Munich’s Englischer Garten (“English Garden”) is one of the largest urban parks in the world – even larger than Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London – with an area of 370 hectares (910 acres). Named for the English style of landscape gardening, the English Garden was commissioned by Elector Karl Theodor in 1789 and designed by Benjamin Thompson.
The park is popular with locals and visitors alike who come to lounge and picnic on grassy meadows, bike through winding paths, imbibe at the beer gardens, surf, or sunbathe naked. There are over 100 bridges and footbridges, as well as hedgehogs, squirrels, wild rabbits, hares and foxes, and 50-60 species of birds that breed in the English Garden. The English Garden is divided into two parts, separated by the Isarring, a road that goes through the park.
Highlights of the English Garden include:
- Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) and its huge beer garden which seats 7000 people;
- Japanese Teahouse, where you can take part in a traditional tea ceremony on the weekends;
- Monopteros, a Greek-style temple, the highest point in the English Garden offering great views over the park and the city;
- Lake Kleinhesseloher See, where you can rent a paddle boat, and its idyllic beer garden Seehaus; and
- Schönfeldwiese, the lawn where nude sunbathing has been allowed since the 1960's.