Let’s Explore Some Awesome Things to Do in Bremen, Germany!
Is Bremen, Germany worth visiting? We think the answer is yes! From the gorgeous old town to the riverside walk, there are plenty of reasons to check out this German city. You might have even heard of a few of the top attractions in Bremen – like the Bremen Roland statue or even the Bremen Christmas markets?
We got to explore the city over the course of a day trip and actually full-on considered moving there. Dead serious. It’s just so livable and beautiful that we couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like there. Bremen’s location just a few hours from Hamburg means that you should make it down once you are done with all the great things to do in Hamburg.
In any case, there are plenty of free, paid, and unusual things to do in Bremen – from exploring museums to rubbing donkey statues for luck (seriously). So, here are some great ideas for things to do and see in Bremen!
If you want to see what Bremen looks like, you can watch the video snippet below. You can find the whole video on our YouTube Channel here!And if you’re travelling to Germany and need travel tips or ideas for other places to visit, here are some below!
Things to Consider When Visiting Bremen
If you plan on checking out Bremen for a few days or just a day trip, here are a few things you should know – from getting there to getting around the city. In case you love the city so much that you want to stick around, we’ve even got you covered for where to stay in Bremen!
How to Get to Bremen
Fun Fact: Bremen (along with Bremerhaven to the north) is actually its own state in Germany called the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. It’s the smallest of the German states but still counts! Bremen is located in the northwest of Germany about one hour 15 minutes southwest of Hamburg and about 2 hours north of Bielefeld. If you are renting a car, the drive to Bremen is relatively simple – and there is plenty of parking downtown (as we experienced).
Another great way to get to Bremen is by train. It’s no secret that Germany has a great rail system and the central station in Bremen is just northeast of the old town/city centre. You can check the train schedules at the DB Website – we use it (and the DB app) for trip planning literally every week.
Another form of transport you can take to Bremen is the bus. Again, taking a coach bus across Germany is really easy with lots of great connections to even the smallest of cities. You can check the bus connections on the Flixbus website.
Getting Around in Bremen
Once you are in Bremen, there are many options for getting around the city. The easiest is to just walk since the city centre is fairly flat and pretty accessible/compact. The only difficulties for someone with mobility impairment are the cobblestones and/or green spaces you’ll find scattered around the city. For the most part, there are good sidewalks and paths throughout these spaces. The river even has a nice wide walkway (mentioned below!).
If you want to reach things to do in Bremen that are farther from the centre or along the river, you can easily take the public transit. The system is made up of buses and trams. In fact, the tram runs RIGHT through the historic centre in front of the Town Hall so be careful where you stand to take photos! You can find ticket prices and trip planners for Bremen Transit (BSAG) here.
If you want to use transit and plan on seeing many sights, you might consider getting a Bremen Erlebniscard. This Bremen pass works as your transit pass for 1 to 3 days and offers discounts at various attractions and places in Bremen. Might be worth looking into if you are exploring for a few days!
Where to Stay in Bremen
Given that Bremen is such a popular city to visit and explore, there are plenty of great accommodation options to suit all different travel styles and budgets. There are quite a few great hotels right in the city centre – so you are just a quick walk from all the top sights and the river! You can check here for Bremen accommodations.
We actually parked at the Radisson Blu (shown above) and walked through the lobby/restaurant – it looked gorgeous. The hotel is located right in the old town so check out the Radisson Blu for a very central hotel choice.
Another place that we stumbled upon is the Swissôtel Bremen. This hotel is located right by the beautiful Windmill and is just outside the old city walls – making it a quick walk to the historic centre and the Bremen main train station. Check out the Swissôtel Bremen here.
That said, if you are interested in a hostel or a cheap hotel, there is a small handful of places to choose from – so check for hostels in Bremen here.
