I love city life. There’s lots to see, lots of interesting stuff to discover, lots of intriguing people to watch. But I need green too.
If you go on a trip somewhere in Europe this summer, and you start longing for some quietness and peace in the busy urban vibe, I have some tips for you.
In every city, the first thing I do myself is studying the city map (or Google) with a focus on the green spots:
- Where is the larger park?
- Is there a botanic garden?
- Or a river bank? A lake?
Those 5 European green city spots can solve your urge for green:
1. Munich (Germany)
The green in Munich is about drinking a beer and having a swim.
In Munich there’s lots of beer, but also: beer gardens; look for the sign Bier Garten.
You’ll find a nice outdoor terrace on the west side of the Hofgarten (near Odeonsplatz). In the middle of this garden is a charming building, the Diana Temple, inspiring for the way stones and shells are used in a decorative way around some water fountains.
Through Munich, the river Isar finds its way and it streams right trough the nearby Englischer Garten. In warm weather conditions it makes it into an urban nature fun park, because you can make a spectacular swim. Throw yourself in the water and let the current take you further up. There’s little ladders here and there to get out of the water and yes, you’ll have to walk back through the park in your swimwear.
You might also do this trick in the natural swimming pool in the south of the city, Naturbad Maria Einsiedel. The Isar runs through it as well.
And when it is warm, drink a beer and snack a pretzl near the Chinesischer Turm, a packed place, but that is because it is a fun spot to just be for a while. And there is always a little spot to sip your drink and watch the people.
One of the other green must sees in Munich is the botanic garden, not in the center at all (take tram 17).
This blog post shows why you really should go there.
2. Salzburg (Austria)
The green in Salzburg is all about romance.
Mirabell Palace was built in 1606 by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich for his beloved Salome Alt.
Nowadays people from all over the world are visiting the property for it’s classical design. It is also used as a decor for the famous sixties love movie Sound of Music.
Begonias and primulas are put in geometrical patterns in meticulous lawns. Roses are blooming abundantly in bright colours. Well, it is a real candy store.
Mirabell seems to be a woman’s name from Italy, a compilation of two words: mirabile (admirable) and bella (beautiful). Very romantic.
In the city of Salzburg, there’s squares with heroic statues of lions, deer, hounds and horses.
3. Strasbourg (France)
The green in Strasbourg is about medieval houses and vertical gardens.
Strasbourg is famous for the medieval houses built with wood and clay. Often geraniums hang under the windows: typical Elzas style.
There’s two nice green quarters in this city: La Petite France and the streets between Rue des Juifs and Rue des Veaux, with the central square Place du Marché Gayot, where you ca find a giant pebble monument. And lots of bars with outdoor terraces.
There’s quite some vertical gardens in Strasbourg. This is one of them, on the corner of Rue Sainte-Marguerite.
4. Manchester (UK)
The green in Manchester is mixed with black, and hidden in a far away park.
Manchester is a city of labour, industry and Brit pop music. That’s even noticed in the planting: quite some raw and black elements.
In the Northern Quarter, full of bars, vinyl shops and second hand stores, flower shop Northern Flower adds a green touch.
Absolutely not in the center, the Fletcher Moss Gardens offer a true Oasis (music lovers, do you get the hint?).
There are three separate but linked areas:
- Fletcher Moss Park and the Botanical Gardens – with a stunning rock garden
- Parsonage Gardens
- the Nature Reserve of Stenner Woods, Millgate Fields and the River Mersey
In the rock garden, I fell in love with the pink astilbe.
5. Utrecht (The Netherlands)
Green in Utrecht is about canals and squares. Plus some places that only locals know of.
Hire a canoe to float on the canal Oudegracht (or choose the lazy way with a tour boat).
Pay a visit the flower market. It is inspiring every Saturday.
Take bus 12 from Central Station, get out at the bus stop Stadion and walk to De Moestuin (the kitchengarden). During the day the lunch cafe serves delicious cakes and sandwiches and the bio shop is open to buy your fresh local grown vegetables and fruit.
In an area that is not very green at all, between some old office buildings (where small business owners and artist hire work space) and the bus depot, there’s De Klub. This restaurant grows salad and herbs in containers on the parking lot and serves a fresh menu with these ingredients.
More green summer city tips
See the blogs on:
Have you collected some green tips that I could add to this list, do contact me to let me know!