Bremen, Germany Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel
Home to the fabled Bremen Town Musicians, this picturesque German town boasts narrow
cobbled streets, romantic half-timbered buildings and plenty of medieval charm and mystery. The perfect place for a fairy tale adventure.
Bikes were built for Bremen, and Bremen was built for bikes. Its long, flat streets have sidewalks divided into pedestrian and bike lanes. As well as day to day transport, there are scenic rides along both sides the Weser, around the island, and through the green centre of the city, to the beautiful Bürgerpark and beyond. The town is dotted with bike shops that hire bikes, as do most hotels.
Bremen’s trams are regular, reliable and easy to use. The ticket machines have various language options, offer a variety of ticket-types.
The airport is an easy 20 minute tram ride from the city centre.
The Hauptbahnhof (train station) on the edge of the centre of town is your gateway to the rest of Germany.
First stop on the tourist trail is a visit to the statue of the Bremen Town Musicians; the fairy tale animals (donkey, dog, cat and rooster) who ran away from home to pursue their musical dreams, defeating burglars along the way. Be sure to hold both the donkey’s legs when taking your photos - otherwise, as the locals say, it’s just two asses shaking hands!
The Rathaus (town hall) is the star of the beautiful medieval market square. The ornate building is UNESCO heritage listed.
In front of the Rathaus stands a 14metre high statue of a knight. The ‘Roland’ figure is a traditional guardian of medieval trading towns. Bremen’s mighty giant is one of the most famous, and UNESCO heritage listed to prove it. Rub his knees for good luck!
Wander through the Schnoor, the oldest quarter of Bremen. Spared from the heavy bombing of WW2, the tiny twisty streets, strung with tiny twisty cottages (now filled with art galleries and souvenirs shops) are a walk back in time.
After a morning of historical pursuits, head to the Schlachte for a stein of local brew, Becks. The bustling riverside promenade is lined with beer gardens, filled with music and the perfect spot to watch the Weser river traffic go by.
LIKE A LOCAL
Cafe Sand, on the large island that splits the Weser River, is the summer heart of Bremen. Take the ferry across for an afternoon of sun, swimming and of course, sand. The cafe sells everything you need, or can take your own picnic and supplies.
The Bürgerpark is a sprawling country park at the edge of the city. With wide open meadows, a meandering river, and wild forest areas, it’s 202 hectares of peace and beauty. The ‘green lungs’ of Bremen also lights up with fairs, concerts and events throughout the year. Hire a rowboat, ride your bike, visit the animal farm or just wander through the extensive trails.
Looking for a unique reminder of your trip to Bremen? Experience one of Bremen’s renowned flea markets. The Antik- und Trödelmarkt am Weserufer (Antique and Flea Market on the Banks of the Weser) lines the river with an eclectic mix of stalls on a Saturday morning. Many locals finish their weekly shop with a stroll through the market.
On Sunday's the Bürgerweide flea market is one of Germany’s biggest. During Spring and Summer head to the Bürgerwiede, located behind the Hauptbahnhof (train station) The huge flea market is a treasure trove of bargains, beautiful and bizarre. During winter (and very rainy days year-round) it relocates to the carpark of Hanse Carre shopping centre (tram route 3).
Any sunny day will see locals ambling along the paths along the river and surrounding countryside, often pulling a wagon (bollerwagon) filled with beer, schnapps and snacks. In the depths of winter Kohlfarht - or cabbage tour - takes this to a whole other level. Revellers load their wagons with booze and amble through the countryside playing party games, and working up an appetite for a hearty meal of Kohl (cabbage) and Pinkel (a sausage concoction), followed by a night on the dance floor.
Bremen’s pride and joy is the local football team, SV Werder. On home game days, done your green and white even if you can’t get a ticket. Parks, town squares and the riverside come alive with impromptu viewing parties & beer stalls; and the town echoes to the cheers and boos of the crowd inside the Weserstadion.
MUSIC MUSEUMS AND MODERN ART
Naturally a city famous for fairy tale musicians has a thriving music scene. The stunning early gothic St Peter’s Cathedral hosts cheap or even free choral or organ concerts on Thursday evenings.
The Virtel, the vibrant cultural quarter, will somewhere have just the right night out for you - whether you’re after disco, punk, pop, jazz, Latin or something that is essentially the sound of Bremen!
The Breminalie is a free funky open air arts festival showcasing the eclectic side of Bremen. The week-long program is an explosion of music, food and arts.
For more traditional tastes, The Bremen Music Festival fills the city with the sounds of classical, jazz and world music.
For a small city, there are a wealth of theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls. Explore the Kunsthalle for a dose of everything from the Old Masters to the Avant Garde.
Wander the back streets off the Virtel for a self-guided tour in graphic art. Bremen’s flourishing art scene begins on the streets.
Bremen is at the northern point of the Fairy Tale Road. Follow the trail of fable and folklore down to Hamlin, home of the Pied Piper. From there, through ancient forest, quaint villages and faded palaces, you can visit the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, and the alleged scenes of their collected tales; from Snow White’s cottage to Sleeping Beauty’s castle.