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.
Inside 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.
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.
The Red Thread also tours through Altstadt, which is the best place to visit to see the old architecture of Hannover, which was technically rebuilt after the wall. Important landmarks are the Marktkirche, the Leibnizhaus and water tower near the river. The Teestubchen is the perfect place to sit in Ballhofplatz and enjoy a cup of tea. 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!
The gardens and trails in this park system is a quintessential Hannoverian thing to do. Locals barbecue on the grounds, walk the trails and enjoy the architecture and special events inside in the Herrenhauser Garten. Autumn is one of the most photogenic seasons on trail.
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.
Whether you’re looking for a slice of heaven or the best cake in Hannover, you’ll find it at the Kakao-Stube. Located nearby the Opera House (near stop 3) and the Kröpcke clock, veer off onto Ständehausstrasse and look out for the Blue and White sign with a little Dutch girl on it.
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).
Whether you’re seeking some fresh fruit or a meal, you can find everything café-related here. Sadly, the markhalle doesn’t look anything like the original since post-war architecture chose the most bleak and boring designs (sorry to my architecture friends who may find this offensive). If you want a serious plate of pasta, stop at one of the bei Cüneyt stands. You get a massive plate of vegetarian or meat-based pasta or rice dish for only four euros! For the BEST brochens and chocolate croissant I’ve ever had, visit the Das Statement stall.
If you desire another "kaffee pause" a block from Markethalle is Machwitz Kaffee, a local coffee company in operation since 1883.
Cultural Centers in Linden
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).
What's your Must-Do while in Hannover? Check out our other Hannover blogs:
Best World War II Sites in Hannover, Germany7 Noteworthy “Essen und Trinken” Cafes along Hannover, Germany’s Red Thread 6 Amazing Places for Summer Swimming in Hannover10 Cheap & Free Things to do in Hannover, Germany