Founded in the Middle Ages (1241), Hannover has the biggest expo venues and business fairs in Europe. It is one of that cities known more as a place for business than for tourists. But I went there anyway and was captivated by its beauty and so friendly locals. It was the beginning of spring and I spent one weekend there and will now show you the best – and mostly offbeat – things to do when visiting Hannover for the first time.
The city’s public transportation is very easy to use and everything is well connected. I had no problem moving around, as well as walking – very pedestrian friendly.
A good idea is buying the Hannover Card. With only 16 Euros you can use all public transportation and also have discounts on museums, attractions, restaurants and more during the weekend (48h)!
1. Enjoy the Maschsee
Masch Lake is the heart of Hannover. It is an artificial lake, around 78 hectares and the most popular recreation area in the city. I was lucky to have only sunny days, allowing me to try all ice cream trucks along the lake area.
2. Visit the New Town Hall
The New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) of Hannover is nestled in the 10 hectare Maschpark on the southern edge of downtown, outside the historic city center of Hannover.
When you enter the magnificent main hall, you’ll find scale models of Hannover, from before and after the war periods. This part of the visit is free of charge. With a guided visit you can see the “Hodler Saal”. Here you will find the monumental mural “Unanimity” by the Swiss Ferdinand Hodler, which deals with Hannover’s transition to the Reformation.
There’s also a curved elevator to the dome of the New Town Hall, which is unique in the world . On the way up visitors are transported at an angle of 17 degrees. From there you have an excellent view of the whole city.
After exploring the Town Hall from inside, I walked on the Maschpark and enjoyed the calmness and beauty of Hannover.
3. Wander at the city centre
Hannover centre was severely destroyed by the Second World War. That way, most of the centre was rebuilt in the style of the 50s.
The Bahnhofstraße, leading from the Central Station, is a “pedestrians only” shopping street on two levels: you can also walk along the Passerelle in the basement, built in the 70s. At the end of the Bahnhofstraße you will find Kröpcke, the most central square in Hannover.
The Marktkirche is another landmark of Hannover and was first mentioned in documents in 1238. They offer open tours every Saturday from 12:00 to 13:00. This tour costs only 3 Euros (and you can also donate more for their work).
After exploring all of the city centre, I crossed it all the way to the Leine River, finding a flea market and the Leine Palace.
4 . Explore the Herrenhausen Palace and its gardens
The Herrenhausen Gardens consists of the Großer Garten, the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten .
You can take a tram and drop off at the Hannover Schneiderberg Station, and enjoy the Georgengarten on the way to the palace and main gardens. This part is free of charge. I highly recommend buying the tickets to see the main gardens and museums (or using your Hannover Card). Tickets can be bought on site and costs 8 Euros.
The Great Garden in Herrenhausen is one of the most important baroque gardens in Europe and is the historic centerpiece of the Herrenhäuser Gardens. It is also the site of one of the last works of the artist Niki de Saint Phalle. She modified the three-roomed grotto in the northwestern section of the garden, which had served as a store room in the eighteenth century, by adding various items, including crystals, minerals, glass and seashells