The Englischer Garten: our best tips & sights
The sun is shining and the whole of Munich flocks to the most famous park in the city
If you’re visiting Munich, I recommend you listen to the band Spider Murphy Gang in preparation. This band from Munich is world-famous and even talks about the Englischer Garten in one of their songs: “I renn nackert durch den Englischen Garten, sitz high aufm Monopteros. I kauf ma a Mass am Chinesischen Turm und flanier mit dir auf der Leopoldstrass”, sings Gunther Siegel – the frontman of the Spider Murphy Gang. In English, this would roughly translate to “I’m running through the Englischer Garten naked, I’m sitting at the Monopteros while high. I buy a litre of beer at the Chinese Tower and stroll around with you on Leopoldstraße”. And with these tips, we will take you with us to a perfect day in the Englischer Garten (English Garden).
The Munich way of life
As soon as the sun comes out in Munich, you’ll find half of the city in the Englischer Garten. That’s the Munich way of life. But we’re not surprised, because the Englischer Garten is just beautiful. For natives of Munich, these tips are obviously old news. But, if you’ve never been to Munich or just moved there, you’ll have an amazing day with us in the Englischer Garten.
Why is the Englischer Garten in Munich called Englischer Garten?
Valid question. Why call a park in Munich English Garden? The name comes from the fact that Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, the man who designed the Englischer Garten, was inspired by English landscape gardens. The park is said to have been founded in 1789 and was the first continental European park that was completely open to the public. It’s also one of world’s largest urban public parks: the southern part of the Englischer Garten covers an area of around 130 hectares, the northern part about 245 hectares. Each year, the Englischer Garten registers around 3.5 million visitors.
Our hotel tips in Munich
One of our favourite hotels is the → Bayerischer Hof*. Besides the fact that many Intagram starlets stay here, the hotel is just very cute and noble. From the rooftop terrace, you have a stunning view of the Munich city centre. Plus, the prosecco tastes so much better above the roofs of Munich. By the way, this hotel’s pool was the filming location of the popular 80s show Kir Royal. One of the best hotels in Munich is the → Tryp München City Center*. This 4-star hotel is located directly next to the Theresienwiese, where the Octoberfest takes place each year. Another popular hotel is the Innside by Meliá München Parkstadt Schwabing*.
The → Hilton München City* is an absolute classic where every visitor feels at ease. At the moment, a very trendy option is the → Roomers München*. The design and the interior of this hotel are just wicked. If you want to have a very individual room to sleep, you should defenitely got to → The Flushing Meadows Hotel*. It’s in one of Munich’s hipest destricts. The frontman of the famous German Band Die Fantastischen Vier even created one room there. One of the newest and also most hipest hotels is the → Andaz Munich by Hyatt*. The rooftopbar is very popular and you defenitely have to go to the bathroom there. It’s amazing. Also a very stylish hotel perfectly set in the town at the mainstation is the → 25hours-Hotel The Royal Bavarian*. There famous stars and influencers meet. The inhouse restaurant called Neni is also perfect for dinner.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #1: The surfers at the Eisbachwelle
Doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. One thing is for sure in Munich: you will see people with surfboards. In the bus, in the tram, on a bike. And every tourist is asking themselves: where are they going with these surfboards? In the middle of Bavaria, where there’s no sea and no waves in sight. And that’s what makes Munich so special. If we don’t have a beach, we just bring the wave to the city.
And the Eisbachwelle is always crowded with curious onlookers. That’s hardly surprising, though, because here you can see surfers doing amazing tricks and ride the waves effortlessly. And because this wave is so extraordinary, there are even some pros every now and then. Among others, the famous surfers Jack Johnson or Arthur Bourbon rode the Eisbachwelle in the Englischer Garten.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #2: Chilling at the Monopteros
If you have to be high when you’re at the Monopteros, like the Spider Murphy Gang sings, remains undecided. But it is a fact that from the Monopteros, you have an amazing view of the crowded meadow in the Englischer Garten.
The Monopteros was to be a pantheon for honouring important citizens of the city and Bavaria. In 1832, the construction of the classical Greek round pantheon began. It is made of limestone from Kehlheim, a small city in Lower Bavaria. In the 60s, the Monopteros was a place for artists, hippies and other creative folks. Thus, “sitting high at the Monopteros” would indeed be appropriate. Nowadays, the beautiful building that sits high above the meadow is a popular meeting point and the perfect spot for romantic proposals.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #3: Beer garden at the Chinese Tower
It’s always nice to sit at the Chinese Tower with a litre of fresh beer. Don’t worry, you’ll never be alone at the Chinese Tower. There will always be a lot of tourists stuffing their faces with beer, roast chicken or pork and other treats. On Sundays, you can even catch a brass band playing here. When all of these factors come together, you’ll have a sky above you that’s blue and white like the Bavarian flag, music in your ear and delicious bear running down your throat.
