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When I’m planning a trip, I always check to see if there are botanical gardens in the area. Sometimes the garden alone is reason enough to book the trip 😉 I’ve been to many botanical ga2018-08-12rdens over the years, here in Holland, but mainly abroad. The upcoming months I’ll be filling up my category ‘Botanical Gardens & Greenhouses’ with different ones. Because don’t you think a green oasis, almost always situated right in the city centre, is the perfect place to unwind from the concrete jungle’s hustle and bustle? I always feel rejuvenated and full of new energy after visiting. Kind of like plants are my ultimate drug! This time I will tell you a little about the Botanischer Garten Münster, just across the Dutch-German border in Germany.
♡ MY GO-TO GARDEN ♡
Living in the East of Holland, in Enschede, for me this is the nearest bigger botanical garden. It’s a 50 minute-drive and the last 3 years I haven’t skipped a season. I visit the city of Münster almost every year as well, since I’m a little kid, so I know this place by heart. I love being there. There’s so much to see and do aside from the beautiful botanical garden (which is free by the way!). I’ll tell you about other places to go to later on in this article. So for all of you planning a little summer getaway: keep on reading 😉
♡ CASTLE GARDEN ♡
Like so many botanical gardens this one belongs to a university. The Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster to be exact. They founded the garden back in 1803. Today the garden is still used by many students, scientists and￼ experts for scientific research. Mainly by the Biology department, but the medical faculty also uses the garden because of all of the medicinal herbs and plants that grow there. The botanical garden is part of the bigger castle garden. You see the pretty city castle Schloss Münster, now used as the administrative building by the uni, popping through the bushes and trees when you walk around the garden.
♡ GREENHOUSES ♡
There are about 10 greenhouses to be found in the garden and 7 of them are open to public, each one of them with their own charm. Every time I’m there I see something new. The tropical greenhouse is full of plants from Africa and Asia and cute little birds walk around. They’re Crested Patridges and Chinese Painted Quails. In the Bromelia House you’ll find different kinds of Bromelia, like pineapple plants and airplants/tillandsia. The Viktoriahaus gets its name from the Victoria amazonica also known as the Giant Water Lily. Its circular leaves can grow up to 2,5 metres across. The little lake in this greenhouse is too small for them to grow that big, but smaller they’re stunners too! In summer it can bloom. If you’re so lucky to be there on the first day of bloom and you’re in town the next day too, do come back to check out the flower on the second day of bloom. Overnight it turns beautifully pink (flower doesn’t open until the end of the afternoon). Aside from these greenhouses there’s also the succulent house, the small greenhouse with carnivorous plants, one with plants from arid areas in southern Africa and a greenhouse with plants growing on the Canary Islands.
And that’s just the greenhouses! You’ll also find plant specific areas in the garden and special plant collections. Furthermore an arboretum, an alpine garden, a lovely little lake including an island in the middle, a farmer’s garden/vegetable garden, an herb garden, a fern garden, heather and swamp fields and a garden of senses. You might think you’ll at least need 3 days to see all of it, and you can, but what’s great about this botanical garden is that it’s not that big but it has everything you’re looking for in a botanical garden. Like I said, you can wander around for days if you want to read every sign and check out every plant. I’ve been here often and I still spend about 2,5 hours each time I visit. If you’ve got the time, bring something to read with in your picnic basket! There are so many lovely benches and gazebos and aren’t those the best places to read your book?
♡ OLD ORANGERY ♡
Don’t want to drag your picnic basket around? Then you’re probably happy to read to that’s there’s a coffee corner just around the corner 😉 In the old orangery where in winter the non-hardy plants that can’t survive the winter cold are stored, you’ll find a little cafe. In summer there are small exhibitions inside and out on the patio cute bistro sets are nestled between the gorgeous palms, rose bushes and fig trees. Their menu isn’t big, but who needs more than a big piece of fruity cake with a tall glass of juice or a nice cappuccino? If you do need more than that, don’t worry. The bigger Schloßgarten Café is just around the corner too. They’re open daily. UPDATE: At the time of writing the orangery is sadly (temporarily) closed…
♡ SOUVENIR SHOPPING ♡
You don’t see this often at botanical gardens: at this one, you can buy plants too! That’s right, BUY. Don’t get your hopes up too much, it’s just a small table with only a few plants. But hey, how cool is it to own a special plant bought at a botanical garden?! The first time I was here I was so over the top enthusiastic about this, I didn’t know how fast I had to grab one and put it safely in my car to make sure someone else didn’t beat me to the punch. It’s a help yourself mini plant shop. You take a bag, stuff it with your plants and put the money in a little container. So don’t forget to bring cash money. I once found a beautiful Persian Silk Tree, one of the coolest plants I ever owned. Sadly thrips got to her and 1,5 years later I had to let her go 🙁 If you’re smart: walk past the table on the way in and do the same on your way out. They’re constantly filling up holes with new and if you’re lucky, other plants 😉 And for those not done plant shopping: you’ll find garden centres and plant nurseries all around town. I once bought a beautiful Ficus benghalensis/Banyan Fig, Spanish Moss and a mini rubber tree for my night stand at Gartencenter Schrieverhoff. They were cheap too, the rubber tree was only €1,99.