Top Things to Do in Bremen, Germany
Okay, so here we are with the things to do and see in Bremen! Now, keep in mind that this list is pretty extensive but not complete. That said, it definitely includes the top sights in the historic centre (which we loved) with a few of the lesser-known museums, attractions, and areas that we got to check out. We had an amazing time exploring Bremen and we want to get back soon to see the rest of the city!
If you are heading to Bremen, there is no better place to begin your adventure than at the main Marktplatz. This open square is home to many of the top attractions, important architectural buildings, and an amazing city atmosphere that you should experience – from the Town Hall to Bremen Roland, the Cathedral, and more.
There is a TON to learn about in the Marktplatz alone, so consider a Bremen Old Town walking tour to learn all about the little details that you might miss on your own.
We ended up having a coffee and cake at Beck’s Bistro – a restaurant/cafe with loads of seating right on the square. That said, there are cafes all over the place so just have a look at the menus and choose a spot you like. We wanted to sit in the sunshine so this one made the most sense for the time of day we visited.
As we sat, we just got to enjoy the world around us. From the historic houses behind us (now cafes) to the Haus Schütting to out left, it’s almost overwhelming how pretty the square is.
Fun Fact: the Haus Schütting (in the photo above) served as a guild house for merchants and tradesman. It was built and rebuilt (burned down in 1944) over the centuries.
The whole square is also home to some impressive fountains, sculptures, and other little points of interest. You can find them scattered around the place. We really liked the Neptunbrunnen which you can see above. The Marcus-Brunnen (near the entrance to the main shopping street) was neat to see, too.
Address: Am Markt 2, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Bremen Town Hall
Also known as the Bremen Rathaus, the historic town hall in Bremen is definitely one of the reasons people stop in for a visit. Originally built over 600 years ago, this Town Hall is quite the sight.
Known for its famed Upper Town Hall and Golden Chamber – it’s no wonder it draws so many visitors. The Town Hall is extra important to a city like Bremen – given the city’s mandate to remain largely autonomous for centuries.
The current version of the Town Hall was actually redone in the 1600s in a Renaissance style – that’s what you can see today. In fact, there are little dates above the right and left top windows which put a time stamp on the exterior design.
Because of the rich history and beautiful architecture, the Town Hall was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 (along with the Roland Statue and the Marktplatz, in general).
Today, you can go inside (book a spot below), and there’s even a restaurant (Ratskeller) in the vintage wine cellar below the Town Hall. The entrance is just to the left of the front. You can book a guided tour through the English version of the tourism website for Bremen here.
Address: Am Markt 21, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Bremen Roland Statue
“Roland” statues mean a lot to medieval cities in Germany. Built back in 1404, Bremen’s stone Roland statue has a very significant meaning to the city to this day! Think of the statue as Bremen’s version of the “Statue of Liberty”. As the legend goes, Roland – depicted as a knight (a noble figure of the Medieval Ages) was erected in cities to reinforce their belief for preserving/upholding a city’s freedoms and market rights.
Bremen’s Roland was built to face the Cathedral – a direct “stand-off” with the seat of the archbishops of the time (who imposed rule on the city). Things have cooled off these days and in 2004 Bremen’s Roland was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the statue can be seen with a crowd gathered – taking photographs and learning about its history. The location directly in front of the Town Hall helps with the popularity, though.
Address: Am Markt, 28195 Bremen, Germany
The “Town Musicians of Bremen”
If you visit Bremen, you might see artwork in shops or tourist takeaways that feature a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster. Confused yet? You shouldn’t be! Bremen is the setting for a fairy tale by the famous German writers – the Brothers Grimm.
One of their childhood tales is about those animals as they become musicians and head for the city of Bremen. The tale was from centuries before but the Brothers’ Grimm published it in 1819.
Today, you can’t visit Bremen without checking in with the four animals at the famous sculpture located to the left of the Town Hall if you are facing it. Completed in 1953, apparently it’s good luck to touch the donkey’s nose or touch his legs which Lisa had to try. There’s also a circle plaque and coin slot in the main square (literally in the cobblestone ground) where you can drop money to hear the animals make their sounds!
