7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

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Author:  Caroline

Embarking on a road trip in Germany entails cruising through a plethora of quaint villages, medieval architecture, and really well-maintained roads! Head to northern Germany to find the country’s best coverage of charging stations, offering a glimpse into the future of mobility.

I am a big lover of a good road trip. No really, it’s love with a capital “L”! The freedom of simply hopping in your car and setting off into the unknown – or in my case a carefully planned picturesque landscape with plenty of stops for good food – is unbeatable.

Yet, in recent years, as I strive to actively promote sustainable tourism, my road trips have increasingly been replaced by train travel. That being said, I do strongly believe that if we are going to deal with the climate crisis, electric vehicles are a crucial part of the task. So I might as well be part of that conversation.

It so happened that one early September the road was calling and I had to answer. I decided it was time to master a new skill: the art of road-tripping in, fully electric. This article outlines everything you need to know to embark on a 7-day Germany road trip, starting in Bremen and ending in Hannover.


Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.


Germany Road Trip: A Brief Summary

WHERE TO STAY

TOP THINGS TO DO

HOW TO GET AROUND: We rented an electric vehicle in Bremen and dropped it off in Hannover. At the time of writing, there were very few rental companies that offered that combo. Find your rental.

LOCAL TOURISM BOARDS: Check out the local websites of Bremen, Hamburg and Hannover.

USEFUL READING: Learn more about driving an electric vehicle before your road trip through Germany. Introduction to Electric Vehicle Range, what are the charging speeds for EVs, how to maximize EV range were immensely helpful for me.

FIND YOUR CHARGING STATION: Can be done via Google Maps or Plugshare. Make sure to read the reviews of the charging station before heading there. Some are broken or privately owned.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Bremen was the first stop on our road trip through Germany

Itinerary for Your 7-Day Road Trip in Germany 

Why Take A Road Trip in Northern Germany

This is a very fair question. Southern Germany has done an impressive job selling itself: A castle route, some of the best Christmas markets in the country and, lest we forget, one very famous beer festival held in October. Southern Germans also have the reputation of being quite sociable and wonderfully welcoming.

If you are nodding along while reading the above paragraph, you are far from alone. Southern Germany has lured me into returning time and again. That is, until this year when I ventured not once, but twice into the unknown North.

Let’s first start off by stating the obvious: northern Germany is a lot more economical than its southern counterpart. It’s choc-a-bloc with UNESCO world heritage sites, much lesser-known towns and cities, and wonderfully preserved medieval historical centers peppered with half-timbered houses like Goslar. All to be visited for a fraction of the price (think 20% cheaper on average)

While it is true that locals are a bit more standoffish at first, once you break through that carefully curated veneer, you will be hard-pressed to find a more local and warm friend than a northern German. I was invited to grab a drink, go on a hike, and enjoy a meal by three different locals in the timespan of six days.

And lastly, northern Germany has the best coverage of charging stations throughout the country. We were able to charge our EV in even the most remote villages. A feat unthinkable even at home in Belgium.


Sample Road Trip Itinerary

DAY ONE: Bremen

DAY TWO: Bremerhaven & Hamburg

DAY THREE AND FOUR: Hamburg

DAY FIVE: Hildesheim & Marienburg

DAY SIX: Hannover

DAY SEVEN: Wolfsburg

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 1: Bremen

How to get there: We arrived by train from Brussels to Bremen. Bremen has a small airport (Bremen Flughafen BRE), which is a 10-minute tram ride away from the historical city center. Check schedules and find the cheapest train tickets online.

Car rental pick-up: We picked up our car rental from the airport on day two. Compare prices and find the cheapest rate via AutoEurope.

Charging Points in Bremen

If you are planning on picking up your car directly on day one, check in with your hotel if they have a charging station. The Radisson Blue where we stayed had two on-site charging stations, though it is noteworthy to mention they were slow charging. If you have an empty battery, this means you will need to charge the car overnight before embarking on your road trip.

