Short on time but looking to take in as many Munich experiences as possible in one go? While there are many places to visit, a stroll to Hofgarten a short distance north of Marienplatz will give you as much as you might need. A central garden of outstanding beauty, Hofgarten is the gateway to the Englischer Garten and a very popular meeting and relaxing spot in its own right, with its manicured features and surrounded by layers of impressive Munich architecture and history. A nice introduction to the magic of Hofgarten in this video:
But Hofgarten is not all about gardens and history, it is also an important gathering point for many locals and their passions. Traditional life can be observed, with the fiercely competitive Petanque, for example in this video, while there are rarely many free chairs at the biergarten on the edge of Hofgarten.
And if you are looking for some excellent classical music, the quality of the busking in Hofgarten is exceptionally high, as you can see in this video:
Hofgarten dates back to the 17th century and was created by Maximilian 1, Elector of Bavaria, and it was conceived as an Italian-style Renaissance garden, whose centrepiece is a pavilion built for the goddess Diana. There are eight paths in the garden all leading to the pavilion.
Hofgarten has some impressive neighbours, including Residenz, the Bavarian Staatskanzlei (State Chancellory) to the east, in front of which is the Kriegerdenkmal war memorial built to those who lost their lives in World War I. A further memorial to victims in World War II - members of the White Rose group who resisted Hitler - is in the north-eastern corner. And looking West, the magnificent Theatinerkirche dominates the skyline from neighbouring Odeonsplatz.
One small garden, many fantastic experiences... To reach Hofgarten by U-Bahn, take the U4 or U5 to Odeonsplatz.