Surfing in Munich

surfing in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

Surfing in Munich?  Why not?

Munich is likely not the first place that comes to mind when you think of surfing, river surfing is quite popular along the man-made Eisbach River that flows through the Englischer Garten in Munich.
surfing in Munich, Bavaria, Germany At the south end of the Englisher Garten, near the Haus der Kunst Museum there is a standing wave measuring ~ 1 meter high, meaning you can surf it for as long as your balance holds up.

Eisbach River, home to surfing in Munich, Bavaria, Germany

This is not how I pictured a river used for river surfing, but it is beautiful.

When I pictured river surfing, I pictured a wide raging river, so I was surprised to see how narrow the Eisbach is and other than the standing wave used by surfers, the rest of the river just kinda  bubbles along.  It’s a small peaceful looking river, definitely not what I had in mind for river surfing.

surfing in munich

Watching the surfer paddle upstream looked like it was hard work.

Despite this, the surfing is only recommend for experienced surfers.  I have never surfed before but this was apparent even to me.  A one meter wave isn’t that big, but it is fast moving and being quite shallow, it would be easy to hit your hit on the bottom if you fell.  It’s also cold,  despite the 25C temperature on the day that we visited, all the surfers were still wearing wetsuits.    Besides that, I don’t think I would want to try surfing with the rather large crowd of curious onlookers that surfing in Munich attracts.  This is one case in which I’m quite happy to sit on the sidelines and find a quieter, less public place to learn how to surf.

Have you done river surfing?  Would you try it in front of a crowd?

See more places to visit in Germany.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.



  1. The Dropout May 30, 2011 at 7:47 am - Reply

    That looks really hard!
    I had a surfing lesson once and, while I stood up briefly, staying up with very tricky. I don’t really understand how you could surf in a river! I’d love to go an watch though.

  2. Sophie | Sophie's World May 30, 2011 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Surfing in Munich? Now there’s a surprise. Looks fun, though I’d probably not try. Looks a bit painful.

  3. Eastgale May 30, 2011 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Ah, Munich! Englisher Garten! I miss that place very, very much. I miss Germany in general, my friend once joked that it seemed like I was being love-sick, lol.

    But I have never tried river surfing though, didn’t even know there was such activities in Munich. Another reason to go back, I guess (as if I need more, :P).

  4. inka May 30, 2011 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    No and no to your questions, but I’m fascinated by this aspect of Munich. Next time I mist go and have a look too. Yes, a look, not a surf.

  5. Laurel May 30, 2011 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    @The Dropout – I agree that it looks hard and some of the guys we watched were really good. I would love to try surfing, and was surprised to find out you could surf in a river as well.

    @Sophie – I was surprised to find out about surfing in Munich as well. I would like to know how the surfers get so good. I imagine that if you fell it would be painful as the river is not that deep and there are “surf at your own risk” signs everywhere.

    @Eastgale – I can see that, I think I would really miss Germany if I moved away as well. So many good reasons to come back to Germany 🙂

    @Inka – LOL regarding “a look not a surf.” What? Glamour grannies don’t surf? 🙂 It really is interesting and does attract a lot of onlookers.

  6. Zhu May 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    I actually used to surf (and windsurf) back when I lived in France, mostly on the Atlantic Coast. I lost my skills though, when I tried surfing in Costa Rica a few years ago I failed miserably 😆 I blame it on the stupid Pacific Ocean.

    I’ve never seen river surfing before. I’m not sure I’d try it, rivers aren’t usually too clean and they can be shallow at some point. The crowd wouldn’t bother me too much though.

  7. Kelly May 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Wow! Never heard of this before! I grew up surfing and I tried river surfing a couple of times, but always with a boogie board.. never with an actual surfboard! How cool!

  8. Judi May 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    I was there two years ago and my brother and I found this spot by accident. It was really amazing to watch!

  9. The Travel Chica May 30, 2011 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    That is crazy. I wouldn’t have believed you if you didn’t have the photos 🙂

  10. Jan Ross May 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    For heaven’s sake – I couldn’t imagine what this article would be about when I saw the title. I figured surfing the web?? Can’t believe they are surfing on that river. How interesting!!