MORE INFO | Find a list of charging stations via chargemap.com

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

MUST VISIT ATTRACTIONS IN BREMEN

Despite its small size, one could easily spend a couple of days strolling around the bewitching streets of historical Bremen. Founded over 1200 years ago, it was once a prominent member of the Hanseatic League, the remnants of which can still be found in the richly decorated palaces in and around the Historical Center.

Home to two UNESCO-classified monuments:  15th century Roland statue, a legendary young knight who fought bravely under Charlemagne and the 15th-century Gothic Town hall; as well as the omnipresent legend of the Bremen town musicians, four aging and mistreated farm animals – a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster – who decide to embark on a journey together to Bremen in search of a better life.

1. Explore the Historical Centre, the Prettiest in All of Northern Germany

We start at the Bremen Market Square by paying a visit to its two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the historic Bremer Rathaus (Town Hall) designed in the distinctive Weser Renaissance style, and the venerable 600-year-old Roland statue, an iconic representation of liberty and commerce. The former impressive in size, the latter in the art of pulling a stern face.

Next, we meander on to the set of Harry Potter. Well, at least in outward appearance. Locally known as the Böttcherstrasse, this narrow red-bricked alley is lined with museums, artisanal shops and little souvenir stores.

My travel companion has an insatiable sweet tooth so we nip inside Bremer Bonbon Manufaktur for some traditional sweets before heading to house no. 4 for a veritable concert. A set of 30 porcelain bells chime their sweet tunes every hour between 12.00 pm and 06.00 pm.

Left on the bucket list is clambering up the 265 steps of the St. Peters Cathedral for the best views in Bremen. Our glutes are spared this steep climb as strong winds meant the viewpoint was closed to the public.

SAVE TIME: We took a 2-hour guided walking tour through Bremen to learn all about the history and to explore the most important monuments.


2. Stroll Around the Schnoorviertel

Dating back to the 15th century, this labyrinthine quarter was originally home to fishermen and artisans. The name “Schnoor” likely derives from the Low German word “Snoor,” meaning string, due to the winding, narrow streets resembling a tangled cord.

Today, the Schnoorviertel offers a delightful blend of crooked half-timbered houses, quaint boutiques, and cozy cafés. Undeniably my favorite part of the city. Although small, it felt like every time we walked the little streets, there was a new statue, painting or little fountain that had previously managed to escape my snap-happy camera.

Must-see places include the Schifferhaus Museum, where you can explore the life of a 17th-century shipowner, and St. John’s Church, known for its exquisite stained glass windows. A one-hour guided tour is available for history enthusiasts, though I really loved exploring this little area solo and stumbling upon the beautiful buildings without a guide.


3. Learn About the Bremen Town Musicians

The Bremen Town Musicians are characters in a beloved German folktale. A timeless story originating with the Brothers Grimm telling the tale of four aging, discarded animals—a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster—who embark on an adventure to become musicians in Bremen. Their journey symbolizes courage and resourcefulness against adversity.

Remnants of the story can be found dotted around the city from the iconic bronze statue of the animals next to the town hall, to a little wishing well on the main square. Throw a coin in the well to be greeted with a bray, bark, miaow or very animated Cock-a-doodle-do. This little water hole is a favorite amongst the younger locals whose giggles can be heard across the square. The pennies collected from the well go straight to charity.


WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BREMEN

Bars in Bremen

  • Spitzen Gebel: Located in a 15th-century gabled house. Serves one of the oldest schnapps in the city from a lantern. Cash only!
  • Beck’s Bistro: Smack on the central market, with the best views in town!
  • Cafe Engel: Located in a very hip neighborhood with a plethora of bars around.

Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Bremen

  • Plantenköök: Vegetarian restaurant serving seasonal dishes in an intimate setting.
  • Markthalle: Centrally located food hall with a wide variety of cuisines.
  • Katzen Café: Wonderfully romantic restaurant in the Schnoor district. A limited selection of vegetarian options. Serves Italian cuisine.
  • Vengo: Small vegetarian restaurant with the most delicious assortment of fresh salads. Located in a very hip neighborhood, within walking distance from the historical center.

