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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Free, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

While strolling through a park in landlocked Munich, the last thing you would expect to see are surfers. However, at the base of the Eisbach River flowing through the English Garden, anyone can hang loose and catch some waves. 

The spot, known as the Eisbachwelle, first became popular in the 1970s after an engineering effort to soften the river's flow instead created large waves perfect for surfing. The surfers at the Eisbachwelle invented the concept of river surfing, and it's now become a worldwide phenomenon. Munich went on to host the European River Surfing championship in 2012, and the winner was a surfer who got his start on the Eisbach. Famous surfers can often be spotted at the Eisbachwelle, which is considered the world's largest urban surfing location.

Nowadays, you'll find crowds of locals and visitors gathered on the banks of the Eisbachwelle cheering on the daring wave runners. The river is usable year-round, and many even brave the cold German winters for a surf. 

Past travelers loved stumbling upon Eisbachwelle, not only because it's entertaining to watch, but also because it reflects Munich's unique identity. To find such an activity so close to the center of a sprawling European city is an amusing oddity and shouldn't be missed, visitors said. 

Eisbachwelle is also a great place for locals and tourists to mingle. However, locals are often wary of new surfers as many don't understand how difficult the waves can truly be. River surfing was actually banned here until 2010 because of its many possible dangers. Locals used to surf in secret, and tourists hardly knew it existed. While it's legal now, note that only experienced river surfers should attempt the Eisbachwelle, as it's different than ocean surfing, and there's no time to paddle or wait for the wave. 

Previous visitors say parking can be difficult in this area, so walk or take public transportation if possible. Eisbachwelle is a short walk from the city center near Marienplatz. For U-Bahn riders, hop off at the Lehel or Universität stops. After admiring the surfers' skills, be sure to explore the rest of the English Garden – an urban oasis even larger than New York City's Central Park.

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#1 English Garden (Englischer Garten)

This large public park, which reaches from the city center to the northeastern city limits, is one of Munich's must-dos. Named for the informal English style of rolling hills and open landscaping, the Englischer Garten contains several popular biergartens, a handful of eclectic monuments and a boating lake, among lots of jogging and biking paths.

Recent travelers mightily enjoyed their time here and recommend renting a bike or a rowboat to explore it. Many also commented on what a retreat it was from an otherwise city vacation. To spend a sunny day in the English Garden, hop off Tram 18 at one of the parkside stops. Admission is free.

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