Bremen Travel Guide
With a history stretching back to the Hanseatic League, Bremen is a marvellous place for culture hounds.
While the Second World War took its tolls on its building stock, much of it also survived.
From its iconic town hall to its soaring cathedral, there is much to take in.
However, Bremen isn’t a destination that’s top of mind for many travellers. But don’t worry, as taking the train in Germany is a breeze – within a couple of hours, you can get here from Berlin, Hamburg, and other cities.
With that settled, check out our Bremen travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Bremen, Germany.
Begin your visit to this northern German city by paying a visit to Bremen Town Hall. Locals and visitors alike consider this UNESCO World Heritage Site the most beautiful building in the city.
It almost didn’t make it to the present day – in World War II, air raids razed 60% of Bremen’s preexisting buildings. Thanks to diligent efforts by the city’s fire brigade, this elegant structure made it through with only minor damage.
For centuries, this place didn’t just serve as an administrative centre – it was also a locus of trade. That’s the purpose its lower hall served for generations – here, merchants pedalled luxury goods like spices.
If you’re looking for rich architecture, though, head to the Golden Chamber. Everything in here was redone in the Art Nouveau style at the turn of the 20th century. Everything from the door handles to the chandeliers reflect this choice.
To get the most out of your time here, be sure to go on a guided tour. They speak English, and with experiences that last up to three hours, architecture buffs will be in heaven.
Next, make your way over to St. Peter’s Cathedral. Christian churches have sat on this spot since the 8th century. However, the structure that stands in Bremen today traces its roots to the 13th century. Over the years, renovations has given this cathedral Gothic, Romanesque, and even Neo-Byzantine characteristics.
The naves that grace this church’s aisles is certainly of its most astounding features. But be sure to check out its crypts as well. As the name suggests, this place is where church officials buried some parishioners in past centuries. The western crypt, which dates back to the 11th century, is the oldest structure in all of Bremen.
Not all of the history of Bremen is charming. The Valentin Submarine Pens was slated to supply Nazi Germany with scores of new U-Boats. In 1945, this facility was under construction, with thousands of POWs and slave labourers working on it.
It never went into service. Allied air raids, which escalated dramatically in 1945, put the nearly-complete factory out of commission. Today, visitors can tour the bunker-like facility. We recommend getting an audio tour, as it will provide insight to what can be a visually threadbare experience.
If you want to learn more about cultures half a world away from Bremen, visit the Ubersee Museum. This institution is an ethnographic and natural history museum that focuses on lands beyond Germany. In particular, it profiles the culture, plants, and animals of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the South Pacific.
The interesting displays and dioramas here will keep you busy on a rainy day. However, note that this place is aimed at locals. Not all exhibits are in English – take Google Translate or a German friend with you.
Bremen has managed to hold onto some of its older building stock. To check it out, be sure to take a stroll through the neighbourhood of Schnoor. It may seem posh these days, but back when Bremen was a Hanseatic city, it was home to seafarers.
This working-class neighbourhood became known for the strength of its ropes and cables. Because of this, the area became known as Schnoor, German for “strong”. In 1959, the city decided to restore the neighbourhood back to its Medieval glory.
Today, its narrow streets are a treat to walk around. As you go, you’ll find countless souvenir and Christmas shops. Of course, this is to say nothing of this area’s many photo opportunities.
If you’re looking for a cool selfie spot, check out the Town Musicians of Bremen. It is a metal sculpture of four domestic animals, standing atop each other. Its creators based it on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the same name.
In this story, these four animals, in their old age, decided head into Bremen to entertain the locals. Along the way, they encountered a band of robbers. As the tale goes, they hoodwinked them, stole their goods, and squatted in their home. This bronze statue is truly a sight to see. If you like lighthearted sights, be sure not to miss capturing it on camera.
If you find yourself getting tired during your time in Bremen, take some time in Burgerpark to relax. Its old trees, nice lakes, and jogging paths will provide ample opportunity for recreation. If you have kids, take them to the mini-zoo on-site.
Before leaving Bremen, spend some time people-watching at Marktplatz. As you can surmise from the name, this place used to host many markets in Bremen. Today, though, locals enjoy coffee and gather for special events here, especially during the holiday season.