Now rebuilt and revitalised
21st century Hanover is only a little like its historic ancestor, with the exception of the painstakingly restored Altstadt. Instead, it’s where the commercial world comes to meet in lush green surroundings, as the self-styled Expo City goes about its business. In keeping with a town full of business people, there’s plenty to see and do, on a social, cultural and retail-therapeutic level!
Hanover’s Saturday flea market (Leibnizufer) is one of the oldest in Europe. Stalls selling a mixture of antiques and bric-a-brac cluster around the wacky ‘Nana’ sculptures and provide hours of browsing bliss for visiting vintage fans. If you prefer to get your retail fix in more modern environs, glass-roofed Galerie Luise (Luisenstrasse 5) specialises in one-of-a-kind boutiques and cosy little restaurants, while the Ernst-August-Galerie (Ernst-August-Platz 2) has more than 150 chain-style stores. Michael Schulz (Osterstrasse 47) is the city’s designer hub, stocking a range of international labels. Bibliophiles, meanwhile, can lose themselves in Schmorl & von Seefeld (Bahnhofstrasse 14), which claims to be Europe’s oldest bookshop.
Food & Drink
Hanover is home to a selection of Germany’s most famous brewers, as well as one of the world’s largest beer festivals. Get some traditional quaffing in at Broyhan Haus (Krammerstrasse 24), the city’s oldest pub, or sample a huge selection of different brews at modern microbrewery Brauhaus Ernst August (Schmiedestrasse 13). For a recovery brunch, Loretta’s (Culemannstrasse 14) is a local favourite and serves up plates piled high with Hanoverian delicacies at pocket-friendly prices. Ristorante Gallo Nero (Gross-Buchholzer Kirchweg 72B) specialises in exquisite Italian food, while Altes Rathaus (Karmarschstrasse 42) in the Old Town Hall proves that haute cuisine and traditional German fare are no longer mutually exclusive.
International Fireworks Competition
On selected nights throughout the year, international teams come together at Hanover to compete in one of Europe’s most important firework competitions. The displays take place in Herrenhäusen Gardens and light up the sky above the city.
The annual city marathon is more than just a sporting event – there are samba bands and musicians to entertain the spectators, as well as a lively entertainment programme focused on the big stage at Trammplatz.
Dating back to 1529, this world-leading shooting festival draws over 1.5 million visitors every year. Attractions include a giant funfair with 250 rides, five beer tents and a Marksmen Parade complete with bands and carnival floats.
Hanover Beer Festival
With over 40 different beers to sample – not to mention dozens of varieties of wine, cider and perry – this is quite simply the biggest knees-up in the Hanover calendar. Tickets sell out quickly, so make an early booking.
With three bustling festive markets taking over the city for much of December, Hanover certainly knows how to get into the spirit of Yuletide. Stalls bedecked with candles and fairy lights sell a range of German delicacies and handmade gifts.
An intriguing combination of meticulously restored ancient architecture, sprawling modern blocks and big green spaces, Hanover offers visitors everything from traditional five-star opulence to edgy budget boutiques. Splash out on a stay at the city’s most famous hotel, Kastens Hotel Luisenhof Superior (Luisenstrasse 1-3), which hides a state-of-the-art spa and fine dining restaurant behind a classical facade – or head out of town to discover hidden gem Fürstenhof (Hannoversche Strasse, Celle) with its Michelin-star restaurant and country-cottage styling. Four-star chains such as the Ramada Hotel Europe (Bergstrasse 2) and InterCityHotel Hannover (Rosenstrasse 1) cater well for the mid-budget market, while the family-run Hotel Flora (Heinrichstrasse 36) is an attractive low-cost option.