Length 12.5 km (7.8 miles) or just 5-km if you run only the southern half, terrain: flat, 41-meter gain
Munich Running Routes:
Best Munich Running Routes: Overview
Old town, English Garden, Isar
Nymphenburg Palace gardens
Isar River south route
Starnberger See lake-side route
For more running routes see the route list.
The best place in Munich to run on dirt trails among woods and lawns is definitely in the wonderful Englischer Garten park. The park is huge, and fairly informal, and is easy to get to as it touches town center.
The park is fairly simply laid out, just trees and grass, with a few fast-flowing streams winding through. There are no carefully landscaped flower gardens or other fancy features, but locals use it as their favorite hangout on nice weekends and evenings. So if you want to run in nature, the Englischer Garten is the place to be.
|Not bad in the Englischer Garten!|
The park is about six kilometers long, stretching north-south along the Isar River. The southern half, near the town center is by far the most-visited. A busy road, the Isarring, cuts the park in two, and the northern half is much emptier, quieter and is left more natural.
So, if I've talked you into it, get to the corner of Prinzregentenstraße and Wagmüllerstraße, where the south end of the park begins. This is also perhaps the most famous spot in the park, where the local surfers ride the standing wave in the swift Eisbach stream. You'll find a group of surfers and lots of onlookers there day and night.
|Onlookers at the standing wave|
|In the summer, a lot of swimmers try the Eisbach, too|
|The main lawn: crowded on a nice evening!|
We'll keep along the eastern side of the park, here, and return southwards along the western side, just for a bit of variety. The wider paths include a lot of bicycles, the narrower paths are just for pedestrians: take your choice.
You'll soon pass a round, Greek-temple-style lookout on a tiny hill, then come to some buildings set in a woods. The buildings surround Munich's most famous beer garden, the Chinese Tower, with its pagoda-shaped wooden tower in the middle of a sea of tables full of happy folks eating and drinking. Try to resist the temptation to stop here already...
|The Chinese Tower: a place you have to come back and try out!|
This is another cool hangout, with pedal boats, another beer garden and lots of ducks and geese swimming about.
|Paddle boats on the lake|
To continue the 12.5-km route, you'll see a pedestrian bridge going up over the road, right across from the pedal-boat rental boat-house. Take that bridge, then keep to the right again until you see another big beer garden, Hirschau, where you turn northwards among more lawns and woods.
The trail will head towards the northeast, bringing you closer to the eastern side of the park.
But the landscape is quieter and emptier here. If you want to get away from the crowds, this is the place to do it. In the north end of the park there are also main paths along the east side, the west side and in the middle, where bicyclists also ride. And there are still further paths between them for walkers and runners. This part of the park also borders directly on the Isar, with a path next to the river, if you'd like to see a bit of it.
|Runners in the northern section|
The lawns here are not cut as often as in the south, sometimes looking more like a lush meadow. And you might even find sheep grazing in blocked-off areas.
|Yes, you might even find sheep grazing in the middle of Munich|
|Even the Isar looks more natural here|
NOTE: If you want to add even more distance to the run, you can keep running northwards out of the park along the Isar riverside for many more kilometers!
The Oberstjägermeister stream is dammed-up here at the north end, to form a few little ponds.
|Along the Oberstjägermeister|
|Did I say it was more relaxed in the north end?|
After a while, you'll pass the main lawn with all the people hanging out, and rejoin the surfing observers. Now that was a nice stretch of green right in the middle of the city!