Formally a court garden attached to the Residenz, this park is now the place where fashionable locals go to gain some respite from the city.
Munich’s Hofgarten, or the “court garden,” was commissioned in 1613 by Maximilian I and designed in the Renaissance style. Much of the garden was destroyed during World War II, but redevelopment went ahead shortly afterward with a view to recreating the landscaping principles of the original Hofgarten.
The original and main feature of the garden is the pavilion, which was installed in 1615 and has survived all the changes to the garden’s design over the years. This pavilion was dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana, who was associated with the woods and wild animals. A bronze sculpture, Tellus Bavarica, sits on top of the pavilion. This figure is a replica of the original “Bavaria Statue,” which was created in the 16th century and symbolizes the bounty of the state in a female personification of Bavaria.
Today, the garden is bordered on each side by prominent buildings such as the Residenz and the domed Bavarian State Chancellery. Arcades to the west and the north of the garden contain murals depicting historic scenes from the historic Wittelsbach family.
Fountains from the 16th century have been restored, and they now offer cool relief in the warmer months. Hedges, geometric flower beds and tall lines of trees divide the garden. There are plenty of benches and lawns for relaxing. Catch students from the nearby Ludwig-Maximilians University enjoying the sunshine trapped in this enclosed garden in the middle of the city.
When the weather is fine, locals can be seen at the Café Tambosi sipping Aperol spritz and other cool drinks at the outdoor tables that the café runs in the garden. The Hofgarten is also used for impromptu bocce tournaments on the gravel pathways. Listen out for the street musicians, whose classical renditions can be heard drifting through the garden.
The Hofgarten is open all year. The most convenient way to access the Hofgarten is on foot from the city, and the usual entry point is from the Odeonsplatz, where there is a U-Bahn (subway) stop. The Hofgarten also connects via walkways to the English Garden.