Lacking the high profile of the Hanse city states Hamburg and Bremen to its north, Hanover (Hannover in German) is perhaps best known for its CeBit information and communications technology fair. Less well known but buried deep within its identity is a British connection – for over 100 years from the early 18th century, monarchs from the house of Hanover also ruled Great Britain and everything that belonged to the British Empire. Perhaps it’s this paradox – of being an incredibly influential part of something much larger than itself – that makes Hanover’s character so difficult to pin down. Perhaps it belongs to the character of the Hanoverians and this lowlands region (the so-called Tiefebene) to be so low-key about such a powerful history.
As well as having its huge CeBit and providing monarchs that ruled half the world for some time, Hanover has acres of greenery and its spectacularly baroque Herrenhäuser Gärten (gardens), which is a mini Versailles. The compact centre, partially reconstructed in a medieval style after WWII bombing, is complemented in the east by the Eilenreide forest, and you can enjoy some good museums – and some football culture at Hanover’s stadium – en route to the southern lake Maschsee.