Straddling the lower Weser River in northwest Germany, Bremen is a bustling seaport city with a rich maritime history and is one of the centers of seaborne trade in the country. The capital of the Land of Bremen is also an important cultural center and is packed with a variety of things to see and do from ornate architecture, historical buildings, and UNESCO sites to the historic Old Town (Altstadt), the vibrant Viertel Quarter, and the old Schnoor Quarter. Hailed as one of Europe’s top cultural centers, Bremen is well worth a visit for soaking up some Germany culture and heritage.
1.St. Petri Dom Bremen (Cathedral of St. Peter in Bremen)
The Cathedral of St. Peter in Bremen, locally known as St. Petri Dom, is a magnificent 11th-century church in the market square in the center of Bremen. Located in the Bleikeller (Lead Cellar), the cathedral features two 320-foot towers that were restored in 1898 and a richly decorated Baroque pulpit that was gifted to the church by the Queen Christina of Sweden in the 17th century. The church is also home to the well-preserved, mummified remains of eight medieval archbishops and other personal items belonging to the bishops.
Sandstraße 10-12, 28195 Bremen
2.Bremer Rathaus (Bremen Town Hall)
Bremer Rathaus (Bremen Town Hall) is a beautiful Gothic building with a magnificent Renaissance façade on Marktplatz that dates back to 1410 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most important buildings of the Weser Renaissance movement in Europe, the building boasts a spectacular 130-foot long banquet hall with 26-foot-high ceilings. Other notable attractions include a richly-carved spiral staircase and the famous bronze sculpture of a rooster standing on a cat standing on a dog that's standing on a donkey known as the Bremen Town Musicians. Bremer Rathaus can be explored on informative guided tours.
Am Markt 21, 28195, Bremen
3.Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians)
© Sina Ettmer/stock.adobe.com
The Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians) is a famous bronze sculpture of a rooster standing on a cat standing on a dog that's standing on a donkey. Located in front of the Bremen Town Hall, the statue depicts the popular Brother’s Grimm folktale ‘Stadtmusikanten’ in which the four animals leave their home for a better life. The figure has become one of the cultural symbols of Bremen and is said that touching the donkey’s front hooves grants wishes.
Town Musicians of Bremen, Am Markt 21, Bremen, Germany
The Schlachte Embankment is one of the city’s bustling riverside districts and is lined with restaurants, bars, and cafés filled with locals and tourists alike. Once one of the city’s principal harbors with a rich history dating back to the 13th century, Schlachte is now a rejuvenated Old Town pedestrian zone with a promenade that follows the east bank of the Weser River. Named after the wooden piles that support the riverbank, Schlachte is lined with old warehouses housing cafés and restaurants and docked historic vessels that now serve as unique hotels and restaurants. Visitors can also enjoy fun riverboat cruises on the Weser.
Schlachte, 28195 Bremen, Germany
5.The Schnoor District
The Schnoor District, commonly referred to as the ‘Schnoor Quarter,’ is a charming medieval district of Schnoor that has been regentrified from being one of the poorest parts of the city into a bustling artistic haven. Named after the traditional rope-making trades that once flourished here, the district features many well-preserved 15th- to 18th-century homes, including the Schifferhaus (1630), the Landherrnamt (1856), and the 14th-century brick-built Gothic St. John's Church. The quarter is also home to many cafés and craft shops that showcase the creative demographic of the area, and a great way to explore the Schnoor District is on a guided walking tour.
Hutfilterstraße 16-18, 28195, Bremen
Located in the center of Bremen's Old Town, the Kunsthalle is an art gallery that hosts rotating art exhibitions, symposia, and workshops for associated artists and art societies. Established in 1849, the Kunsthalle houses a variety of artworks, ranging from 14th-century German masters to 17th-century Dutch paintings. The museum also houses several notable sculptures, French and Dutch paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries, works from the famous Worpswede artists' colony, and over 220,000 drawings and prints. Visitors to the museum can enjoy guided and audio tours and first-class food and wine at the elegant terraced restaurant.
Am Wall 207, 28195, Bremen
Located in the Schnoor neighborhood in the medieval center, Bremen's narrow Böttcherstrasse is officially the city’s narrowest street and is only 100 meters long. The beautiful street was transformed between 1926 and 1931 into an avenue of museums and is lined with many examples of unusual expressionist architecture. Notable attractions include the Paula Becker-Modersohn Museum based in a unique expressionist brick building, the Roselius-Haus (1588), which houses the Ludwig Roselius Museum, and the famous Glockenspiel House with its three-times-a-day chime. The ‘secret’ entrance to the street is guarded by the impressive gold Lichtbringer (Light Bringer) sculpture.
Böttcherstrasse, D-28195, Bremen
8.Beck’s Brewery Tour
Bremen has a vibrant beer culture dating back to the 11th century and is home to the beer-making behemoth Beck's Brewery, also known as Brauerei Beck & Co. One of the largest brewers in Germany, Beck’s, offers guided brewery tours of the massive beer-making facility, showcasing the malt silos, the ingredients store the fermentation and storage tanks, and the brewhouse. Visitors can enjoy two short films and a cinema presentation, and taste samples of the company’s well-known brands such as Beck' s and Haake-Beck.