WHERE TO STAY IN BREMEN

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Radisson Blue in Bremen

BEST LOCATION: Radisson Blue ($$)

We stayed in the plush Radisson Blue located smack in the historical center of Bremen. Super comfortable beds, on-site parking with EV chargers and a huge breakfast spread!

VIENNA HOUSE EASY BY WYNDHAM BREMEN ($): Great budget option if you are looking for a centrally located hotel, with great service, and a gym. Guest particularly love the location and the breakfast

PLAZA PREMIUM COLUMBUS BREMEN ($$): A 3-star hotel located conveniently by the Bremen train station and within walking distance from the historical center. On-site parking is available.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 2: Bremerhaven

Route: Bremen – Bremerhaven – Bremen
Distance covered: 131 km

On the second day of our northern Germany road trip, we picked up the rental car and headed to nearby Bremerhaven on a day trip. I thought the shorter distance would be the perfect way to get into the swing of driving an EV before going all out later on in the trip.

Founded in 1827, Bremerhaven, or “Bremen’s Harbor,” was established as an extension of the nearby city of Bremen to accommodate the growing shipping industry and facilitate trade. While it pales in comparison to Bremen, it has absolute world-class museums making it a non-negotiable stopover on our road trip (more on this later).

Driving From Bremen to Bremerhaven

Getting to Bremerhaven from Bremen is very smooth, technically a 45-minute drive gets you from door to door. Despite the proximity, what should have been a breezy ride proved to be a very steep learning curve. It all started with trying to find the obscure “ON” button. Why do they make them so hard to find!

After I managed to turn on the car (oh the relief!), the drive itself was very straightforward. Park your car in the large underground parking underneath the Klimahouse museum.

Charging Your EV in Bremerhaven

The above-mentioned underground parking (Hermann-Heinrich-Meier-Straße 1, 27568 Bremerhaven) has two charging points for electric cars at the entrance of the parking. They will require you to download an app for payment.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

MUST VISIT ATTRACTIONS IN BREMERHAVEN

German Emigration Center

The German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven is a poignant museum delving into the history of emigration from Germany to the New World. Visitors can trace the footsteps of millions who left their homeland in search of a better life. Interactive exhibits and personal stories bring to life the immigrant experience, making history tangible and deeply moving.

I  heard from many friends that the German Emigration Center Museum is another top-notch museum. However, after spending a full morning in the Klimahause, my brain was satiated for the day. I will however definitely come back to Bremerhaven to check out the museum one day!


Climate House Bremerhaven (Klimahouse)

The Klimahause or Climate House is a huge museum dedicated to the exploration of Earth’s climate zones. Visitors embark on a multisensory journey, experiencing the climatic conditions of diverse regions from the Arctic to the Equator.

The Klimahouse was probably the highlight of the entire trip for me: showing how the topic of Climate Change is one of interconnectivity on a global scale, how the effects of one large multinational in a remote area can cause a ripple effect that can be felt clearcut across the globe. A strong reminder that we all have a role to play.

We spent 3.5 hours walking around and could easily have spent another few hours as it was so well presented. This museum is also great if you are traveling with kids.


Historic Harbor of Bremerhaven

The historic harbor is great for a little stroll around after you have spent a few hours inside visiting the various museums. We took a peek at the old ships and made our way to the lighthouse before heading back to the car.


WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN BREMERHAVEN

We ended up grabbing a bite to eat in the Klimahause museum which has two on-site restaurants offering both warm and cold meals as well as a variety of different snacks. Abundant vegetarian options were available (hurray!), and vegan options are available upon request.

Alternatively, head to nearby Schiffergilde to grab a bite to eat.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 3: Road to Hamburg

Route: Bremen – Stade – Jork – Hamburg
Distance Covered: 169 km  

Day three was spent entirely on the road, driving between Bremen and Hamburg. Having figured out how to turn the car on and charge, it was high time to put these newfound skills to the test. Today I was going to learn about another very important aspect of driving an EV, range.

