The Best Things to See and Do in Hanover

Herrenhausen Gardens
Herrenhausen Gardens | © bernswaelz / Pixabay
Anwesha Ray

More often than not, tourists overlook Hanover (Hannover in German), the capital city of Lower Saxony. However, those travelers who do take their time to get to know the city are rarely disappointed. From world-class architecture and lush nature to awesome museums and great shopping—the city has something for everyone. Here is our pick of the most enjoyable sights and activities in the beautiful green city of Hanover.

Herrenhausen Gardens

Herrenhausen Palace

The Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen is easily the most famous landmark in Hanover and also enjoys an international repute. This swathe of green comprises four unique gardens: the Great Garden (Großer Garten), the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The symmetric, beautifully manicured Great Garden is the podium for events, festivals, firework competitions, concerts and theatrical performances, and it has a grotto dedicated to the last works of artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The baroque Berggarten, on the other hand, stands witness to 300 years of history. The Wilhelm Busch German Museum for Caricature and Critical Graphic Arts and the Leibniz Temple draw tourists to the Georgengarten. The gorgeous Welfenschloss (housing the University of Hanover) lies in the Welfengarten.

New Town Hall

It doesn’t take a deep understanding of architecture to appreciate the magnificence of Hanover’s New Town Hall. The view of this palace-like building from the ground can be matched only by the splendid views of the city from its 93.5-meter-high (307 feet) observation deck. The lift that whisks visitors up to the tower is unique, as it is the only parabolic lift in Europe that climbs in an angle along the shape of the dome.

Lower Saxony State Museum

The Lower Saxony State Museum lies bang opposite the New Town Hall. Its exterior is as splendid as the collection it houses. The museum boasts an unbeatable collection of art from the 11th to the 20th centuries, natural history artifacts, including a life-size model of a dinosaur, and a massive vivarium. Its archaeological department consists of artifacts across almost 500,000 years, while its Ethnology section houses a delightful collection of fascinating objects from around the world.

Hanover Zoo

Polar bear in Hanover Zoo

Hanover is home to the fifth oldest and one of the most amazing zoos in Germany. In fact, a visit to the Hanover Zoo is no less than an adventure! Visitors can walk a five-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) path to explore the various sections of the zoo: African Savannah, Indian Rainforest, Outback farm, traditional Lower Saxony neighborhood, Gorilla Forest and Canadian Yukon Bay. Each section houses exotic animals and birds in a natural setting and without any visible barrier.



The artificial lake of Maschsee offers endless recreation and relaxation options. This oasis in the middle of the city is perfect for yachting, canoeing, pedal-boating and water sports, while its shores and the Maschsee Park are popular for jogging, strolling or simply lazing. The Maschsee area has an abundance of restaurants, cafés and the popular tourist attraction, Sprengel Museum. If you happen to be in Hanover in summer, you get to take part in a spectacular three-week Lake Festival at the Maschsee that attracts over two million people every year.


The magnificence Aegidienkirche was once a source of pride for the city of Hanover. However, a devastating bomb raid in 1943 during the Second World War heavily damaged the church and left much of it in ruins. The church was never reconstructed but left as a war memorial, reminding locals and tourists that in the middle of an abundance of beauty exists the ugly truth of war.


This 112-hectare dazzling green forest from the 1600s is home to 120 fallow deer, as well as a large number of rare birds and bats. This area is also a delightful place for strolling and connecting with nature. If you are in Hanover in October, don’t miss the fest at the Tiergarten, which is a lot of fun for the entire family.


Hanover rewards its visitors with some of the best shopping areas in Germany. From the Old Town Flea Market every Saturday and the freshest produce at Market Hall to the high-end Ernst-August-Galerie and the upmarket Galerie Luise and Kröpcke Passage, there is something to appeal to all tastes and budgets. The areas of Linden, Nordstadt, List, and Sudstadt are known for their exclusive boutiques and shops.

Old Town

A stroll through the Old Town of Hanover is a journey down Hanover’s history. This square preserves the 15th-century Late Gothic Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), the Neo-Gothic Market Fountain built in 1881 and the stunning 14th-century Marktkirche. The Old Town also houses a number of quaint galleries, shops, and many restaurants.

Hanover Old Town

Eilenriede Forest

Eilenriede Forest

Hanover has preserved its green heart in a way that only a few contemporary cities can. The 640-acre pristine Eilenriede Forest is the largest in-city forest in the whole of Europe and has been a pride of Hanover for over 600 years. The locals love to spend time here—walking, jogging or biking along the romantic walkways shaded by dense trees and punctuated by ponds. The forest has playgrounds and cafés as well.

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