WHAT TO DO IN BREMEN – BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Are you planning your Germany itinerary, but not sure which German city should be at the top of your list? Allow me to help! Bremen is an absolute must-see – it’s full of historic architecture and attractions, and beautiful parks perfect for picnics or strolls in the sun.
All this means one day in Brmen isn’t enough; 2 days in Bremen should do justice but if you can stay 3 days in Bremen – even better. So plan ahead accordingly and find out about the best things to do in Bremen! However, even with only one day in Bremen, you get to see the main sights and I am sure, you will be smitten!
After discussing the best things to do and see in Bremen, I am sharing some essential travel tips for your Bremen trip.
Read: South Germany: A Travel Itinerary for Germany
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BEST THINGS TO DO IN BREMEN IN 2023
Let´s start with the most beautiful places and best things to do in Bremen in 1, 2, or more days.
1 Bremen Market Square
Ready to explore Bremen? Why not start at the bustling heart of it all – the city center of this vibrant city center? Welcome to the market square of Bremen.
If the weather is good, you will find musicians and artists here – spending some time here is a wonderful pastime! But the market square is also home to some of the best sights and attractions in Bremen – which I will talk about now.
2 Bremen Town Hall
Not only can you find the wondrous Rathaus (town hall)- a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Germany‘s most stunning city halls.
The Town Hall of Bremen is a gorgeous architectural masterpiece. Built in the Gothic style, it is one of the oldest town halls in northern Germany and stands as an imposing symbol of the city’s rich history.
To get the full experience, take part in one of the Rathaus guided tours offered by the Bremen Tourist Information Office for a fascinating insight into the city’s history – and see the elaborate chambers, including its two-story high main hall, decorated with intricate wall designs and carvings.
Tourists flock from around Europe just to get an inside look at this majestic place. No matter how often I come here, its beauty never ceases to amaze me– trust me when I say ‘it’s worth it’!
3 Roland Statue
Not to be missed is the impressive statue of Roland that stands in front of the building – a symbol of freedom and justice from medieval times. The Roland Statue has been standing there for more than 600 years now and is the protector of the city and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
4 St.Peter´s Cathedral
Next to the Rathaus is the 1200-year-old St. Peter´s Cathedral. Looking to explore one of the – once – most mightiest Archbishoprics in northern Europe? Then, you should definitely check out St. Peter’s medieval church while on your visit!
Not only can you purchase art and organ guides from their “Dom-Shop,” but they also give visitors a chance to take an adventure into their own cathedral museum. And don’t forget – if all that exploring makes you feel daring enough, why not climb the tower? The steps are narrow but it is surely one of the best views of Bremen you have from there – overlooking the market square and more.
- Entry to the cathedral is free. There is a small entrance fee of a few € for getting up the tower.
Here is another beauty located on the market square – The Schütting, a stunning historical building located in the heart of Bremen’s bustling Marktplatz. Originally built as a guild house for the city’s merchants and tradesmen, it later became a chamber of commerce in 1849, playing a vital role in Bremen’s business community.
This building has been under monument protection since 1973, preserving its unique architecture and rich history. Come and explore this iconic landmark, filled with stories of the past and ready to inspire the future. We can’t wait to share it with you!
6 Bremer Loch
Looking for a fun and unique way to donate some money? Say hello to the Bremer Loch! This playful donation box is located on the market square and lets you toss in some coins while hearing the sounds of Bremen’s most beloved animals – from a donkey, a dog, a cat, or a rooster.
Plus, your donation goes to a great cause as the money is collected once a year and given to charity. So why not add a little fun to your philanthropy and check out the Bremer Loch today?
7 Bremen Town Musicians
Next to the Rathaus (but on the other side), you will find the worldwide famous Bremer Stadtmusikanten (The Bremen Town Musicians) – probably the most famous landmark. Some of you might remember the fairy tale of the four musicians (thanks to Brother´s Grimm). Well, in Bremen you can visit them.
The Bremen Town Musicians is one of Germany’s most beloved folk tales. It tells the story of an old donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster who team up to become town musicians in the city of Bremen. On their journey, they come across a house filled with robbers, and scare them away!
However, I know that some people are a little disappointed because they are smaller than expected. It´s easy to overlook them.
