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16 Best Things to Do in Hanover, Germany

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There are loads of amazing things to do in Hanover, Germany, all year round. If you are traveling to this great city or any nearby city, here is a list of things to include on your bucket list.

Hanover, Germany, is a famous university city and economic hub for the region. An Electorate once had its seat here, but today, it’s best known for its numerous attractions.

roman statute in hanover

Having a storied past means there’s no shortage of things to do in Hanover for every traveler. You can start by marveling at museums, exquisite architecture, and even beautiful parks in this historic city in Northern Germany.

This is a beautiful place to add to your bucket list, so start building your itinerary to visit Hannover, Germany (spelled Hanover in English). Below are a few fun things to do in Hanover, Germany.

TL;DR

Category Location
Best Overall New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus)
For Families The Hanover Zoo
For History Lovers Lower Saxony State Museum (Landesmuseum Hannover)
For Nature Lovers Georgengarten Park

Things to Do in Hanover, Germany

1. Visit Aegidienkirche

Aegidienkirche Architecture

Address: Aegidienkirchhof 1, 30159 Hannover, Germany

Are you interested in the history of ancient European cities? The Aegidienkirche church in Hanover, Germany, is a perfect place to start. This building, which opened its doors in 1163, knows all about survival.

Aegidienkirche is the oldest church in the area, making up part of Hanover’s best things to see. And you can’t miss it, given its impressive gothic architecture that stands imposing with its tower. The tower was renovated in the 18th century, but the whole structure suffered greatly during World War II.

Many bombings happened within the vicinity and affected most old buildings, including this church. As a memorial for people who lost their lives during those tough times, there’s no roof on the chancel and nave.

Additionally, inside, you can look at the peace bell given to the church by Hiroshima. Every August 6th, the church rings the bell and conducts a ceremony in memory of Hiroshima Day.

From dawn, the bells will ring until 6 p.m. Visiting Aegidienkirche is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Hanover, especially for history lovers.

See Related: Best Tourist Destinations in the World

2. Georgengarten Park

Georgengarten Park Scenery

Address: Jägerstraße, 30167 Hannover, Germany

Nothing beats visiting the magnificent parks that dot European cities during summer. In Hanover, be sure to include a day spent at Georgengarten Park as part of the things to do in Hanover and surrounding areas. Back in the day, the Great Garden in this city was a masterpiece, and King George the 3rd wanted to be a part of this splendor.

In 1810, he bought an estate to the East, changing its name to Georgenpalais from Wallmodenschloss. Later, the park got a new name, Georgengarten, which remains to this day. Though you are visiting a city park in Germany, you won’t be at fault when you suddenly think you are in England.

Naturally, the garden is in English style and has loads of mature trees from earlier on, still standing majestically. Perhaps the most impressive part of the park is the lime avenue that cuts the park into two, known as the Herrenhauser Allee. It’s among the exciting stuff to do in Hanover, stretching over 2km.

3. Lower Saxony State Museum (Landesmuseum Hannover)

Address: Willy-Brandt-Allee 5, 30169 Hannover, Germany

After marveling at Hanover’s magnificent buildings, street art, and architecture, step into the Lower Saxony State Museum (Landesmuseum Hannover) for more history. Given the impressive building, it’s near the New Town Hall, and you surely can’t miss it.

A tour inside this museum reveals even more incredible pieces of ancient history—the impressive collection dates back to the 11th century. Plenty of historical artifacts in this museum can help you visualize how life was back then.

The whole family can enjoy a dinosaur’s life-sized skeleton with a large vivarium. And that doesn’t even cover half of what this museum has on display. Head over to the archeological natural history department and travel back almost half a million years. There’s a whole collection of artifacts, making this museum a must-feature item on your things to do in Hanover.

