As an old Hanseatic city, Bremen has so many attractions to offer due to its eventful history. Did you know, for example, that the impressive Bremen City Hall is over 600 years old? But I was very surprised when I found some cool spots outside the usu’al tourist magnets in Bremen the other day! I’ll show you what you need to see in the Hanseatic city: Come with me to the most important sights in Bremen and discover with me some pretty good insider tips, for which you otherwise have to search long!
The oldest district of Bremen is an absolute must-see! Like a small oasis, the Schnoorviertel (or “the Schnoor”) is located in downtown Bremen. Schnoor, by the way, comes from the German word for string, “Schnur”, because the many small houses are strung together like pearls on a string. Some alleys are so narrow that you can touch the facades of the houses on the right and left at the same time with your arms outstretched! Unfortunately, the Schnoorviertel consists of only a few streets, but they are an absolute feast for the eyes with their pretty half-timbered houses. You will also find some small stores and restaurants – some of them very touristy – but it’s worth a closer look!
The Note – perfumery with an extraordinary assortment The perfect address if you love individual perfumes!
808 Boba Bar – Delicious bubble teas in minimalist style No seating, but perfect as to-go during a stroll through the Schnoor district
2. The Bremen Town Musicians / Bremer Stadtmusikanten
Curiously enough, the melody of the old children’s song about the Bremen Town Musicians is always the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Bremen: Eeeh-aah, woof-woof, meow, cock-a-doodle-doo! The fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm is simply inseparable from the city. Since the 1950s, a bronze statue of the Town Musicians has also adorned Bremen’s Town Hall. But if you think of a huge statue here, you are mistaken – the four animals are not depicted life-size, and the statue is somewhat hidden on one side of the town hall. By the way, clasping the donkey’s legs with both hands at the same time is said to bring good luck!
3. Bremen City Hall
The first Bremen town hall is said to have stood here on the market square as early as the 13th century. The town hall, what you see here now, was built from 1405 to 1410 and is still used by the Bremen Senate and the mayor! The striking building can also be visited from the inside – it’s worth it! Today it is also called the Old Town Hall, after an addition, the New Town Hall, was added in 1917.
You can book a guided tour of the city hall here:
Tickets for the Old Town Hall
Tip for foodies: In Bremen’s Ratskeller, located under the Old Town Hall, you can enjoy the rustic ambience with hearty delicacies!
More sights around the town hall and Bremen marketplace:
St. Petri Cathedral from the 11th century
Spit stone in the cathedral courtyard: at this place the serial killer Gesche Gottfried was beheaded in 1831
By the way, are you a True Crime fan? Then this might be an exciting tour for you to get to know Bremen better:
➜ Bremen crime scene: Of manslayers and cutthroats*
4. Bremer Roland
The Bremer Roland is one of the most important landmarks of Bremen! The large statue of Roland in front of the town hall shows a knight with a sword and symbolizes the independence of a city and the associated city rights. With the separation from the until then ecclesiastical rule and the change to an independent city around 1400, Bremen was the forerunner among many European cities. Therefore, the Bremen Roland as a symbol of freedom and self-determination has great significance to this day and can be found as the name sponsor for many Bremen institutions.
5. The Schlachte
Going out in Bremen? No problem – the Schlachte is the promenade on the Weser and is located in the middle of the city. Here you can also sit on the Weser promenade during the day, drink coffee or enjoy an after-work beer and people-watch. In the evening it gets more crowded depending on the day of the week.
For a real maritime feeling, visit the old sailing ship “Alexander von Humboldt”, which is located directly on Schlachte and houses a restaurant and hotel.
➜ Prices & availability on the “Alexander von Humboldt”*
A narrow dark alley leads from the spacious market square down to a very special street in downtown Bremen – and if I hadn’t spotted a small sign saying “to Böttcherstraße,” I probably would have walked right past it. Indeed, if you walk down the narrow Schüttingstraße from the market, you walk directly towards the impressive archway that marks the beginning of Böttcherstraße.
Here, since 1931, art, culture and crafts are concentrated on a small street that seems like a whole other world. With the support of coffee HAG (a very popular decaffeinated coffee brand in Germany until today, many German still call decaf coffee “Kaffee HAG”) inventor Ludwig Roselius, a center for creative people was created here at the beginning of the last century, which has retained its charm to this day.
