The English Garden (Englischer Garten) lies in the midst of bustling Munich and is one of the largest city parks in Europe, larger even than New York's Central Park. It stretches all the way from Munich's city center to the northeastern city limits.
The name refers to the style of the landscape popular in Britain (and beyond) from the mid-18th to 19th century. This green oasis is a wonderful place to explore and take a break from sightseeing in Munich. Rent a paddle boat, stroll along the 48.5-miles of wooded paths, discover buildings from other lands and hit one of the four beer gardens in the English Garden.
Highlights of the English Garden
- Sunbathing Lawn: One of the most popular and infamous areas of the park is Schönfeldwiese. This rolling expanse is known for the nude sunbathers who have dotted the landscape since the 1960's. Being naked is really no big deal in Germany and there are few better ways to enjoy a summer day in Munich than taking off your clothes and catching some sun.
If you do catch some naked people, just play it cool and remember leben und leben lassen (“live and let live”) and do not reach for your camera. While photography isn't forbidden, it would be the height of uncool.
- Asian Influence: The Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) is the signature landmark of the English Garden. Built in the 18th century, it remains thoroughly German as it adjoins a massive beer garden. A Japanese Teahouse ofers another foreign element from the East.
- Greek Temple: Another culture that found its way into the English Garden is Greek. Officially known as Monopteros, this is a Greek style temple from 1838 that provides excellent views of the city from atop a hill.
- Water Sports: Walking through the park you inevitably come upon Kleinhesseloher See, a peaceful lake perfect for navigating a paddle boat or drinking a beer besides its shores at Seehaus beer garden.
A particular spot on the the river Eisbach also attracts the lookers and the doers. This location is known for its surfing. That's right, surfing. Curious tourists gather near Prinzregentenstraße to watch surfers take on the heavy currents from the waterway and applaud their efforts whether they wipe out or ride it out.
- Lawn Mowing Sheep: A sheep farm in Hirschau keeps the lawns looking sheared and saves tax-payers €100,000 a year! Watch for small herds of the eco-friendly animals at work.
Beer Gardens and Restaurants of the English Garden
- Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower: The 82-feet high wooden Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) is the signature landmark of the English Garden. Its world-famous beer garden is the oldest in the city and accommodates up to 7,000 people with liters of Lowenbrau beer. On Sundays, the atmosphere is all German with traditional brass bands and breakfast buffet.
- Japanese Teahouse: Another Asian touch to the English Garden is the Japanisches Teehaus (Japanese Teahouse). Built in 1972 for the Olympics, there are traditional tea ceremonies once a month. The structure was donated by the Japanese grandmaster of the Urasenke Tea School in Kyoto as a gesture of friendship and still teaches the people of Munich about Japanese culture. Walk across the bridge onto the tiny island before entering the Teahouse where you will find a traditional tatami interior and Matcha tea and cookies. The ceremony is held only one weekend per month, four times a day (usually 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 & 17:00) for €6 admission.
- Restaurant and Beer Garden Zum Aumeister: Enjoy your royal Hofbrau beer under canopies of old chestnut trees with a view of a lovely pond. It is located in the northern part of the English Garden.
- Restaurant and Beer Garden Seehaus: Set on the shores of the ‘Kleinhesseloher Lake’, this beer garden and restaurant is famous for regional dishes as well as delicious seafood.
- Restaurant and Beer Garden Hirschau: While you enjoy your Spaten beer with live jazz, kids can spend the time at the huge playground or the adjacent mini-golf course.
Visitor Information for Munich's English Garden
Opening Hours of the English Garden
Open all year round. Admission is free.
Getting to the English Garden
The closest public transportation stops are
- Subway: U 3,4,5, and 6 to "Marienplatz"
- S-Bahn: S 1,2,4,5,6,7, and 8 to "Marienplatz"
- Bus 54 and 154 to "Chinesischer Turm "
- Tram 17 to "Tivolistraße"