The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is a city in northern Germany with a major port on the River Weser. The population is 548,000. It is also the name of one of the states of Germany which consists of two separated enclaves on the River Weser; the other enclave, Bremerhaven, is covered by its own article.
Bremen was once a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and is still one of the most important cities in northern Germany. Together with the city of Bremerhaven on the North Sea it forms Germany's smallest state. Bremen has more than 1200 years of history, and was, for most of its existence, an independent city-state.
The Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians of Bremen) perhaps the most well known figures associated with Bremen are characters from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name. Their image adorns many of the souvenirs in the city. Next to the Town Hall is a much photographed statue of them.
Bremen is a rather long and narrow city, lining both sides of the river Weser. Along the north-west/south-east axis it stretches about 10 km, but across only 2 km. The entire city is located on flat plains.
1 Bremen airport (BRE IATA) (in the south-west of the town). Mostly caters to low-fare and holiday flights. The low-fare carrier Ryanair offers by far the most connections, spread all over Europe but with stronger focus on the Mediterranean (especially holiday destinations) and countries around the Baltic Sea. Apart from Ryanair and holiday specialists, there are a few high-fare business-oriented flights to specific destinations (like Toulouse, serving Airbus Group which has facilities in both cities), and feeder flights to major hub airports operated by flag carriers. While Ryanair has reduced its offer at BRE, Sundair offers flights to some holiday destinations
If you want a smooth intercontinental connection to Bremen, your best bet is to fly with Star Alliance or SkyTeam. Star Alliance founder Lufthansa flies from Bremen to their hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, sister airline Eurowings to Stuttgart, while other alliance member Scandinavian Airlines flies to Copenhagen and Turkish Airlines to Istanbul. SkyTeam's founders Air France-KLM fly to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam-Schiphol. You can connect to the alliances' vast networks of intercontinental - and European - connections there. If you are cost conscious, it might work out cheaper to forgo the domestic flight on the last leg and use an air rail alliance such as rail&fly instead. Though thanks to the quirky nature of airline pricing, the exact opposite may be the case.
Getting from the airport into town is quick, smooth and painless. Tram (Straßenbahn) 6 leaves right outside the main terminal building and takes you into downtown every 10 minutes during the day. Travel time is 10 minutes to downtown (Domsheide) and 16 minutes to the Main Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof).
Further afield, you can fly to Hamburg and Hannover. Both cities have frequent train connections with Bremen.
Regular and frequent services connect 2 Bremen Hauptbahnhof. with the rest of Germany. There are two trains every hour from Hamburg (1 hour) in the north, and Osnabrück (1 hour), Münster (1hr 20min), the Ruhr Area in the south, and from Hanover (1hr 20min).
Train tickets can be quite expensive (unless bought in advance), and the cheapest way to travel can be to share a group ticket with other people. However, group tickets are not as cheap as they once were and often an early bird fare (starting from €19 for short routes) on a high speed connection is both cheaper and less stressful than dealing with group tickets which are almost always only valid on regional trains. For more on that issue see rail travel in Germany.
- See also: Intercity buses in Germany
Flixbus has all but cornered the market.
Autobahn 1 runs to Hamburg in the north and Cologne in the south, but do check the traffic information! The A27 goes north to Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven and south towards Hanover, Braunschweig, Berlin and other eastwards connections.
Much of Bremen (or at least the part frequented by tourists) can be negotiated by foot - the best way to explore the old city and its surrounding districts.
Members of the Cambio car-sharing network, whether in Germany or Belgium, can hire cars - Bremen is the company's headquarters.
Most trains are operated by Deutsche Bahn and even the local trains that aren't can be booked through their website.
There are trains from the main station to the peripheral areas of Bremen (twice per hour to North Bremen, to Mahndorf via Sebaldsbrück and to Hemelingen.)
Bremen offers an intensive public transportation network with trams and buses.
Public transport maps of Bremen are available in German. There are night buses and trams (indicated by an "N") running through almost the whole night on Fr/Sa and Sa/Su, departing at :30 each hour from central station. Fares on the night network are €1 in addition to normal individual, group or day fares (2013). You can buy tickets on the bus or tram, but is slightly cheaper to buy a set of 4 rides or a day pass for individuals or groups, or a weekly pass for individuals. Note that on trains, tickets must be purchased before you board. Public transportation timetables and ticket fares are available in English.
