HOFGARTEN: Where’s the perfect place to make a move on a would-be lover? If you’re in Munich the answer is clear – the Hofgarten oozes breezy, romantic charm.

MUSICAL: Musicians and couples often populate the Diana Temple. Photo by deep_schismic

Take that guy or girl by the hand and stroll through the archway on the eastern side of Odeonsplatz.

You’re in the west arcade, filled with frescos showing the history of Bavaria and its royal Wittelsbach clan.

Keep moving towards the centre, past broad, sandy pathways where old men playing boccia add to the Mediterranean mood.

Now you’re in the garden proper, filled with fountains, flowers and hedges.
Prince Elector Max I had it designed in the formal Italian style around 1613. Head towards the Diana Temple in the centre, which might be occupied by a string quartet or tangoing twosomes.
Take a moment to watch the goings-on before withdrawing to a quiet park bench. Could there be anywhere more idyllic for that first kiss?

One killer statue

MYTHICAL: You can fill up your water bottle at the Loreley statue.

Near the arcade is a beautiful woman sitting on a fountain – don’t let her be the death of you! It’s a statue of Loreley, a mythical German dame.
In times gone by she’d sit on a rock by the river Rhine, combing her hair and singing mournful melodies.
River sailors would be so distracted by her singing that they’d come a kipper on the rocks and meet watery graves.

Temple to the stage

Theatre-buffs should gravitate towards the Deutsches Theater Museum (German Theatre Museum), on the northern side of the arcade.
Its quirky collection of costumes, mask and stage props spans centuries of stage shows in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
There’s also a museum archive and library with hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, reviews, and other theatre-related documents. The museum is actually a great place to find out what’s happening in Munich’s theatre scene.

Seat of power

PEACEFUL: The Hofgarten in summer.

Bavaria’s political chiefs hang their hats at the Staatskanzlei (State Chancellery), to the Hofgarten’s east. It’s nicknamed the "Bavarian Kremlin" and has an impressive 200m-long glass façade.
It’s essentially an office building where new laws are drafted and the nitty gritty of running a state goes on. The classical middle section is what’s left of the old Royal Bavarian Army Museum, which occupied the site before the Chancellery was finished in 1992.
The Bavarian Parliament (Maximilianeum) is a fair hike away, at the eastern end of Maximillian Strasse.

Did you know…

The Hofgarten is referenced in T.S. Eliot’s classic poem The Wasteland?

"With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch."

The Details

Location: Odeonsplatz. The Deutsches Theater Museum is at Galerie Strasse 4a.
Phone: Museum 089 21 06 91 28
Open: The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm
Cost: The Hofgarten is free. The museum is €4, concession €3
Directions: Take U-Bahn No. 3, 4, 5 or 6 to Odeonsplatz and stroll through the gateway on the eastern side of the square.

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