Hanover, the capital of Lower Saxony, is also referred to affectionately as the "City in the country". With its bathing lakes, promenades along the River Leine and numbers green areas and park complexes in the city, Hanover provides plenty of space for relaxation and leisure activities. The Maschsee lake is one of the most attractive excursion destinations in Hanover and a paradise for water sports fans, cyclists, in-line skaters, steamer trips – or simply for a stroll and a coffee in one of the romantic beer gardens.
Hanover is one of the biggest and most popular trade fair destinations: As the host of EXPO2000 Hanover opened the largest trade fair complex in the world; the annual CeBIT enjoys international repute. The modern city by the Leine river impresses with its imposing skyline, Neue Rathaus (New City Hall), Marktkirche, Telemax and Telemoritz characterise its silhouette.
Königlichen Gärten Herrenhausens (Herrenhausen Royal Gardens) in Hanover is one of the most beautiful park complexes in Europe. Hanover is an appealing tourist destination, particularly for families: the Erlebnis Zoo Hannover(Hanover Adventure Zoo) is certainly Germany's most spectacular zoo – with its zoo worlds, the underwater world, boat trips and shows. In Erse-Park in Uetze even the youngest visitors can let off steam: Summer toboggan, water slide, the historical carousel and the family rollercoaster ensure great family fun.
During the annual Hanover Kultursommer (Summer of Culture), palaces, churches, monasteries and manors open their doors to culture fans and interested visitors. Numerous concerts, open air festivals and performances enrich the city and provide a vibrant flair.
There is a lot of culture on offer in Hanover: The Niedersächsische Landesmuseum (Lower Saxony State Museum), with the four departments of European art, natural history, ancient history and ethnology, includes an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures with works of art spanning from the middle ages to the early 20th century. The museum also houses a Vivarium with fish, amphibians and reptiles. Two museums you really should see on a visit to Hanover are the Exposeum, which was erected for EXPO 2000, and Germany's largest police museum.
The Sprengel Museum of modern art is home to the largest collection by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The drawings, caricatures and picture stories in the Wilhelm Busch Museum impress young and old culture fans. And Hanover also has an innovative modern art scene: Around 30 art galleries are located in the city, including Hannover Gallery with works of art by Bruno Bruni and Kunsthalle Faust.
Hanover is especially big on theatre productions and festivals. The annual music festival Kultursommer (Summer of Culture) includes great events: small concerts and major performances by international artists – whether jazz, pop, hip-hop, Klezmer, classical and recitals. Famous artists such as Heinz-Rudolf-Kunze and "our Lena" use the Gartentheater im großen Garten for their atmospheric performances. A cultural highlight is the Maschseefest (Maschsee Lake Festival) – Hanover residents and visitors celebrate a huge festival around the idyllic lake for three weeks every year with fireworks, art and concerts.
Maschsee, old city, opera house and Herrenhausen Gardens – Hanover's sights are diverse and attractive. The Maschsee Lake is the venue for regattas and boat races, a pedestrian zone and leisure area. At the heart of Hanover's old city is the Marktkirche (Market Church), built in the 14th century, along with the Marktbrunnen (Market Fountain) and the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) – perfect examples of Northern German brick Gothic architecture.
Leineschloss (Leine Castle), built by Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves, is now the seat of the Landtag of Lower Saxony. In addition to the castle, his other important works include the Opernhaus (Opera House), the Waterloosäule (Waterloo Column) and the Laveshaus. The 65-metre high Hermesturm (Hermes Tower) lets you marvel at the spectacular view over Hanover.
A 4.2-kilometre long "red line" painted on the cobblestones leads you to 36 of the city's attractions. An impressive example of traditional garden art is Herrenhäuser Gärten (Herrenhausen Gardens). The baroque garden is one of the most beautiful and largest in Germany: Between hedges and trees, special and model gardens appear water-squirting fountains, a large fountain, trick fountains, a maze, an open air theatre and many groups of statues – ideal for a stroll and to marvel at the beauty.
In culinary terms, Hanover has more to offer than the legendary "Kanzlerplatte" (currywurst and fries), one of the favourite dishes of ex chancellor Gerhard Schröder. A real treat in the spring is the renowned asparagus from Burgdorfer Land – the restaurants in the surrounding area are particularly well-known for their wonderful asparagus dishes. Hanover's classic dishes include kale with Bregenz sausage, Hanover potato soup and "Hannoversche Sauerfleisch" (soured meat in jelly).
The capital of Lower Saxony can also be modern and elegant: Enjoy authentic and creative cuisine in Ristorante Leonardo. And one of the best Thai restaurants in Hanover with original cuisine and a beautiful atmosphere is definitely Ruenthai.
Fascinating restaurants such as the Atrium in the vaulted cellar of the Altes Rathaus, set against the historic backdrop of the old city, and the Parkrestaurant in the HCC , with a great sun terrace in the middle of the 60 hectare "Stadtpark", impress those seeking a spectacular ambience. If you are looking for exotic cuisine Hanover has everything you want, e.g. in Outbax Spirit – hier is(s)t Australien where all dishes are prepared according to original Australian recipes. The Markthallen (Market Halls), referred to as the "Bauch von Hannover" (belly of Hanover), sell high-quality fresh food, international specialities or you meet there for a glass of prosecco or a cappuccino.
Going out in Hanover? It is easy to plan your evening in the trade fair city on the River Leine: Elegant bars, traditional pubs, modern discotheques and lots of stages with live music are concentrated close together in the city centre. In numerous clubs and large discos such as Agostea you can find every type of music from house, hip-hop and R'n'B to Schlager (traditional German-language pop music).
Leinegold hosts interesting events: themed evenings such as after work parties and "wine-growers hour". Enjoy live music and traditional discos in Capitol.
Insider tip for night owls: If you like to dance all night and carry on partying until the next afternoon, Zaza is the place for you. And the Philharmonie Hannover does not host classical music; you can rock and party in the live music bar. For those who prefer a somewhat quieter evening, the Staatsoper Hannover (Hanover State Opera) has a diverse programme. The old city is home to numerous bars and pubs where you can enjoy fine cocktails and wines.