Bremen is one of those cities that deserve a little bit more love. Germany‘s 10th largest city is an undeniable highlight near the East Frisian coast, and yet I rarely hear anyone talking about it. Even most of the travel bloggers seem to be missing out on a wonderful weekend in Bremen, but I feel like things are about to change.
The Perfect Bremen City Guide for a Weekend Away
The historical architecture in the center of town is already enough of a reason to drop by, and I can easily name several more. In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in this city guide. Here is everything you need to know if you’re looking to spend a superb weekend in Bremen!
- Cultural Highlights in Bremen
- Shopping in Bremen
- Food and Drinks in Bremen
- Daytrip from Bremen to Bremerhaven
A Weekend in Bremen: Cultural Highlights
When it comes to history, architecture, and green spaces, Bremen has plenty to offer. These are some of the best spots that you won’t want to skip on your city trip:
Snap a Selfie with the windmill at Wallanlagen Park
Are you arriving in Bremen by train? One of the first things you’ll notice on your way from the station to the city center is the windmill at the Wallanlagen Stadtpark. Yes, you might be in Germany, but that windmill is just as picturesque as any stereotypical mill in Holland. Trust me, I should know. The Wallanlagen Park itself is a lovely area to enjoy a short stroll, especially on a sunny day. Snap a selfie with the windmill, fool your friends into thinking you’re actually in the Netherlands and continue on your way to the city center.
Absorb the Medieval Magic on the Marktplatz
Once you arrive in the bustling historical center of Bremen, I promise you will be impressed by the incredible concentration of stunning facades facing one single square: the Marktplatz. One one side, you will see the impressive Rathaus (city hall) and on the other you will see the red-tiled Schütting (guildhall). Then, to the East, you won’t be able to miss the medieval Bremen Cathedral (Dom St Petri). For a cityscape view, you can climb the cathedral’s south tower from April until October. The Marktplatz is also the place where you can find the famous medieval statue of Roland, the protector of the city (not a particularly handsome chap, but fascinating nonetheless).
Step Back in Time at the Bible Garden
This green space is a bit of a hidden gem: the bible garden of the Bremen cathedral. You will likely only spend a few minutes inside, but you’ll certainly feel better after discovering this small, yet eternally peaceful oasis. Surprisingly, the garden itself is only about 20 years old, but its location is inside the old monastery.
Shopping Spots for your Weekend in Bremen
If you are looking to find original gifts or local souvenirs (or simply like to shop), these locations will likely tickle your fancy:
Take a Peek Inside the Artisan Shops in the Bottcherstraße
The Böttcherstraße is a smallish shopping area that connects to the Marktplatz. To tell you the truth, the Böttcherstraße is as much of an architectural highlight as it is a foodie-related one. While you walk around and enjoy the pinnacle of German “backsteinexpressionismus” (brick expressionism), you can look for items inside the quaint artisan shops. Definitely check out the Bremer Bonbon Manufaktur, because that’s where you’ll want to try all the local types of candy.
Enjoy the Pop of Colours at the Daily Flower Market
Right next to the Unser Lieben Frauen church, the oldest church in the city (also next the Marktplatz), you will find a daily flower market. Here, you can enjoy the the pop of colours from the flowers. Alternatively, you can buy a little snack or souvenir from a few other market stalls that usually surround the flower market. It’s also a vibrant location to get your ‘gram‘ on, if you know what I mean.
In the mood for more shopping? Head to the Obernstrasse and Lloyd Passage
If you’re generally in a shopping kind of mood, you can find most of the usual stores in the Obernstraße and Lloyd Passage. Think of stores like Mango, Tally Weijl, Rituals, and Esprit. Again, both of these shopping areas are pretty much connected to the Marktplatz. Like every location I’ve mentioned so far, these will be super easy to find.
Food and Drinks in Bremen
When it comes to beer, wine, hearty meals, and delectable desserts, I found a few excellent spots that will ensure an extra-fine foodie experience during your weekend in Bremen. Take a look at these locations before planning your trip:
Sipping, Snacking and Strolling along the Weserpromenade
The Weserpromenade in Bremen is the best spot to walk along the wharf, have a look at the boats, buy a snack at one of the stalls. Afterwards, you can enjoy a beer at one of the biergärtens (beer gardens). You can buy some ice cream or try and finish a giant cheese pretzel, for example. Then you can head up the stairs and find the Schlachte street, full of bars and restaurants.
Hazelnut Treats and Adorable Restaurants in Schnoor
The picturesque Schnoor neighbourhood is only a six minute walk away from the Bremer Marktplatz. It’s such a photogenic area that looks good from every angle. Schnoor is one of the oldest parts of Bremen, and, admittedly, it’s become a bit of a touristy highlight. Still, you shouldn’t skip out. You can find shops with a local treat called Schnoorkuller, which are little hazelnut balls with nougat inside. You can also have lunch or dinner at one of the cosy restaurants. Alternatively, try a Belgian waffle with North German touch (a Rote Grütze topping made from red fruit) at the adorable Teestübchen im Schnoor.
Underground Dinner at the Bremen Ratskeller
One of the most famous culinary highlights in Bremen is the Ratskeller. This iconic restaurant offers about 1200 different varieties of German wines. The Ratskeller used to be a large medieval wine cellar, one of the oldest in the country. Now, it is a hugely popular underground gourmet restaurant. It’s a worthwhile experience to dine at the Ratskeller, though you have to make sure to get there relatively early. It can get seriously busy.
A Daytrip from Bremen to Bremerhaven
If you’ve got a bit of time left over while enjoying your weekend in Bremen, you can consider taking a day trip to a neighbouring city. Bremerhaven has several excellent European museums and it is one of the largest ports in Germany. If you decide to take the train from Bremen, it will take you less than an hour to reach Bremerhaven.
Historic Immigrant Stories at the Deutsches Aufwanderer Haus
In the 19th and 20th centuries, over 7 million emigrants left this harbour to travel to the New World (the United States). The Deutsches Aufwanderer Haus is a fascinating museum where you can discover the many stories of these brave immigrants.
Explore Global Climate Zones at the Klimahaus
But these days, Bremerhaven isn’t just about ships. Topics like climate change and biodiversity have taken a central position. In my opinion, the Klimahaus in Bremerhaven qualifies as a top European museum. It’s a unique mix of a science center and an indoor zoo. You can experience almost all climate zones of planet Earth, such as the Sahara desert, the polar circle of Antarctica and the rain forest of Cameroon.