  11. Lisa May 31, 2011 at 12:13 am - Reply

    I’m astonished, after traveling extensively around Germany I never knew river surfing existed. That would be fun to watch; another way to enjoy Munich.

  12. adventureswithben May 31, 2011 at 12:31 am - Reply

    This is something I would most definitely do! Can’t believe I missed this last time I was in Munich.

  13. Andrew May 31, 2011 at 12:17 pm - Reply

    Is this the wave right by the Deutsche Museum (The technical one)? I didn’t think the English Garden went that far down. There are a couple of places I have seen this kind of thing. In Bamberg, in the river near the Rathaus they have gone as far as setting up hanging gates for use with the kayakers.
    As for the waves in Munich, I was talking to a friend about this just the other day, and he said you have to buy a membership in a club to put a sticker on your board to be “allowed” to do it. This sticker apparently requires you to disavow the city any responsibility if you get hurt. Ahh German regulations.

  14. Sabrina May 31, 2011 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    That looks like fun – I could never do it since I don’t know how to surf, but it must be fun to even just watch this 🙂 Never knew this was going on in Munich!

  15. Debbie Beardsley May 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    This is hilarious! I have never heard of it and would never try it especially will all those people around.

    Seriously, I think I would be having a great time just watching 🙂

    The hardest thing I have ever attempted to do was surf! I did get up but it is hard to stay that way. I have a new found appreciation for all the surfers out there.

  16. Jeremy Branham May 31, 2011 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I’ve seen some episodes about this surfing in Munich on a couple of travel shows. Looks interesting! I think there is also a park nearby that allows people to go fully nude too correct?

  17. Turkey's For Life June 1, 2011 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Well, I’ve never heard of river surfing and I’ve certainly never heard of surfing in Europe. These guys are obviously really experienced. I presume they’ve learnt their skills outside of Germany?

  18. Laurel June 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Thanks for your comments everyone. It’s fun to see who would be up for trying this. There are some brave souls.

    @Andrew – no it’s not by the Technik Museum, it’s further north. Too funny, (but why am I not surprised) about the regulations. Apparently it just became legal last year. I’ll have to check for the stickers the next time I’m there.

    @Jeremy – Regarding the nude beach, you are correct, although we didn’t go.

  19. jade June 1, 2011 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of river surfing before… really interesting- I’d love to try it out! It’s so interesting that the waves are created that way and I love all the spectators watching on the bridge!

  20. Sonja June 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    That is so cool! I MUST tell my cousin who lives in Munich about it! My husband would love it too, next time we go!

  21. Christy @ Technosyncratic June 2, 2011 at 2:55 am - Reply

    How funny! It kind of reminds me of the wave machines they have in various places (I’ve only seen the one in San Diego) – people who are experience can ride those waves until they get exhausted!

  22. Going kraut June 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I always found this really cool. I thin in the US the police or someone would have stopped this because of safety and liability issues. It is really cool that this happens in the middle of the city with the park and the beautiful buildings. I find the Englischer Garten to be quite amazing.

  23. Sensibletraveler June 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    I want to try this!

  24. Grace June 10, 2011 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Holy cow…you know when surfers are desperate! I’ve never done river surfing before but this looks a little dicey!

  25. Tijmen June 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    This looks cool, they should make something like this on more cities 🙂 Would be the last spots where I would expect to find a surf spot.

  26. Kathy Grin June 18, 2011 at 2:44 am - Reply

    I am afraid of surfing. I can’t say that I can try this one out. But the photos look like they are having fun.

  27. Christina July 10, 2011 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Oh I’d love to do that! I surfed in the Catlins and Taranaki along the Surf Highway in New Zealand, but have never river surfed. It looks really hard, but I’d be up for it. I once lived in Munich but never checked it out – should have been a better tourist in my own backyard. Although, my next surf destination is Tofino…

  28. Diana October 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I am heading to Munich in a few days. Do you know if the surfing is going on now? Or is the water too chilly?

  29. Laurel October 3, 2011 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Diana – They were surfing last week and the weather has bee in the 20sC so I think they should still be surfing unless there’s a sudden change in weather. They wear wet suits so that helps as well.

  30. […] means you can enjoy the many beer gardens and parks dotted around the city or even do a little river surfing. September too sees floods of visitors arrive in the city for the annual Oktoberfest but what about […]

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