Exploring Stade and Jork

In true road trip style, we made a few stops between Bremen and Hamburg: The villages of Stade and Jork. Medieval Stade is wonderfully quaint, filled with half-timbered houses and a little open-air museum showcasing the various architectural styles of Stade throughout its history. It’s an excellent spot to get out and stretch your legs.

By the time we made it to Jork our car was desperately trying to catch our attention by flashing increasingly frequent “low battery” warnings. The initial excitement over the cool BMW Mini EV we got to drive wore off on the spot, as we learned it has a tiny range autonomy. Or in layman’s terms, it needs a lot of charging to get you anywhere. Make sure to check the range autonomy if you do rent an EV.

Luckily Jork proved to be the perfect spot for charging the car. The town is renowned for its apple orchards and brightly painted farmhouses. If you plan in advance you can hop on a farm tour or do as we did, and grab some delicious apple pie in the Herzapfelhof orchard as the car is left to charge.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 4: Hamburg



Day four we stayed put in Hamburg to explore the second-largest city in Germany. Its history dates to the 9th century and it has been a major port since. It’s safe to say spending only one day in the city requires either a very tight schedule or the ability to make hard choices and visit but a select few locations. We opted for the latter.

SAVE TIME | Short on time, book yourself a guided bike tour through Hamburg! Or alternatively have a look at a guided walking tour.

Charging Options in Hamburg

The Superbude Hotel where we stayed in Hamburg had a charging station on site. Check out chargemap for charging points in Hamburg.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

 TOP ATTRACTIONS IN HAMBURG

1. Kontor Haus District

The Kontorhaus district in Hamburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrated for its architectural significance. These five hectares feature six large office buildings built between the 1920s and the 1940s to house businesses related to the port. What makes them stand out is the innovative brick expressionism. Yep, you read that right! It was a first for me too.

Brick Expressionism came around at the same time as the more well-known Bauhaus architectural style and originated in northern Germany. This architectural style uses mainly (clinker) bricks and tiles in a variety of red, brown, and purple tones. While Bauhaus is all about keeping it simple, brick expressionism architects love playing with distinct shapes and ornaments.

I am anything but a minimalist, so any architectural style that can liven things up a bit has my undivided attention. The gargantuan office buildings are mostly privately owned and closed to the public. We got lucky and managed to have a peek inside the Chilehaus, with its characteristic and very photogenic winding staircase leading all the way up to the top floor.

NOT TO BE MISSED: The Chilehaus, Messberghof, Sprinkenhof, Mohlenhof, Montanhof, Kontorhaus Burchardstrasse 19-21 and Miramar-Haus


2. Speicherstadt

Adjacent to the Kontorhaus district lies the UNESCO World Heritage site of Speicherstadt. This endless sea of neo-Gothic red brick structures was once the largest warehouse complex in the world. Storing popular commodities like coffee, tea, spices, and other precious goods upon which the foundations of Hamburg were created.

Today one can still find a smattering of carpet warehouses, but mostly the buildings have been transformed into museums, cafés, the occasional office/apartment buildings, and the most visited museum in all of Germany: Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest collection of miniature trains.

We opted to langurously stroll around in the later afternoon. Starting with a very good coffee in the Kaffeemuseum Burg ( I do not often use the words “good” and “coffee” in the same sentence outside of Italy), darting across the various bridges and peeking inside the colorful warehouses on the Zollkanal.

Sunset in this part of the city is simply unparalleled. As the sun sets behind the Elbphilharmonie, Speicherstadt transforms into a cluster of tangerine-colored buildings sewn together by glass bridges ricocheting the last remnants of light. Keep your camera out for the ultimate photo backdrop: the iconic Wasserschloss.

SEE IT FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE | Cruising through Speicherstadt on a boat is one of the most popular activities in Hamburg. Book yourself a 2-hour boat tour around sunset!


3. Elbphilharmonie

This beautiful waterfront concert hall is said to have one of the best acoustics in the entire world. However, our local guide in Bremen was adamant their concert hall was far superior, albeit smaller. We did not go inside to see a show so I shall remain blissfully neutral and simply encourage you to put both theories to a test.