But why is there a Chinese Tower in an English Garden? Well, the Chinese tower was indeed based on a majolica pagoda of a Chinese emperor. The pagoda is 25 metres high and was built between 1789 and 1790. By the way, a pagoda twice the size can be found at Kew Gardens in London. And just like that, we close the loop to the Englischer Garten in Munich.
Tip: once a year, the Chinese Tower is home to an exceptional event, the so-called Kocherlball (→ Website) – in the local dialect, ‘Kocherl’ means ‘cook’. The name dates back to the 19th century, when all the servants met for a dance very early in the morning before going to work. In 2019, the Kocherlball takes place on 21 July from 6 to 10am.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #4: Pedal boating on the Kleinhesseloher See
Apart from beautiful river courses and the Schwabinger Bach in the Englischer Garten, there’s also the Kleinhesseloher See. With its ducks and geese, it’s just really gorgeous. Directly by the lake, there’s also the Seehaus with its café and the Biergarten am Kleinhesseloher See. With a bit of luck, you can get hold of a beer bench in the immediate vicinity of the water. Or you just take your pint to the meadow by the lake. Both are great options.
However, if you don’t just want to sit by the lake and eat, you can also lose the extra pounds you might have gained by getting on a pedal boat and going for a spin on the lake. It’s incredibly fun!
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #5: Mini Hofbräuhaus in the Englischer Garten
In the northern part of the Englischer Garten, there’s a small but excellent beer garden, the Mini-Hofbräuhaus. Like the name suggests, they also serve the delicious beer from the original Münchner Hofbräuhaus. With that, you can have typical Bavarian dishes at fair prices. The beer garden might be small, but you’ll almost always find a spot. Plus, it’s part of the Bavarian beer garden culture to just join a table and make room for new people. Foodwise, we recommend the Kaiserschmarrn (sugared pancake with raisins) and the selection of cakes is enormous. But the hearty traditional food is also very tasty.
Important: the beer garden is absolutely dog-friendly. You’ll encounter many, but very calm and nice dogs.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #6: Chilling in the big meadow
The meadow around the Monopteros is THE meadow in the Englischer Garten. It’s the spot where everybody meets to play volleyball, football, crossminton or badminton. You’ll also see slacklines and pop-up yoga, as well as (“gibt’S”) bands, drummers and other musicians. The atmosphere is always great and after walking through the Englischer Garten, you absolutely deserve a small break.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #7: Top Insta spot at the waterfall
In my opinion, the best Insta spot is the small waterfall where Schwabinger Bach and Eisbach meet (very close to the Eisbachwelle). The Schwabinger Bach cascades over the stones and creates a beautiful spectacle. If you didn’t know, you could pretend on Instagram to be in Canada or elsewhere in the world. Munich is amazing!
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #8: Tea ceremonies at the Japanese teahouse Kanshoan
A very special experience you can have in the Englischer Garten are the tea ceremonies at the Japanese teahouse Kanshoan. Since the 1972 Summer Olympics, Munich is twinned with the Japanese city of Sapporo, to which it dedicated a Japanese teahouse that also includes a small Japanese garden. From April to October, traditional tea ceremonies take place here. The dates can be found on the Website of the Urasenke München. One weekend a month, you can participate in the tea ceremonies that take about an hour. The entry costs 8 euros, which includes a little sweet and a bowl of tea.
Beginning: 2, 3, 4, and 5pm
Entry 5 minutes before beginning
Fee: 8 Euros
Children up to 12 years: 4 Euros
Tip: Every year, there’s a Japanese festival at the teahouse on the third Sunday of July.
Address: Japanese teahouse Kanshoan, Prinzregentenstraße 1, 80538 Munich, Tel.: +49 89 224319
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #9: FKK in the Englischer Garten
When it’s really hot, a bath in the Eisbach is exactly what you need. If you want, you can just drift a couple of metres and then walk back to your spot in the sun. You might even meet some nice people when you come out of the water at a different location.