TIP: For some extra luck in your life, rub the donkey’s feet (or the nose). This makes sure you will have some luck in the future, so do not forget to do so :).
Alternatively, take a stroll through the city center and you’ll find statues of the four musicians spread around town.
Another main attraction in Bremen is the Böttcherstrasse. It is right opposite the Town Hall, so if you are standing on the Market Square, turn away from the Town Hall and walk towards the Böttcherstrasse.
The Böttcherstraße is a hidden world within Bremen – an extraordinary and unique cityscape! This “city-in-the-city” has been enchanting visitors since 1931 with its intricate architecture, art exhibitions, and impressive handicrafts…not to mention irresistible regional food & drinks made from only the freshest home ingredients.
Drop by any time for an unforgettable experience – each visit will bring something new to this tucked-away gem of Germany.
The Glockenspiel might be one of the best surprises to watch and listen to! There is a little app to download for free for further information on the buildings.
The Casino is also here in the Böttchertstrasse – though it is quite small compared to other casinos, at least we have one here in Bremen. I have not made it inside yet, but make sure to dress fancy if you want to visit.
The Böttcherstrasse is small, yet houses some of the most unique attractions in Bremen.
Another attraction, which I have just discovered, is the Himmelssaal (Sky Room) inside the Radisson Blu Hotel Bremen – though popular, it is still a hidden gem in Bremen. If you are in one day in Bremen, I would probably skip it, though.
It is a beautiful salon where you can celebrate parties and weddings. If you book a tour (Böttcherstrasse Tour) or ask at reception, you can also visit (please ask in advance if your tour covers visiting the Himmelsaal).
10 Gewerbehaus / Handelskammer
Welcome to Bremen, where history and beauty intersect! Among the many stunning structures in this magnificent city, the “Gewerbehaus” is undoubtedly a standout. Serving as the headquarters for the chambers of commerce, this 17th-century gem has been restored to its full glory after being largely destroyed during World War II.
Situated in the city center, the details of this building are nothing short of breathtaking. So make sure to marvel at its gorgeous features and soak up the rich history that surrounds it!
Welcome to the lively and bustling Domshof town square in Bremen, where history and modernity blend seamlessly. This vibrant square is not just a hub for markets and May Day demonstrations, but also home to stunning architecture and cozy cafes, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a quick bite.
Don’t forget to check out the farmer’s market, held every Monday to Friday, for a taste of local produce and culture. Join the fun and excitement at Domshof, where there’s always something to discover and enjoy!
12 Old Town of Bremen / Schnoor
The Schnoor or Schnorrviertel (Schnoor Quarter) is probably one of the best districts in Bremen. Visiting is one thing you have to do even when you are in Bremen for a few hours only.
I grew up, living in a city with one of the most beautiful old towns in Germany/Europe, so I always thought this is standard. Then I realized that it is not normal to have such an old town with cute little streets, old doors, lovely small cafes, many souvenir shops which sell lots of handmade products. I don’t know anybody who didn’t like that beautiful part.
There are cute little streets, old doors, lovely small cafes, many souvenir shops which sell lots of handmade products. The Schnoor is also home to the smallest hotel in the world and the most famous cafe might be the Katzencafe in one of the small side streets.
After visiting the Schnoor, you can either walk along the river Weser and enjoy the beautiful view. Or you walk along the busy streets of the Viertel.
13 The Viertel Quarter 1/4
The Viertel is one of the most vibrant districts, the hipster district in Bremen, and it is also not far from the Marktplatz.
As a kid, I was told not to go there because it is the “Redlight district,” if you can even call it like this. The drug addicts worried my parents worry, but actually, the 1/4 quarter, is a lively and vibrant neighborhood, full of colorful houses with oriel bay windows and more.
This district has become extremely popular, especially among students and other open-minded people, and it has become way less “scary.” I love the alternative lifestyle and the cafes, small restaurants, and shops and that you can do whatever you want to without anybody caring.
14 Weser Stadium
If you walk up the Viertel (no matter if you walk it along the river or the parallel streets), you will arrive at the Weserstadion – at some point.
