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No city in Germany has more to offer than Munich. So why not come with me on a tour of the best places for chilling, barbecuing… just enjoying the summer!
Cities don’t come much greener! Not for nothing is Munich regularly voted one of the world’s nicest places to live, and Germany’s favourite city. As well as a great location close to the Alps and a low crime rate, Munich also boasts a stunning landscape of meadows, parks and streams, making it the perfect holiday location.
So how about a spot of ‘park-hopping’ next time you visit?
Here I recommend my seven favourite (free!) Munich locations, all of them great places to sunbathe, relax and experience the city at its vibrant best – ‘just like a local’!
- Englischer Garten:
Riding the waves, sipping a cold beer at the Chinesischer Turm, soaking up some sun by the pool, or maybe enjoying a spot of horse-riding – all this and more is on offer in the Englischer Garten, one of the world’s largest urban parks and the beating heart of this amazing city. Of course, no visit is complete without dropping by to watch the surfers ‘do their thing’ on the legendary waves near the Haus der Kunst gallery. And if you need to cool off, why not treat yourself to an invigorating dip in the popular Eisbach creek? Just relax and drift away – you can always take the tram back! Alternatively, why not chill out on the grass or even try your hand at slacklining – all the rage here when the weather’s good!
The tranquil waters of the river Isar provide an oasis of calm for the people of Munich. While the Englischer Garten can sometimes be a bit like a catwalk, the pace down by the river is a little slower. Just unpack that picnic and your afternoon is sorted – with just the occasional passing dinghy to disturb your peace. Close to the Reichenbach bridge (U-Bahn stop: Fraunhoferstrasse) you’ll find the city’s best and only “Späti”, a kiosk open round the clock for all those last-minute purchases. And fans of longboarding can look forward to cruising a well-paved trail several kilometres long.
For the ultimate barbecue location, the beach area known as the Flaucher takes some beating. Take the U6 underground line to Tierpark and just follow the throng of people heading across the bridge. You’ll be greeted by an amazing sight – the gravel banks of the Isar shrouded in smoke from countless barbecues, row upon row of them on warm days – transforming the entire area into one massive open-air party. You can also cycle or longboard along the Isar – highly recommended! Just don’t forget your BBQ gear…
This really is “the place to be” when the sun goes down! And what better way to spend a balmy summer’s evening – ideally at the end of a relaxing day by the Isar – than to throw a few things in a bag, grab a bottle of wine and head to the square known as Gärtnerplatz. Situated right at the heart of the trendy Glockenbach district, there is so much more to this delightful spot than just a roundabout with pretty flowers!
A big bonus – when your alcohol stocks are running low the local “Szenedrink” in Baaderstrasse is open late so you can replenish your supplies! Then if the ‘late-night nibbles’ strike, there’s always the option of a currywurst and chips at the legendary Bergwolf restaurant and, if a good club is on your agenda, the Downtown Flash is just a stone’s throw away.
The view over the city from the Olympic Hill (the bonus is it only takes about 15 minutes to get to the top) really is unsurpassed! One glimpse of the Alps beyond Munich’s magnificent skyline is enough to convince anyone that this really is a unique and incredible city. There’s also plenty to enjoy lower down, and a stroll round the lake is definitely not to be missed. If you are lucky there might even be a waterski lift set up by the water, as happens when the annual “impark Summer Festival” comes to town in July. An additional highlight at this time of year is the Tollwood festival, with music for all tastes, plus a colourful array of stalls selling alternative arts and crafts and exotic foods.
- Pinakothek galleries:
The next idyllic spot on our itinerary can be found right at the heart of the city, just a short walk from the Englischer Garten. The manicured lawns surrounding the Pinakothek art galleries are the ideal place to grab a well-deserved siesta, enjoy a game of football or basketball… or just watch the world go by. And few people can resist a visit to BallaBeni’s – probably the best – certainly the most popular – ice-cream parlour in the city. Treat yourself to a chocolate and ginger or lemon and basil ice cream – now you really are one of the locals! And to follow? I recommend a leisurely stroll through the stylish uni district.
For an idyllic, more cultured atmosphere the Rosengarten park is the destination of choice. But sssh! – this is one of the city’s best-kept secrets so be sure to keep it under your hat. With beautiful scented roses as far as the eye can see, this is quite possibly the most charming of Munich’s hideaways. I recommend you tuck yourself away amongst the tall plants with a good book, some fine cheese and a bottle of red wine or lemonade… and just savour the peace and quiet. Then when you’re ready to re-join the hustle and bustle, just step through the gate and you’re back on the banks of the Isar again.
The Rosengarten is near the Schyrenbad open-air pool, and can be reached via the U2 (to Fraunhoferstrasse) and then a 20-minute walk along the Isar. Alternatively, take bus number 58 to Claude-Lorrain-Strasse and walk for 8 minutes.