See Related: Day Trips from Dresden, Germany

4. Leine Palace

Leine Palace Architecture

Address: Hannah-Arendt-Platz 1, 30159 Hannover, Germany

Be ready to walk or ride far and wide since Hanover has no shortage of sights to see. Another stop is the Leine Palace in Altstadt (old town), a walking distance from anywhere in the city center. The impressive building is the state parliament building, but its origins can be traced back to the 17th century.

A visit to this place answers your queries on what to do in Hanover. The palace, which shared a name with the river it bordered, was the royal residence of Duke George von Calenberg. Its original style was re-modified in 1817 to give it a more neoclassical appearance.

It’s worth noting that this wasn’t the first building on this site. Earlier, in 1300, there was the Franciscan friary belonging to the Catholic Church. In 1533, the church abandoned it due to the rising wave of the Protestant Reformation in the region. It changed hands and styles over the years until the 17th century.

5. Visit SEA LIFE

SEA LIFE Hanover Building Aerial View

Address: Herrenhäuser Str. 4a, 30419 Hannover, Germany

SEA LIFE Hannover is a pride and joy, one of the best Hanover tourist attractions. It’s a fun place for the whole family to learn about marine life. Here, you can catch a glimpse of over 3000 species worldwide.

The good news with this diverse collection is that some species are from the local Leine River. Others are from as far away as the Caribbean and beyond. Inside are 37 tanks and pools home to different fish species, octopuses, sharks, and crocodiles.

For that reason, include this as part of the things to do in Hanover, such as walking on a glass tunnel while viewing the beautiful marine life at SEA LIFE Hannover. Guides are always present, giving educational talks, and you can participate in fun feeding sessions. Also, there’s a rainforest section that you must not miss. Book your tickets in advance to secure your spot at this iconic attraction in Hanover.

See Related: What is the Size of Germany?

6. New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus)

Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), one of the best things to do in Hannover, Germany
markobe / Adobe Stock

Address: Trammplatz 2, 30169 Hannover, Germany

The New Town Hall in Hanover, a grand edifice built in a dramatic historicist architectural style, is a testament to the city’s prestige. Despite its stately appearance, it remains a welcoming civic building rather than an imposing one. Visitors are invited to explore its richly decorated interior through public tours.

Inside the New Town Hall dome, four scale models depict different stages in Hanover’s history, including the Middle Ages. One of these models poignantly illustrates the city’s extensive damage during the Second World War. As you move from one hall to the next, Hodler Hall stands out as a memorable highlight.

This space is adorned with artwork by Swiss symbolist Ferdinand Hodler, capturing Hanover’s transformation during the Reformation. This vivid historical record visits the New Town Hall as an unforgettable experience.

7. Marktkirche

Address: Hanns-Lilje-Platz 2, 30159 Hannover, GermanyAddress: Hanns-Lilje-Platz 2, 30159 Hannover, Germany

Perhaps the building that ultimately defines Hanover’s architecture is the Marktkirche, which translates to “The Market Church.” It dates back to the 14th century, is in the famous Gothic style – like many other grand European churches- and is next to the historic Old Town Hall of Hanover.

The tower will catch your eye from a distance with its impressive stature and 4-pointed gables. Though it looks impressive, the plan back then was to make the tower taller. But, a shortage of funds meant construction had to stop. This was during the Black Plague, which ravaged the region.

Fast-forward to the 20th century. As other buildings suffered the bombings from World War II, Market Church (Marktkirche) escaped with only a few scratches. Its original artwork is still intact, including three impressive glass-stained windows from 1370.

8. The Hanover Zoo

Flamingos in Hanover Zoo

Address: Hanns-Lilje-Platz 2, 30159 Hannover, Germany

In 1865, some 22 hectares of land were set aside to help set up the Hanover Zoo. Since then, it’s been on the list of what to see in Hanover for millions of tourists. Today, it hosts over 230 species from across the world. And in total, there are about 3400 animals that you can enjoy seeing and learning about. 