Taxis are found nearly everywhere and every time, with a cost of about €1.25/km. There is no need to book a taxi in advance. Taxi drivers and call center employees may have difficulties to understand a phone call in English. The two main taxi companies are
You can rent bicycles at the railway station and several bike shops in Bremen. See details in German only. Bremen is the most bike-friendly city among the biggest German cities. Its former mayor Hennig Scherf is an avid cyclist (who despite the wishes of his bodyguards rode his bike every day to his office or he simply walked to the office.)
- 1 Rathaus (Town Hall). This is one of the finest in Europe and has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Building work started in 1410 and it is seen as an important display of the wealth and freedom of the city. Tours of the interior are conducted by the Tourist information office at 11:00, 12:00, 15:00 and 16:00.
- 2 Roland, Marktplatz. This statue on the main square, in front of the town hall is of the Knight Roland who was a protector of trade. He appears in many European cities especially those involved in the Hanseatic league. Bremen's is considered one of the finest and is included with Town Hall on the World Heritage List. The standing figure is 5.47 m tall.
- 3 Dom St. Petri (Cathedral of St Peter). Over 1200 years old, its huge towered façade dominates the main square. The interior is impressive with some fine painted details on the ceilings. There is a treasury displaying the collection of the cathedral. Entrance is free, for €1 you can climb the Southern Tower offering nice views over the whole city.
- 4 Böttcherstraße. An incredible Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) street that runs from the main square towards the river. There are many fine façades and courtyards all with large amounts of design detail. There is an impressive Glockenspiel that chimes at regular intervals. There are lots of shops and several museums, including the impressive Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum. Haus Atlantis (now the Hilton) has an impressive spiral staircase just inside, at the top of which is the staggering Himmelshaal (it is not normally open to the public).
- 5 Am Wall. A lovely park next to the former defensive moat which offers a place to sit and relax.
- 6 Schnoor. This area of twisting lanes is a lovely place to wander aimlessly looking at in the many shops and also at the world smallest hotel (see Sleep).
- 7 Überseemuseum (Natural History and Ethnographic Museum), Bahnhofsplatz 13 (near central station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00. Children €2.50, adults €7.50.
- 8 Focke Museum, Schwachhauser Heerstraße 240, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu 10:00-21:00, W-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-18:00. A good overview of the history of Bremen City with a wide range of collections. permanent exhibition €6, children €2, and special exhibition €8, children €4.
- 9 Universum Science Center, Wiener Straße 1a, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00 - 18:00, Sa Su 10:00 - 18:00. Science museum with plenty of interactive exhibits as an earthquake simulator. The main building is a huge steel shell designed by the Bremen architect Thomas Klumpp. Adults €16, children €11, family card €40.
- 10 Hafenmuseum Speicher XI, Am Speicher XI 1 (In the Überseestadt. Bus line 20 from railway station or tram line 3), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:00 - 18:00. Housed in a former cotton warehouse. Models of ships used during the past. €5.
- 11 Wuseum (Museum of the football club SV Werder Bremen), Franz-Böhmert-Straße 1c (inside the Weserstadium), ☏ . The sports museum shows the history of the football club SV Werder Bremen. You can see photos, jerseys, trophies and more. 4€.
- 12 Kunsthalle (Museum of Arts), Am Wall 207, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu 10:00 - 21:00, W-Su 10:00 - 17:00. Free entry for children, adults €9.
- 13 Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, Am Wall 208, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Th -21:00. The contemporary art museum shows the work of Gerhard Marcks the sculptor of the statue "Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten", a city landmark.
- 14 Wilhelm-Wagenfeld-Haus, Am Wall 209, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. T 15:00 - 21:00, WE-Su 10:00 - 18:00. Founded as a design museum but also used for exhibitions in modern art. The museum is named after Wilhelm Wagenfeld, an industrial designer born 1900 in Bremen. 5€.
- 15 Weserburg, Teerhof 20, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:00 - 18:00. Modern art museum located on the Teerhof peninsula. €9, children under 18 €5.
- Stroll around the city center and visit the Schnoor-Viertel with its old buildings - most were built between the 15th and 18th century. If you are interested in art, visit the Bremer Kunsthalle (museum of art) with one of North Germany's finest collections.
