceful and you will meet few early joggers or dog owners, walking their dogs. You can smell the fresh morning air and hear the birds sing... coming here early is definitely a nice way to start your day.
In the afternoon, especially on hot summer days, the situation has changed completely: it's almost impossible to cycle, because there's so much traffic from walkers, joggers, bikers, inline skaters, .... The big lawns are full with people sunbathing, pick nicking, playing Frisbee or volleyball, and hearing music. The peaceful atmosphere of the morning has disappeared and given way to an energetic and active climate.
Four beer gardens attract lots of visitors in summer: the most famous one being the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). The Chinesischer Turm is a 25-meter-high wooden structure resembling the pagodas of the Chinese emperors and the central sight in Munich's biggest beer garden with more than 7000 seats. The other beer gardens Seehaus, Hirschau und Aumeister are worth a visit as well and usually less crowded.
Another attractions is the Japanese teahouse, built in 1972 to celebrate the summer Olympics, with regular celebrations of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Don't forget to walk up to the Monopteros, a Greek looking temple, prominently placed on a hill overlooking the southern part of the English Garden. From the Monopteros you have a splendid view over the city skyline.
Be prepared to see nude sunbathers: Since the 1960's, the area between the Monopteros and the Eisbach (one of three icy creeks in the English Garden), has become the "official" nude bathing spot.
You can swim in any of the creeks in the Englischer Garten, but be careful: the current is strong and can be dangerous. I would advise to swim only where you see lots of locals (and not only the hazardous teenagers) doing so.