But getting naked whenever the temperature rises is more of an East German thing than a buttoned-up Bavarian thing, so its not that surprising that Munich, the capital of Bavaria, has made six official "Urban Naked Zones".
The practice of nude sunbathing in Munich has been going on unofficially for years, at least since the 1960s (and as far back as the 1920s in places like the island of Sylt). And what better way to unwind from a busy day at the office than to take a mid-day snooze sans clothes in the park? But being German, most things are better if there are rules surrounding them. So around 2013/4, the city deemed six areas officially textile-free.
And far from being tucked away where no one can see them, these nude areas are fairly out in the open with bodies available for public view. If you do catch... some naked people, just play it cool and remember leben und leben lassen (“live and let live”). First and foremost, do not reach for your camera. While photography isn't forbidden, it is the height of uncool.
Join the Münchner of all ages and variation of tan at the six places it is legal to go nude in Munich.
(If you're still in search of nude bathing spots, the website www.nacktbaden.de can direct you to almost any nude-friendly spot in Germany.)
01 of 06
Located ten minutes from Marienplatz (Munich's main square), you can quickly go from clothed city-goer to nude sunbather. The English Garden (Englischer Garten) is one of the largest city parks in Europe and offers an oasis of calm within the city center, along with bustling biergartens and fascinating landmarks from a Greek temple to a Japanese tea house.
However, its most infamous attraction is Schönfeldwiese ("beautiful meadow fields") where everyone from retirees to college students improving their tan lounge in the nude. Unofficially ok since the 1960's, the area has become a bit of a tourist attraction. Not the best place for shy sunbathers, plenty of people still congregate here on sunny days.
(An option not strictly allowed but very popular is in the Eisbach - "ice brook". It might not sound that enticing a place to get nude, but on a hot summer day naked bathers jump right in. At just around 2 kilometers long and a tributary of the Isar, you can drift... lazily down the sun-splotched creek and then exit while still in the park to walk back to your blanket.)
Where: Schönfeldwiese is south of the Schwabingerbach, between the Monopteros and Japanisches Teehaus and the nude section is behind the American Consulate.
The Eisbach is behind the Haus der Kunst.
02 of 06
The other official nude zone in the English Garden is Schwabinger Bucht in the north of the park. A quiet location next to the sports ground, only a few bicyclers and pedestrians cross this way and relatively few nudes make an appearance.
There are no amenities but people have gathered here in the buff for years. If you require a little privacy, the shallow stream offers a respite from the sun and somewhere to hide your nether regions.
Where: In the English Garden between Sulzbrücke and Old Heath with the closest metro stop at Alte Haide.
03 of 06
This leisurely section of the Isar River is the perfect place to show your body to the sun. There are plenty of open spaces, narrow islands and sandy inlets to lie down your towel and even some woods to take a break from the heat. BBQs are allowed at select locations and if you'd like to fish, note that it requires a license. It is the ideal location for a day out.
Where: Maria Einsiedel is a western flood plain about 200 meters to Marie Klaus bridge in the north and south to Hinterbrühler lake. The east bank of the Isar, about 100 meters before the footbridge to the English Garden, is another option.
04 of 06
Reachable by a boardwalk, most of the nude bathers wade further away from the main area to relax in peace. This is one of the rare places where young people outnumber the old.
Where: Located near the zoo, visitors can park in nearby lots or arrive via UBahn line 3 at Thalkirchen. From there, walk toward Thalkirchner bridge on the east side then to the Boardwalk.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Brudermuhlbrucke to Braunauer Eisenbahnbrücke
Also located on the Isar river in the southern section, this portion of flood plain on the east offers great spaces for sunbathing plus amenities like toilets. On warm summer evenings, bathers stay late around campfires for a holiday version of the German grill party. Young visitors may find themselves at the concrete pillars beneath the bridge to adorn the "Hall of Fame" of graffiti.
Where: Near the Brudermühlbrücke with parking at Agilofingerstraße, about a 5 minute walk away.
06 of 06
In a northwestern suburb, this clean chill lake offers ample lawn and beachfront for the clothing free in the southern edge. It is the largest of the three lakes in Munich at 16 hectares and up to six meters deep. Different areas of the lake offer imbisses, a biergarten, family fun like mini-golf, ramps for those with disabilities and there are also mature trees and shrubs for modesty.
Where: FKK section is at the southeastern end of the lake.