Hanover is not only a great city for a weekend city break, but it is also a perfect base for day trips across Lower Saxony and the adjacent lands. There are a lot of places you can visit from Hanover, the 9 cities in Lower Saxony, but also Wolfsburg, Bremen and Hamburg. Not to say, there is an abundance of UNESCO sites close to the city. Here are 3 day trips I took and recommend.
Celle is pretty small. Some might even argue that a day is too much for it, but I don’t think so. The city is beautiful in the morning, at midday and in the evening. Probably at night also. Not allowing yourself the time to admire it at every moment, is a loss. Also, there are plenty of things to do in Celle, from seeing the largest ensemble of half-timbered houses in Europe, to visiting the castle and delve into its courtly intrigues through history, to listening to Trompeter that sings from the tower of the cathedral.
Celle is also a great shopping destination, where you can alternate between great boutiques and shops of international chains, while also seeing the interior of some of the mentioned half-timbered houses. There are also some great options for traditional food or a coffee with a view. Celle is colorful, full of personality, traditional and modern at the same time, romantic, funny, charming, incredibly photogenic, relaxing and inspiring. All in one, a real hidden gem. Celle is perfect for a day trip from Hanover that you will never regret.
2. Wolfsburg and Brunswick
When you say
, you say Autostadt, the largest Volkswagen factory, a real city of cars in the heart of Germany, a city inside a city. As you are so close to it, only 90 km, it would be a pity to have the time and not visit it. Even if you are not really passionate about cars, you will for sure find something that will appeal to your interests. For me, it was the Beetle, or better said the Beetles, several, different models. But I’ve enjoyed the entire exhibition in Zeithaus, that comprises 130 years of the history of the automobile. Also in the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles section, you will have the opportunity to check a California Ocean vehicle. For me, these were the highlights of my trip to Autostadt.
Besides, this is a great opportunity to impress the guys in your life. A city of cars is probably on their list since they were little boys. You can visit the individual pavilions of the brands in the Volkswagen group: VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, two impressing 20-story car towers, take off-road driving courses or a tour of the factory.
On your way back to Hanover, stop in
for dinner and a short history lesson. The city was founded by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and a member of the Guelf Dynasty. In the Middle Ages, there was a major trading hub. The heart of the city is Burgplatz with its Brunswick Lion, the symbol of the city from the 11th century, no doubt why. Around it, on all sides, you will see a marvelous ensemble of historic buildings: St Blasii Cathedral, a Lutheran cathedral from the 12th century and the burial site of Henry the lion and other historic personalities, a 19th-century reconstruction of Dankwarderode Castle, the former residence of the dukes, and a row of timber-framed houses. Do not miss, a few streets away, Magniviertel, a set of cobblestone streets with half-timbered houses, Altstatmarkt and St. Catherine in Hagen Square.
3. Marienburg and Hildesheim
Just 20 km outside Hanover lies a fairytale castle with 160 rooms and sky-high watchtowers. The construction of the neo-gothic palace started in 1857 and it was a proof of love and a birthday gift from the last King of Hanover, George V for his beloved wife, Marie. After Prussia annexed Hanover in 1866 and the couple fled to Austria, it stayed uninhabited and untouched until after the Second World War. The castle had only been inhabited for one year. That’s why everything is original and in perfect condition. The castle is still owned by the Royal Family.
In Hildesheim, there is an UNESCO site since 1985, that comprises two magnificent Romanesque churches with a huge historical significance. Marien Dom is one of the oldest bishop’s cathedrals in Germany. It is easy to notice from outside the generations of architectural styles as they were added to the initial building, starting with Romanesque, followed by Gothic and Baroque. Check also the 1000 years old rose bush. St Michael’s has a history of over 1000 years, celebrated in 2010. The interior of the church with its painted wooden ceiling is a must see. The ceiling was saved from destruction during the Second World War and displayed again after the church was rebuilt.
After visiting the two churches, follow the roses painted by the local tourist office which will guide you through a tour of the city. Another highlight in Hildesheim is the historic Market Square, once called by Wilhelm von Humboldt “the most beautiful marketplace in the world”. Around it, there are several half-timbered houses reconstructed after the war, copies of the authentic buildings, including the impressive Knochenhauer-Amtshaus.