Munich is a city famous for its beerhalls, markets and vibrant urban atmosphere. But many visitors don’t realize that just beyond the cobblestones, Munich also offers beautiful natural landscapes. Munich’s Isar River runs practically through the center of the city and offers numerous diversions for travelers looking to trade the streets for trails while enjoying pleasant views and laid-back beer gardens. We highly recommend a hike or leisurely walk along Isar River. Here’s a closer look at the river and our favorite things to do there.
First, a little history
The Isar River has historically played an important role in the region, flowing from the Alps all the way through the Czech Republic and beyond. Originally the river was an important trade and travel route. More recently its current has been used for power plants, one of which, Muehltal, is located south of Munich. But for most Munich locals, the river is simply a pleasant place to get some exercise or just relax and enjoy free time.
Beer gardens galore
In a country that’s famous for its breweries, exercise and drinking often seem to go hand-in-hand. Accordingly, you’ll find numerous beer gardens along the paths and nature trails of the Isar River. They make for perfect pit stops, pleasant places where you can relax and enjoy a nice cold beer. Especially along the part of the river that lies south of the zoo, you’re never too far from a beer garden. One of the biggest and best is Gutshof Menterschwaige. You can refresh with drinks and light snacks here before setting off again. And, because the beer gardens aren’t in the heart of the city, you’ll find them a little more relaxing than Munich’s famous beerhalls.
Hit the trails
The main trails run alongside the river and offer a pleasant, leisurely walk. But there are numerous hiking and biking trails that will lead you up through the forest on hills overlooking the river. Along the way, you’ll pass campgrounds and golf courses. If you follow the trails on the right side of the river up towards the bluff you’ll come to the Munich Zoo. It’s not the most spectacular zoo we’ve seen, so we recommend skipping it to keep climbing up to Harlachinger Einkehr. This is a big outdoor area with entertainment for the whole family. You can enjoy a hearty meal in the beer garden, and if you’re traveling with children they’ll love the trampolines and other games. It’s definitely worth the climb!
One word of warning
Several spots along the banks of Munich’s Isar River are designated for nude sunbathing and swimming. In the summer it’s not uncommon to see locals skinny dipping, even within Munich itself. It’s certainly nothing to be worried about, but don’t be surprised if you get more than an eyeful!
All images from Wikicommons.
Photo 1 by Richard Bartz
Photo II by Fritz Geller-Grimm
Photo III by Rufus46