Active in Munich: sports and fitness in the Bavarian capital
Munich is a paradise for the sporty. Barely any other German city offers such a wealth of opportunities for staying in shape and living an active life. Its residents love sports of any kind, and their enthusiasm is contagious: yoga, hiking, cycling or even surfing on the Isar river, Munich has the right activity for any taste. Those looking to spend a sporty day in the Bavarian capital are spoilt for choice. They might do something like this:
Morning, 7.30 am: a round of morning yoga
Blumenstraße 6, 80331
+49 89 23225930
Can there be a better start to the day than some sun salutations and an extended stretching session? Luckily, yoga studios have been popping up all over Munich for several years.
Airyoga in the old town may offer the largest selection of yoga courses: 40 lessons per week and seven different styles of yoga styles ensure that anyone will find the right lesson here.
Good alternatives include Yam-Yoga in Schwabing, Yogabee near Heimeranplatz and Ashtanga Yoga near Sendlinger Tor.
Morning, 9.00 am: time for a healthy breakfast
Viktualienmarkt 6, 80331
+49 89 41119080
A nutritious meal is in order after your early-morning yoga session. Good, healthy breakfast is available at Hotel Louis at the Viktualienmarkt in the form of a vegan brunch. The Wood restaurant in Schwabing, dedicated wholly to clean eating, also boasts an excellent breakfast menu.
Morning, 10.00 am: a tour of Munich – on foot or by bike
Once breakfast is over, it is time to explore Munich and its stunning surroundings. The Isar river, sparkling lakes and primal forests – the Bavarian capital offers endless beauty. And this beauty is best discovered during an extended hike or mountain bike trip.
The best hiking trails around Munich
The area around Munich has countless hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from light strolls to challenging multiple-day tours. Some of them even start right in the city: Thalkirchen makes for a great point of departure. The route leads from Thalkirchner Brücke past the Hellabrunn Zoo. Then follow the Isar upstream across Großhesseloher Brücke to Solln. Continue to Lake Hinterbrühl and enjoy the adjacent, cosy beer garden. This tour takes approximately one and a half to two hours.
Another beautiful hike of similar lengths is the “Ayinger Achter” (Ayinger Eight). It starts at Kreuzstraße S station and leads north via Peißerstraße. Continuing through the woods to Peiß, it snakes through fields and meadows all the way to Aying. In addition to a late Gothic church steeple and comfortable beer garden, you also have access to a S station (Aying) with regular connections back to Munich.
Mountain biking on the Isar trails – for adrenaline junkies
Munich is the right city for mountain bikers, and the trails along the Isar are particularly popular among those in the know. Ranging from simple trails and challenging sections to the unadulterated downhill rush, they offer something for any level. There is no fixed route: the Isar trails comprise different paths along the banks of the river.
Hellabrunn Zoo is a great point of departure. From there, continue south along the riverbank towards Pullach and Grünwald. Bikers get to choose from many small trails criss-crossing along the bank, depending on their skills. Some sections of the route even reach heights of up to 70 metres – for the most ambitious of downhill riders.
Afternoon, 2.00 pm: refuel during a late lunch
Hackenstraße 2, 80331
+49 89 265596
Following an exhausting hike or extended mountain bike tour, you’ll be craving some filling and nutritious lunch. Great vegan and vegetarian meals are available from Prinz Myshkin in the city centre or Max Pett on Pettenkoferstraße. For a tasty snack, how about some falafel from the Middle Eastern Sambaba stall or a vegan kebab from Makam Naturkost?
Afternoon, 3.00 pm: surfing on Eisbach
Surfing in the city? Absolutely! More precisely, on the Eisbach, which snakes its way through Englischer Garten (English Garden) underneath Eisbachbrücke. A structure attached to one side of the riverbank has created an artificial rapid and a 50 centimetre standing wave here. The Eisbach wave has become well-known among surfers around the globe, attracting celebrity visitors such as the extreme surfer Garrett McNamara or the singer-songwriter and surfer Jack Johnson to Munich.
But surfing on the Eisbach is not without risk. Inexperienced river surfers can easily sustain injuries from the stone blocks underneath the surface. The standing wave at the raft pier in Thalkirchen is more suitable for the less experienced. Even beginners and young surfers can master it easily. Those who would rather stay on land do not miss out, however: watching the hustle and bustle at the Eisbach wave is a lot of fun. Complete your visit with a stroll through the gorgeous English Garden.
Afternoon, 5.00 pm: a visit to Olympiapark
You cannot visit Munich and skip Olympiapark, no matter whether you want to get active yourself or simply have a look. Highlights of the park include a boat or SUP tour on the Olympic Lake, a visit to the Olympic Swim Hall with its sauna landscape, a tour of the Olympic Stadium with abseiling from the pavilion roof, and panoramic views from the Olympic Tower and Olympic Mountain.
In the summer, the atmosphere is particularly lively and joyful, as this is when the IMPARK festival (August) and Sommer Tollwood Festival (June and July) take place. In the winter, the Olympic Mountain is transformed into a popular toboggan run. In addition, the Olympic Ice Rink opens its doors – with a club night on ice every Friday and Saturday!
Evening, 8.00 pm: reward yourself with a delicious dinner
Spiridon-Louis-Ring 7, 80809
+49 89 350948181
After a day full of exercise, you deserve some indulgence in the evening. Dinner at Restaurant 181 on top of the Olympic Tower is a very special experience. The menu may not be the cheapest, but the food is fantastic. The actual highlight of the location, however, is the panoramic view over Munich and its surrounding area: the rotating restaurant completes a full turn every hour. Alternatively, Roecklplatz offers a tasty vegan dinner menu. Guests support the social commitment of the restaurant with their visit.
Munich, the exercise paradise: one day is never enough
If your athletic day around Munich has not tired you out, you should consider staying longer – you have barely scratched the surface. There are still mountains waiting for you to hike and tour in the summer and to ski or snowboard in the winter, and the Isar and many parks offering you countless other ways of keeping fit: from bouldering to gyms or even the very Bavarian “Lederhosentraining” in the English Garden, Munich has the right place for any activity. It fully lives up to its reputation as the sports capital of Germany and is well worth a visit in any season.