What we did do, however, was clamber up to the top to catch the sunset. The rooftop of the Philharmonie offers stunning views over the harbor of Hamburg and is free for everyone to enjoy. It seems to be a popular hangout for both locals and tourists. Simply follow the throngs of people to the ticketing office to receive a free ticket stub.


Dialogue in the Dark Hamburg

4. Dialogue in the Dark Museum

Hands down my favorite activity in all of Hamburg, perhaps even the entire road trip. This immersive museum takes you into the world of the visually impaired and will forever change the way you see the world – pun very much intended.

The core of the exhibit is held in four, pitch-black rooms displaying seemingly mundane scenarios: Chilling at home, going to the park, navigating the city, and grabbing a drink in a rowdy bar. As the curtains are drawn, we are given a cane and catch a glimpse of the daily struggles experienced by the visually impaired.

As we spend the next 60 minutes bumping into our fellow museum-goers, clinging to the walls for support, and swinging our canes like it’s going out of fashion it becomes increasingly clear how our world is anything but accessible and how important it is to be mindful of those around us that might very well need a helping hand.


5. Rent a Bike and Head Under the Elbe River

Hamburg is cut in two by the Elbe River. Getting across on foot (or bike) can be done by traversing a 100-year-old underground tunnel. Turns out there is actually light at the end of the tunnel, or at least a few cool viewpoints and a neat museum!

The Alte Elbtunnel dates back to 1911, initially aimed at facilitating dockworkers getting across the river. It is surprisingly similar to the St. Anne’s tunnel in Antwerp! We rented a set of bikes and headed in the direction of said tunnel, a rickety elevator plunging us down 24 meters (80 feet) into the 450-meter (1500-foot) long tunnel.

As we make our way out of the tunnel, we veer left immediately to the Aussichtspunkt Steinwerder for a wonderful view over the Hamburg skyline. Next, we cycle to the Energieberg, once a toxic landfill, now a source of renewable energy with a small park & museum. The museum itself is free to enter and explains the various ecological initiatives Hamburg has in the pipeline.

SAVE TIME | Short on time, book yourself a guided bike tour through Hamburg!


6. Additional Places to See in Hamburg

If you have more time in Hamburg, there are most certainly a plethora of things to do including Miniatur Wunderland, a visit to St. Michael’s Church and hanging around the very hip Neustadt.


VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN HAMBURG

  • Kkokki loves vegan: A vegan Korean restaurant located in a super bustling neighborhood. Only accepts cash payment!
  • Gustav Grün: Great if you are looking for a quick, healthy meal. Make your own wrap or poké bowl. Located close to the Philharmonic.
  • TA Veganhouse: Very cozy vegan restaurant serves delicious Vietnamese food.

WHERE TO STAY IN HAMBURG

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Superbude Hamburg Altona

SUSTAINABLE CHOICE: Superbude Hamburg Altona ($$)

We stayed here and loved it. A very hip hotel, with on-site electric charger and free bicycles available for their guests. Large on-site parking and super comfortable beds.

East Hotel Hamburg ($$$): This luxury hotel has a large rooftop spa and spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi. It lies in the heart of the St. Pauli district, alongside the world-famous Reeperbahn.

NH Hamburg Horner Rennbahn ($$): Sustainable hotel NH Hamburg has a spa with a sauna and a steam cabin as well as a large gym!

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 5: Hildesheim & Marienburg

Route: Hamburg – Hildesheim – Marienburg Castle – Hannover
Distance Covered: 222 km  

On the fifth day of our Germany road trip, we drove from Hamburg to Hannover with a few select pitstops along the way: Hildesheim & Marienburg. After all, what is a road trip if you cannot stop to enjoy the scenery.

As our car and our stomachs were running on fumes, we opted to recharge both in Hildesheim. My non-existent parking skills were put to the test when a large SUV had unceremoniously parked itself on one of the two parking spots for EVs.