♡ CITY OF MÜNSTER ♡
I promised to share some of my other tips for Münster as well. Like I said, I love this town. It’s not too big, therefore perfect for a weekend away (that is of course if you don’t live too far away…). Since I’m a hop, skip and a 50-minute drive away from home, I’ve never spent the night there. So I don’t know about good places to stay. But I see some very cool places on Airbnb, so I’m sure you can find yourself somewhere nice to sleep. When it comes to the city: I’m not gonna tell you a whole lot about all the bigger tourist hot spots like all the beautiful churches, the famous cathedral with the cool astronomical clock and all of the castles in the area. They’re all worth the visit though. Münster is a great place for shopping too. The well-known retail chains have their stores here, but if you’re a more conscious and creative shopper for clothes, than you’re in luck too. Visit shops like Grüne Wiese, Frau Többen and, my personal favourite and I love their name which means ‘shop yourself happy’, Kauf Dich Glücklich. This is a concept store which not only sells eco-friendly clothing but also cool gadgets and hip home deco. Perfect for the fair fashion buyers among us. Also good to know: Münster is known as THE bike capital of Germany. My fellow Dutchies will feel at home right away 😉 So, do rent a bike to explore the city as a local.
♡ ART & COCKTAILS ♡
This city not only has a botanical garden, they have a zoo as well, the Allwetter Zoo, with more than 3000 animals. For those who want to add a a little fauna to their flora 😉 I visited once on a work outing and I was pleasantly surprised. Close to the zoo is the Aasee, a lake within walking distance from the city centre. You can even rent boats here, enjoy a drink alongside the water, take a stroll in the lush green park and have a bite to eat at one of the restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the Münster harbour either! It’s also known as the ‘Kreativkai’. For a shot of culture you should go to the Kunsthalle which is situated here (or to the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso in the city centre for that matter). And for those looking to find the best place to get yourself a good old cocktail after a long day of sightseeing, the harbour is the place to be as well. Also good to know: from May until September a big flea market is organised every month at the Promenade.
♡ MY TOP TIPS ♡
For all foodies out there: here’s where to go when you’re feeling peckish 😉
♡ Royals & Rice
They call their food Vietkitchen, it’s a Vietnamese fusion restaurant and one of the best places I’ve eaten. Ever! My boyfriend and I are big fans of their menu. We actually come here every time we visit the city. It’s just that good! The food is amazing (the award-winning Banh Bao Burger with sweet potato fries is their delicious specialty) but do have a cup of coffee here too. The Vietnamese fair-trade coffee beans are handpicked and roasted by HAN Coffee Roasters in Münster and Berlin. The (iced) coffee is served in an authentic Vietnamese one-cup-coffee-filter. It looks so cool. They sell the cute things too and this also goes for the coffee beans and their special home made soy sauce. Open for lunch too. Reservations required.
This coffee roastery has 5 cool coffee bars in town. I only know the one on Bohlweg, which is the one farthest away from the city centre, but they have a nice shop next to the bar with home deco to make up for it.
♡ Herr Sonnenschein
Cosy coffee spot in the centre of town to get yourself a nice breakfast, lunch, home made smoothie or coffee/tea with cake. Make sure you use the bathroom too. You’ll feel like you’re at a disco in there 😉 Vegan food options available.
♡ Brauerei Pinkus Müller
If you’re looking for that quintessential German feel, go here. This brewery serves a wide selection of home-brewed eco beer and authentic and regional dishes for lunch and dinner. It’s your typical German pub. The waitress told me that the table we sat at was actually there since the start in 1866. The brewery is owned by the same family for six generations now. Reservations required.
♡ Fyal Central
Total hipster bar. Here you’ll definitely notice that Münster is a student city. They serve special juices and lemonades, coffee, not a lot of snacks/lunch options, but they do have a nice terrace to enjoy those long summer nights to the fullest.
♡ PRACTICAL TIPS ♡
Leaving you with some practical tips. There’s free parking during opening hours at the botanical garden. Just give in the address in your GPS and keep on driving until you see the Schloßgarten Café and the parking lot under the trees, so pass the brick entry gate. If you’re planning on staying longer, then it’s best to park your car in front of the castle. You’ll see the big parking lot called Schlossplatz (open until 9PM). This parking is also within walking distance of the botanical garden. To drive in the city centre you need an environmental badge, a green sticker on your car. The botanical garden and the Schlossplatz parking are just outside the environmental zone, so you don’t need the badge to go there.
For more info on Münster, take a look on this website.
BOTANISCHER GARTEN MÜNSTER
48149 Münster, GERMANY
24.03.2018 – 14.10.2018 from 9AM-7PM
15.10.2018 – 31.10.2018 from 9AM-5PM
1.11.2018 – 22.03.2019 from 9AM-4PM
no dogs or bicycles allowed