The Hanover Zoo is the 5th oldest zoo in Germany, despite having started with private funding. Only later, in 1920, the government took over when managing the zoo became too tricky after World War 1.

Later in the 1990s, it was exchanged hands again to keep it open due to the small number of visitors. The buyers set about to change its concept, which worked. It’s among the top things to do in Hanover for visitors who flock to the city during summer.

The new setup includes different theme worlds, which take you to other parts of the world. For instance, there’s Zambezi, Gorilla Mountain, Yukon Bay, Jungle Palace, Outback, and Mollywoop.

9. Herrenhausen Gardens

Herrenhausen Gardens

Address: Herrenhäuser Str. 4, 30419 Hannover, Germany

Also called the Great Garden, the Herrenhausen Gardens are a sight to behold. Ask any local, and you’ll learn that they are the pride and joy of this city. In 1683, Sophia of Hanover commissioned a French gardener to expand an existing garden, which led to the creation of what is today known as the Great Garden.

The summer retreat was a favorite of the royals, and expansion led to an additional 50 hectares. Smack in the middle of it is the Herrenhausen Palace.

Now, it’s an incredible place to visit as you seek out the best tourist attractions in the city. For decades, it has been hosting different summer festivals that you must attend when you travel here. The building hosts an orangery, an impressive art collection, and classical music concerts.

Additionally, among the top things to do in Hanover at night is attend the Glowing Gardens event. It’s a light show you don’t want to miss, and it happens every day during summer. Set a timer and ensure you get there just as the sun sets.

10. Museum August Kestner

Museum August Kestner Building
Igor Marx / Shutterstock

Address: Trammplatz 3, 30159 Hannover, Germany

In 1889, the oldest museum in Hannover opened its doors to the public. Inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of artifacts from around the world. But does it fit among the best things to do in Hanover? Sure it does—there are artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, including one-of-a-kind antiques.

Besides, there’s plenty of beautiful European art spanning many centuries back not to mention the impressive building that hosts the museum, a neo-renaissance-style structure with a modern twist and 5,000 tiny windows all around.

Inside are remarkable manuscripts from medieval times and other items like ivory, textiles, and enamel work. Ensure you don’t miss the amazing coin collection with over 120,000 pieces spanning 2,500 years.

See related: Best Day Trips From Berlin

11. Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)

Altes Rathaus, one of the best things to do in Hannover, Germany
Isnurnfoto. / Adobe Stock

Located in the historic city center, the Altes Rathaus is the oldest Gothic building in Hanover. Despite suffering partial damage during World War II, it remains a significant landmark. The original construction of the Old Town Hall dates back to 1411, with a comprehensive rebuild carried out between 1953 and 1964.

The Old Town Hall, with its somewhat dark and brooding appearance, is a testament to Hanover’s rich history. Although partially destroyed during the war, its striking Gothic architecture retains a unique beauty. Its red roof and dark walls characterize the building, making it a perfect subject for photography and film scenes. Head to the Markplatz in Hanover’s Old Town to visit this historical gem.

12. Maschsee Lake

Maschsee Lake and Skyline

Address: Maschsee, Hanover, Germany

Visiting the artificial Maschsee Lake, which covers 78 hectares, is another breathtaking thing to do in Hanover. You won’t find a more magnificent water body anywhere in Lower Saxony.

At the start of the 19th century, plans were underway to create a lake near the Rhine River, a large valley. Back then, the melting snow constantly threatened the city due to flooding, requiring permanent solutions. Only in 1925 did the exact design emerge, and development began.

The lake still serves as a place where all the melting snow deposits. However, its purpose has extended to a relaxing hot spot where you can enjoy many water sports in Hanover. Get your swimming gear for a dip or a chance to relax at the shores of the lake.

13. Hanover Opera House

Address: Opernpl. 1, 30159 Hannover, Germany

Add the Hanover Opera House to your list of things to do in Hanover, and you won’t be sorry. The building is more neoclassical and is home to the Staatsoper Company, which puts on magnificent shows. Take this opportunity to dress up and enjoy the amazing Hanover nightlife.

