Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Munich Westpark Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 9.5 km (6 miles), terrain: flat

Munich Running Routes:
Best Munich Running Routes: Overview
Englischer Garten
Old town, English Garden, Isar 
Nymphenburg Palace gardens  
Olympiapark  
Isar River south route  
Classical Munich  
Starnberger See lake-side route   

Westpark
Hirschgarten route
For more running routes see the route list

Here's a route that's a bit off the normal track for most Munich visitors, heading through the southwest side of town. But this area has its own charms: old villas and monuments, the huge expanse of the Theresienwiese (the spot where Oktoberfest takes place every year), and Westpark, a big strip of green wedged between pleasant new apartments full of young families.

Westpark is a big, green oasis, and this route only goes through the eastern third of the park, so you can easily extend the run to keep exploring the rest of the park.
Westpark scene in winter
This route is also convenient for most of the tourist hotels, crowded around the main train station.

The run begins at the south corner of the old town walls, at the Sendlinger Tor gate-tower. Various U-Bahn- and tram-lines will take you right to the spot, at the end of the Sendlinger Straße shopping street.

Turn your back to the gate, facing southwest, and cross busy Sonnenstraße and the tram station, and enter that park behind the church. You're now in Nußbaumpark.
In Nußbaumpark
Keep to the right side of the park so that you exit onto Nußbaumstraße, heading westwards. This street goes by the university clinic and a mixture of nice old Victorian-era buildings and more modern stuff. The street-name soon changes to Beethovenstraße.
House detail along Beethovenstraße
You'll come to a square called Kaiser-Ludwig-Platz, with its statue of the medieval kaiser on his horse. Keep running westwards for one more block, until the street ends at the Theresienwiese (Theresia's meadow), at the 1-km mark.
Kaiser Ludwig
This is the gigantic field that hosts Oktoberfest every year. There are also other events that use the field at various times of the year. But most of the time, it just sits there, empty, with all the charm of an airport parking lot.

But the surroundings are nice, with a quiet, tree-lined boulevard edging this east end, and St. Paul's church rising majestically, off to the north, near the train station.
Entrance to Theresienwiese, towards the left
Run straight across the field. You'll see what looks like a Greek temple on the other side, with a monumental statue of Bavaria before it. Head there.

The temple is actually the Ruhmeshalle (the Hall of Fame, a monument to Bavarian generals from the days when Bavaria was a little kingdom, fighting to stay independent of the Austrians and the Prussians).
The Ruhmeshalle, with Bavaria and her snow-capped lion
Take the trail heading uphill to the left at the statue, and run up to the street behind it, Theresienhöhe.

Cross the street at the pedestrian crossing there and keep running west along the pedestrian/bike way, Oda-Schäfer-Weg, running between the park on the right and the modern apartments on the left.
Along Oda-Schäfer-Weg
The apartments are really nice, and are in a great location, so close to the city center, but with parks all around.

Run the 250 meters to the west end of the park, then turn left at the 2-km mark to head south past the west end of the modern apartments, along Max-Hirschberg-Weg.

When the apartments end, you come to a strange, narrow, empty-looking park. There is a bit of playground in it, but not much else. This is actually just a lid over a railway line below it.
The weird, narrow park
Cross the narrow park and then run straight onto the ramp that takes you up above street level, over Ganghoferstraße ahead.

The elevated walkway leads you to a pedestrian bridge over the street, where you now head west, straight into Westpark. You will cross over a train line and another street before you enter the park itself at the 2.8-km mark.
The elevated trail into Westpark
Westpark is a modern stretch of green, with more nice modern apartments on either side, and a winding lake in the middle.
Welcome to Westpark!
Just head west along the left (south) edge of the park, going by the long lake. You'll run past a bridge that you could take and shorten the run if you like, but the official route continues until you get to the west end of the lake.

When the trail comes to a little hill on the left, it will come together with the trail that heads back to the east end of the park along the lake's north side, at the 3.7-km mark. Let's turn around here and head home, viewing the lake from the other side.

NOTE: If you want to continue running westwards here, you can add a lot more distance. The park continues for a long way: Westpark is cut into two pieces by a busy road ahead, Garmischer Straße. A pedestrian bridge connects the two pieces. The western piece has its own attractions, like Japanese- and Chinese gardens and a Thai pagoda.

When you exit the park at the same spot where you came in, just follow the same way back home again.

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