Celle sits on the Aller River 45 km (28 miles) north of Hanover – this little gem of a town enchants locals and visitors with its charming Old Town where timber-framed houses stand in rank and file, the ducal Celle Castle, and the vast fields and moorlands of the Südheide Nature Park. A full day in the city is plenty to explore the highlights without rushing.
Though Goslar is located on the northwestern slopes of the beautiful Harz mountains, the town in itself is a worthy day trip destination in its own right. Known for its medieval town centre with half-timbered houses and picturesque courtyards, the 12th-century Market Church St. Cosmas and Damian and the 1,000-year-old copper and silver mines of Rammelsberg Mountain, Goslar offers plenty to do for a day trip.
If you want to leave the hustle and bustle of a city behind for the day, you’ll be pleased to know that Hanover is a gateway to the tranquil meadows and heathlands of the Lüneburg Heath nature park. The area is traversed by hiking trails and cycling routes, studded with vantage points and man-made attractions, and boasts a ton of opportunity to reconnect with nature. Both Bispingen and Schneverdingen are about 90 km (56 miles) north of Hanover and are great starting points to explore this natural wonderland.
Northwest Germany’s largest lake encompasses 30 sq km (11.6 sq miles) and is a mere 40-minute drive west from Hanover. The list of recreational activities is long: you can try your hand at sailing, wind or kitesurfing, or paddle boating at the watersports end of things, but if you’d rather stay on land, you can take on the circular trail around the lake on foot or by bike. If you fancy a bit of culture, you’re in luck as well. In the 18th-century, Prince William of Schaumburg-Lippe commissioned an artificial island to be raised and a fortress to be erected in the middle of the lake. Today Bückeburg Castle is a popular tourist spot reached by regular ferry services in and out of Steinhude.
More timber-frame bliss awaits you in the magical town of Wernigerode. What’s one of the top stopovers for outdoorsy trips to the Harz Mountains, is also worth the 75-minute drive from Hanover if you decide to explore the town on a day. Should you get bored marvelling at the Insta-perfect colourful houses and cobbled alleys, venture out to Wernigerode Castle or jump aboard the Harzer Schmalspurbahn for a trip around the national park.
A day in Bremen means meandering the winding alleys of half-timbered houses, shopping for handicrafts at artisan workshops and speciality boutiques, delving into the history of the Hanseatic League and exploring the childhood fairytale of the Bremen Town Musicians. A day is plenty to get an overview of what Bremen has to offer and to sample some of the local seafood dishes.
Heavy bombardments during the World War II turned much of Braunschweig’s historic town centre to rubble, but years and years of meticulous reconstruction restored its original beauty. Today Braunschweig, some 65 km (40 miles) east of Hanover, is the perfect day-trip destination for lovers of history and architecture. Make sure to put Dankwarderode Castle, the Happy Rizzi House, St. Blasius Cathedral and Riddagshausen Abbey on your must-see list.