With 3% battery left, and a dashboard blinking like a Christmas tree on steroids, I had no choice but to try and maneuver us into the other spot that was left. What followed is a barrage of curse words and the most nerve-wracking 10 minutes of my life. I truly tried, but ended up asking a, slightly bewildered, taxi driver to park the car. Not my finest moment, but, the car was parked in the end!

Hamburg to Hannover Recommended Stops Along the way

What to do in Hildesheim

With a little over 100,000 inhabitants, Hildesheim is considered a small-ish city by German standards. Nevertheless, this little enclave has been around since 815 AD and is positively bursting with charm. As we walked onto the magnificent Main Square, both of us simultaneously came to a grinding halt.

The square is lined with historical guild buildings, all of which look like they walked off the set of Belle and the Beast. Further “oos” and “aahs” ensued after visiting the 11th-century St. Michael’s Church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

TIP | Grab an ice cream to go at the Roma Eiscafe and plonk down on the little wooden bench overlooking the Main Square. The absolute best spot for people watching!


Visiting Marienburg Castle

Marienburg Castle is a splendid neo-Gothic masterpiece and has graced my Pinterest board for about as long as I can remember. This slice of regal heaven was originally built as a ‘mere’ summer residence for the royal family in 1867. King George V of Hanover had good taste!

The castle’s architectural style is characterized by its intricate ornamentation, pointed arches, and soaring towers. If Hildesheim is Belle’s realm, Marienburg is most definitely where Sleeping Beauty settles in for her beauty sleep.

The unthinkable happens as we arrive, the castle turns out to be closed for a spruce up. Oh the tragedy! We visit the inner courtyard and catch a little glimpse of all its splendor. My inner princess has her curiosity well and truly peaked, and I mentally plan to come back and visit the castle properly.

DRIVING TIP | As you drive up from Hildesheim and turn into K505, the castle will soar out of the forest hill ahead. Appearing like a medieval apparition, seemingly out of nowhere. This is the best vantage point to snap a picture – drones are forbidden in and around the castle!


WHERE TO STAY IN HANNOVER

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Image courtesy of Booking.com

SUSTAINABLE CHOICE: DoubleTree by Hilton Hannover ($$)

Located 400 meters from the central station with a large rooftop terrace. Comes with a sauna, gym and large on-site parking with EV chargers.

Hotel WegnerCulinary Art Hotel ($): Located slightly outside of the historical center with easy access to the highway. Ample parking is available on-site.

Concorde Hotel am Leineschloss ($$$): The hotel in Hannover with the very best location, smack in the middle of the historical center.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Road Trip Day 6: Hannover

The city of Hannover is a patchwork of historical buildings and modern architecture. While the historical center is the size of a pocket square – even I could not get lost there, and that is saying something – the Royal Gardens of the Herrenhausen, the Hannover Museum and the bustling Markthalle combined make for a full day of exploring.

Charging your EV in Hannover

The city has an extensive set of charging stations dotted in and around the city center. Paradoxically, Hannover was the hardest spot on the trip to charge our EV. It seems the local energy supplier has a monopoly on the charging stations, which as a non-local means you are fresh out of luck.

We pulled into several charging spots, hoping against hope to get a little juice – but no, lady luck was not smiling on us. We ended up crawling to Autostadt for a charge – inching forward at 80 km/h on the German Autobahn, without AC in 32°C, in a desperate attempt to conserve battery. Hello learning curve, you are kicking my butt.

THINGS TO DO IN HANNOVER

1. Herrenhausen Gardens

Located on the outskirts of town lies the Herrenhausen Palace with its eponymous gardens. The palace and the gardens date back to the early 17th century. The palace, in a Baroque architectural style, was built in 1640. The gardens, designed by Sophia of Hanover, offer magnificent vistas and include the Great Garden with its grand fountain. 

Visitors can explore the palace’s interior and enjoy cultural events in the gardens, during the summer months, the gardens are the scene of a beautiful light show. We sadly missed the show as we arrived well and truly too late into town. Gives us a reason to go back next summer!


2. New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus)

The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), is a magnificent architectural marvel built in the style of historicism, mainly Neo-Renaissance, and completed in 1913. The larger-than-life building is vaguely reminiscent of the red-domed Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest.