- If you like football, you see one of the matches of Werder Bremen, a team playing in the Bundesliga (German premier league). You can also visit their stadium Weser Stadion for a few euros when there isn't a game going on.
- If you want to see green fields, cows, and birds, visit "Blockland" (site in German with some pictures) where thousands of local bikers and inline skaters go every weekend to enjoy the agricultural side of Bremen. It is located just north of the university, between the Autobahn and the meandering river Wümme. You can bike or skate along the dyke that contains the river, have traditional coffee and cake at Landhaus Kuhsiel or Gartelmann's Gasthof, or eat gourmet organic ice cream at Biohof Kaemena (they also sell organic milk and cheese). In winter there is no ice cream but there is ice skating on the river and many small canals. In warmer months it is also possible to rent a canoe or kayak to explore the nature preserve from the water.
- There is indoor ice skating at Paradice, the skating hall in Walle (site in German). Paradice is opened from October to February.
- A good way to get in touch with the locals is to stroll along the river Weser on the scenic Osterdeich, where - in good weather - lots of little groups hanging out on the grassy hills may invite you to barbecue with them or have a beer.
- Don't miss the beautiful Bürgerpark either, a large, well-maintained park right in the middle of the city, which has a little Central Park vibe to it. Have a drink in the renowned "Emma" Café, rent a boat and row around the ring-shaped pond, play mini-golf, visit the petting zoo, or simply sit on the grass and enjoy some tasty ice cream.
- 1 Stadtwaldsee (City Forest Lake) (Unisee) (From the University and the Universum Museum go west about 1 kilometer). 24 hours. Free swimming at a public beach in a recreation area. There is also a separate nude beach. Fishing, windsurfing, and boating are all possible. Many locals simply enjoy walking or biking on the path that runs around the lake. Free.
- January 6: "Eiswette": a funny tradition where a tailor checks if he can cross the river Weser without getting wet feet.
- February: Carnival in Bremen, more South-American than Cologne style.
- April: Easter market.
- June: "Breminale" music/art festival along the River Weser.
- August: International Bremen Summer circus festival "La Strada". "Festival Maritim" in Bremen-Vegesack (in the northern end of Bremen).
- October (2nd half): "Freimarkt" (free market), one of the biggest and oldest fairground festivals in Germany, north of the railway station.
- November: International Cutter Race / "Kutterpullen" tournament (rowing contest on the Weser river).
- December: Christmas market around the town hall and Schlachte at the river Weser.
The monthly free event magazine MIX has hosts an event calendar online (German only).
- Kluten, are a traditional sweet from Bremen. They are cubes of peppermint, partly covered in chocolate. Hachez, near the Town Hall, is a traditional Bremen based chocolatier and their store is well worth a visit to buy the Kluten, though they are also available at many other places throughout the center.
- Schnoor is a den of tight lanes selling boutique style products including jewelry, African artifacts, paper models and a year round Christmas shop. There are also a lot of shops selling tourist souvenirs.
- Böttcherstraße, This wonderful Art Nouveau street has many outlets which cater to buyers of upmarket/high quality products.
- Weekly markets are held on most of the squares around the Town Hall.
- Lloyd Passage, Obernstraße, Sögestraße are the main shopping streets with all the main High Street chains.
- Waterfront Shopping Centre, Waterfront Bremen, AG-Weser-Straße (Motorway A27, Junction 17 (Dreieck Bremen-Industriehäfen) to the freeway feeder A281 (Überseestadt-bound) you will see the Waterfront Bremen on the right side after approximately 4 kilometres.), ☏ . M-Sa 10:00-20:00. A shopping and leisure centre with a unique location directly on the banks of the River Weser. As its name and location suggest, there is always a fresh wind blowing through and around the Waterfront: shopping, feasting, cinema and events assure high spirits all year round. The centre offers more than 80 shops from fashion (Primark, Desigual, Tommy Hilfiger, Clockhouse and many others) to shoes, jewellery, athletic apparel and equipment to leather goods and gifts—nearly everything the heart could desire. To nourish visitors, there is a gastronomic selection of more than 15 different venues in the Food Court and on the outdoor terrace, with its Weser panorama. There are events held regularly in and around the Waterfront: fashion shows, exhibitions, concerts or activities for children—something for everybody. In the Food Court there is also a 25-m² screen where broadcasts of all Werder Bremen football matches and highlights of the German Football League can be viewed. Various prices.
