Hannover is the 13th biggest city in Germany with about 500,000 people living there and quite some sights for tourists to see. Personally, I have never experienced Hannover from the view of a tourist because I basically grew up there. It was really interesting to change my perspective for this travel guide and I was able to see the city in a different light and even found out things that I didn’t know before.
So here is a quick guide to the top ten sights for tourists (or anybody, really) to visit in Hannover.
The main train station
Maybe it is a little weird to count the main station of a city as a tourist attraction, but in Hannover, it is worth a visit. It counts about 250,000 people travelling daily and – compared to Hannover’s size – it is a rather big station. Now, all of that does not make it a tourist attraction, but the countless shopping opportunities do. The station consists of 3 levels and on 2 of them, you can find many stores like restaurants, drug stores and even clothing stores. And the location of the station is even better: the second you step out of it, you can find yourself in the middle of the city centre with even more shopping opportunities.
The so-called “Kröpcke” is part of Hannover’s city centre. It is a public square just 100 meters from the main train station. Usually, it is the busiest part of the city and you’ll see many people hurry in all directions. Right in the middle of that square, you can find a big clock. That’s the typical place to meet for locals. You can spot people waiting for each other at its step at all times. Beneath of all that is the city’s biggest subway station, also called “Kröpcke”. From there, you can basically get anywhere by subway, which – fun fact – is not really a subway. In the downtown area it is underground but outside of the city centre, it is on the street where the cars are driving.
Only about 100 meters from the “Kröpcke” you can find the opera. It is a beautiful building with a big square in front of it. The original opera was built from 1845 until 1852. Sadly, it burned down during the Second World War in 1943. After rebuilding it, it was reopened in 1950. Obviously, operas are being shown there, but also ballet and other concerts.
The old town
Also part of the city centre is the old town – still within walking distance to the “Kröpcke”. Apart from beautiful old houses, narrow streets, small bars and cobblestones, you can find the old city hall there. It was Hannover’s first city hall and first parts of it were built in 1410. It is not in use anymore though.
The “Marktkirche” is the oldest of three churches in the old town part. The belfry is about 97 meters tall and the church was opened in 1360, though there had been a church before which was taken down in order to build a bigger one.
The “Hohes Ufer”
Right at the edge of the old town, you can find the “Hohes Ufer” which translates to “high bank”. It is the street at the bank of the “Leine” which is the main river running through the city. In summer, it is really nice to stroll along and take a walk, and every Saturday Germany’s oldest flea market is taking place right at the bank. It is always worth to take a look because – who knows – maybe, you will find a treasure there.
The new city hall
I have already talked about the old city hall; so of course, there is a new one too. The palace-like building is located not even a kilometre south of the old city hall and was built from 1901 until 1913. Today, it is still in use and seat of the city council. The dome’s height is almost 100 meters and it has a 360°-platform from which you can see a big part of Hannover.
In the back of the new city hall, you can find a park called “Maschpark”. It was Hannover’s first communal park and is still a blast to walk through in summer. There is a playground for children and a big lake (“Maschteich”) you can walk around.
The “Maschsee” – not to confuse with the “Maschteich” in the “Maschpark” – is an even bigger lake. In fact, it is Hannover’s biggest body of water, man-made and about 2.4 kilometres long. You can do many different water sports on there and it is a beloved chance to relax for locals. The well-known “Maschseefest”, which is a big fair right at the shore of the lake, takes place every year in summer. If you should be in Hannover during that time, it is almost your duty to pay a visit. You will not regret it.
The “Herrenhäuser Gärten”
The “Herrenhäuser Gärten” which translates to “Herrenhäusers’ Gardens” is a huge complex of four separate gardens/parks: the “Große Garten” (Big Garden), the “Berggarten”, the “Georgengarten” and the “Welfengarten”. The “Große Garten” is one of the most important baroque gardens in Europe and the art of gardening at its finest and the “Berggarten” is a botanical garden, but you have to pay money to get into either of them (it is really worth it though). The “Georgengarten” and the “Welfengarten” on the other hand are free and a popular place for locals to hang out and have small barbecues in summer.
Hannover’s zoological garden was founded in 1865 and accommodates about 2000 animals of about 198 species. It is not just a place to see exotic animals, but also to have a beautiful, relaxing and at the same time an exciting day. It is perfect for families due to its many playgrounds and children-friendly activities, but adults who love animals will enjoy it as well.
Museums in Hannover
For rainy days, there are several really interesting museums in Hannover.
One of them is the “Sprengel Museum”. It is located right by the “Maschsee” that I have talked about earlier and presents different exhibitions about art that change from time to time. As somebody who is really interested in art myself, I can only recommend this museum; especially on Fridays when you do not have to pay admission.
Other museums are the “Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum” (Regional Museum of Lower Saxony) with different themes, such as art, but also natural history, or the “Museum August Kestner” about cultural history. All three of them are within walking distance to each other.
Of course, there is way more to see and do in and around Hannover. This is merely a list of the ten most famous and popular things to do. But you can always close your map, start walking and find something new and awesome to look at.