I loved it so much, we went back three times: Once at sunrise, next at sunset and finally at night to see it lit up. While three consecutive visits might be overkill, if you can kick your but out of bed for sunrise and happen to chance upon good weather, I promise the views will soften the blow of the early morning wake-up call.

This beauty can also be visited. A ticket buys you entrance to visit the opulent interior and, even better, a ride up to the top to capture views over the city. The “ride” entails squishing into a shoebox-size elevator with a glass ceiling, and slightly more unnerving, floor. Not for the faint of heart, or stomach.


3. Stroll Around the Old Town

The historical center of Hannover is but a handful of little streets. Size clearly does not matter though as they are brimming with life, especially at night! The prettiest streets include Kramerstrasse and Ballhofplatz, known for their charming half-timbered houses.

Among the oldest buildings is the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) stands out, a stunning example of North German brick Gothic architecture. Its façade is adorned with beautiful intricate carvings.


VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN HANNOVER

  • Hiller restaurant: The oldest vegetarian restaurant in Germany, dating back to 1955.
  • Kouros restaurant: Located in the historical center, this little Greek restaurant is super romantic.
  • Veats: A vegetarian restaurant offering fresh poké owls and wraps.

Road Trip Day 7: Wolfsburg

Route: Hannover – Wolfsburg – Hannover
Distance covered: 181 km   
Where we charged the car:
Autostadt Wolfsburg      

On our last day in Germany, we decided to take a day trip from Hannover to Wolfsburg. The city might not ring a bell, but perhaps Autostadt does, the largest car museum in the world, run by the Volkswagen group.

Charging your EV in Wolfsburg

Autostadt has a variety of different charging points on all three of its main parking lots. The charging points on P1 accept all forms of payments (e.g. various credit cards), while for P2 and P3 you require a specific charging card.

MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN WOLFSBURG

Autostadt

Autostadt covers an expansive area of approximately 25 hectares (about 62 acres). It encompasses a variety of attractions, including brand pavilions, lush gardens, interactive exhibitions, a lagoon, and a large distribution center for new cars. It’s a bit like Disneyland, for car enthusiasts.

The beauty of Autostadt is the fact it has something to do for everyone. I cannot hide the fact that cars have never really tickled my fancy. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the future of the Volkswagen electric cars and the brand’s vision on shared mobility.

This same building also holds an exhibition on sustainability in the larger sense e.g. broader than mere mobility. The pavilion next door has a very cool exhibition of Old Timers and even one of the original Delorians (Boy did I have a major crush on Marty Mcfly growing up).

SAVE TIME | Get your skip-the-line tickets for Autostadt

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Northern Germany Road Trip Practical Information

Necessary Documents and Permits for Driving in Germany

OWN CAR: Before heading out on a road trip in Germany, make sure to have a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP) for non-European Union residents. The legal driving age in Germany is 18 years old. If you are not driving an electric vehicle, make sure to check which cities require you to purchase an emission sticker as they are designated low-emission zones.

RENTING A CAR: If you are planning on renting a car you will be asked for a valid driver’s license, passport, and a credit card for a security deposit. Some agencies have a minimum age requirement of 21 years old. It is equally noteworthy to mention that drivers under 25 years old might be asked to pay an expensive young driver surcharge. This is commonplace all over Europe when renting a car.


Renting or Preparing Your Electric Vehicle in Germany

Renting an electric car in Germany was a smidge more complicated than I thought. To be fair, we had the added complexity of a different pick up and drop-off location. Below are a few practicalities that are worthwhile mentioning before you embark on your road trip through Germany.

AUTONOMOUS RANGE: When renting a car it is not uncommon for the rental agency to provide you with a slightly different model than you picked out online. The policy is that as long as they are in the same class of vehicle, there is no problem. Things come unhinged with electric cars as they are oftentimes clumped together in one class of vehicle e.g. the electric car. Be very mindful of the autonomous driving range in the car you receive.

