Bremen at a glance
Bremen is a great place to live – even the Town Musicians in the fairytale by the Brothers Grimm knew that! It was 200 years ago that the story of the donkey, dog, cat and rooster first appeared in print. They set out on their apocryphal journey together, with the city on the river Weser as their destination. And the four friends were quite right about it being the place to be. Bremen, which together with the city of Bremerhaven makes up Germany’s smallest federal state, is a vibrant urban centre. This is where the traditional meets the modern, and metropolitan living meets north German hospitality. In Bremen, you never have to travel too far or for too long. Here, history, culture and life’s little pleasures are closely interwoven – and are often only a short walk apart. Arriving in the city by air is particularly convenient, as the journey from the airport to the city centre takes only eleven minutes by tram. Go on the trail of the Town Musicians for a true fairytale experience and discover Bremen’s feel-good factor.
In the heart of the city
The historical market square is the heart of the city centre. Here, the stone statue of Roland, symbol of municipal independence, stands facing St Peter’s Cathedral. Bremen’s Roland forms a UNESCO World Heritage site together with the magnificent town hall. Close by, the Bremen Town Musicians are always ready to pose for the obligatory souvenir photo. Follow Böttcherstrasse, an architectural highlight full of surprises, to the Schlachte Embankment. Looking out on the river Weser as it glitters in the light of the setting sun with a refreshing drink in hand – that’s holiday feeling at its very best. The famous sailing ship Alexander von Humboldt, now serving as a restaurant and hotel, is also moored here. From the Schlachte Embankment it’s only a short walk to the Schnoor quarter, the medieval old town with its narrow lanes and picturesque little houses.
A paradise for explorers of all ages
Is it a whale, a giant mussel or a huge pistachio shell? The appearance of the Universum Bremen building may divide opinions, but there’s no doubting the appeal of the interactive science centre inside, which contains over 250 exhibits on the themes of technology, humankind and nature. Bremen offers a huge range of choice for explorers of all ages. The botanika and its surrounding park are home to the world’s second-largest rhododendron collection. At the Übersee ethnological museum, intrepid minds can discover distant continents, while anyone with an interest in space can catch a glimpse into far-flung corners of the universe at the Airbus visitor centre in the Airportstadt district. Thrill seekers will be in their element at off-road driving experience The Rock near one of the world’s largest production sites for Mercedes-Benz cars.
Art, culture and curiosities
It doesn’t always have to be the Louvre or Tate Modern – Bremen’s Kunsthalle art gallery is highly regarded around the world for its ever-changing roster of exhibitions. The La Strada International Festival of Street Performance is a vibrant and colourful affair, with clowns, acrobats and dancers from across the globe transforming the city centre into a gigantic circus ring. There are also many stages at the Breminale, to entertain the 200,000 people who throng the verdant banks of the Weser every year for this festival of music and culture. The Valentin U-boat pen is a special memorial site in the north of Bremen. It brings to life the stories of more than 10,000 forced labourers who worked there during the Second World War.
The green bottle with the iconic key logo is a Bremen export that’s famous the world over, so a guided tour of the long-established Beck’s brewery is a definite must. But the old merchant city has plenty more to offer. It’s also the home of fine Hachez chocolate, while the town hall’s Ratskeller houses a huge selection of exquisite wines. And when the wind blows in the right direction, the streets are filled with the delicious aroma of roasting coffee. From a quick snack to gourmet cuisine, the people of Bremen know how to enjoy their food and drink, and anyone who ends up overdoing things can simply get rid of any surplus pounds with a bit of exercise. The best way to explore Bremen is by bike – that goes for the city centre as well as the scenic landscapes of the surrounding region.
Enjoying life in Bremen
Once there were hulking cargo ships, now there are modern buildings: since the early 2000s, a completely new district has been created in Überseestadt, Bremen’s former docks, featuring a mix of residential, business, leisure and cultural spaces. In contrast, the vibrant Viertel, Bremen’s on-trend quarter, can look back on a long tradition. Its many bars, clubs and restaurants are teeming with creatives, students and other late-night revellers. Visitors to the city should look out for two special events when planning their trip. One is the Christmas market, which is among the prettiest in Europe and features the Schlachte-Zauber market by the river. The other is the autumn Freimarkt, northern Germany’s largest funfair and Bremen’s answer to the Munich Oktoberfest.
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Bremen - key facts
- Historical Hanseatic city dating back more than 1,200 years
- Germany’s eleventh-largest city, with a population of around 550,000
- Bremen and its port, Bremerhaven, form Germany’s smallest federal state
- Third most bike-friendly city in Europe
- International airport, eleven minutes by tram from the city centre
- IC/ICE train services, travel time to Hamburg/Hannover: 1 hour, Berlin: 3 hours
- Centre for the aerospace and automotive industries, four universities (incl. ‘university of excellence’) and around 50 research institutes
- Places to visit near Bremen: Maritime Bremerhaven, Worpswede artists’ colony, Meyer shipyard in Papenburg, Heligoland Island
All information about tourism in Bremen ...
... is available at bremen.eu.
Bremen is committed to accessibility. Relevant facts and useful information is provided in the Barrier-free Bremen city guide. (Please note: German only)
The Bremen blog tells you all about Bremen and its stories from the perspective of a local.