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Hofgarten highlights

October 29th, 2007

munich hofgarten_3Hofgarten is just a few blocks from Englischer Garten, the gargantuan park where you can spend hours walking its paths (and checking out the nude sunbathing areas). With this choice, most people see Hofgarten as a Munchener’s park and so why not go on to the big park. But seen from the view of someone who has only a day or two in Munich, Hofgarten is a fantastic alternative. Hey, I said upfront this site would give a “warts & all” description of these parks, and Hof’s wart is simply its proximity to the “destination park” Englischer Garten. My advice: visit both: the Englischer for beer and schnitzel, then listen to evening music “at the Hof.”

Food and Drinks in Hofgarten
If you’ve looked through other parks pages on this site, you might have already noticed a pattern: the small, ornate gardens have no food & drinks carts. Hofgarten is no different, with the exception during the high summer months, when those three cafés already mentioned set up behind the hedges. Beware: they’re pricey, even if you get to see the likes of German celebrities such as Boris Becker or…or, David Hasselhof (?…!$%@).

munich hofgarten_8I wouldn’t exactly plan a picnic around Hofgarten, but nevertheless you will find a shop or two out by the Odeonplatz where you can get water or a beer. Hofgarten is a nice place to enjoy a cold beer with a friend, along with a chat or some free-spirited kissing, so stop at any place along the way from your perambulations through old Munich. This is, after all, Bavaria—beer capital of Europe.

Outside Hofgarten
Behind the north wall is Odeoplatz and its baroque architecture. Five minutes farther south is Marianplatz, the center of old town Munich. You’ll find museums, bars, cafés, and lots of churches. And don’t forget Hofbrauhaus, site of Adolf Hitler’s Beerhall Puscht of 1924.

The biggest surprise I’d had in 30 days of travel on this most recent trip to find new favorite European city parks was coming across a monument to the siblings Sophia and Hans Scholl, members of the White Rose, a non-violent resistance organization inside Nazi Germany. Sophia, her brother, and a third White Rose member were caught in 1943 distributing anti-war leaflets. They were convicted of treason and executed by guillotine.

munich hofgarten_4Englischer Garten is merely a path away from Hofgarten. Once the hunting grounds to Bavarian kings and German dukes, this four-kilometer-square park is a masterpiece of city-park design by … ehem … an Englishman. Jump to Englischer Garten’s page here.

For a full list of tourist sites and nightlife, jump to Munich’s city page.

Directions to Hofgarten
If you’re staying outside Munich’s old city, the easiest way to get directly to Hofgarten is the U-Bahn (underground train) to the Odeonplatz stop, at the corner of Ludwigstrassa and Hofgarten Strassa. The park is behind the walls of the northwest streetcorner; or, walk north along Ludwigstrassa, turn left at Geleriestrassa and look for an opening in the wall on the right-hand side of the street.

By foot from Marianplatz, follow Theatinerstrassa out of the old town (lots of shopping along the way) and this turns into Ludwigstrass.

(return to the Hofgarten main page here)

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