I would call it the heart (apart from the Marktplatz) of Bremen. It´s where our team Werder Bremen wins most of its games (unfortunately not this season) and where the big open-air concerts take place.
15 Alte Mühle/ Old Mill
Every summer, the Old Mill, the Alte Mühle, becomes a highlight for tourists when the front garden turns into a colorful flower bed.
The Alte Mühle is between the city center and the main train station, and there is a little cafe in the mill, which makes it a perfect place to soak in the view and relax.
16 Cafe Sand
One of the best things to do in summer is to visit Cafe Sand. At least f you are looking for an “authentic Caribbean” feeling, you should visit Cafe Sand, which is close, but opposite the Weser Stadion.
Well, you cannot really expect a Caribbean feeling at Cafe Sand, but Bremen has indeed a little beach (and by little, I really mean a little, but it’s nice to spend time at the water and have a drink or play beachball).
If you only have two days in Bremen, you will be busy enough to check out above mentioned-places.
A top thing to do is visit the Schlachte. Visiting is great at any time of the year, especially on a warm day (when the Beer Garden is busy and lively) or when the Christmas Markets take place.
I suggest ending one of your days at The Schlachte, a beautiful promenade in the city center is a great place to relax and enjoy a cafe/food in one of the many restaurants or sit next to the river.
18 City Centre (Obernstrasse / Sögestrasse)
The Obernstraße in the city center is the main shopping street with the most prominent shops (mainly chains) and some cafes and restaurants. But it is not only this street. Several side streets are worth checking out and some smaller shopping malls (e.g., Katharinenpassage).
If you are at Market Square, it just takes about 1 minute to get to the Obernstrasse (closest tram/bus station: Am Brill or Domsheide)
Not too far from the city center, you´ll find another beautiful park called Bürgerpark. The Bürgerpark is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit with kids.
Lazy days are well spent at the Bürgerpark. I spent many Sundays there when I was a kid and still loved it though I hardly visit these days. It has a big playground for kids. You can rent a boat and paddle, play mini-golf, and visit the little “zoo. “ You can have a drink in one of the few restaurants or just lay down and enjoy the sun.
I also spent, just recently, a beautiful evening at Botanica – a beautiful green park with a cafe and a Rhododendronpark.
The Wallanlagen is a lovely green park that stretches over several kilometers and is between the city center and the central train station. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Bremen if you are looking to spend some time in a park.
Though the Wallanlagen is very central, it is rarely crowded, and the little river makes a perfect place for great strolls. Start your walk from the Old Mill and head towards the Viertel Quarter from there.
We locals are very proud of the Freimarkt – this fun fair takes place once a year, and Bremen gets crazy. For two weeks, all kinds of carousels and stalls are placed behind the Bremen Main Train Station – and that is where you will find all the locals and visitors.
Especially in the evening, it gets cramped – because who doesn’t love all the special food and carousels?
You might land up spending a lot of money, but if you are around at this time of the year, you don’t want to miss out as it is the better “Oktoberfest.“ And don’t worry, one of the biggest fairs in Germany surely has a lot of beer to offer, too.
Tip: If you visit during the second week, there is the big “Freimarktsumzug“ parade. The streets – stretching over several kilometers – are full of people and carriages with people in them, throwing sweets and more to the spectators. Kids especially love it, but also adults as there is music, alcohol, and more (and it is free to attend).
If you visit Bremen in July, join the Breminale. It is a music festival spread out along the Weser River and is also free to attend. It takes place over several days with more than 100 bands playing and tons of food stalls and – of course – opportunities to drink German beer and other alcohol.
- The Breminale in Bremen takes place from 12 to 16 July 2023.
If you visit around Easter and are into fairs, visit the Osterwiese. It is much smaller than the Freimarkt, with fewer food stalls and fewer carousels, but it is also fun to visit. Like the Freimarkt, it is free to attend, and you only pay for rides and food/drinks.
- The Osterwiese in Bremen takes place from 31st March to 16th April 2023.
24 Christmas Markets
If you visit Bremen at the end of November until Christmas Eve, visiting the Christmas Markets is a must.
Bremen is known for its wonderful markets – there are two main markets in Bremen, but you will find food stalls basically all over the city center. The two main ones are at the market square and then at the Schlachte – so, if you visit around that time, make sure to visit both.