If you want to learn more about the folklore of the animals, the connection to Bremen, and the history of the old town itself, you can join a “Musicians of Bremen” historic walking tour!
Address: Schoppensteel 1, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Also called the St. Petri Dom Bremen, the Bremen Cathedral is definitely one of the top sights in the city. Named after St. Peter, the cathedral has a very long history – one that would be way too complicated to get into in this post.
Just know that an original timber building was built back in 789. Since then, it’s been changed, rebuilt in the current form in the 13th century, been damaged by fire, age, WWII bombing, and more. Parts have been added, removed, changed, and renovated into the structure you see today!
Of course, we can’t do a visit to the Cathedral justice – so it’s best to go and see the inside for yourself. The Cathedral offers many different areas like its 5 organs, and tombs and crypts that have famous German figured buried there. There’s an interior Bible Garden and you can even check out one of the towers (for a small fee) in the summer months!
Tucked away behind the cathedral, you can find the Cathedral Museum. Opened in 1987, you can learn about the history of the Cathedral through medieval paintings, sculptures, and other important artifacts. There’s more than one room to check out so it’s worth the time if you’re interested in Bremen history. You can learn more about visiting the Museum here!
Address: Sandstraße 10-12, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Church of Our Lady
Also known as the “Kirche Unser Lieben Frauen”, this smaller church tucked away behind the Town Hall on the market square is still pretty important! The original building was built back in the 11th century. Since the crypt still exists in the church today, the “Church of Our Lady” is actually the oldest surviving church in the city!
The outside structure you see today was created in the 13th century – much like the Bremen Cathedral. You can visit the church and check out its stunning features – including statues on the exterior, beautiful old murals on the inside dating from the 14th century, and even a crypt.
Address: Unser Lieben Frauen Kirchhof 27, 28195 Bremen, Germany
If you want to wander around an area of Bremen and feel like you have been transported back in time to the Middle Ages (15th century), then head to Schnoorviertel! Also known as the Schnoor Quarter, this historic area is home to classic winding alleyways and wood-timbered houses that date back to as early as the Medieval Ages. The area was associated with shipping – producing ropes, cables, and anchor chains.
However, most houses you see today were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Luckily, much of the area was undamaged by bombing in World War II which is why it’s so well preserved. Today, the whole quarter is lined with shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and even a tiny, tiny guesthouse which you can stay in!
Overall, the area is definitely something you should check out. We loved our wander through. You might even stop for a bite to eat, a coffee, or even a beer – like Beck’s! If you want to check out the Schnoorviertel and learn all about it from a knowledgeable guide, consider a Schnoor guided walking tour!
Address: Schnoor, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Speaking of Beck’s, you might not have known that Bremen is actually the home of Beck’s beer! Founded back in 1873, Beck’s is a beer that is recognizable in many places around the world – and the brewery where it all began is in town!
In fact, it’s just across the river from the Old Town. If you want to learn more about the famous beer, history of brewing it in Bremen, and give it a sip or two, check out a guided tour of Beck’s Brewery.
Address: Am Deich 20, 28199 Bremen, Germany
Another street that catches plenty of attention in Bremen (besides Schnoorviertel) is Böttcherstraße. Located just off the main market square to the south, this short and narrow street is quite the site to see. The street is only about 100 metres long but served as a link between the river and the main square in medieval Bremen.
After it became less important (the main harbour moved), the area was bought and developed in the early 1900s by Ludwig Roselius. There is a mix of architectural styles and materials used along the street.
In fact, the varying architecture used during the inter-war period of the 1930s was a point of contention for Hitler himself. Today, there are plenty of attractions to check out along the street – as well as just wandering down the street itself.
