Modern, dynamic but with a charming historic core, Bremen is one of the most laid-back and enjoyable destinations in Germany. Packed with museums, blessed with plenty of green spaces, fine restaurants and more, Bremen always proves a rewarding place to visit.
Bremen was one of the Hanseatic trading ports of the middle ages, and the people used their wealth wisely, creating a stunning old quarter featuring fine buildings like the 15th-century Rathaus and the Markt.
Bremen offers one of Germany's best galleries in the Kunsthalle Bremen. Don't miss the Expressionist collections in particular, and find time to visit the artistic colony in nearby Worpswede as well.
Schnoor is one of Bremen's most atmospheric areas, with its labyrinthine streets and passages. It's the place to go to find clothing boutiques, hidden cafes, and bars to down a few of the city's excellent beers.
Art is everywhere in Bremen, not just in the galleries. The elegant Jugendstil buildings on Böttcherstrasse and the many sculptures dotting the old town are particular treats.
Bremen's green spaces are a major highlight, and none are livelier than Blockland. Watch theater performances, skate in winter, or relax in riverside surroundings.
Dominated by the awe-inspiring City Hall, The Marktplatz (German for Market Square) is an attraction mainly for its fresh vegetables, flowers, and fruit. As you walk into the magnificent piazza, the first thing that meets the eye is the colorful Rathaus. Breathe in the fresh scent of local produce from the region and delicacies from across the world. Being a free-entry marketplace, the Marktplatz plays a key role in the daily lives of Bremen's inhabitants today.
With its splendid architecture and attractive design, one might mistake this impressive structure for a world-class museum. Instead, the Bremer Rathaus is Bremen's City Hall, and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1405 and 1410, the Bremer Rathaus is over 1,200 years old. It has miniature cannons that are fired off for special occasions. While there, pass by The Town Musicians of Bremen, a comical bronze sculpture depicting farm animals stacked atop one another. Pass by the Roland Statue that serves as a symbol of trading rights and global freedom.
At the heart of Bremen lies the stunning Bremer Dom (Bremen Cathedral), dedicated to St. Peter and first erected around 789. The exterior of the cathedral is just as attractive as the interior, and it ought to be, considering it has undergone a couple of renovations through the years. Take a slow walk through the halls and marvel at the original medieval vaults, arcs, and the 19th-century pillars. Discover the history and experience the wonder of every sculpture, altar, and aisle that makes the Bremer Dom such a remarkable sight.
One of the art-highlights of Bremen, this is the first-ever museum to be dedicated entirely to the work of a female painter. It was established in honor of its namesake, Paula Modersohn-Becker, a female artist who lived between 1876 and 1907. The building itself is considered a prime examples of Expressionist architecture in Germany, and was designed by architect Bernhard Hoetger. Arouse your artistic senses as you walk into the ornate brick construction and take a journey through this exceptional artist's expressionist works, and explore works from her estate.
Another excellent art museum, the Kunsthalle Bremen was established in 1823. It boasts of a collection of over 200,000 prints and drawings (one of the largest collections in Europe) and a vast array of paintings spanning from the 14th century to the present day. Catch a glimpse of the amazing artwork of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and John Cage. The entire exhibition takes about two hours, but you can always relax at the museum's charming Museums restaurant Canova with a tasty "Kaffee" and cake.
Sightseeing is best during summer (June through September), but spring and fall are great times to visit as well.
Many low-cost airlines fly into Bremen. After touching down at Bremen Airport (BRE), catch the number 6 tram straight into town. Tickets cost EUR2.40.
Bremen has excellent rail connections to other German cities as well as France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Intercity services terminate at the Hauptbahnhof, near the city center.
Those driving from Hamburg should take the A1 Autobahn, while you can take the A24, then the A1 from Berlin.
Intercity buses run into Bremen from all over Germany, and Eurolines is the major operator.
Bremen has a wealth of great hotels. Some leading city center luxury choices include the Radisson Blu, Dorint Park Bremen, and the riverside Steigenberger Hotel.
The Altstadt - the heart of Bremen is home to architectural marvels like the Rathaus, St. Peter's Cathedral, and sculptures like Roland - the town's iconic hero.
Schnoor - once home to Bremen's large fishing population, Schnoor is nowadays one of the most charming historic neighborhoods, with quaint houses, restaurants, and cafes aplenty.
Überseestadt - Bremen's dockland area, Überseestadt is being regenerated in style, with museums and bars that are open all night.
Bremen's transport system is exceptional, with trains, buses, and trams. Day tickets are a good option, costing EUR7.90 or EUR10.50 for two adults.
Taxis tend to be expensive, but can be a handy transportation option. Rates will be around EUR2 per mile.
You can rent a car from companies like Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar, with prices starting from around EUR15 per day, so it's an excellent option.
The best place to shop if you love independent stores is definitely Schnoor, where you can wander through countless craft stores and boutiques.
Supermarkets in Bremen include REWE and Aldi, and prices are usually moderate. You can expect to pay about EUR2.50 for a gallon of milk.
Bremen's gastronomic highlights include the Bremer Ratskeller (under the market), and Spitzen Gebel, which dates back to the 1400s. Meals should cost around EUR10-20 at most restaurants.