City guide: Hanover, Germany | Private jet charter
Hanover is located in northern Germany on the River Leine, and is the capital city of Lower Saxony. Famous for its trade fairs and festivals, Hanover’s Oktoberfest attracts thousands, while the city’s museums, galleries and theatres provide visitors with myriad cultural attractions. Hanover’s eclectic nightlife is legendary and its many restaurants and bars offer world-class cuisine. The city’s parks and gardens are a welcome oasis of calm – especially during summer – while Hanover’s Mitteland canal connects numerous sights in the Old Town with the Kröpcke shopping centre. Here are 5 Hanover attractions to visit during your stay.
Top must-see sights and attractions
Marktplatz and Old Town Hall
Hanover’s old town (Altstadt) has the Marktplatz square at its heart which is home to many historic buildings including the 15th-century Old Town Hall; the Marktkirche market church which dates from the 14th century and a delightful Neo-Gothic fountain. The Gothic town hall known as the Altes Rathaus is not only stunning from the outside, it contains numerous art galleries and shops to explore. Head inside the Marktkirche – there are great views of Hannover from its 97m-high dome – and enjoy quiet contemplation among the priceless artefacts. Soak up the history among the cafes, galleries and restaurants and spot the half-timbered houses on Kramerstrasse. Each Saturday during winter there’s a flea market on the square selling bric-a-brac, antiques, records and more.
Contemporary art lovers may already know that Hanover’s Sprengel Museum has one of the best modern art collections in Germany. Located on Kurt-Schwitters-Platz, next to the Maschsee, the museum first opened to the public in 1979, thanks to the generous bequest of Dr Bernhard Sprengel who donated his sizeable art collection and provided funds for the creation of a new museum. The art on show includes examples of Cubist, Expressionist, Realism and Abstract movements. Stop for coffee and cake – or lunch – at the Museum’s bell’ARTE restaurant that looks out over the Maschsee lake, before perusing the Merz bookshop.
The Maschsee artificial lake located in the heart of Hanover is a popular year-round leisure and recreation area offering walking, pedal-boating, swimming, canoeing and even yachting. Since the lake is 2.4km in length and 530m wide there’s plenty of space for everyone. In summer the banks are lined with picnickers and sunbathers, while the Maschseefes festival attracts nearly two million visitors each year who enjoy the music and fireworks. Look out for the sculptures along the banks of the lake – they are illuminated at night. West of the Maschsee you’ll spot the Niederschsen-Stadion stadium which was constructed on mounds of wartime rubble.
Known as the ‘German Versailles’, Hannover’s Herrenhausen Gardens were the inspiration of Electress Sophia, King George I’s mother. These formal Baroque gardens with their fountains and statues are actually four separate spaces: The Great Garden, the Welfengarten, the Berggarten and the Georgengarten. The perfectly maintained Great Garden hosts festivals, concerts and even firework competitions; the Welfengarten is home to the Welfenschloss castle and Hanover University, while the Georgengarten houses the Wilhelm Busch German Museum and the Leibniz Temple. The Berggarten is an outstanding example of Baroque design. Don’t miss the grotto with its charming mosaics.
Best Hannover shops and markets
Hanover offers visitors some of the best and most eclectic shopping in Germany. Visit the Altstadt flea market every Saturday near the Market Hall (which has superb fresh produce) or head to the luxury outlets such as Ernst-August-Galerie, Kröpcke Passage and the high-end Galerie Luise. The Hanover districts of Sudstadt, List, Linden and Nordstadt have more luxury labels than anywhere else in the city. Exclusive boutiques, art galleries and antique shops are also to be found in the Altstadt, while Georgstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse are the main shopping areas popular with both tourists and locals.
Best Time to Visit Hanover
Summer tends to be hot in Hannover – and often rains – and is also peak festival time. June, July and August are the warmest months but they also attract the most visitors. To avoid the heat and the crowds we recommend visiting in late spring or early autumn – before or after Oktoberfest. The Christmas markets in Hanover may be busy but this is a wonderful season to visit Hanover when the festive spirit – including litres of Gluhwein – is in full swing. Hanover hosts the world’s largest beer and marksmanship festival in July with a 7.5-mile procession through the city, passing by the carnival rides and beer tents.
Getting Around Hanover
Hanover Langenhagen Airport (HAJ) is located 12km (7.5 miles) north of the city – approximately a 20-minute taxi ride. Most international car rental companies operate from Hanover airport, however Uber does not. Alternatively, take the S-Bahn S5 train – located beneath Terminal C – directly to Hanover Hauptbahnhof in just 18 minutes. Once in Hanover getting around is easy – either on foot or by taxi. If your visit is short then join Hanover’s Hop-on Hop-off city bus tour which drives around the city’s main sights, including Old Town and the Herrenhausen gardens.
Why Visit Hanover
Hanover is renowned for its trade fairs but there’s so much more to see in this Lower Saxony capital. From the green spaces of the Herrenhausen Gardens and the calming Maschsee to medieval streets and historic buildings in the Altstadt, Hanover has an historic yet thoroughly modern ambiance that’s reflected in its luxury hotels, award-winning gastronomic scene and its high-end shopping arcades.
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