The 12 most popular tourist attractions in Hanover
Historic Hannover (written Hannover in German) on the Lane River is the capital of the state of Lower Saxony and an important commercial center with a university and academies of music and drama. It is also an important exhibition and festival center, marked by events such as Oktoberfest Hannover, one of the largest such celebrations in the world, as well as Hannover Schützenfest, the world’s largest gathering of shooters. Hannover is also an important cultural center and boasts numerous world-class museums, galleries and theaters. Its extensive parks and gardens – Eilenriede, Mashpark with its lake, Lönspark, the zoo and Herrenhausen Gardens – justify Hanover’s claim to be a “city in the country.”
See also: Where to stay in Hannover.
1 Herrenhausen Gardens
The magnificent gardens of Herrenhausen encompass Georgienharten, a beautiful English-style park and bergarten, a botanical garden with orchids and cacti. At the north end stands the Mausoleum, built in 1846 for King Ernest Augustus and Queen Friederike and which contains the tomb of George I of Britain. Also of note is the recently rebuilt Herrenhausen Palace, which houses a museum displaying artifacts and documents relating to the city’s rich Baroque era.
Other notable city gardens are the Grosser Garten (Great Garden), which dates back to 1666 and is the best preserved example of an early Baroque garden in Germany with cascades, fountains, orangery and garden theater.
Address: Herrenheiser Museum, 30419 Hannover
2 Marktplatz and Marktkirche
Marktplatz and Marktkirche
The beautiful Marktplatz in Hannover, in the center of the Old Town , where you will find many historic buildings of the city. One of the most notable is the late 15th century Gothic Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) with its many small stores and galleries and the elegant neo-Gothic fountain in front of it, built in 1881. Another important landmark is the Marktkirche or Market Church with its impressive 97-meter high tower. Dating back to the 14th century, it is home to magnificent 15th century bronze lettering and a carved altar. Leading off Marktplatz is Kramerstrasse, which still retains the atmosphere of old Hanover with its many beautiful half-timbered houses.
Address: Karmarstrasse 42, 30159 Hannover
3 New City Hall
Hanover’s Tramplatz is a huge town hall built between 1901-13 in the style of the Wilhelmina period. It is one of the most interesting structures in the city, as it is built on a foundation of 6,026 beech piles and topped by a dome tower almost 100 meters high that dominates the skyline of the city. From the dome viewing platform – access to a unique elevator that lifts passengers at an inclined angle – are the best views of the city. There are models of the city in the hall, and the Hodler Room has a huge painting called the Pledge of Allegiance from 1913. Tours are available.
Address: Trammplatz 2, Hanover
4 Opera House Hannover
Hanover Opera House
Along the worthy Georgstrasse is the Neoclassical Hanover Opera House. Built in 1852, this stately structure is now home to the city’s professional opera company, the Staatsoper Hannover, and thanks to recent renovations offers a first-class experience for opera fans during its season, which runs from September through June.
Address: Opernplatz 1, 30159 Hannover
5 Old Town and Leineschloss
Old Town and Leineschloss
The old quarter of Hanover is a pleasant place to explore, and includes Leineschloss , the state parliament building, which was built on the banks of rivers in the 17th century as the residence of Duke Georg von Kahlenberg and was given a neoclassical form between 1817 and 1842. Also of interest is the New Town Church, or Neustädter Kirche, a 17th century structure with the tomb of the famous German philosopher G. W. Leibniz, who was buried here in 1716. Also in the Old Town, Hanover’s finest half-timbered building, the Ballhof , was built between 1649 and 1665 for the then fashionable battledore and shuttlecock games as well as for music concerts. Now housed in the State Theater of Lower Saxony, it is still a popular venue for musical events, including pop, jazz and opera. For those interested in exploring these charming wooden houses, the small town of Celle, about 40 km northeast of Hanover on the banks of the River Aller, boasts more than 400 half-timbered houses in its quaint old town.
Address: Knochenhauerstraße 28, Hannover
6 Lower Saxony State Museum
Lower Saxony State Museum
The Lower Saxony State Museum (Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover), opposite the New City Hall, houses many important collections of antiquities. The most popular is the State Gallery (Landesgalerie) with its collection of European art from the Romantic period to the present day. Also of note are its archeological and ethnological collections – the oldest in Germany with more than 20,000 artifacts – as well as its many species of fish and reptiles.
Address: Willy-Brandt-Allee 5, Am Maschpark, D-30169 Hanover
The Mashsee is an artificial lake in the heart of Hannover. Completed in 1936, it stretches for 2.4 kilometers and up to 530 meters wide and is the largest and busiest sports and recreational area in the city, equally popular with boaters, both sailors and power boaters, as well as swimmers. The lake is also surrounded by many beautiful paths and is ideal for walking or picnicking.On the west side is Niedersachsen-Stadion Stadium, built in 1954 on mounds of rubble from war-damaged buildings. Another pleasant place to walk is Herrenhäuser Allee , laid out in 1726 and including many attractive historic buildings.
