For families: Maritime Bremen
After a leisurely breakfast, set off on a tour of the port (from 11.45am in autumn and winter) to see the big ships and giant cranes. Boats depart from the Schlachte Embankment beneath St. Martin's Church and travel down a section of the Weser before returning to shore 75 minutes later.
Now head for the north of Bremen, taking the tram or train to Vegesack. Here, budding explorers of all ages can gain a first-hand insight into boat building and even have a go themselves. Historical boats are restored at the interactive exhibition shipyard, and children can buy a small building kit and spend around an hour making their own little model.
Stop off for lunch at one of the many lovely restaurants in Vegesack before heading back to the city centre. In summer, it's well worth taking a short walk along the Weser to the Sielwall ferry. The ferry takes you across the river to Café Sand, in front of which is a real sandy beach. Now you and your children will be spoilt for choice. You can dig in the sand, swim, hunt for mitten crabs, or simply enjoy delicious cakes and ice cream. This is the perfect place to find out what a four-metre difference between the ebb and flow of the tides means – you can suddenly get very wet if you don't move in time.
With a little bit of planning beforehand, you can also enjoy a very special guided excursion on a peat barge. On certain dates during the summer, you can explore the marshland between Blockland and Devil's Moor (Teufelsmoor) on a peat boat to discover the forgotten world of the peat-cutter. There are also smuggler tours on which families with children can hunt for smuggled treasure, do some rowing, sing songs and listen to stories.
In the evening, take a stroll along the Schlachte Embankment and see the historical boats that are moored there. Amongst them is the Roland von Bremen, an authentic replica of a medieval cargo ship. You will also discover the Pannekoekschip Admiral Nelson where fairly authentic, yet extremely friendly pirates serve up sweet or savoury pancakes.
You can also choose maritime-style accommodation: the paddle steamer 'Die Weser' is anchored right outside the youth hostel, just a few minutes' walk down the river along the Schlachte Embankment – for those who wish to fall asleep listening to the waves lapping.
When planning your visit, be aware that many museums and other attractions close for one day during the week (usually Monday).