Munich is one of the few landlocked cities where you'll come across surfers, board and wetsuit included. When you go for a run in Munich, you will discover their favourite spot, but also the Marienplatz, along with the impressive Nymphenburg Castle and the futuristic BMW headquarters.
"There is no doubt about it: if Paris appeals to the heart, Munich appeals to the stomach," said Rachel Johnson, a famous English journalist. And indeed, the jewels of Bavarian gastronomy can be found here. However, beyond the pleasures of the table, Munich has many attractions.
Germany's third largest city in terms of population, the state capital of Bavaria is both a modern metropolis and the former residence of the Dukes of Bavaria. The nearby Alps and the Bodensee add to the special charm of the city, which after the Second World War was described as Germany's 'secret capital'.
In the heart of old Munich
Although many historic buildings were destroyed during the Second World War, some have been rebuilt to their original condition. Some medieval fortifications also remain - the Isartor, Sendlinger Tor and Karlstor gates. Once through these gates, in the heart of the old town, stands the Marienplatz. This is the focal point of Munich. It is bordered by the splendid Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) in Gothic style and the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which is built in neo-Gothic style. Its architect was inspired by the Brussels Town Hall.
On your run through the centre of Munich, you will undoubtedly come across the city's most emblematic building, the Frauenkirche, with its two red-brick-roofed towers, recognisable by their characteristic 'onion' roof. Nearby is Germany's largest city palace, the Residenz, dating from the 14th century. From here, your tour of Munich will take you to the old "food market". Further south, in front of the opera house, you will take the more recent Maximilianstraße, which was built in the 19th century to accommodate military parades. It spans the Isar River and leads to the eastern districts, where you can admire the Maximilianeum, the current seat of the Bavarian Parliament.
Urban fun in Munich
On the other side of the Isar, to the east, lies an urban beach, the Isarstrand, not far from the Maximilian Bridge and the island it crosses. The Deutsches Museum, a technology museum also built on one of the islands in the Isar, is located in this district, called "Au". The Müllersches Volksbad, which opened in 1901 after four years of construction, is also located in the Au district. It is the oldest public bath in Munich, built in the Art Nouveau style. An exceptional place to relax after your run in Munich!
The Maxvorstadt district, to the west of the city centre, offers many examples of neo-classical architecture. These include the Royal Square, or Königsplatz, but also the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen of the German State's antique collections, a godsend for antique art and architecture enthusiasts.
To the north runs Munich's second largest avenue, Ludwigstrasse, which turns into Leopoldstrasse. It leads to the Ludwig-Maximilians University and the Siegestor triumphal arch. But above all, it passes through Schwabing, the student borough. This legendary artists' quarter is now home to the English Gardens, a must-see when strolling through Munich. There's a 25-metre-high Chinese pagoda, a Greek temple built in the 19th century and a static wave, which surfers flock to in summer.
However, if you want to enjoy it, remember to bring your own equipment: it is a perfectly natural phenomenon linked to the shape of the Eisbach river bed, which means that there are no surfing facilities nearby. Eisbach literally means "river of ice", which indicates the temperature of the water...
Finally, there is a real underground music scene in Munich. For aficionados of unusual sounds, from krautrock to experimental electro, there are a variety of concerts. Otherwise, you can always go and listen to Schlager, the German variety, while sipping a beer in one of the city's many beer gardens.
Run with Runnin'City from the Marienplatz to the English Gardens!