The best ideas on how to enjoy summer in Munich—from beer gardens, and open air markets, to lakes and parks, here’s how to make the most out of your summer vacation in Munich.
The bustling Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s oldest open-air farmers market dating back to 1807, is a landmark in the heart of the city. You can marvel at booths decorated with garlands of sausages, mountains of fresh vegetables, and pyramids of fruits. The market has everything from meat, and cheese, to bread, pastries, and freshly squeezed juices; buy some treats for the whole family and enjoy them right then and there, at the beer garden in the center of the market.
Bigger than Central Park, Munich’s park “Englischer Garten” is a green oasis and a wonderful place to explore: Rent a paddle boat, stroll along the wooded paths, take a horse-drawn carriage, visit one of its traditional beer gardens, and watch the German answer to surfing on the currents of the waterway called Eisbach (close to Prinzregentenstrasse).
Relax on the Banks of River Isar
The Isar river, coming from the Alps, flows smack through the center of Munich and draws people from all walks of life in summer; locals love to sunbathe, picnic, barbecue (in designated areas), and fish (with a license) here. It’s a perfect spot to relax after a day of sightseeing—just be prepared that you might spot some people sunning their buns on the riverbank; nude sunbathing has been allowed here since the 1960’s.
There is no better end to a summer's day than to sit with friends at long wooden tables shaded by century-old chestnut trees, enjoying a big stein of Bavarian beer fresh from the brewery. Munich is home to almost 200 beer gardens, among them the largest beer garden in the world, which seats 8000 people. Our top picks include the crème de la crème of Bavarian hospitality, from bustling beer gardens in the heart of Munich’s farmers market to idyllic open-air restaurants in the city’s green scene.
Bike Through Munich
Munich is a perfect city to explore by bike; there are many bike rentals throughout the city (e.g. inside Munich’s central train station), but if you’ll feel more comfortable taking part in a guided bike tour, check out this one. This three-hour bike tour takes you through Munich’s Old Town, along the green banks of the river Isar, and to royal parks and gardens. You’ll also ride through Munich’s famous English Garden, where you’ll stop in one of the city’s best beer gardens for a drink.
In summer, every Monday evening locals put on their skates and take over the city. Large parts of the inner city will be shut down for traffic and rollerbladers and skaters speed through Munich—a unique way to experience the city and its sights. Meeting point is every Monday at 9 p.m. at Theresienwiese (only between May and September). For more information, go to www.aok-bladenight.de.
Swim in the Feldmochinger See
The largest lake within Munich’s city limits, the Feldmochinger See has a superb water quality and is a great place for swimming and water sports. There are beach volleyball courts, table tennis, showers, as well as a designated nudist area. (Take S1 to Feldmoching)
For all adventurous travelers: Munich’s Olympic Stadium, which was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, offers guided tours across its roof, which is made of sweeping and transparent canopies. The light roof design created from of acrylic glass is modeled on the Bavarian Alps—and if the weather is good, you'll be able to see the mountains from up here. No climbing experience needed, just good shoes and a little courage. Tours are only available in summer.
Stroll Around Starnberg Lake
Take a day trip to the lake Starnberger See, which lies 16 miles south of Munich; lined by some of King Ludwig’s best palaces, the lake offers fantastic views of the Bavarian Alps and the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak. In summer, the lake is ideal for water sports and strolls along its promenade (take the suburban train (S Bahn) S6 to Starnberg).