Singles/couples: Maritime Bremen
Perhaps you have booked overnight accommodation via the Bremer Touristik-Zentrale on the Nan or, from 2012, the Nedeva? These historical luxury yachts are moored on the Schlachte Embankment, meaning that you will get your day off to a fantastic start with breakfast either above or below deck (depending on the weather). If you're more of a landlubber, tuck into your breakfast from the shore whilst enjoying the lovely scenery. You are now in Bremen's original medieval docks. Nowadays, this maritime past is evoked by the historical ships, such as the Nan and the Roland von Bremen, a faithful replica of a Hanseatic cargo ship. No goods pass through here anymore though – the Schlachte Embankment has instead become a popular place to go out, offering a wide range of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes.
After a short stroll, start at the top end of the promenade, beneath the old merchants' church of St. Martin, with a boat tour of the port (tours begin at 11.45am in autumn and winter). For the next hour and a quarter you will cruise downstream, where wood, coal and container-loads of coffee pass through the city's docks. Suddenly, the open seas – and then the massive docks, heavy-duty cranes and huge ships are on all sides again.
By now you will have seen something of the Weser, the lifeblood of the city, and taken a look at Bremen's youngest district, Überseestadt, which has emerged from the old docklands area. But it's worth exploring it on foot too. Simply walk in a downstream direction along the promenade for 20 minutes or so and you will be at the entrance to a new world. Admire the juxtaposition of gleaming modern architecture with the unpolished dockland ambience and discover the interesting shops and bars dotted all around this buzzing new district. Peep inside the small, but exquisite Speicher XI Dockland Museum and learn the port alphabet with terms from Bremen's docklands.
You are sure to find the perfect spot for a bite of lunch nearby – either in the Speicher XI converted warehouse, a few yards further along in the old-established Hafencasino, or in some other charming Überseestadt watering hole.
Now it's time to set off towards north Bremen and the Vegesack district – only a short hop by train or by car. Vegesack's new Maritime Mile has plenty on offer for fans of all things nautical. The Spicarium exhibition showcases the history of Germany's first artificial harbour – i.e. Vegesack – but also houses a display on marine bionics, a strong field of research in Bremen. Moored on the quayside is the training ship Deutschland, Germany's last intact fully-rigged sailing ship. A whale's jaw on the riverbank serves as a memento of Vegesack's past as a whaling port. And quaint captains' houses line the shore.
The Theatre Ship on the Schlachte Embankment is the perfect destination if you're in the mood for some German-style comedy or an evening of jazz. But if heavy metal is more your thing, then the good ship Treue, also moored on the Embankment, will be happy to welcome you on board. No doubt you will have dined well beforehand – with fish a firm favourite on the menu, of course!
When planning your visit, be aware that many museums and other attractions close for one day during the week (usually Monday).