This do-it-yourself walking tour is simple. Just follow the red line. If you want more out of the tour, purchase the Red Thread handbook for three euros from the Tourism Office located across from the Hauptbanhof. I recommend the book as it explains a wealth of knowledge about the monuments and architecture and other cool secrets like where to stand in order to see the tops of all four Old Town churches.
You can easily breeze through the Red Thread in 45 to 60 minutes. Although quick, I recommend to stop and smell the roses, enjoy the moment and restore your glycogen levels with some of the best eats and treats in Hannover.
Whether you crave a “kaffee pause” or want to savor your sweet tooth with a slice of homemade German “kuchen” (cake), here are seven cafes I recommend along the Red Thread.
Once you walk in you’ll feel as if you walked back into time with flashbacks of the Netherlands in 1921 where blue and white tiles cover the wall and staircases are covered with “gold” handrails. Here is where the real journey begins. Admire the cakes, torts and tarts behind the glass and “scratch and sniff” the homemade goods located next to the cash register. For Hannover, this café is a bit pricier, but by American standards to get a coffee and a slice of cake between five to seven Euros is a hell of a deal.
In this café, you’ll order your cake at the counter and then bring your ticket to a table. Don’t worry if the ladies don’t smile at you. It’s Northern Germany and smiling is optional. This is the place where born and raised Hanoverians hang out so . But, it’s by far the BEST cake and most historical café in Hannover. Check out their website for pictures of the café before and after World War II.
What should I get? EVERYTHING, but if you must choose one – Frankfurter Kranz (see below).
The New Rathaus (city hall spot #11) is an area where I recommend you spend sometime. Inside and out, the entire garden area is where you can experience the true European lifestyle. Inside the Rathaus is “Der Gartensaal.”
Before I proceed, I must admit this is more than a café. In the past, I’ve had some Germans “kindly” email me about past articles on what distinguishes a café from a restaurant. I feel that if you can order a coffee and dessert without pressure, it’ll count as a café since I ordered tea and read a book or book. It’s a cross between a café, restaurant and banquet center.
The best part is during the summer you can sit on the terrace overlooking the pond and garden. The place is swanky and with it being the first cup of tea I drank in Hannover, I like it. Trust me, you’ll feel like royalty.
For a few euros, you can visit the rooftop where you’ll discover more history and catch a panoramic view of the entire city.
Inspired by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn, this café inspires me to live in indulgence – with cake and coffee that is. During the summer, the café has an open-air patio where you can sit (or lie) on a couch draped with a canopy to enjoy your “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” I love the chai lattes, and pretty much everything else.
Here you can order over 40 handcrafted teas and also coffees, cakes and sandwiches. Most desire to sit outside, and well, who can blame them? It’s vital to take advantage of any ounce of sun you can soak up in Northern Germany. During the summer months, you can find a late Saturday morning jazz concert and for the rest of the year, enjoy watching the ivy foliate between deep green to fire engine red.
I recommend the Blüte von Himilaya tea paired with a slice of traditional NYC-style cheesecake.
First, the owner is one of the nicest Germans I ever met. Warm and smiling, she and I would converse in English and some broken German. Second, the place is just down right adorable as she sells, and serves her coffee in, the famous handmade Polish cookery and pottery and chocolate gifts. Finally, the coffee and chocolate drinks are addicting and effective, meaning if you want a coffee buzz her coffee will do the trick. In the winter (or what the heck why not year round), I recommend the hot chocolate coffee. During the Christmas Market she’ll have some already made in a pot, but everything she makes is fantastic.
I also love the “Trinkschokolade” or drinking chocolate from Austria. They are small bricks of chocolate that you melt in warmed milk on the stove. She closes for an hour mid-day usually between 2-3pm.
Sonam’s Little World (near stop 25 and ballhofplatz) is one of my favorite places in Old Town. Sonam, a native to Nepal, is not only a very kind person (she speaks great English) but her ethics is admirable. Part café, part shop; Sonam only sells sustainable, fair-trade and locally sourced products. She makes a killer latte (beans from a local Hannover roaster) and the chocolate she sells is of the highest quality. I also recommend drinking of the bio loose-leaf teas with the masala chai being my favorite.
You can learn more about Sonam’s here, but she sells products that are hand-made and selected from small and family businesses. By far, Sonam and Michael are two of the nicest people you'll meet in Hannover. Whether you want a coffee, chocolate or a gift Sonam welcomes everyone with a smile.
*Update - this shop closed in 2017.
So, what are your favorite cafes or places to eat and drink nearby the Red Thread? Or what is your favorite self-guided walking tour in Europe?
Tell me, I’d love to hear it! Anyone who comments on this blog post will be entered to win a free self-guided walking tour app from GPSmycity.com . If you win, you can choose any city in the world that mygpscity.com offers. Whether you have an upcoming trip planned or want a walking tour of your favorite city, you can choose from one of 5,000 walks within 470 cities! I'll select up to 20 winners! The list is that extensive! No strings attached! Comment by June 7, 2016!
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