10 reasons to visit Hanover
Though it’s biased of me to say so, Hanover is an absolutely fantastic city. From what I’ve heard, it’s actually got a bad reputation for whatever reasons, but with it being the 13th biggest city in Germany, as well as the capital city of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), it really should be one of the cities you have to visit if you find the time.
Here are my 10 reasons why you should visit Hanover, including its most famous sights, as well as its characteristics.
1. The Size
As mentioned above, Hanover is the 13th biggest city in Germany. However, as far as I’m concerned, it feels nothing like that. What I found perfect about Hanover, compared to other famous cities in Germany, is that the ‘city centre’ is actually in the centre – pretty much smack bang in the middle of Hanover is the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) which makes life so much easier, especially if you were to visit Hanover for the day.
If you walk straight out the front of the station, you’re immediately in the town centre, with loads of shops and restaurants. If you leave the station at the back, you come across the Raschplatz, which holds clubs (including Baggi), as well as a cinema – it’ just very reassuring to know everything is around you as soon as you arrive in Hanover by train.
2. The Hauptbahnhof
Staying on the topic of the Hauptbahnhof, I’ve been informed that the Hannover Hauptbahnhof is the central station of Germany, in that it’s where a great amount of people have to change trains. Though I don’t know if that’s actually true, I could definitely believe it with how busy the Hauptbahnhof is, even if you were to go in late at night. This just suggests it’s easy to reach, meaning an extra excuse to visit my German Heimatstadt. There are also easy connections to a lot of wonderful places nearby, such as Bremen, Hamelin (the home of the Pied Piper), and even Hamburg is reachable, which is a 2-hour train journey if you want to save money and choose to go by the slower regional trains.
3. It’s the capital city of Niedersachsen
When I first arrived in Hanover, I met with a teacher at my school for a coffee, who stated ‘In Niedersachsen, you basically have Hanover… and everything else around it’. Though to some extent I don’t agree with this due to, as mentioned above, there being some nice little places nearby (though Bremen and Hamburg aren’t technically in Niedersachsen), it does mean that all the Niedersachsen political stuff takes place right here. The Niedersächsischer Landestag is here, and there’s even a museum about Niedersachsen, which I actually have yet to visit.
4. The Rathaus
Linking on to political stuff, the Hanover Rathaus (town hall) is probably the most amazing Rathaus I have seen in Germany. Though there have been other Rathäuser which have been pretty impressive (the one in Munich springing to mind), I, so far, haven’t seen another is stunning as the one in Hanover. It’s sheer size is what strikes you first, and it’s pretty hard to get that across from a photo. As if the outside of the Rathaus wasn’t impressive enough, the inside is also fantastic with all its detail. There are also four models of Hanover throughout periods of time, with the most shocking one being Hanover in 1945.
You can also go to the top of the Rathaus (in an extremely strange lift) for just 2€ with student ID. I think without student ID it’s only 3€. And the views are absolutely fantastic from such a high height, with my personal favourite being the view of the Maschsee.
5. The Maschsee
A nice little transition here, as well as possibly an obvious choice if you’ve been reading my other posts – the Maschsee is absolutely beautiful. The name ‘Masch’ comes from the word ‘Leinemasch’ which means ‘swamp’ (and ‘See’ means ‘lake’). As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Hanover is famous for its Maschseefest which is held every year in summer, with this years’ dates being 31st July – 19th August. You can read more about the festival on one of my previous posts: Maschseefest.
Even when the Maschseefest isn’t taking place, the view is fantastic over the 2.4km-long lake, especially during a sunset. The Maschsee is also used for a lot of water sports, and you can also take a pedlo along the river, which I definitely need to do at some point once it properly becomes sunny, which hopefully won’t be too much of a wait (…but this is Germany).
6. Der Rote Faden
Literally translated as ‘the red thread’, der Rote Faden is a red line, approximately 4.2km long, which runs through Hanover. The idea is that tourists should follow this line, with optional booklet to go with it, to see the 36 most important sights in Hanover, which, of course, includes the Rathaus. There are even numbers on the ground at every important stop to accompany the booklet.
This idea is something I’ve never come across before, and I think it’s a wonderful idea. So many times I’ve been to other cities and haven’t been quite sure what I need to see, but, with the Rote Faden starting right outside the Tourist Information Point which is just opposite the entrance to the Hauptbahnhof (it really is this easy!), it’s perfect for tourists who’ve never been before who aren’t sure what there actually is to see.
7. Die Herrenhäuser Gärten
The Herrenhäuser Gardens are amazing. I’m not one for being awed by nature, but the gardens are truly stunning, and also really big, meaning you could easily spend a good few hours there, especially with there being cafés for a coffee break, too.
Not only is there a wide variety of wonderful colours from all the flowers, there are also some fantastic fountains (with a particular one shooting up unbelievably high), as well as some amazing architecture. There also some bizarrely-cut bushes and hedges, such as ducks and, what looks like, ice scream scoops, as well as smaller gardens which have little bridges over tiny streams.
It does cost to enter the gardens, but with it being just 3€ for students, and so probably not that much more for non-students, it’s definitely worth it.
8. Erlebnis Zoo Hannover
Obviously another must. I was surprised that a few of my friends knew about Hanover because of the zoo before I actually got here – I’d personally not heard anything about Hanover as I found out I’d be living here for a year. The Zoo is absolutely gigantic and you could very easily spend an entire day there. Though it is a little pricey (exact figures I’m not sure about with me having bought a Year Ticket back in September), it’s definitely worth it with the variety of shows on offer, as well as the array of restaurants available in each of the different sections the Zoo is split into.
I have possibly been to the Zoo around 8 times now, from trips with a large group of friends, to just meeting up with one person for a quick hour or so visit, and I’m still not bored of it.
9. Jim Block
Another must. Jim Block does the most delicious burgers at a really decent price.
However, the reason I’m mentioning it here is actually because, apart from Hamburg, Hanover is the only city in Germany to have Jim Block. Though Hamburg does have 7 of them and Hanover only has one, that single restaurant is in the town centre (again, Hanover is brilliant for having everything in the town centre which is actually in the centre of Hanover).
And last but not least, you have Hochdeutsch in Hanover. Though this might not be great for those of you who love learning weird and wonderful German dialects, it’s perfect for those German-speakers who just want to be able to understand everything. Though there are little hints of accent I’ve come across, such as ‘ich sagte’ being ‘ich sachte’, as well as a recent one I’ve started to notice of ‘ich brauche’ being pronounced more like ‘ich bräuche’, the general dialect is extremely easy to understand, with it being the dialect you learn at school.
I could go on about Hanover, but decided to stick to 10 reasons which I found pretty tough to follow. It’s truly a brilliant city, and I’m unsure as to why it has this bad reputation I keep hearing about.
If you do have the time, I definitely recommend a visit to the capital of Niedersachsen – you most certainly won’t be disappointed.