While most travellers would be very familiar with the huge party that is Munich’s Oktoberfest, fewer would know that there are many more similar traditional German festivals held throughout the year in other German cities. One of the larger festivals is SchÃ¼tzenfest Hannover, which opens in four days’ time, on June 29th, and runs until July 8th.
So, for anyone thinking of heading to Germany to get a taste for the beer halls and traditional German food, here’s a brief guide to Hanover and some of the sights of the surrounding area.
Hanover is a major rail interchange, with regular express services from Berlin (1 hr 40 min, â‚¬56), Hamburg (1 hr 30 min, â‚¬38), Frankfurt am Main (2 hrs 20 min, â‚¬75) and Munich (4.5 hrs, â‚¬109). There are also direct international trains to and from Amsterdam, Szczecin (Poland) and a night train from Brussels.
British Midlands flies to Hanover from Aberdeen, Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London (Heathrow), Manchester … and Moscow, for our Russian readers.
Hanover was hit particularly hard during World War II, and lost a good proportion of its historic buildings. Some of those that remain are in the Herrenhauser Garten, Hanover’s famous botanical gardens.
The old town area has the 14th century Marktkirche (Marketplace Church) and the Altes Rathaus (old town hall), built in the 13th century.
There’s plenty to do in surrounding areas to keep you entertained; the town of Hamelin, well -known in folklore and not ashamed to let the world know it, is a short trip away on the S-bahn, or alternatively via the so-called Fairytale road.
An hour by train will get you to the 1000-year old Goslar, set in the Harz mountains and notable for its UNESCO heritage listed mines.
Hannover has an efficient tram and underground light-rail service, operated by GroÃŸraum-Verkehr Hannover (GVH); Schuetzenfest is on lines 3, 7 and 9 at Waterloo station.