8 Wilhelm Busch Museum
The Wilhelm-Busch Museum in Hanover covers the life of the famous poet and designer Wilhelm Busch. Along with constant displays of caricatures and comic art, the museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Busch’s work. A particular highlight is a unique collection of more than 700 caricatures of Napoleon. Founded in 1937, the museum is located in the attractive Georgengarten in the 18th century Herrenhausen Gardens .
Address: Georgengarten, 30167 Hannover
9 Hanover Adventure Zoo
Hanover Adventure Zoo Akulatraxas / photo modified
Founded in 1865 on the edge of Eilenriede Park, Hannover Zoo – the fifth largest zoo in Germany – has been reconstructed thematically and with great success. Today about half a million people visit the attraction each year, turning to interesting areas such as the Winter Zoo, with its Christmas themes and activities, and the Mullewapp children’s area with zoo and rides. Other zoo attractions include the fun Meyers Farm, where you can explore 19th-century Lower Saxony half-timbered buildings, and a boat ride on the Zambezi River through Disney’s outdoor animal cages, such as rhinos and elephants.
Address: Adenauerallee 3, 30175 Hanover
10 August Kästner Museum
The Kestner Museum in Hanover houses numerous antiquities, including an important Egyptian collection, as well as applied and decorative arts. Founded in 1889, it also contains large collections of local antiquities, coins, and crafts. Another important museum is the Kestner Society, noted for its contemporary art collections and exhibits.
Address: Trammplatz 3, 30159 Hannover
11 Sprengel Museum
Home to one of Germany’s most important contemporary art collections, the Sprengel Museum is a must for art lovers. The gallery, known for its many works by local artist Kurt Schwitters as well as artists such as Max Ernst, Picasso and Paul Klee, opened in 1979 and includes private and public collections. The museum is also home to a collection donated by the renowned artist Nicky de Saint Phalle, as well as a fascinating large metal sculpture by Alexander Calder.
Address: Kurt-Schwitters-Platz, 30169 Hanover
Official website: www.sprengel-museum.com
Tiergarten Afifi Abdul Latif / photo modified
On the east side of Hanover, the beautiful Eilenriede municipal forest covers about 1,600 acres. This huge recreational area – the largest inner-city forest in Europe – contains numerous paths and bridleways, as well as playing fields and open spaces for recreation. Often referred to as the “Grüne Lunge” or green lung, it is a great place to spend time when you visit Hanover as well as Hermann Löns Park , a beautiful landscaped park with an old windmill. Join the Tiergarten , laid out in 1679 as a hunting park with old trees and about 200 red deer, wild horses and wild pigs.
Where to stay in Hannover for sightseeing
Hanover’s Old Town, where many of its historic buildings are located, is not crowded with hotels, but there is a good selection in reasonable walking distance and others in the city’s excellent transit system. The main train station, the Hauptbahnhof, is close to Old Town as well as Lake Mashteich, which is in a park, so it’s a convenient location. Here are some of the top rated hotels in Hannover:
Luxury Hotels : The Mercure Hannover City has stylishly decorated rooms, some overlooking the park next to the new town hall, a 10-minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof and Old Town shopping streets. Right next to the train station on the shopping street, the Kastens Hotel Luisenhof has a gym on the top floor. The nearby Grand Hotel Mussmann, also within walking distance of restaurants, the opera house and the historic museum, offers free breakfast.
10 places to visit in Hannover, Germany
This beautiful medieval castle, like a fairy tale, stands atop the Marienberg Hill about 20 km south of Hanover, visible from afar. The former summer residence of the House of Guelph and the oldest princely castle in Europe, it is still in its original state.
Marktkirche and Old Town Hall
The Marktkirche of St. George and Jacob is Hanover’s main Lutheran church, built in the 14th century. Together with the neighboring Old Town Hall, the church building is considered the southernmost example of North German brick Gothic. The roof and vaults of the nave were destroyed in an air raid in 1943 but were rebuilt in 1952.
New Town Hall in Hannover
The New Town Hall is probably the most visible building in Hannover. And although it was built as City Hall, the building looks more like a majestic and beautiful magic castle over the water. Strictly speaking, the architecture of the town hall can not be attributed to a particular style, it is eclectic.
45 km to the north of Hanover the enormous Wienhausen Abbey, a monument to the early Middle Ages, has been standing for almost 800 years. The Cistercian convent was founded in 1230 and was given an even older building, a Romanesque church from the 11th century.
St. Clement’s Basilica in Hanover
Next to the stark Gothic style of the old city, the light symmetrical building of St. Clement’s Basilica looks unexpected: such architecture can be seen more in the Mediterranean than in central Germany. It’s the first Catholic church built in Hannover since the Reformation.
This modest brick structure has shared Hanover’s centuries-old history and has become a symbol of the ancient city. It was built in 1382 near the village of the same name on an important trade route and has been remembered for more than 600 years.
