Located on the bank of the River Leine, Hannover is small and humble despite being one of Germany's wealthier cities. It's best known for hosting annual commercial expositions such as the Hannover Fair, and the more raucous Oktoberfest Hannover, the second largest in the world.
Although a substantial portion of the city was destroyed by Allied bombers during World War II, Hannover has retained its sense of history and charm, evident in its medieval attractions and distinctive timbered buildings. Complete with world-class shopping centres, wonderful museums and churches, and a love of all things beer related, Hannover has plenty to offer the intrepid traveller.
Located in the Anderten district of Hannover is the European Cheese Centre, which sees itself as the premier cheese boutique on the continent. There are eight areas, each representing a cheese-producing region of Europe, as well as a central marketplace where foodies can enjoy cheese and wine tastings.
The Royal Gardens at Herrenhausen exemplify the manicured French Baroque style of landscaping. Sculpted topiaries dot the symmetrical lawns of the Great Garden, which also contains the famous Grotto featuring colourful mosaics by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The Berggarten houses exotic plants and a conservatory, and the Welfgarten surrounds the impressive Welfenschloss Castle.
An integrated transport system means that visitors to the city can experience all Hannover has to offer with comparative ease, and the Red Thread - a three mile (4km) red line painted onto the road, tracing the city's most famous attractions - gives tourists something of a sightseeing treasure map.