Grugapark in Essen
Essen’s most beautiful garden
Relaxation and adventure, nature and culture, sports facilities and picnic/barbecue areas – available all year round in Essen’s most beautiful park.
It’s always peak season at the Grugapark. At the “Parkleuchten” illuminations in February, the rockeries in the Alpine garden glow magically after dusk and lightart can be seen in every other treetop. Later, when spring arrives, bursts of colour await daytime visitors to Essen’s most beautiful garden – affectionately known as the “Gruga”.
The heart of the Grugapark is the large botanical garden: exotic surprises await throughout the Forest Valley – from ancient bonsai to huge cacti, and from tropical groves to the “Indian Summer”. No less impressive are the flagships of Western gardening, such as the Westphalian Farmer’s Garden, the charming Rose Garden and the Rhododendron Valley.
The park was originally created in 1929 for the first Great Ruhr Landscape Gardening Exhibition, or “Gruga” for short in German. In the 1940s, however, it was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing. Its current design is shaped in equal parts by the gently sloping lawns, small hills and panoramic views, which are the product of the post-war period, and the experience-oriented park design, which was conceived for the 1965 German Garden Show.
A wide range of leisure activities
The contrast between these two garden concepts is what makes the Gruga so diverse. Bird watchers can mingle with herons and flamingos in large bird enclosures, art lovers can discover over 40 sculptures amid the greenery and sporty visitors can play beach volleyball, tennis or boules. There is also a strong emphasis on Wellness with the “Kur vor Ort” park spa, where salt water runs down a large graduation tower, evaporating on the wall of brushwood. Passers-by can then breathe in the beneficial salty air.
A particular highlight for art-lovers is the Hundertwasserhaus, a fantastical building designed by the well-known artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser shortly before his death. Another popular attraction, which opened in 2014, is the Oktorail miniature railway exhibition, which transports visitors back to the industrial world of the Ruhr. Park festivals, Sunday concerts and cabaret shows add variety and a convivial atmosphere to the park.
Young families will also find Grugapark one of the best places for an outing in the Ruhr Area. Whether it is tackling the high rope course, going wild in the maze and up the climbing tower, or taking the park train to the petting zoo, the Gruga has no shortage of ways to keep the little ones occupied in the fresh air.
Visually impaired and wheelchair-bound visitors can also enjoy the Grugapark thanks to a 1.3 kilometre accessible circular path which passes features including the Rose Gardens, the Bamboo Grove and the “Garden of the Senses”.
Open all year: 9 am to dusk