Whether you are vegan or not – there are tons of options to munch and drink – and there are even some carousels for younger ones. So, it definitely is the best winter activity in Bremen.
- The Christmas Markets in Bremen will take place from 27th November to 23rd December 2023
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR BREMEN ITINERARY
Here is some info for your trip to Bremen.
Bremen is maybe not the biggest city in the world but for sure one of the most charming. I don´t say that because I am from Bremen, it just is a fact :).
Once you have visited Bremen, you will agree with me – for sure.
However, there are tons of other reasons for visiting this awesome city. With about 500,000 inhabitants, it is the 10th biggest city in Germany and one of the 16 states in Germany – yes, that is true. Bremen is not only a city but its own state (well, together with Bremerhaven).
First of all, Bremen is an extremely cosmopolitan city, and though people here don’t overdo it with friendliness, they are open-minded and totally relaxed.
How to Get Around Bremen
Bremen isn´t geographically huge, but the city is stretched, so it can take a while to get from Bremen-South to Bremen-North.
However, public transport is good during the day, and a day ticket is about 8€ (not that cheap). Still, if you stay close to the city center you probably might not even need a day ticket since many attractions and interesting areas are located close to each other.
- Distances: Main Station – Airport: about 5 km
- Main Station – City Center: 1 km
- Distance to Hamburg is about 120 km – which makes Hamburg a great day trip from Bremen
Best Time to Visit Bremen
The best time to visit Bremen is from May- September as winter can be cold in Germany. There are many activities to do in summer including festivals, that are well-visited and very popular.
However, since the Christmas Market in Bremen is considered one of the best in Germany, December would be perfect for those interested in Christmas Markets.
We are one of the few places in the world with 5 instead of 4 seasons. Each year in October/November, we celebrate the “Freimarkt” – one of the biggest fairs with tons of carousels, snack stalls, and fun activities. For these 2 weeks, Bremen is getting crazy and is in a state of emergency (in a positive way), and it is another great time to visit.
Where to Stay in Bremen
- Though Bremen´s public transport is not bad, I definitely recommend staying close to the city center. I would recommend the Radisson Blu, a beautiful 4* hotel located in the city center. CHECK OUT RATES HERE
- Bremen has only one 5* hotel – if you fancy staying in a luxury hotel in Bremen, opt for Dorint Park Hotel. Located in a tranquil part, it is still close to the train station and city center. CHECK OUT RATES HERE
Where to Eat in Bremen
Bremen has many restaurants, and there is something for every taste and every budget.
My favorite restaurant (for more than 20 years) is El Mundo. They have changed location a few years ago and are now located in Überseestadt. It is the biggest restaurant in Bremen (about 700 seats), and they have delicious food. They offer good vegetarian and vegan food as well, and decent portions.
Schlachte, a promenade in the city center, is an extremely popular place in summer or winter. There are many restaurants and beer gardens. In summer, if you are lucky to get a nice spot where you can overlook the water. It is definitely the place to be seen, and I love their, almost, Mediterranean flair in summer. I used to work at Camarillo restaurant as a student, and I still enjoy eating there.
Ratskeller is Bremen´s best-known restaurant and located on Market Square. It´s Bremen´s fine dining address, and it has an exceptional charm.
The best French Fries are definitely to be found at CTK´s in the Obernstraße.
The Viertel also has many nice restaurants and is definitely a great place to dine (from fancy to fast food, you´ll get everything there). Die Gemüseküche (mostly vegan) is there as well as tons of other international delis/restaurants.
The most beautiful cafe is now in the city center (Sögestraße) and is called Creamlovers. It has just opened and has a lot of desserts and sweets and a cute interior design.
- Read more: The best Germany travel tips
- Would you like to visit more cities in Germany? Find out what to do in Dresden Germany
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST BRMEN ACTIVITIES
Bremen surely has a lot to offer – and while every German knows Bremen, it is still a hidden gem outside the country. From some of the most gorgeous historic sights to a lot of greenery – Bremen has all that and more.
Hopefully, this post has inspired you to visit the city, and also, you have now found out about the best things to do in Bremen – a beautiful hidden German gem!