Munich

Bavaria considers itself separate from Germany and Munich, its capital, is a world unto itself. This is the true land of lederhosen, of beer, of fatty foods and Oktoberfest fun. But the fun is not limited to the annual autumn beer festival. At almost all times of year you can enjoy the pristine streets and stunning parks of one of the safest, greenest cities in Europe. The heart of the city centers on Marienplatz, and many pedestrian streets stem from this location. Just one kilometer west of the city center is the train station (Hautbahnhof), and just south of that are the famed Oktoberfest grounds. By the way, we strongly encourage runners to avoid running this open area while the festival is in session.

But as for the rest of the city? You're in for a treat. When we called Munich "green" we didn't mean environmentally friendly - although it most certainly is. We're talking about Munich's plethora of parks, gardens, open spaces devoted to nature and the enjoyment thereof. This means miles upon miles of great running paths that will allow you an unforgettable workout. Our favorite spot was the enormous English Garden right in the heart of the city center, but you won't regret a jaunt along the Iser River path or a triumphant stampede up the hill of Olympic Park. Read on to find out more about them!

Watch Out For: 
  • Beer: The beer culture takes over this city during Oktoberfest, and continues to dominate the scene the rest of the year. Beer garden tables and food stalls spill onto sidewalks in the central city and surrounding parks. Running around them is entirely manageable, but the temptation to sit down and sip up can be tough to overcome.
  • Lions: Lions are the symbols of this storied city, and you will see them everywhere.
  • Subtle History: While it's easy to be enraptured by Munich's beauty, don't forget the city has a dark past. The Nazi movement grew from these streets, and if you look closely you'll find reminders of it. For example, glance down the alley on the south side of Odeonsplatz - see that yellow line? During the 1930s people who walked through the square had to, by law, salute a Nazi monument they passed. People protested the party's takeover by trying to walk around the monument - that is, by cutting through the alley. Pretty soon the party knew what was up, and arrested the people who were doing so. The yellow line is a mini-memorial to those who suffered this fate.  

In the mood to rent a bike?
Check out Radius, on Platform 32 of the Hautbahnhof
Also look for Mike's Bike Tours for additional bike rental and tour opportunities
Bräuhausstr. 10 - (089) 25.54.39.87
http://www.mikesbiketours.com/munich/