Visiting Bremen - What to See and Do
(Bremen Airport BRE, Germany)
Bremen is proof that great things do come in small packages. Though not as big and bustling as other German metropolises, this city boasts an extensive list of modern and medieval attractions. Every one of its 1,200 years can be found somewhere in the city. The more modern pockets of Bremen straddle the beautiful banks of the River Weser.
Centered around the historic Market Square (Altmarkt), the city's heritage is on display for all to see. With sights such as the Town Hall and the Roland Statue overlooking the square, visitors to the city centre are spoilt for choice. A stunning cathedral, nearby park and medieval walls are a selection of side dishes for Market Square's main attractions.
Bunker down for an afternoon of coffee-sipping, shopping or people-watching in one of Bremen's historic districts. The winding alleys and Art Nouveau architecture in these medieval districts are ideal for sightseeing. Of course, this is a northern German city, and as such, sport plays an important role in local culture. Therefore, follow the cheers and general crowd noise to the football stadium for a fun-filled weekend afternoon.
Ten things you must do in Bremen
- Touring the city's Town Hall (Rathaus) is the pinnacle of a Bremen holiday. Enjoy the beautiful banquet hall, fireplace room, Gobelin room and the Art Nouveau-decorated Golden Chamber. Tours are held at 11:00, 12:00, 15:00 and lastly at 16:00. Visiting with the 16:00 tour group is recommended, as tourists can wait around afterwards to see this fine 13th-century building illuminated.
- Reconstructed time and time again, the Bremen Cathedral demands the attention of downtown explorers with its dazzling facade. However, this is not one of those 'coal packaged in glitzy wrap' landmarks. The interior is just as fascinating, boasting a mummy filled crypt, stunning baptismal font and avant-garde choir stalls that were crafted in 1365. Remember to climb the 99-metre / 325-foot tall south tower, which gives undisturbed views of the city.
- While visiting Bremen, not everything has to be exhausting. Tourists should take some time out and relax in Burger Park. This is the most popular inner-city green space, offering a range of activities like paddle boats, mini-golf and jogging. A charming café rests within the park, so if the aforementioned activities don't interest tourists, then people-watching is the next best thing.
- Walk the mystical alleyways of Schnoor. Tourists will think they have fallen into Harry Potter's Diagon Alley. However, Gringotts Bank, the Leaky Cauldron and Ollivanders aren't found here. Instead, renovated 15th-century houses with charming cafes, restaurants and family run stores line the streets. The Schiffer House (Schifferhaus) is regarded as Schnoor's most popular landmark.
- Football is a major cultural feature of Germany, and in the city, this is no exception. Follow the crowds to Weser Stadium to watch Werder Bremen compete in the German Premier League (Bundesliga). Remember to wear green, or at least try to avoid orange or blue (rival team colours). Tours of the stadium can also be arranged.
- Just outside the city centre is Blockland. Here, visitors can experience the city's agricultural side. The farms found in this area are extremely welcoming, and during the winter, ice-skating has become a common activity on the lakes and ponds of Blockland. Visitors can purchase fresh produce (some of which is organic) while visiting the area.
- The Waterfront Shopping Centre is proof that Bremen is keeping up with the times. This fabulous shopping complex on the banks of the River Weser is still young, but has certainly started with a bang. World-class stores, elegant restaurants, a large cineplex and a relaxing riverfront rest area are the main features of this shopping haven.
- Bottcherstrasse is more than just a street. It is a 100-metre / 32-foot long avenue of unbridled expressionism. Built initially to produce barrels in the 1800s, Bottcherstrasse was transformed into an alleyway of cultural art displays during the 20th century. Today, art workshops, galleries and cultural attractions, cafés, bars, and shops reside proudly within the lane. For those feeling lucky, the Bremen Casino beckons too.
- Located next to the River Weser is the city's ancient harbour (Schlachte). However, there is nothing really 'ancient' about it nowadays, as a promenade of restaurants, pubs and bars was erected several years ago. Stroll the riverside walkways, enjoy a delectable meal, then finish with a few drinks by the water.
- A trip to Bremen just isn't the same without having a picture taken with Bremen Roland. This 10-metre / 33-foot high limestone statue stands guard over the Market Square. The statue holds great significance in the city and throughout Germany, as it is believed to be a symbol of hope and freedom. Despite being weathered by the last seven centuries, the statue remains in surprisingly good condition.