The zoo has as many as 2,000 animals and the beauty of it is that they aren’t caged but instead are given open areas to roam free. There are actually six worlds which split the animals and attractions and these include places such as Jungle Palace and Gorilla Mountain which also give it the feel of a theme park. Any wannabe Indian Joneses, particularly the younger members of a family, will love exploring on the Sambesi where boats cruise the water for a riverside view of the animals. The ruins of the Indian Palace is the impressive home of the elephants with a café in the middle where elephants, monkeys and grazing deer can all be seen from different sides. Kids and adults that are as hungry as a lion can eat at the mixture of restaurants and even in replicated India you can still get a German sausage or the farm area does good traditional food.
A large man made lake that is a beautiful place for a stroll around the banks or to take a boat out in the summer. Measuring 2.4km long and 6km around the circumference, nearby are also parks with plenty of greenery. Dinner with a cruise of the water can be had when the weather’s better from April to October and this is a good way to see the splendid New Town Hall. Neues Rathaus as it’s known locally is a supremely decadent structure and inside an unusual slanting lift transports passengers up to the highest point in the dome so that breathtaking views can be seen of the city.
Another grand structure is the castle in Marienburg which is 20km to the south of the city. The neo-Gothic architecture looms ominously on the approach with its turrets jutting out from the hills to the side of the River Leine. Guided tours escort visitors around the historic rooms where kings and queens of Hanover have slept and there are still many original decorative objects that it’s like stepping into a museum.
Another attraction suitable for the kings and part of their legacy are the Herrenhausen Gardens which are divided into four gardens with their own attributes. Starting at the Welfengarten and Georgengarten, here the greenery is tended in an English style while the Großer Garten is baroque in nature with a large fountain in the centre that shoots a towering jet or water skywards. There’s also a secret garden to discover and numerous sculptures add a presence to the landscape. During the summer the garden also hosts a fireworks display where countries from around the world come to compete so the displays are certainly impressive and visitors can often catch concerts being played live. Lastly the Berggarten is a botanical garden with varied species of plants from exotic orchids to simple vegetables.
Continuing the outdoors theme the Eilenriede is a vast green forest measuring 650 hectares that creeps up to the city centre and can be easily reached from Hannover hotels . The alder trees that grow in the woodland are how it got its name as they’re known as Ellern in German and this was later adapted to Eilenriede. Today beech, pine, birch and oak are all found in significant numbers within the grounds and as well as leisurely strolls beneath their branches the area is set up for cycling and horse riding or even tobogganing down the specially built slope.
Created by artist Niki de Saint Phalle the huge sculptures along the banks of the Leine were first met with controversy and dislike by some residents but are now regarded with such affection that they’re viewed as the mascots of the city.
Lek Boonlert is an editor and content reviewer at DirectRooms and is responsible for all Hannover Hotels content.