Several cafes and restaurants line the "Schlachte" along the Weser river while other popular areas are the marketplace and the "Viertel" ("quarter") east of the Kunsthalle. Many traditional dishes from Bremen and Northern Germany are very satisfying. The region is famous for cabbage (Grünkohl- green cabbage), fish (smoked eel, herring, smelt in March), an old sailor´s meal called Labskaus (lobscouse) consisting of mashed potatoes, corned beef, onions, fried egg and beetroot or chick ragout (very fine) as well as red fruit jelly or Butterkuchen (cake with yeast and topped with lots of butter, sugar and almonds). You can find some fish restaurants in Böttcherstraße. "Knigge" is the name of a traditional coffee house in Bremen.
Bremen culinary specialties are Knipp (smoked sausage), Labskaus, (fried corned beef with onions and mashed potatoes) and Braunkohl (leaf cabbage)
- 1 Bremer Ratskeller, Am Markt (The entrance is in the western corner of the city hall, near the Roland and the City Musicians), ☏ . 11:00-00:00. Stunning classic wine cellar located in the basement of the historic city hall. Has stored and sold German wines since 1405. Large menu includes regional specialties and has English translations. €10-20.
- 2 Gasthof zum Kaiser Friedrich, Lange Wieren 13, ☏ . M-Sa. Slightly smoked cut of pork with cabbage and mashed potatoes (Braunkohlteller)
The world-wide known Beck's Beer is brewed in Bremen. Guided brewery tours in English and German are offered Thursdays - Saturdays. The tour costs €10.50/person and lasts approximately 2 hours.
The Ratskeller is a wine cellar and restaurant with a famous collection of wines and the oldest wines in Germany.
There are many bars, pubs and cafes in Bremen: the Schlachte along the Weser and the Viertel, a young and lively quarter.
If you like beer and pretzels, try the Schüttinger brewery house (next to Böttcherstraße) where several types of beer are brewed and served directly.
- 1 International Youth Hostel (Jugendherberge Bremen), Kalkstraße 6 (Take tram 1 to Am Brill from Hauptbahnhof), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Looking like a work of art from the exterior, with a yellow-and-orange Plexiglas facade and slit windows, this hostel has comfortable rooms, a rooftop terrace and a bar-breakfast room with huge glass windows overlooking the Weser River. Linen is included.
- 2 GastHaus Backpacker Hostel Bremen, Emil-Waldmann-Straße 5-6, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 3 Townside Hostel Bremen, Am Dobben 62 (Take tram 10 from Hauptbahnhof to Humboldtstrasse or tram 2 or 3 to Sielwall), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Bright, professionally run hostel is right in the middle of Bremen’s nightlife quarter and handy to Werder Bremen’s stadium. The building has no elevator or air conditioning. Inside as well as outside noise insulation is a problem. Hotel not hostel prices are quoted for double bedrooms with private bathroom.
- 4 B&B Hotel, Findorffstraße 28-32, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00.
- 5 [dead link] Best Western Hotel Bremen East, August-Bebel-Allee 4, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00.
- 6 [dead link] Bed and Breakfast am Bürgerpark (hostel), Benquestraße 54, ☏ .
- 7 Ibis Budget Bremen City Süd, Borgward Straße 10, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00.
- 8 Hotel Nordraum, Europaallee 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 9 Novum Budget Hotel Hansahof, Brüggeweg 20-22, ☏ , fax: .
- 10 Southend Hostel Bremen, Jakobistraße 23a (In the Altstadt), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 11 Strandlust Boardinghouse, Rohrstraße 4, ☏ , fax: .
- 12 Zollhaus Hostel, Am Kaffee-Quartier 1, ☏ , fax: .
- 13 Hotel Zum Werdersee, Holzdamm 104, ☏ , fax: .
- 14 Hotel zum Wiesengrund, Bremer Straße 116a, ☏ , fax: .
- 15 Boutique Hostel Kremer, Dobbenweg 12, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 4pm, check-out: 10am. 39€.