We will dive into a few of the specific top attractions on Böttcherstraße just below. However, just so you know, there are lots of shops (like the Bremer Bonbon Manufaktur Candy Shop), museums (some more notable than others), bars, and even cafes you can sit at to enjoy the atmosphere.
We loved our wander down the street – everywhere you look there’s something unique to check out! If you want to learn more about the history and the little details of the street (there are loads!) then check out a guided walking tour of Böttcherstraße.
Address: Böttcherstraße, Bremen
One of those top attractions down Böttcherstraße is the Glockenspiel House. While the building existed beforehand, the 30 porcelain bells that make up the carillon were added between the building gables in 1934. Along with the 10 rotating wooden panels that depict famous seafaring explorers and aviators, the bells ring multiple times a day and last for about 8 and a half minutes!
We were there right when it started at 5:00 pm (in April) and there was a small crowd standing in the square below the bells just enjoying the show and music. It was really cool to see… and hear!
Address: Böttcherstraße 4-6, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum
One of the other more notable museums along Böttcherstraße is the Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum. Opened back in 1927, the museum was done in Brick Expressionist architecture – a very important example of that style to this day. Even cooler, the museum was the first museum in the world devoted to a female artist!
Known for her role in early Expressionist painting, Hitler called it “degenerate art” and could have had it destroyed – but didn’t. These days, there are more works by other artists which you can also check out. You can learn more about visiting the museum here.
Address: Böttcherstraße 6-10, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Weserburg Museum of Modern Art
Housed in the middle of the river on the Teerhof peninsula, the Weserburg Museum of Modern Art is a modern and contemporary art museum. It was originally opened in 1991 and has housed the works of the most influential contemporaneity artists.
The unique point about the Weserburg is the fact that it’s known as a “collector’s museum” meaning that there is no permanent art collection onsite. Instead, the works in display/in the exhibits are constantly changing since they come mainly from private collections!
The fact that it’s housed in an old factory building adds to the experience, too. You can learn more about visiting the Weserburg Museum here.
Address: Teerhof 20, 28199 Bremen, Germany
If art is still your main interest, then visiting the top museum in the city should be high on your list! The Kunsthalle Bremen, built in 1849, has grown and changed a bunch of times to house more and more works of European art. The museum is located on the “Culture Mile” which also has a whole bunch of other museums, galleries, and theatres on it!
In all, the building has paintings from as early as the 14th century to today and sculptures from a little more recent. The museum has works from famous painters like Monet, Cézanne, and Paula Modersohn-Becker (who we’ve talked about already!). There’s also a large collection of prints.
Interestingly (and sadly) enough, the building was firebombed in 1942 and some works were lost. The remaining works were spread across Germany in castles and bunkers to protect them. However, when the Soviets took a castle at the end of the war, they also took works of art with them. To this day, over 1,500 pieces remain missing somewhere across Europe and the globe.
If you wander behind the museum, you can actually find a very tranquil green space with a long pathway over a pond. If you cross the bridge (in the photo) you end up behind the Kunsthalle where there is a small cafe area.
There were plenty of people hanging out back there enjoying a coffee and other beverages on the hot day we had. In any case, you can learn more about visiting the Kunsthalle at their official website (in German).
Address: Am Wall 207, 28195 Bremen, Germany
The Schlachte (Weser River Promenade)
If you want to enjoy the sea breeze while in Bremen, the best thing to do is to head down to the river for a walk of the Schlachte – this massively long promenade on the east bank of the Weser River. We headed down for a walk of just the portion near the Bremen Mitte (city centre/old town) and it was honestly lovely.
The path is plenty wide for walkers, joggers, and even bikes. Then on the hillside there were loads of people enjoying picnics, beverages, and some sunshine! You can even find various boats tied up to the side of the river. Many of them have been turned into museums, accommodations, theatres (Theaterschiff Bremen), and even clubs (MS Treue)!
