Visiting Hannover - What to See and Do
(Hannover Langenhagen Airport HAJ, Germany)
is one of Germany's hard-working hubs of industry and commerce. It hosts the world's largest industrial trade fair each year, but in many other aspects this city has lost a lot of its luster. When the royal court moved out in the 19th century, the glamour quickly waned.
There are, however, certainly more than a handful of treasures hiding in Hannover, and visitors to the city will have enough to keep them entertained for a couple of days or longer. From its magical baroque gardens to the Eilenriede Forest that encircles the city, there is a nice splash of nature in this otherwise industrial city.
At Hannover's heart are a few impressive medieval structures and attractions, such as the 14th-century Market Church and the neighbouring Town Hall. The nightlife is adequate, though pales compared to Hamburg up the road. Shoppers will have something to cheer about in Germany's biggest and oldest flea market, the Flohmarkt, while the overall solid range of fashion boutiques and trendy shops also adds to the appeal.
Ten things you must do in Hannover
- Arguably the one highlight of Hannover not to miss is the Herrenhauser Garten, a true masterpiece of Low German baroque-style garden design. Brilliant minds from five countries worked to create this series of pleasure gardens in 1666. There are hedge mazes, moats, lakes with shooting fountains and an endless parade of exquisite flower gardens and walking paths.
- Fans of modern art won't want to pass up a visit to the Sprengel Museum, one of the best of its class in Germany. Its rotating exhibitions are known for their cutting edge style, while the permanent collection boasts a heady roster of big names like Picasso and Paul Klee.
- Hannover's Old City Hall is a top historic attraction. Inside are models of the city from four different time periods, between 1689 and 2000. There is also an inclined elevator to the top of the domed roof, where an observation tower affords superb views of the city.
- Take a look back at the life of a Hanoverian court at the Marienburg Castle. It is one of the finest neo-Gothic palaces in Germany and well worth the quick trip out of town for a visit. Set beside the Leine River, its multiple turrets create a striking scene amidst its countryside backdrop. The tours are comprehensive and really quite interesting.
- Germany's biggest and oldest flea market is in Hannover. The Flohmarkt pops up every Saturday from 07:00 until 16:00 along the banks of the Leine River. Vendors from inside and out of the city bring their antiques and junk to be sold here.
- It has got quite a name, but the Nieder Sachsische Stadtstheater Hannover is one of Northern Germany's top venues for performing arts. Built in the mid-1800s, it is now home to the city's best ballet, opera and live music. Chances are good that there will be a show scheduled during your visit.
- There is a casino in the city, if you're feeling lucky. The Spielbank is a rather upmarket modern venue with a solid selection of slots and gaming tables. You will need a jacket or nice-looking dress to enter.
- Hannover's main lake is the Maschsee, a huge body of water right in the middle of the city. In warm weather, it is a magnet for locals who come to jog, walk and just relax along its scenic shores. If the winter is cold enough, people even ice skate on it.
- Hannover Zoo is reputedly one of Europe's best. It has more than 2,000 animals inside, separated into six different global zones. The facility is very modern and well-laid out. In the winter months, a special WinterZoo attraction features ice skating, snow slides and other fun frosty events.
- Although there is a lot of green space right in Hannover, the Eilenriede Forest virtually rings the entire city for a quick escape into real woodlands. It is easily accessible from town, and offers miles of walking and biking paths.