From pools to river surfing, discover outdoor fun in Munich

CultureEuropeMunichSports and Recreation

Munich may be almost 600 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, but that doesn’t stop residents from swimming and stripping off in city parks to seek the perfect tan. Here’s where to find the city’s summer hotspots, including surfing… on a river.

Textile free in Munich’s parks

Munich Outdoor Travel: Englischer Garten

Englischer Garten – Source: Getty Images

In 2014, Munich’s city council formally decided to allow public nudity in six secluded city centre areas. But since the 1960s, locals have been happily getting naked in green spaces like Schönfeldwiese in the city’s largest park, Englischer Garten, which is not far from the Holiday Inn Munich – City Centre.

Riverside beaches like Kiesbanke are also popular spots with Munich’s Freikörperkultur (free body culture) community – but more prudish sunbathers will find plenty of places where they won’t have to avert their eyes from naked bodies.

Open air pools in Munich

To cool off on a hot summer day, head for one of Munich’s many outdoor swimming pools. Dante-Freibad in Neuhausen-Nymphenburg is an urban oasis with two heated, 50-metre pools and a beer garden, plus slides and a paddling pool for kids.

Surrounded by greenery, Naturbad Maria Einsiedel is an open-air pool with a special touch. Fed by the waters of the Isar Canal, it’s naturally clean and chemical-free. So if you hate the smell of chlorine and would rather splash around in running water, this huge swimming area is for you.

An urban beach vibe

Munich Outdoor Fun: River Surfing

Source: Getty Images

You can join sunbathing locals who picnic and barbecue on grass and pebbles on both banks of the Isar River. If you prefer to sunbathe more comfortably, you’ll find loungers, beach umbrellas, sand and a splash pool at Praterstrand on Praterinsel (Prater Island). To get there from the city centre, walk down Maximilianstrasse and cross Maximiliansbrücke (Maximilian’s Bridge).

Munich is an unlikely surfing destination, but you’ll occasionally see wet-suited surfers toting boards through the Englischer Garten. They’re on their way to the Eisbach, a small tributary of the Isar that flows through the park, and its Eisbachwelle (Eisbach Wave). Around 12 metres wide, this standing wave makes it possible to surf all year round.

There’s imported sand at Beach38°. This urban beach bar has a Caribbean vibe, with deckchairs and cocktails, like its signature 38° sprizz. There are open-air beach volleyball and beach football pitches for even more summery fun.

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