The vibrant capital of Lower Saxony, Hanover centers around a charismatic Old Town along the banks of the River Leine. It’s renowned for its festivals (includ-ing the world’s largest marksmen gathering at the Hanover Schützenfest) and is packed with world-class museums, art galleries and theatres.

At its heart is the atmospheric Marktplatz where the late-Gothic Old Town Hall stands, together with the soaring spire of the 14th-century Marktkirche. Radiat-ing from here is the charismatic Kramerstrasse, which preserves the ambiance of old Hanover and is lined with its half-timbered houses occupied by quaint shops and cafes. At Trammplatz stands the grandiose New Town Hall, which was built in the early 20th century in a distinct Wilhelmine style. Soak up the impressive city views from its dome viewing platform, then admire the models of Hanover inside its main hall.

Discover the local history at the Lower Saxony State Museum, which stands op-posite the New Town Hall and displays an outstanding array of artifacts dating back to ancient times. Don’t miss a visit to the State Gallery that features an im-pressive collection of European art from the Romantic period. Another cultural institution not to miss is the Wilhelm Busch Museum that celebrates the life and work of this acclaimed poet and designer. It’s housed within the 18th-century Georgenpalais, with a collection of more than 700 Napoleon caricatures among its highlights.

The Georgenpalais is situated in the beautiful Herrenhausen Gardens, which en-compass an English-style park and a botanic garden where orchids and cacti are showcased. It’s also home to the recently rebuilt Herrenhausen Palace that exhib-its artifacts detailing Hanover’s rich Baroque-era history.