CHARGING ADAPTERS: Check if your car rental comes with charging adapters for various charging speeds and if need be for simply plugging it into the wall (this can be a last resort if you do not find a charging station).

INSURANCE: Electric cars cannot be towed like a regular car. Make sure your insurance covers the additional expenses for towing your EV.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Practical Tips for EV Road Tripping in Germany

Understanding German Traffic Regulations

  • Driving sense: Germans drive on the right-hand side of the road
  • Speed limits: Autobahns do have speed limits, especially near cities.
  • Mandatory items in vehicles: red reflective triangle, first aid kit, and two safety vests.
  • Right-of-way rule: Vehicles from the right have priority unless the road you are traveling on is clearly marked as a priority road via a diamond-shaped sign.
  • Busses: Do not pass a bus signaling a stop.
  • Driving in Winter: Unlike Austria and Switzerland, winter tires and snow chains are not mandatory throughout winter. That is, unless there are icy conditions in which case you are required to have winter tires. 

READ UP BEFORE YOU GO | Find more information on the traffic rules in Germany.

Tips for First-Time EV Drivers

Charging Speed: Understand the charging speed of the vehicle and various charger types (e.g., Level 1, Level 2, DC fast charging). Faster chargers are more convenient but may cost more.

Charging Stations: We used Google Maps to find charging stations, but sometimes were sent to private homes that were wrongly indicated on the map. What helps is to read the reviews and browse the pictures of the charging station itself on Google Maps. 

Payment of Charge: Bring a working credit card with you as a debit card is not accepted for charging. Some charging stations require you to download an app and make payments in the app with your credit card. A phone with working data is indispensable.

Charging Costs: Be aware of the charging costs, which may vary depending on the provider and location. Some hotels offer free charging for guests.

Charging Time: Electric cars take longer to charge compared to refueling a gas vehicle. Plan for charging stops during meals or sightseeing to optimize your time.

Regenerative Braking: Utilize regenerative braking to recover energy when slowing down. This is particularly useful when inching forward in heavy traffic.

Climate Control: Heating or cooling the cabin can affect range. Precondition your EV while it’s still charging to conserve battery power on the road.

Check State of Charge: Always check the state of charge (SOC) before leaving a charging station to ensure it’s charging correctly. We had a few instances where the car had in fact not charged (oops).

Parking: Look for hotels that offer EV charging stations or parking facilities with charging options. These will usually not require you to download an app for payment and are thus much easier to use.

Emergency Assistance and Contacts for Your German Road Trip

Germany has two primary emergency numbers: 112 and 110. Dialing 112 connects you to the fire brigade and ambulance services, though not the police. For immediate police assistance in Germany, dial 110.

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Wrapping up Northern Germany Road Trips

Taking an EV out for a road trip can seem slightly daunting at first. I know it was for me! However, with a bit of pre-reading, you can embark on this journey successfully. There are two factors to take into account: The range autonomy of your car & the availability of charging points.

Northern Germany is very well-serviced when it comes to charging points, all of the hotels we stayed in (and that are recommended) had at least 2 charging stations on the premises exclusively for their clients. If you are renting a car, make sure to triple-check the range autonomy of the car you receive versus the one you ordered. 

From singing wells, to princess castles and magical brick constructions, northern Germany reads like a modern-day fairytale. The abundance of vegetarian food options, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and picture-perfect towns make it the perfect off-the-beaten road trip in Germany destination.


Disclaimer: This post was written as part of a collaboration with the German National Tourism Board. All opinions and recommendations expressed in the article are my own.


7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

MORE TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR VISITING GERMANY

South-West Germany: Sustainable guide to Karlsruhe
Central Germany: Exploring the Harz Mountains

7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Road Trip in Germany: Pin it
7-Day Northern Germany Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle
Road Trip Germany

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Caroline Muller

Thanks for dropping in! My name is Caroline, and I am a full-time writer & photographer. With this blog, I hope to harness the power of travel to do good in the world. Think connecting with local cultures, sustainable tourism, and in-depth guides to known and lesser-known adventures. Adventure awaits!

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