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, these restful green spaces keep Germany’s busiest cities a haven of relaxation.
From palace gardens and botanical gardens to urban city parks, here are Germany’s best green spots to stroll, play, and enjoy life.
1. English garden in Munich
In the midst of Munich’s bustling city center, you’ll find the English Garden (Englischer Garten). This is one of the largest city parks in Europe.
Created by American Benjamin Thompson in the 18th century, this green oasis is a wonderful place to explore for free. Rent a paddleboat, stroll along the wooded paths and watch the German version of city 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.
2. Mainau Island in Lake Constance
From the emerald-green waters of Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) 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 is 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 exotic pergolas, fountains, and sculptures.
The flower season kicks off in spring, with a million tulips blooming from March until May. The island is open every day from sunrise to sunset, rain or shine (shorter hours for the interior may apply). Admission in summer is €21.50; winter discounted to €10.
3. Sanssouci Palace and Gardens in Potsdam
When Frederic the Great wanted to escape the formalities of his life in Berlin, he retreated to his summer palace in Potsdam. Called Sanssouci, “without worries” in French, the rococo-style palace sits on top of a terraced vineyard, overlooking 700 acres of royal gardens.
It was designed after Versailles in France with ornate gardens filled with temples, marble sculptures, fountains, and a Chinese tea house. The Sanssouci Palace and its surrounding gardens are a beloved UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wander the palace grounds and many sculpted gardens for free, although entrance to the buildings requires a ticket (combined entrance to all buildings €19).
4. Tiergarten in Berlin
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 open to the public for free and bordered by top attractions like the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, and Berlin’s Zoo. On more than 600 acres, you can enjoy lush lawns, leafy paths, small creeks, biergartens, and open-air cafes.
If you want to see the Tiergarten from a different perspective, climb the 285 stairs of the slender Siegessäule (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.
5. Palmengarten in Frankfurt
Founded in 1868 by a group of Frankfurt citizens, the Palmengarten takes you on a horticultural journey from the African savanna to the exotic plants of the rain forests to the blooming flower gardens of Europe.
On 50 acres and in various greenhouses, 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.
The entrance is 7 euros for adults and there are discounts for children.
6. Planten un Blomen in Hamburg
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 concerts on the water (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.