Stretching more than 21 acres from the heart of Munich's city centre to its north-eastern limit, the Englischer Garten (the English Garden) is one of the largest urban parks in the world, and a surprising green lung in the Bavarian capital.
The park was commissioned in 1789 by Elector Karl Theodor, who had inherited the throne of Bavaria unwillingly and tried to make up for the reciprocating unhappiness of his people by dedicating himself to making improvements to the city of Munich.
A walk in the park
The Englischer Garten is divided into two sections: the southern part usually attracts a large number of visitors, while the northern area, the Hirschau, is normally more peaceful.
More than 45 miles (75 km) of paths snake through verdant forests, open meadows and landscaped gardens. Strolling through the park, you might come across an 18th century Chinese pagoda, a Japanese tea house built for the 1972 Olympics where tea ceremonies are occasionally held, or a small Greek temple, the Monopteros, which offers spectacular views of the Munich skyline - especially at sunset!
If you're feeling energetic, it's possible to take boat rides on the Kleinhesseloher See, a lake in the middle of the park. Alternatively, a canal, the Eisbach, also crosses through the Englischer Garten; at its southernmost point there are even facilities to surf on it!
And, as it could be no other way in Munich, the two biergärten, or beer gardens, are among the most popular attractions of the park: after a nice stroll, treat yourself to a typical local brew at Seehaus on the shores of the lake.
Escape the city
If you've got plenty of time to spare on your trip to Munich, the Englischer Garten is well worth a visit to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and embrace the Bavarian countryside, especially during the summer months.
Given the enormous size of the park, you'd have to set aside a hefty chunk of time to see it all. If you're short on time but feel the need for a bit of nature, the Hofgarten is a great alternative.