As much as I adore cities, sometimes it is necessary to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a few hours and be alone with your thoughts. Munich’s Englischer Garten (or “English Garden”) provides the perfect place to seek such an escape and relax for a bit with a stein of beer.
The English Garden is one of the largest urban parks in the world, stretching from the city center to the northeastern city limits. In fact it is so big, you soon forget you are even still in a city at all. Tranquility surrounds you as you stroll amongst grassy knolls, flowing streams and wooded forests.
When the last ruler of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty died childless in 1777, the land passed to elector and archduke Carl Theodor. Theodor had no interest in leaving his home along the Rhine to rule over Bavaria however, which made him unpopular among the people. In attempts to make peace with the citizens, Theodor dedicated a great deal of attention to improving the city. In 1789, he opened the lands of the English Garden to the public, and established it as a military park where soldiers could go during times of peace to gain agricultural knowledge and for recreation. Many changes and additions have come and gone over the years, but the park has more or less been in its modern form since the early 1800s.
There are many interesting sights to see in the English Garden besides just the beautiful scenery. My favorite (and also one of the most popular sights) is the Chinese pagoda and adjoining beer garden. It is the second largest beer garden in Munich, and well worth a stop. With several beers on tap and a variety of food choices, it is a pleasant place to stop, crowd watch, and enjoy the surroundings.
It was pretty cold out. I guess a frosty cool beverage didn’t sound appealing to many people. Other sights of interest (but not pictured here, cause I didn’t actually see them) are a Japanese teahouse, a spot along the river where brave people can surf (yes, actual surfing in a river), an area for nude sunbathing, and an open air amphitheatre used for live performances during the summer months.
The English Garden is ridiculously huge, and it is super easy to get lost if you aren’t familiar with the park. I definitely lost track of my location more than once. But sometimes it is nice to allow yourself to get lost in a new place…as long as you have plenty of daylight left to eventually find your way back.