Seeing people run through the Englischer Garten naked, like the song says, is not that weird in Munich. Because at the Eisbach, there’s an FKK area. FKK stands for Freikörperkultur, which means bathing and enjoying nature naked. Of course, you don’t go there to gape at people but to feel free and tan your whole body in the sun. And a bit of freedom is ideal for the perfect afternoon, isn’t it?
Tip: When you’re in the southern part of the Englischer Garten in the Schönfeldwiese, don’t be surprised by naked people. FKK is also permitted in the Schwabinger Bucht in the north.
Top-Tip in the Englischer Garten in Munich #10: Strolling around in the Hofgarten
At the southern end of the Englischer Garten, there’s also the Münchner Hofgarten, which connects the city centre with the Englischer Garten. And even though the Hofgarten doesn’t really belong to the Englischer Garten, a detour is definitely worth it. The Hofgarten was also modelled after an English garden: in the centre, there’s a pavilion from which eight paths deviate in a star-shaped pattern surrounded by green spaces. It’s called Diana pavilion or Dianatempel. In summer, you’ll catch musicians playing here most of the time. The star-shaped paths end in little fountains. Oh, how beautiful it is to stroll around the Hofgarten and the Englischer Garten. If you take the detour at the end of your visit to the Englischer Garten, it’s definitely worth stopping by the Caféhaus Tambosi, which was founded in 1775.
These are the beer gardens in the Englischer Garten
Beer garden at the Chinese Tower
The beer garden at the Chinese Tower is always full, especially on weekends. Tourists as well as locals flock here to enjoy roast chicken (socalled “Hendl”), beer and brass music.
Seehaus at the Kleinhesseloher See
Sitting by the lake, enjoying a nice pretzel and some cheese and watching the ducks paddling about. In our opinion, that’s the definition of a perfect Sunday afternoon. In the Seehaus at the Kleinhesseloher See, everything’s delicious. For example the cakes and the so-called Küchel – a Bavarian yeast speciality.
Hirschau beer garden
The Hirschau beer garden is located in the northern part of the Englischer Garten. When the beer gardens in the south are too crowded, you might be able to find a spot in the sun in the Hirschau beer garden. But it is always quite full here, too.
This beer garden is perfect for dog lovers or those who aspire to be one. But don’t worry – dogs, owners and visitors without animals coexist peacefully here. The hearty food offered in the Mini Hofbräuhaus is delicious, as well as the beer and the divine selection of cakes.
Aumeister beer garden
At the very back of the northernmost end of the Englischer Garten, there’s the Aumeister Biergarten. But don’t be fooled, that doesn’t mean that there’s less people here than in other beer gardens. By the way, the inn used to be the administrative office of the royal hunters. It was constructed in 1810 and nowadays offers amazing Steckerlfisch, which is a fish grilled on a stick.
Imbiss Fräulein Grüneis
At the moment, the most popular spot in the Englischer Garten is the Fräulein Grüneis. And everyone you ask will immediately recommend you the hot chocolate. So if you go, you must try it. The little kiosk at the Eisbach opened its doors in 2011. The new owners cleared out 55 tons of debris from the former disused toilet facility. Nowadays, you can buy sandwiches, cake, ice cream, lemonade or beer and reportedly the best coffee in the city. But let me tell you: the hot chocolate is the real winner.
Kiosk Fräulein Müller
You need a refill of fizzy drink, shandy or beer in the Englischer Garten? And you don’t want to sit in a beer garden but rather chill in the meadow? If you continue walking after passing the Chinese Tower, then cross the Schwabinger Bach and turn onto Gunezrainerstraße, you’ll reach the Kiosk Fräulein Müller. They don’t just carry beverages but also delicious breakfasts, snacks and sandwiches.
Little beer garden etiquette guide
In Bavarian beer gardens, you’re allowed to bring your own food. Unless it’s explicitly forbidden. Otherwise, you’re welcome to spread out a tablecloth and unpack your bread, pretzels and cheese. However, you have to buy the beer in the beer garden. Most of the time, we just bring pretzels and spreads and buy the Obazda, a traditional Bavarian cheese spread, in the beer garden. Because there’s no place where it tastes better.
Beer gardens in Bavaria are generally self-service areas. Some beer gardens with a restaurant sometimes have a part where you’re served, but if you’re seated on a normal beer bench, you’ll have to get your food and drinks yourself.
One important beer garden rule is to use each free space. So don’t be afraid to ask at a table if there is a free space. And of course, you’re very welcome to get into a conversation with your table-mates.
We hope you love our little guide through the most famous park in Munich. We would be glad, if you have been to Munich and used our guide, if you give us feedback and write us, what you liked most.