Bremen is one of the most populous cities in northwestern Germany. With almost 600,000 inhabitants, the city stands on the Weser River and boasts one of the best-preserved historic centers in the country.
A former river port, it achieves an exquisite combination of Gothic, Renaissance and Hanseatic architecture.
In addition, Bremen is one of the most open and hospitable cities in Germany, with fun bars and excellent restaurants, where there will always be a Bremen Knipp (sausage with potatoes, bacon, onions and pickles) waiting on the table.
The main attractions to see in Bremen are: the Market Square, the Schnoor district, the Bremen Cathedral and the Böttcherstraße.
One of the essential places to see in Bremen is the Market Square -or Markplatz-, is the heart of the historic district of Bremen. It is an open space where the beauty of the old buildings stands out, among them the Gothic Town Hall, with its gleaming Renaissance facade, dating from the early 15th century. It is often said that the Bremen Market Square is the most beautiful in Germany.
Also striking here are the Bremen Parliament, the building of the city’s former Chamber of Commerce – the Schütting, built in a modest Baroque style – and the Cathedral, as well as the Bismarck Monument and the iconic Roland statue.
This large statue, 10 meters high, stands in front of the Town Hall and was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. An old local legend says that Bremen will remain free and independent only if the statue is not destroyed.
Another of the impressive places to see in Bremen is the Cathedral of St. Peter of Bremen, or simply Bremen Cathedral, was built and successively renovated between the 8th and 16th centuries. Initially it was a wooden church, which ended up consumed by fire in the year 1045.
After the fire, the temple was rebuilt in a Romanesque style, but during the 13th century it was reformed in a Gothic style, in accordance with the architectural trends that dominated Europe at that time. Today, the Bremen Cathedral is impressive for its two large towers of almost 100 meters above the Market Square.
You can climb one of the towers to enjoy the best views of the city. Inside, it has subway crypts and its ancient musical organs attract attention; in fact, the temple has five organs in total and a long tradition of performers (organists). Admission to the cathedral is free of charge.
Böttcherstraße is the most famous street in Bremen and one of its main tourist attractions to see in Bremen. Pedestrian in its barely 100 meters long, this street enchants with its impressionist style in brick, with artisan stores, art museums, traditional cafes, the Bremen casino and a hotel. Those visiting the area at lunchtime can stop for lunch at one of the restaurants to try the classic Seemannslabskaus, a fried veal in brine, served with beet puree.
Böttcherstraße was created by a coffee entrepreneur named Ludwig Roselius at the beginning of the 20th century and most of its buildings were erected between 1922 and 1931. The figure of Roselius is controversial because he was a fervent Nazi sympathizer.
The building where Roselius lived is located 50 meters from the Market Square and is recognizable by its Renaissance facade. This house can be visited inside, as it has a sumptuous decoration, composed of ceramic pieces and a remarkable variety of tapestries and carpets.
Carillon of Bremen
One of the great things to do in this city is to gather in front of the Bremen Carillon and listen to the 30 bells made of Meissen porcelain (the first European hard-paste porcelain) ringing every hour between 12 and 18 o’clock, at the top of the Glockenspiel House. While the bells are ringing, ten rotating panels show images related to sailors and aviators, representing the pioneers who crossed the Atlantic Ocean to colonize America.
It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinthine streets of Schnoor, the oldest neighborhood to see in Bremen, located on the banks of the Weser River. Strolling through these cobblestone streets is magical, because the state of preservation of the buildings is such that one feels transported back to the Middle Ages. The neighborhood is simply charming and is populated with souvenir stores, small art galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Das Viertel could be defined as Bremen’s alternative neighborhood, located east of the old town. In a relaxed atmosphere, with graffiti-covered streets and a very artistic flair, Das Viertel has positioned itself as the trendy neighborhood during the last five years. This area, which was excluded from reconstruction after World War II, is known as the cultural mile.
Today it is a bohemian paradise, with cafés, bars, first-class restaurants and three emblematic museums: the Kunsthalle, the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus and the Wilhelm-Wagenfeld-Haus, which pays homage to the famous Bauhaus School. Das Viertel also houses Bremen’s most important theater, the Theatre am Goetheplatz.
Another of the special places to see in Bremen is the Universum Museum, has the aesthetics of a UFO or a giant metal whale. It is located 5 kilometers from the old town and is visited every year by half a million people. This science museum has about 250 permanent exhibits related to nature, technology and humanity.
One of the rarities of the Universum Museum is the room that recreates an earthquake, an experience that, despite being disturbing, will amuse children. The complex has a tower almost 30 meters high, from where the views of Bremen are very good.
The Kunsthalle Museum is, together with the Universum, the most important museum to see in Bremen. It is located in the Wallanlagen district, very close to the old town. Fans of painting will find in these rooms the great German and French masters, including the impressionists Monet and Cézanne. Six centuries of art history are summarized in the Kunsthalle. The collection of more than 200,000 hand drawings is not to be missed. At the end of the tour, you can have lunch in the museum restaurant. The entrance fee is 9 euros.
There is nothing more relaxing than spending the afternoon on the Schlachte, a promenade on the banks of the Weser River. It is an ideal place to sit in one of the traditional breweries, such as Feldmnann’s Bierhaus or Paulaner’s an der Schlachte. This river walk is 750 meters long and is one of the obligatory meeting points for locals and tourists.
Weser River Walk
Most tourists who visit Bremen choose to take a walk along the Weser River. This river, which runs for almost 500 kilometers until it flows into the North Sea, invites to be navigated to discover the beautiful landscapes of the German countryside. The most common excursion departs from St. Martin’s dock, touches the Schlachte dike (the more industrial dock area) and eventually reaches Bremerhaven, a town located on the Baltic Sea.
Beck’s Brewery is a Bremen classic. It was founded in 1873 and is one of the most reputable companies in the city. So popular is this beer that, according to estimates, 50 bottles are uncorked per second worldwide. It is a very interesting program to take a guided tour of the gigantic brewery, to learn about the production process of the golden brew. The prize at the end of the tour is a tasting of the different varieties.
Finally, another unique site to see in Bremen is the train station, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The arrival at the station is striking, because the building, which dates back to 1870, is of great beauty. The station is recognizable by its red brick front and is decorated with sculptures alluding to Bremen and Hamburg, both linked by a railway line that was heavily bombed during World War II.