Thrills, spills, sports and culture
In autumn, your visit to Bremen can include fantastic events such as the swb marathon or major exhibitions at the Kunsthalle art gallery
Morning mist hangs over the meadows and frost glistens on the bushes. Golden leaves fall to the ground in gentle sweeps and the paths are scattered with chestnuts. Bremen is beautiful in the autumn and it's a great time to visit. As the days get shorter, you can visit one of the city's many museums or enjoy a fun-packed day at the Freimarkt fair. And if you're looking for some top-class sporting action, there's the annual swb marathon.
A typical Bremen itinerary includes the market square and cathedral, the Schlachte Embankment and the river Weser, Universum Bremen, the Bürgerpark, the Überseestadt district and Rhododendron Park. Yet all these top attractions form only part of the route for the swb marathon at the beginning of October. No matter whether participants go the full 26 miles, or run only half the distance, the event sees sporting performance at the very highest level. There is also a ten-kilometre run through the city centre. Pumping music and cheers of encouragement from the sidelines spur the runners on, and more jubilant fans greet them at the finishing line. The accompanying programme of entertainment makes it a memorable event for the spectators too.
The Freimarkt fair in October is known by locals as the fifth season of the year. As the days get shorter and the nights draw in, the city is livelier than ever. Bremen is in Freimarkt fever: streamers and balloons, sweet-smelling gingerbread hearts and bright red toffee apples, fairground thrills, and smiling faces wherever you look. Do you want to see the world upside down? Fly through the air? Feel your heart in your stomach and tingle with excitement? Then what are you waiting for, head for the rollercoasters, big wheel or haunted house.
Every year, millions of people come from near and far to join in the fun at one of the oldest annual fairs in Germany and the largest in the north. No other volksfest offers so many different and innovative fairground attractions. Thousands of partygoers link arms and sway along in the Bavarian tent, listen to rock and pop music with surprise celebrity guests in the Hanseatic tent, flock to the Riverboat to hear jazz and Dixieland music or meet in Hall 7 for Freimarkt by Night – the city's largest party.
But if that all sounds a little raucous, head to the 'little Freimarkt' on the market square where you'll find piping-hot doughnuts, roasted almonds and tasty liquorice set out on traditional-style stands, as carousels provide old-time fairground fun.
But what would the Freimarkt be without the traditional carnival procession? People dressed to the nines in colourful costumes stand on imaginatively decorated floats and throw sweets and candy canes into the crowds. To the sounds of samba rhythms, techno beats and traditional brass band music, the parade makes it way from the city centre behind the station towards the Bürgerweide fairground, with thousands of singing and dancing revellers in tow.
If the weather decides not to play along, Bremen has no shortage of rainy day attractions such as the Ethnological Museum. Here, you can journey through distant continents, explore Oceania's underwater worlds, marvel at Asia's legendary silk road, experience the tropical rainforest by night, or learn about the wildlife of the African savannah. As well as the permanent exhibition covering almost 10,000 square metres, the museum's programme also features major special exhibitions.
After travelling the world, why not take a journey to the earth's core – at Universum Bremen. Go on a virtual tour through space and time back to the Big Bang, or plunge to the depths of the ocean in a submarine. A stairway takes you from the centre of the earth through the various shells and layers to the surface. Taking an interactive, fun approach to science, Universum Bremen offers an insight into the different landscapes of our planet – the oceans, polar ice caps, rainforests and deserts.
The Focke Museum takes you on a journey through our city's 1,200-year history. It is Bremen's regional museum for art and cultural history and covers topics such as the Hanseatic League, seafaring and trade, and car manufacturing. The complex comprises the modern main building, the now publically accessible display room for the residual collection and four historical buildings set in extensive gardens. Somewhat further afield is the Mühle Oberneuland windmill, which is also part of the museum.
The Kunsthalle art gallery offers an overview of European art and the international modern age. It includes important paintings, sculptures and prints from the past 600 years. Works by French impressionists such as Monet, Manet and Cézanne on are on display alongside paintings by Corinth, Liebermann, Beckmann and Paula Modersohn-Becker. Pioneers of media art such as John Cage und Nam June Paik are also represented with a number of key works. The prints and drawings collection comprising more than 200,000 items is one of the most significant of its kind.
The brick-built buildings lining Böttcherstrasse in the heart of the city not only contain art, but are works of art in themselves. This picturesque winding lane is famous around the world for its Expressionist aesthetic. The highlight of the ensemble, both architecturally and culturally, are the Böttcherstrasse Art Museums. These include the Roselius Haus Museum, the only surviving patrician town house from the 16th century on Böttcherstrasse, which exhibits works from the Middle Ages to the baroque period. The second building belonging to the Art Museums is the Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum. Built in an extraordinary design by sculptor, craftsman and architect Bernhard Hoetger, the museum was the first in the world to be devoted to the works of one woman.