Don’t miss Bremen, the stuff of fairytales

The North German city of Bremen is overlooked by many overseas visitors, yet it’s a great place to spend the day and only an hour by train from Hamburg. Here are some of the things to do in Bremen Germany.

Many will recognise it for its musicians: four over the hill animals who make a run for it to seek their retirement fortune in Bremen. The fable, written by the Brothers Grimm, is as relevant today as it was when it was first dreamt up. The twist in the tale, however, is that the four worn out creatures never made it to their destination.

Things to Do in Bremen Germany: Donkey from the fairytale
Donkey from the fairytale

Things to Do in Bremen Germany

The Rathaus and the Donkey Statue

That doesn’t stop Bremen from cashing in, though. You’ll see sculptures and souvenirs commemorating the story all over the place. The main statue to seek out is next to the fabulous Rathaus in the main square. It’s said that holding both of the donkey’s feet at the same time will bring good fortune, so chance your luck as you pose for a photo. The Rathaus is over six hundred years old, though it was remodelled in Renaissance style a couple of hundred years later. You can take tours of its interior and wine cellar if you’re not satisfied with ogling its glorious exterior.

Things to Do in Bremen Germany: Roland and the Rathaus
Roland and the Rathaus

Guild Hall

Opposite, on the other side of the square, stands the old Guild Hall. Even more beautiful than the Rathaus, it’s known locally as the Schütting, built in Flemish style at a similar time to the town hall but sadly no longer open to the public. Take a seat at one of the pavement cafes next door and savour its intricate architectural details over a glass of creamy hot chocolate.

Böttcherstraße Street

Around the corner is a tiny street that packs a bigger tourist punch than even the four musicians. Böttcherstraße in its present form dates from the 1920s, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s much older. Once semi-derelict, it was saved by a local coffee merchant and now its many pieces of artwork, Art Deco architecture and a crazy glockenspiel clock draw the crowds.

Things to Do in Bremen Germany: One of Bremen's windmills
One of Bremen’s windmills

Schnoor Quarter

Bremen used to be a major port. Business has now moved to the mouth of the Weser at Bremerhaven, though you’ll still find water and windmills on the edge of the old town. The unmissable Schnoor quarter is crammed with old fishermen’s cottages dating from the 17th and 18th century and these days is a delightful haven for shoppers as many of the old homes now house tiny boutiques. Highlights of this part of the city include the Schifferhaus and the Birgittenkloster.

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About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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