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Munich doesn’t let the fact it isn’t on the ocean stop it from having a kicking surf scene and much more

Once upon a time, Berlin was Germany’s official city of cool. But gradually Munich, with its killer beer garden scene, range of outdoorsy activities (inner city surfing, anyone?) and all-year beach started to take the edge. So when many of you pile over there to sample the beery joys of Oktoberfest next month, book a few extra days to enjoy the rest of the city’s offerings. 

River surfing 

A land-locked city might not be the first place you’d expect to find a killer surf scene, but Munich has it’s very own metre-high standing wave which is a popular spot for surfers. You’ll often find queues of board-carrying thrill-seekers queuing under a bridge at the River Eisbach (in the Englischer Garten (above), just by the Haus der Kunst art museum). 

‘Eisbach’ means ice stream, which should give you a clue about the chilly temperature of the water – yes, you’ll need that winter wetsuit. But the cold isn’t all you’ll have to worry about, as the wave is actually a tricky one to surf. A sign nearby warns, “Due to the forceful current, the wave is suitable for skilled and experienced surfers only.” 

Ingenious surfers-cum-engineers have used ropes and planks to adapt the break and increase its height, and it’s now also used by kayakers and playboaters, too. 

If you don’t want to wait around for your go, other standing waves can be found at Floßlände (near the Thalkirchen U-Bahn station) and the Isar river (near the bridge Wittelsbacherbrücke).

Hitting the beach 

Sea-free Munich not only has it own surf scene, but beaches too. One of Munich’s best loved summer traditions is to hang out on one of the city’s man-made stretches of sand.

Beach 38 is an indoors beach in the Ostbahnhof neighbourhood, open year-round. Housed in an old industrial complex, it even has heaters inside to give you that ’I’m really in the tropics’ kind of feel. You can do any and all sand-based activities here from beach sports to lazing around with your friends, drinking. 

More upmarket is the also artificial Roberto Beach, next to Aschheim Wasserskipark. This is a scenic spot for water sports and other activities such as beach golf and yoga. There’s also an excellent cocktail bar here. 

Take in the views

There’s nothing like taking in a sweeping city vista from on high, and there are plenty of options for doing just that in Munich. The lazy option is to take a lift up to the top of the 290m-high Olympic Tower at Munich’s Olympiapark. The thigh-burning option is to climb the 306 stairs to the viewing platform of St Peter’s Church and earn your rest at the top, looking over the characteristic rust-orange roofs of the city. 


Mad about Munich: Short break to Germany's most outdoorsy city
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