Every single house on Böttcherstrasse is individually designed: The Paula Modersohn Becker House, which contains the associated museum about the painter’s life’s work, is particularly striking.
Especially at the time of the Third Reich, the expressionist style of the house was controversial; in any case, I was very impressed by the unusual architecture.
Worth seeing here, in addition to the small stores and studios, are the Seven Owls Fountain (Sieben-Faulen-Brunnen) whose story is based on a Bremen folktale, and the Craftsmen’s Courtyard (Handwerkerhof).
Learn more about the interesting history of this unusual street on this short tour:
➜ Tour of Böttcherstraße*
7. Wallanlagen & the Mill
You feel a bit like you’re in Holland when you look at the mill in the Wallanlagen. Located in the middle of the ramparts of the old Bremen city wall, the former coffee mill is not only a pretty photo motif, but also houses a restaurant today. (But you can also stop here just for a coffee.) However, sometimes there are some shady around from the nearby main train station, the Hauptbahnhof. So better just walk along here during the day and be a bit more careful.
8. The Viertel
This neighborhood was my very big surprise in Bremen. Or maybe I just didn’t notice it before simply because of the name. The Viertel in German means actually just “the neighborhood”.
The Bremer Viertel stretches from Sielwall to Sankt-Jürgen-Strasse and is something like THE hipster district of Bremen. Actually just a small part of town, but here you can spend the whole day strolling and eating. Or at least that’s how I felt! I have discovered so many great little stores and fantastic food locations, that the next time I’m in Bremen I’ll definitely go straight to the Viertel and check out my favorites first!
My secret tips for the Viertel:
Juli liebt Kaffee good coffee, but also great interior design Delicious breakfast/brunch in a relaxed atmosphere. Worth coming out of downtown for.
Fritzfrank Concept Store right next door Owner Anastasia chooses everything herself with a good hand and taste If you like supporting small businesses, you’ve come to the right place. At fritzfrank you will find decoration and accessories from many small labels, which you will definitely not find everywhere in Germany.
Nora’s I’ve only had a Turmeric Latte and a Carrot Cake here, and that alone is a reason to come back; because I would have loved to taste more! The ambience is refined yet casual, the service attentive, and really everything on the menu is homemade according to clean-eating principles. Eating healthy has rarely been better. Still affordable. Also available to go.
9. Parks & other great outdoor experiences in Bremen
In Bremen there are a few more tips and sights that you can also still see during a longer stay:
Maritime Meile Vegesack – outside the city center you can learn more about Bremen’s maritime history around the old Vegesack harbor, for example, in the Museumshaven.
Bürgerpark – located behind Bremen’s main train station, you’ll find a huge green space with plenty of opportunities to relax, unwind or play sports.
Rhodendron Park – May is the perfect month for a trip to Rhodendron Park: that’s when the more than 10,000 plants are at their best in full bloom! Admission is free, by the way.
10. Museums in Bremen
It’s not just when the weather is bad that you might want to treat yourself to a visit to a museum. Anyway, still on my list are these two museums that make Bremen an exciting destination.
Kunsthalle Bremen – In addition to its own collection, which includes works from over 700 years of art history, you will also find interesting temporary exhibitions here. A look at the website with the current events is worthwhile!
Phil Porter Salon Obscura – Somehow more of a whole art event than an art exhibition seems to be the Salon Obscura, which has recently moved from the Viertel to the Schnoor district. For me, it’s at the top of the bucket list for the next visit to Bremen – and if you make it before I do, feel free to write me how it was!
Stay overnight in Bremen
If you’re not traveling from the surrounding area, you may need a place to stay. Not a problem in Bremen! You should take a closer look at the following locations:
Klabauterbett* Sleep on a two-mast clipper! Cozy ship very close to the old town and Schlachte.
Vienna House Bremen City* stay comfortable, modern & at a good price. A bit outside the city center, but due to the short distances and good public transport in Bremen you are still close by. Advantage if arriving by train: it’s within walking distance of the main train station.
Designhotel Überfluss* a bit more expensive, but with a wellness area and absolutely centrally located by the Weser river. For a nice weekend for two but quite affordable if you want to treat yourself!