Munich has more green space than almost any other German city and has an abundance of riches for runners!
This includes one of the largest and most runner-friendly public parks in Europe – the Englischer Garten. It is home to the Olympia Park, which was the site of the 1972 Games, offering world-class athletic grounds and facilities that have been called ‘a Disneyland for runners’. To cap it all off the city is also at the foot of the Alps, so visitors with a lot of time to spare have the chance to explore some of the most epic mountain trail running in Europe.
However, we’re going to focus on some routes in the heart of Munich, for those of you that are either travelling through Munich or eager to keep up their running regime.
For a great introduction to the city and its green spaces, start at the Holiday Inn Munich City Centre on Hochstraße and head west straight out onto the river. Run north along the bank of the Isar on Zellstraße, under the Maximilian Bridge and through the greenery of Maximiliansanlagen, a 75-acre ornamental park planted in 1856. Follow the trail through the park, sticking to the river, all the way to Max-Joseph bridge. Cross the river and you’ll see the Englischer Garten in front of you.
There are hours of running routes in this 900-acre green space. It was laid out in the late 18th century in the English style of Capability Brown (hence the name). The landscape is informal, with forests, waterfalls and flat open spaces stretching so far it’s easy to forget you’re in a city. Attractions include a Japanese teahouse and garden, a Chinese pagoda, a Grecian temple, a static surfing wave and an amphitheatre. For this run, head north through the park and cross the Oberst-jagermeister-bach (one of the streams that runs through the heart of the park), before looping around to exit in the south east corner, by the Arthouse of the National Museum. Run east along Prinzregentenstraße, across the Leopold Bridge and then back through Maximiliansanlagen, all the way back to where you started.
For those in the north of the city, Olympia Park offers runners an enormous variety of interesting routes. The grounds feature a string of lakes, all circumnavigated by broad paths, plus man-made hills constructed from mounds of rubble dumped here after the Second World War. Despite its proximity to the Alps, Munich is a very flat city, so this is one of the few areas you can get some hill sprints in.
Olympia Park has a number of signposted running routes, suitable for all skills and fitness levels. Head to the area between the Olympic Tower and the Olympic Swimming pool for a warm-up and stretch, and the launching point for both the Jungbrunnen Route (3.1km) and the Vital Route (3.6km). The longer, 6.4km Fitness Route loops around the south side of Olympia Park. All routes are circuits and each of them are lined with heart-monitoring stations where you can check your pulse.
If you’re staying at the Holiday Inn Munich South, there’s a fast loop that takes you from the hotel front door through to Sudpark for a distance of around 6km. Start by heading west along Kistlerhofstraße, and then north once you get to Machtlfinger Straße. Pound the pavement until you get to Boschetsrieder Straße, which winds north past the Thomas-Mann Gymnasium. Take the bridge over Boschetsrieder Straße and cross into the park. Sudpark is scattered with trails and offers a good couple of hours of exploring, but for this route stick to the northern perimeter and then exit from the north-east gate onto Sudparkallee, then cross Murnauer Straße and return to your starting point by heading south-west down Hoglworther Straße and Murnauer Straße until you reach Kistlerhofstraße.
You can search for running routes from Holiday Inn hotels in Munich and other local Holiday Inn destinations here: http://restandrun.holidayinn.com/route-search/