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The English Garden (or Englischer Garten, for those of you who insist on showing off the B you earned in high school German class) is a massive public park located near downtown Munich.

It is called the English Garden because it harkens back to a sort of informal landscaping style that was popular in the U.K. during the 1800s. But mostly the name just served to confuse me because 1.) I was leaving for London the next day, and I kept thinking I was already there, 2.) I didn’t understand why everyone in London was speaking German, and 3.) I really, really wanted some tea with scones, and THERE WEREN’T ANY.

The level of disappointment I felt was severe, but not so bad as the time I found myself in Rome and realized that there were no churros to be found anywhere near the Spanish Steps. That was a dark day indeed. (Shudder.)

And still, despite the dearth of English sweets, I found the park to be delightful, which is no small thing. It may have helped that I had spent the afternoon eating my weight in candied almonds which I had purchased downtown.

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And it might have helped that Rand was there, too. That afternoon was one of the rare ones where my husband caught me as I was dashing in and out of our hotel room, learned where I was off to, and, after staring at his computer for a few long moments, said the words I always love to hear:

“I’m going with you.”

Next to “Let’s get gelato” and “I’m still hungry, let’s order something else,” there are few things that come out of his mouth that make my heart flutter more.

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You must forgive me, then, if my impression of the English Gardens is a little bit biased. If it seems like I saw the entire place through rose-colored glasses, it’s because I did. The sky was coral, the grass was green, and the air smelled of smoke and leaves and flowers.

We climbed up to the Monopteros – a small Greek temple on a hill. Dusk was approaching, and the temple was practically glowing in the later afternoon sun. There were clusters of people hanging around, smoking cigarettes and having intense conversations about (I assume) the deep and profound things that occupy the minds of Europeans.

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The light was near perfect. Had I been able to take a single in-focus photo … well, just imagine how amazing it would have been. Instead, I took these, which I’m still pretty happy about:

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If my heart had a twitter account, this would be its profile picture.

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And I took a series of photos during which I forgot that I was zoomed in:

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This is kind of amazing.

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The view of the rest of the park from up there was pretty fantastic, too …

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But I kept getting distracted, because in the fading light, Rand looked like the star of a black-and-white movie.

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Eventually, we headed down, to see more of the park.

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We walked by the creek …

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And past the Chinese Tower

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And for a good while, we just wandered.

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Someone played a guitar, and someone juggled, and under a tree two people sat kissing. Believe it or not, it wasn’t even us.

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The English Garden is lovely. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like it as much as I did. But go on a sunny day, and go with someone who you love, and you might find that it’s the best place ever. Even if they don’t have scones.

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The Essentials on the English Garden in Munich, Germany

  • Verdict: Yes. On a sunny day, this place positively glows.
  • How to get there: I’ve walked there from our hotel (the Hilton at Munich Park), but I’ve also taken the tram from Tivolistrasse. Plus there are several metro and bus stops along the park.
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  • Ideal for: kids; joggers; picnickers; guys with beards and guitars; groups of young people playing hackysack.
  • Insider tips: the park is huge (larger than Central Park, in fact), so abandon all hope of seeing it all. Wear walking shoes. I’ve heard that during winter, there’s ice skating, and that you can rent paddle boats on the lake.
  • Nearby food: despite the lack of scones, there is no shortage of snacking in the English Garden. There’s a beer garden and restaurant near the Chinese Tower (one of four total throughout the park), and several other cafes and shops where you can get ice cream or a drink, and just sit and enjoy the day. I swear we wandered by a kiosk devoted solely to milkshakes, but I now think I might have made that up.
  • Good for kids: Absolutely. There’s plenty of places to run around, as well as playgrounds throughout the park (including one near the Chinese Tower).
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Full list of categories:  Attractions » City Guide » Parks
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Comments (11)

  1. 01. May, 2012 / Caitlyn:

    Agreed – I love the English Garden. Unfortunately (or fortunately) you must have missed out on the bonus you get when visiting in the summer – nudists! They’re everywhere, but unfortunately all seem to be the people you really DON’T want to see naked.

  2. 01. May, 2012 / Laura:

    Absolutely love your posts about Munich! Visited in Spring 2010 (actually, exactly 2 years ago today) and these posts make me so nostalgic. The English Gardens are wonderful on a beautiful day – I rented a bike and spent the afternoon riding around. Nothing better than riding a bike and stopping for beers in a park. Did you see the nude sunbathers?

  3. 01. May, 2012 / Adrienne:

    Lovely place! but not a good idea to ride a bike on the pedestrian paths there. The locals (i assumed they were locals, because they were speaking to me in rapid German) will scold you until you can’t hear them anymore. You’ll know you’re on a pedestrian path when you don’t see other bikes on it, the locals are fussing at you, and you see that they’re point to signs that give the indication that bikes are not permitted. :)

  4. 01. May, 2012 / Joe:

    You forgot to mention (unless you didn’t see) that area under the bridge in the river where people surf! It’s pretty amazing to see, the river rushes so fast it creates a constant wave that surfers just jump in…YouTube it!

  5. 01. May, 2012 / Karen Dorko:

    I can vouch for the nudists, they were playing badminton when we wandered by :-)

    Also a good travel tip to note is that in Germany (in the English garden), if you are in a long line for ice cream on a hot sunny day and an older aged lady walks to the front of the line, you have to smile and let her go ahead. Same on busses and almost anywhere, the respect for the older generation is well enforced and you have to kind of admire that (even though it was me she pushed in on.)

  6. 02. May, 2012 / Johannes:

    You missed one fascinating spot… Right at the south end of the English Garden there is a standing wave (Eisbachwelle, Ice creek wave) where you can see guys (and girls) surfing all throughout the year.

  7. 02. May, 2012 / Mackenzie Fogelson:

    Love your pics and you crack me up.

  8. 03. May, 2012 / Ryan A:

    What kind of camera do you use?

  9. 04. May, 2012 / Tracey:

    I’m so glad I read this before visiting Munich myself next week….I will be creepily watching naked people surf on a lake (pond? river? wave? what?)

  10. 15. May, 2012 / curlybob:

    I loved reading this, it brought back great memories from when I was last in Munich. Especially the Chinese tower, which is my favourite place for a beer in Munich

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