Throughout summer, the company puts on fantastic shows; the building itself is a sight to behold during the day. As an opera, expect only the best works, including some ballet and other magnificent performances.

See Related: Things to Do in Frankfurt

14. Eilienriede Forest

Trail in Eilenriede Forest
image by Bärbel Miemietz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Address: Hohenzollernstraße 28, 30161 Hannover, Germany

Of the many beautiful things to do in Hanover, this one tops the list for nature lovers. A tour of the Eilienriede Forest that spans more than 1,600 acres! It’s a municipal forest that’s a sight to behold no matter the season and offers ample recreation space.

Impressively, this is among the most extensive forests in Europe, and it is smack in the middle of the city center. The good news is that you can enjoy all the flora and fauna everywhere.

There are numerous walkways and footpaths to follow. Additionally, you can have fun with the family in the fields. Bring your hiking shoes or bikes and tour the forest as you please. You can exercise while marveling at beautiful and historic sites on every corner.

Nothing beats the fun times you can have here alone or with other people tagging. Even sunbathing is an option in the many open spaces, as it’s safe for all. So don’t miss out if you are wondering what to do in Hanover this summer.

See Related: Best Parks in Germany

15. Broyhan Haus

Broyhan Haus Building
Bärbel Miemietz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Kramerstraße 24, 30159 Hannover, Germany

Have you ever heard of the traditional roulade that is popular in Germany? If not, ensure you visit Broyhan Haus, a historic Hanover tavern, for some. It’s filled with vast meat, bacon, onions, and pickles. But don’t worry if you are vegan because there’s plenty on offer. Eating here and enjoying German beer are among the top things in Hanover for many guests.

16. Sprengel Museum

Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany
saiko3p / Adobe Stock

Address: Kurt-Schwitters-Platz 1, 30169 Hannover, Germany

Nestled within an architectural marvel, the Sprengel Museum is a treasure trove of some of Germany’s finest modern art collections. Since its establishment in 1979, the museum has been a lively canvas for artists and art enthusiasts. It’s a place where public and private collections merge, offering a rich tapestry of artistic expression.

One of Sprengel Museum’s highlights is an exhibit dedicated to the renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Her dynamic, larger-than-life works are a feast for the eyes. Equally captivating is the impressive large-scale metal sculpture by Alexander Calder, a testament to the transformative power of art.

But the Sprengel Museum is more than just a gallery. It’s an educational hub offering workshops inviting visitors to delve deeper into the art world.

FAQs

Is it worth visiting Hanover?

Hanover is worth visiting for its unique blend of historical and modern attractions. The city has beautiful gardens and impressive architecture; whether you’re interested in exploring the Herrenhausen Gardens, visiting the Lower Saxony State Museum, or strolling around the Old Town, Hanover offers travelers a rich and varied experience.

What is Hanover known for?

Hanover is known for its significant contributions to culture and science. It’s home to the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, one of the most important baroque gardens in Europe, and the Hanover Fairground, the largest exhibition ground in the world. Additionally, the city is recognized for its annual Hannover Messe (Hanover Fair), the world’s leading industrial trade fair.

How do you spend a day in Hanover?

A day in Hanover could start with a visit to the historic Old Town, followed by a stroll through the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen. After lunch, consider exploring the Lower Saxony State Museum or the Sprengel Museum, known for its modern art. End the day with a relaxing boat ride on the Maschsee, a large lake in the city’s heart.

Is there much to do in Hanover?

There is much to do in Hanover, such as exploring historical sites like Marienburg Castle and enjoying the incredible city park Eilenriede, one of Europe’s largest city forests. The city also offers various cultural experiences, including numerous museums, theaters, and festivals, along with a great food scene at the Market Hall just at the edge of Old Town, ensuring visitors’ rich and diverse itinerary.

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