Address: Schlachte, Bremen
Highlighting various aspects of Natural History, the Bremen Overseas Museum is something to be visited. Located close to the central train station in a 19th-century building, the museum has a variety of permanent and rotating exhibits from around the globe. The main purpose of the museum is to highlight three main aspects: Nature, Culture and Trading.
The museum itself is divided up basically into continents/regions of the world which you can explore. It’s basically a way to travel around the world to learn about people, culture, plants, and animals from the comfort of Europe/Bremen!
It’s nice to know that while most exhibits offer information in English, they also offer audio guides in English – and even have guided tours which you can schedule in advance in a number of languages (including English). You can learn more and plan your visit with the official Overseas Museum website.
Address: Bahnhofsplatz 13, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Theatre am Goetheplatz
If you were super into performances and wanted to catch something while you were in Bremen, you might consider checking out the Theatre am Goetheplatz. Built back in 1913, this Neo-classical style theatre is the main theatre in Bremen and home to the official State Theatre group.
It’s located on the Culture Mile with the other galleries and museums (understandably). The theatre was actually rebuilt a bunch of times – notably after World War II and then again in the early 2000s to modernize the technical requirements of modern performances.
Performances are in German, but you can still go and check it out! If you wanted to visit, you can check the website for performances and dates (in German only).
Address: Goetheplatz 1-3, 28203 Bremen, Germany
Gerhard Marcks House
If you were inspired by the sculpture of “Town Musicians of Bremen” in the main Marktplatz, then you might want to visit the Gerhard Marcks House/Museum. This is because he’s the guy who created the famous display of stacked animals!
Opened in 1971, the Gerhard Marcks House holds over 400 sculptures, 1,200 prints, and 12,000 drawings. As more of a contemporary artist, the museum does a great job of highlighting work across his career. If this kind of art interests you, check out the official website here.
Fun fact: the two buildings (this one and the one below – the Wilhelm Wagenfeld House) were built in 1825 as a prison and a pair of gatehouses. Up until 1848, they were used to “close” the city at night at the east entrance!
Address: Am Wall 208, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Wilhelm Wagenfeld House
Once you are done across the street at the Gerhard Marcks House, you can pop over to the Wilhelm Wagenfeld House. This smaller museum and exhibition centre is dedicated to showcasing the works of Wilhelm Wagenfeld. This Bremen-born industrial designer is actually responsible for the way that many household items from the 20th century look! If you want to learn more, you can check out the official website.
Address: Am Wall 209, 28195 Bremen, Germany
Located within the grounds of Rhododendron-Park Bremen (another attraction that can be on this list) Botanika is a nature museum dedicated to learning all about plants from around the world. These indoor gardens have information on display (in English, too) and even live guides/staff who can tell you about things as you explore through different rooms/climate zones.
Besides plants, onsite at Botanika there are special rotating exhibits, live animals (like rabbits and a butterfly section), a pond filled with koi, and even a cafe/restaurant which you can eat tea/cake at! If you want to visit Botanika, you can plan a visit with their website!
Address: Deliusweg 40, 28359 Bremen, Germany
If interactive museums are more for you (or you are travelling to Bremen with kids), then checking out the Universum Bremen is a must! With over 300 exhibits to check out (and interact with), there are loads of things to keep you busy. The museum was opened in 2000 and focussed on three main areas of science: Technology, Humans, and Nature!
One of the biggest reasons people visit the museum when they are in Bremen is for the design. The massive metallic-looking building is a mix of a whale or a clamshell. Whatever you think it looks like, it certainly is eye-catching. The museum is located to the northeast of the city centre but still very much within distance for public transport.
There’s also an outdoor area that has been developed for interaction through even more hands-on exhibits and lovely green space. You can learn more about visiting the Universum Bremen.
Address: Wiener Straße 1A, 28359 Bremen, Germany
If you want to enjoy a bit of green space, then you should check out Wallanlagen. This park was built back in the 18th century and zigzags across the north end of the Old Town featuring a moat. Why the odd shape? The green space was built on the site of Bremen’s old city walls – the ones that once protected the inner city from danger!
