After a busy day of sightseeing, a visit to one of Germany’s parks and gardens can be soothing to your soul, whether you are an avid gardener, or just looking for some peace and quiet.
From palace gardens, and botanical gardens, to urban city parks, here are Germany’s best green spots to stroll, play, and relax.
In the midst of Munich's bustling city center, you'll find the English Garden (Englischer Garten), one of the largest city parks in Europe. Created by the American Benjamin Thomspson in the 18th century, this green oasis is a wonderful place to explore: Rent a paddle boat, stroll along the wooded paths, and watch the German answer to surfing on the currents of the waterway called Eisbach.
Highlights of the Englischer Garten include the Chinese Pagoda and its beer garden, which seats thousands of people, the Japanese Teahouse, the Greek style temple, and the infamous Schönfeldwiese, the lawn where locals like to sunbathe nude.
From the emerald-green waters of Lake Constance in the southwest of Germany emerges Mainau Island, also called the "Island of Flowers". It is home to a palace, built in 1853 by Grand Duke Frederick I, but the real reason to visit are the abundant flower gardens and parks, which feature both tropical and subtropical plants thanks to Mainau's mild climate.
You can also visit a butterfly sanctuary, an arboretum with 500 exotic trees, and an Italian rose garden with pergolas, fountains, and sculptures. The flower season kicks off in spring, with a million tulips blooming from March until May.
Admission to the Island Mainau is 14 Euros.
When Frederic the Great wanted to escape the formalities of his life in Berlin, he retreated to his summer palace in Potsdam, which he called Sanssouci ("without worries" in French). The rococo style palace sits on top of a terraced vineyard, overlooking 700 acres of royal gardens; designed after Versailles in France, the ornate gardens are filled with temples, marble sculptures, fountains, and a Chinese tea house. The Sanssouci Palace and its surrounding gardens are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Tiergarten in Berlin used to be the hunting grounds for the Prussian kings, before it was transformed into the city’s largest park in the 18th century. Today, the green heart of Berlin is bordered by the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, and Berlin’s Zoo.
On more than 600 acres, you can enjoy lush lawns, leafy paths, small creeks, and open-air cafes. If you want to see the Tiergarten from a different perspective, climb the 285 stairs of the slender Victory Column, which is topped by the golden-hued statue of goddess Victoria. The monument is set in the center of the park and offers one of the best vistas of the German capital.
On 50 acres and in various green houses, you can see more than 6,000 different botanical species from all around the world. Frankfurt’s Palmengarten offers guided tours, as well as open-air classical concerts and various festivals throughout the year.
Take a deep breath in Hamburg's green scene, the park Planten un Blomen (Hamburg dialect for "Plants and Flowers"). The park features a Botanical Garden and the largest Japanese Garden in Europe. Throughout the summer months, you can enjoy free water-light concerts (May – September), classical music in the rose garden, and open-air theater performances for children. In winter, Planten un Blomen is home to Europe’s largest outdoor ice rink.