The people may be cold, but the lattes are warm and the parks are inviting. One of Hannover’s best features is that is has plenty of cheap and free things to do. I personally do not find Hannover expensive, but with all the inexpensive things to do, it’s easy to travel here on the cheap.
Northern Germans do not earn a lot of money (the average I heard is 1,800 euros per month), and the locals find plenty of inexpensive things to do, specifically in nature. With plenty of parks and urban spaces, Hannover is a city where nature meets concrete jungle. Get ready to save a pretty penny, well a euro, as you explore the best cheap and free things to do in Hannover.
Hannover’s Red Thread is a self-guided walking tour that journeys through the heart of Hannover. This 4,200-meter red painted line contains 36 significant stops featuring the best of Hannover’s past and history.
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. Books are available in English and German.
I recommend taking your time and exploring one of the cafes along the Red Thread. Check out my Noteworthy “Essen und Trinken” Cafes along Germany’s Red Thread.
Old Town is one of the most beautiful areas of Hannover. Sadly, the original architecture was bombed during World War Two, but was rebuilt to replicate the structures pre 1940’s. There are so many places to eat and drink that you can find a place that suits you on my 20 Buzz-worthy cafes in Hannover. Old Town is a perfect spot to try a slice of German cake. With so many choices, check out more on my Hannover Cake Connoisseur Blog and discover what place (or cake) is best for you!
Be sure to visit the Leibnizhaus (where I lived) and Ballhofplatz on Saturday mornings for free jazz during the summer months. The marktkirche (market church) is not to be missed!
Every Saturday, or least when the weather is nice; explore the historic flea market in “Altstadt,” or Old Town. Food and antique vendors set up along the Old Town “leine,” or river. Here you’ll find everything from antiques to hardware to old paintings. The flea market is affordable and it’s my favorite market in all of Europe. Read more atHannover, Germany's Flohmarkt: The Best Flea Market in Europe?
Every Friday the Hannover museums are free. I recommend visiting the Hannover History museum in Old Town to discover Hannover’s medieval and British-influenced history. Here you’ll find beautiful clothing from the 1800’s, historic paintings and even King George's carriage. Be sure to get an English headset from the front desk to discover some of the most unknown history about the city.
For a complete list of qualifying museums, click here.
The Rathaus, or the “city hall” is the most charming architectural structure in Hannover. Take time to walk the grounds and soak up the serene atmosphere. The building’s reflection from across the pond is the perfect spot for a photograph.
In side the Rathaus, visitors explore the history and visuals of what life was like when Hannover originated. You’ll also find structures that depict the destruction of Hannover after World War Two. In the lobby there is a tourist office to buy tickets for the roof. The elevator ride is worth the few euros alone. Before getting in the elevator, be sure to read the signs depicting more historical facts about Hannover. At the top, there are several viewpoints that feature 360-degree views of the city.
One of the most popular areas in Hannover is Maschsee (Masch Lake). This 6-kilometer walk around the lake is the perfect afternoon stroll. You’ll find locals rollerblading, walking or biking around the quiet lake. There are plenty of cafes and beer gardens dotted around the lake so don’t worry about going hungry. My favorite is Pier 51 bar and lounge and the biergarden at the Aspira and the outdoor café connected to the Marriot Hotel. If you are in Hannover for Vater’s Tag (Father’s Day) in May, head to Maschsee to discover how “herrens” celebrate Father’s day by pulling wagons and playing drinking games around the lake.
Hannover maybe landlocked, but has no shortages of fresh bodies of water. Various city and private establishments charge a couple euros entry for swimming, like the Aspira, but for something free head to the Maschsee Park Lakes, just south of Maschsee. Read more about what places to swim on my 6 Amazing Places for Summer Swimming in Hannover.
If you explore the Strandbad Hemmingen, check out the local “you pick” strawberry patch down the road. These are the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted.
For indoor swimming, my favorite pool is Stadionbad, which is adjacent to Maschsee.
Besides Maschsee, two other popular public parks include the Georgengarten nearby the Herrenhauser Garten and the Eilenriede forest near the Zoo. Both are beautiful, spacious parks that radiates with serenity. At Georgengarten, locals “make a picnic,” and grill wursts on portable barbecues. The forest is the perfect place to escape the city and get lost in the woods.
The Linden neighborhood is the “Berlin” of Hannover. Quirky and ultra-liberal, Café Glocksee and Faust and Mephisto are two cultural centers to photograph graffiti or catch a cheap musical performance. At Faust, you can enjoy a latte at Nachbar or purchase some cheap antiques and goods at the Sunday flea market (warm months only).
In Hannover, there are no shortages of beer gardens. In Germany, beer is cheaper than bottled water, and is part of a healthy German diet. Which beer garden should you visit? That’s hard to say, but this7 Beloved Beer Gardens in Hannover gives insight to what beer garden is best for you. The Lister Turm is a local favorite.
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