Getting around Hanover
Üstra Hannoverische Verkehrsbetriebe AG (tel: +49 511 16680; www.uestra.de) runs Hanover's excellent transport system, which consists of buses and stadtbahnen (trams) that travel underground in the city centre and on special designated tracks in the suburbs.
Urban transport is integrated with regional services, including Deutsche Bahn (tel: 01806 699 6633, in Germany only; www.bahn.de), which operates eight regular suburban train (S-Bahn) lines, as well as RegioBus Hannover (tel: +49 511 368 880; www.regiobus.de). The umbrella organisation Grossraum-Verkehr Hannover (GVH) (tel: +49 511 16680; www.gvh.de) oversees the entire system.
Single tickets are valid for two hours on all transport and prices are based on zones covered; there are three zones in total. Day, group, concession and multi-tickets are also available. Tickets are available for purchase using pre-paid cards (GeldKarte from banks or PayKarte from Deutsche Telekom) from automated dispensers at bus and tram stops - tickets bought this way are slightly cheaper and will eventually replace tickets purchased with cash.
The Hannover Card, available from tourist information and other outlets, allows free travel on GVH buses, S-Bahn trains and trams in the Hanover ticket zone and discounts at tourist attractions. One-, two- and three-day cards are available.
Taxis are beige Mercedes and tourists can safely hail these on the street or call for one in advance.
Radio taxi companies include Flughafen-Taxi Hannover (tel: +49 177 248 7311 or +49 511 850 068 35; flughafentaxi-hannover.de/) and Taxengemeinschaft Langenhagen (tel: +49 511 730 101; www.taxi-730101.de/).
After dusk, tram and bus drivers will often order taxis for single women passengers, on request. These meet you at the relevant bus stop. Drivers normally stick to the efficiently regulated meter system. A tip of 10% is expected.
Driving conditions in Hanover are among the best in Germany. Wide, five-to-six-lane-streets around the city centre make driving easy and prevent congestion. The heart of the city centre is reserved for pedestrians.
Given the excellent public transport system, in most cases it is advisable for drivers to park and ride. In the city centre, 24-hour parking is available at Friesenstrasse/Lister Tor, Hbf/Raschplatz, Rundestrasse/Hbf, Leonhardtstrasse (Schweizer Hof), Schmiedestrasse, and Opernplatz (Opern/Kröpcke), Osterstrasse, Köbelinger Markt, Klagesmarkt, Mehlstrasse, Windmühlenstrasse, Galerie Luise, Andreaestrasse and Marstall.
Drivers must be a minimum of 18-21 years old depending on the car rental company. Some companies require that very young drivers have held a full driving licence for at least one year and some companies have a special rate for young drivers. Payment is in cash or by credit card, on presentation of a valid licence (an International Driving Permit is preferred).
You can hire bikes from Fahrradstation (tel: +49 511 353 9640) at the main railway station. Hanover is reasonably bicycle friendly, with a number of designated cycle routes.