- 16 Prizeotel Bremen-City, Theodor-Heuss-Allee 12, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Designer hotel directly opposite the AWD Dome and Bremen Exhibition Halls. 127 air conditioned rooms furnished with 180 x 200 cm beds, 32" flat screen TV, desk, iLamp with integrated loudspeaker and iPod/iPhone connection, shower with rainforest showerhead and free high speed wireless LAN internet access in the entire hotel. Double incl. breakfast €100.
- 17 Strandlust Vegesack, Rohrstraße 11 (next to the Lemwerder ferry in Bremen-Vegesack), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 18 7THINGS Hotel, Universitätsallee 4, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel with 89 rooms near to the University and the Universum Science Center. Public bus stop with a direct line to the central station is 50 m away.
- 19 Select Hotel City Bremen (formely 5 Seasons desinghotel Bremen), Bürgermeister-Smidt-Straße 24-30, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 20 Innside Bremen, Sternentor 6, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Business hotel with modern, contemporary rooms. Free wellness center with sauna, breakfast buffet and a la carte restaurant. A very short distance walk from the Waterfront shopping centre
- 21 Steigenberger Hotel, Am Weser-Terminal 6, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The hotel is right by the river Weser only 15 minutes walk from old town. All 137 rooms and suites have air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV with Sky Sport channels, a minibar and a coffee machine.
- 22 Courtyard by Marriott Bremen, Theodor-Heuss-Allee 2, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This station-side chain hotel in the restored heritage Lloyd Building is recommended for a bunch of reasons: convenience and value; airy, oversized, light-filled rooms; comfy beds; and friendly helpful staff. Modern bathrooms are delights of German design: think super-soaker tubs and floating toilets. It’s worth paying the few extra euros for a larger room in the Lloyd building. Double incl. breakfast €123.
- 23 Hotel Stadt Bremen Garni, Heinkenstraße 3-5, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A bit dated but clean hotel in the Altstadt without elevator or air conditioning. Rooms are (very) large and breakfast is good. Double incl. breakfast €95.
- 24 Designhotel Überfluss, Langenstraße 72, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Just metres above river level. Black, white and chrome create a sleek, postmodern vibe that extends to the rooms, which feature open bathrooms. Suites have river views and a private sauna and whirlpool. Breakfast costs €14.50. Double incl. breakfast €160.
- 25 Dorint Park Hotel Bremen, Im Bürgerpark (in the middle of the Bürgerpark), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. On the Hollersee in the middle of the Bürgerpark. It offers 155 rooms and 20 suites, a 1,200 m² wellness area, its own fitness centre as well as 4 restaurants and bars. from € 159 per room/night.
- 26 Hochzeitshaus-Bremen, Wüstestätte 5, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This hotel has a strong claim to being the smallest Hotel in the world. In fact if you stay here you have the whole hotel to yourself as it has just one room. It has a great location in the heart of the Schnoor district. It is based on the tradition of small hotels catering for newly wed couples seeking somewhere to consummate their marriages after the ceremony, and is aimed at a market that can help continue this tradition. €350 for first night €250 for subsequent nights.
- 27 Radisson Blu HotelRadisson Blu Hotel, Bremen, Böttcherstraße 2, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. In an excellent location just off the main square with an entrance on Böttcherstraße in the Altstadt. Rooms are the high standard you would expect from the chain, and there is a small pool, sauna and micro gym in the basements. Double incl. breakfast €152.
- 28 Swissôtel Bremen, Hillmannplatz 20, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 5-star business hotel with a magnificent view over the city wall.
- 29 Atlantic Grand Hotel Bremen, Bredenstraße 2, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Pitched around a central courtyard, moments from Bremen’s quirky Böttcherstrasse in the Altstadt, the simple, effortlessly stylish, dark-wooded rooms with chocolate leather armchairs and top-notch service from attentive staff make this classy hotel an excellent choice. Double incl. breakfast €167.
These are all accessible by rail; the Niedersachsen ticket is cost effective for a day trip.
|Routes through Bremen|
|Groningen ← Delmenhorst ←||W E||→ Buchholz in der Nordheide → Hamburg|
|Cuxhaven ← Bremerhaven ←||N S||→ Verden → Walsrode|