For more than 350 years the “Berggarnten”, one of the oldest botanical gardens in Germany, has adorned the surroundings of Herrenhausen Palace. Its history began with a modest vegetable garden, where vegetables for the palace kitchen were grown.
Hanover Garden Cemetery
Centuries-old trees bend their branches over tombstones that have turned green – it’s one of Hannover’s saddest and most romantic landmarks. The Garden Cemetery opened behind the city wall in 1741.
Lower Saxony State Museum
The Lower Saxony Museum is the largest museum in Hannover. It occupies a beautiful building directly opposite the New Town Hall. The core of the museum is the art gallery, where paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century are collected. The museum has departments of archaeology, ethnography and natural history.
This austere and unassuming building has been at the center of the political life of the city and important decisions have been made in its rooms and offices. The three-storey mansion was built in 1833 for Count Georg von Wangenheim.
Hanover’s Erlebnis Zoo is one of the largest and best zoos in Europe. It covers an area of 22 hectares and currently has about 3,500 animals of more than 230 different species. The zoo was founded in 1865 with private funds and is the fifth zoo in Germany.
Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen
The Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen cover an entire district of the same name in Hannover. They are a fascinating legacy from the time of the independent Kingdom of Hanover and their history goes back several centuries. They consist of four parts – Großer Garten, Berggarten, Georgengarten and Welfengarten.
August Kästner Museum
One of Hannover’s three municipal museums and the oldest in the city, the August Kästner Museum is centrally located next to the New City Hall. In this museum, visitors can view artifacts spanning a period of 6,000 years. The entire exhibit is devoted to four main areas.
Lutzen-Hanover Aviation Museum
The large aviation museum in the Hannover suburb of Latzen grew out of a private collection. Its owner, Günter Leonhardt, served in the Luftwaffe during World War II and participated in the Ardennes operation, where he was wounded and taken prisoner. He retained his interest in aviation and airplanes throughout his life.
The Sprengel Museum in Hannover has arguably one of the best collections of modern art in Germany. The museum occupies a building adjacent to Lake Marssee. The museum first opened in 1979, and in 1992 the building had to be expanded to accommodate all the works.
Neustadter Church in Hannover
The Neustadter Kirche (“church of the new city”) is Hanover’s main Lutheran parish church. It was consecrated in honor of St. John and was built in 1666-70 in the baroque style. It is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Lower Saxony.
Hanover Opera House
On a spacious square in the heart of Hannover, one of the best opera houses in Germany has been in operation for more than 150 years. It was built in the mid-19th century according to a design by the court architect Georg Ludwig Laves in the late classicist style.
Potsdam Orangery Palace
The Orangery Palace is the crown jewel of the Sans Souci Park and is home to exotic plants and flowers as well as works of art. It is one of the most popular destinations in Potsdam: it is a popular stroll with locals and tourists alike.
Tiergarten in Hannover
Hanover’s Deer Park is one of the most popular attractions and a wonderful place to relax. This 112-hectare protected forest is home to many wild animals. The park was originally created as hunting grounds, and the beauty of the landscapes came first.
Church of St. Aegidius
The largest medieval church in Hannover is a monument of a completely different era: after the air raids in 1943 only its frame survived, and the local authorities decided not to rebuild the church, and to keep its ruins in memory of the victims of the war.
One of the main attractions of Hannover is undoubtedly the huge Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen. They consist of four separate gardens, the main one being Großer Garten, a large Baroque landscape garden that is beautiful even in winter, let alone in spring and summer. The garden contains a grotto pavilion, the interior of which was designed by Niki de Saint-Fal.
Another interesting place (though not in the city itself, but about 20 km away) is the neo-Gothic Marienburg Castle. It was built in the 19th century and looks absolutely stunning: this is what we usually imagine, saying “castle”. Which is natural: the castle was built by the last King of Hanover for his wife and is still owned by the heirs of the royal house. Which does not prevent organized tours through its rich interiors.
Architecturally, perhaps the most impressive attraction is the majestic New Town Hall, more like a royal residence.
Hannover Zoo is considered one of the best and most modern in Europe. It is equipped with 7 thematic zones on an area of about 20 hectares. Also of interest is the aquarium “Sea-Life”, where there are not only fish, but also an exposition devoted to rain forests.
Architecturally, perhaps the most impressive attraction of the city is the majestic New City Hall, which looks more like a royal residence. The Old Town Hall and the Marktkirche, which harmonizes with it, look quite different, but are also worth a visit. They are located in the Old Town, rebuilt almost from scratch after the bombing of World War II. This area is called the “new Old Town” and here you can see about 40 restored half-timbered buildings. The oldest and most picturesque of them stands at the top of Burgstrasse, its Renaissance facade dates back to 1566 and the back of the house is even older. Also hidden among the new buildings in the Old District is Hannover’s oldest church, the Kreuzkirche (1333).