These days, there are no enemies threatening the city, so you can stroll the park checking out sculptures, fountains, and animals running about. It was sunny the day we visited so the whole length of the park was covered in people laying on the grass or getting some exercise along the various paths. If you follow the park long enough, you’ll end up crossing paths with the Windmill – which we’ll get to right below!
The Am Wall Windmill
Known as the “Mühle Am Wall” in German, this historic windmill is quite the site to see. At first, we drove past and saw the amazing flowers and then noticed the windmill behind them. Naturally, we had to visit later in the day – and we are glad we did!
Originally built back in 1699, various versions of this “Dutch-style” windmill have been damaged or burnt down over the years. The current building you see today is from 1898. Today, you can visit the inside and grab a bite to eat because there’s a restaurant inside it. You can visit the website for it here.
On that note, if you walk about the garden paths and photograph the flowers and scenery, please don’t trample on or pick the flowers. We were honestly disgusted with how many people were just walking into the flower beds to get the perfect photos.
We even saw more than one person (children and adults!) with a full-on bouquet of freshly picked flowers to take with them. If everyone does that, there would be no flowers left – so just enjoy the place with your hands-off.
Address: Am Wall 212, 28195 Bremen, Germany
The Ehrenmal Memorial on the Altmannshöhe + Views
Close by to the back of the Kunsthalle, you will find a small hill. If you climb it, you will see this giant red circle. We sure did – and we got curious – so we went. Turns out, these bricks are part of an open-air memorial. Opened in 1935, you can find the names of 10,000 German soldiers from Bremen alone who died in World War 1. There’s nothing to do there – it’s just fascinating to see.
The real gem is if you turn around from the memorial. Since you climbed a hill close to the river, you are greeted by a bunch of nice benches and a great view of the street, river walk, and river below! We sat up there for some time – others came and went while we sat, just admiring the views. Overall, a pretty good little side hike!
Speicher XI Dockland Museum
Located in an old cotton warehouse over in the port area known as Überseestadt, the Dockland Museum is one way to blast through 120 years of seafaring history! The development of Bremen has a vital connection to the river, so the museum itself is fascinating by presenting the port’s history through various exhibits.
You can learn about the building of the port, the jobs that the locals have worked over the years, and even see what life was like living on a ship back in the day. So, if history is your thing, you can plan a visit and learn more at the official website. You should also check out the Überseestadt area while you are over there since there’s loads to see and it’s further from the historic centre!
Address: Am Speicher XI 1, 28217 Bremen, Germany
Valentin Submarine Pens
If World War II history is what you want to keep exploring, then head to the Valentin Submarine factory (or what’s left of it). Towards the end of the war, the bombing had basically halted production of U-boats so this massive concrete structure was erected.
This shelter was built (through slave labour) between 1943 and 1945 – and it was designed to build and protect German U-boats (submarines) from bombing. Though it was just months from completion, it was the biggest U-boat factory (that was fortified) in Germany.
These days, visitors can head far up the Weser River to the northwest of the Bremen Old Town and walk the path through the grounds and into the actual bunker. You can go on a self-guided tour which takes you by the memorial for those who faced “Extermination through Work”, and then by 25 other information stations.
The Information Centre gives you even more information about the history of the area. Admission to the grounds is free and you can pick up an audio guide (in English and German) for a deposit. You can even book a tour in advance of your visit for a small fee. You can learn all about visiting the Submarine Pens at this website.
Address: Rekumer Siel, 28777 Bremen, Germany
And there you have it – our rundown of the best things to do in Bremen, Germany! In the end, this is a good list but there are plenty more things to do and see. They’ve got a pretty good football (soccer) team, you know! As we said, we loved the time we had in the city – and will definitely be back to explore more. Let us know how you liked it!
As always, Happy Bremen Waddlin’,