Am Deich 20, 28199 Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-42-15-09-40
9.The Roland Statue
Located on Bremen's picturesque Marktplatz in the heart of the Old Town (Altstadt), the Roland statue commemorates Germany's most famous knight. Erected in 1404, the five-and-a-half-meter-tall figure depicts 9th century Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, and is one of several similar monuments around the country that stand as symbols of freedom and independence from the church. Defiantly facing the church, the striking stone edifice was designated a World Heritage site in 2004 and is a much-loved feature of Bremen’s streetscape.
Marktplatz, Bremen, Germany
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10.Bleikeller (Lead Cellar)
Located in the St. Petri Dom Bremen (Bremen Cathedral), Bleikeller, also known as the Lead Cellar, is a crypt below the nave of the cathedral that is home to the well-preserved, mummified remains of eight medieval archbishops. Discovered by an organ-maker working on the church in the 17th century, the crypt was once used to store lead for renovations, and it is thought the dry air in the room has caused the natural mummification of the corpses. Today, the mummies are housed in glass-topped coffins and open for the public to view on guided or self-guided tours.
Am Dom 1, 28195 Bremen, Germany
11.Standige Vertretung (Permanent Representation Rhineland Bremen)
© Ständige Vertretung (Permanent Representation Rhineland Bremen)
Ständige Vertretung (Permanent Representation Rhineland Bremen) is a Rhenish cult pub in the historic Böttcherstrasse with a distinct political ambiance. Affectionately known as StäV, the pub brings a piece of the Rhineland to Bremen with typical Rhenish dishes such as Himmel un Äd, and a wide variety of Rhenish beers, drafts, and hand-drawn Kölsch. The pub is also a political meeting point with representatives of all parties meeting and doing business over a pint in the famous establishment.
Ständige Vertretung, Böttcherstraße 3-5, Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-4-21-32-09-95
© Spitzen Gebel
Spitzen Gebel (pointed gable) is a beautiful historic building in the center of the city that dating back to 1400 and is the oldest and last of its kind in Bremen. Built in the 13th century as a townhouse, the building was rebuilt in the Gothic style in 1590, and again in 1610, and was named after the late Gothic gabling added to the building. Located behind the main square in Bremen, Spitzen Gebel is home to a public house that is famous for serving Schnapps known as Sluk ut de Lamp (swig from the lamp), which is made from an age-old Swedish recipe dating back hundreds of years.
Spitzen Gebel, Hinter dem Schütting 1, Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-42-13-30
© Bremer Ratskeller
Located in the center of the Old Town (Altstadt), Bremer Ratskeller is a historic underground restaurant dating back 600 years. Constructed in 1405 as the council wine cellar of Bremen’s town hall, the cellar has been converted into a unique underground restaurant and still stores a wide range of wines in their cellars today. Nestled directly beneath the town hall, huge wine vats run the length of the room, including the oldest wine barrel in Germany, which was laid down here in 1653. The cellar houses over 600 varietals of German wines, ranging from white and red to Riesling.
Am Markt, Mitte Bremen, Bremen, 28195, Germany, Phone: +49-4-21-32-16-76
Based in the Musical Theater Bremen on the edge of the Old Town (Altstadt), Henry’s Bar is an elegant bar that doubles as an art gallery, showcasing works from local artists. Built at the end of the 1990s, the Musical Theater Bremen features three bar and restaurant areas with stylish ambiances, serving delicious snacks, elegant cuisine, and refreshing drinks. Henry’s Bar radiates a cozy atmosphere and serves contemporary cuisine, fine wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The Mayfair event room can be rented for private functions and special celebrations.
7 Richtweg, Mitte Bremen, Bremen, 28195, Germany, Phone: +49-42-19-88-85-00
Set on the East bank of the Weser River, Scharfrichter Lounge is a restaurant that specializes in German Currywurst. Referred to as ‘Das Steak des kleinen Mannes,’ (‘the little man’s steak’) is a famous German dish, and the eatery serves over 100 varieties of the famed dish with ten different levels of heat. The plates have quirky names such as ‘Six Feet Under,’ ‘Die Hard,’ and the ‘Burning Baboon,’ which are inspired by the tradition of German executioners, after which the restaurant is also named. The restaurant boasts a cozy ambiance with plush seating and soft lighting.
Scharfrichter Lounge, Martinistraße 70, Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-4-21-27-63-98-78
The Kaffeemühle restaurant is set in a traditional windmill, which is a much-loved symbol of Northern Germany and the neighboring country of Holland. Overlooking a lake in Wallanlagen Park, the mill was initially used to grind flour and was destroyed a few times due to fire and other catastrophes, before being transformed into a restaurant and coffee shop that now serves contemporary cuisine and drinks. The Kaffeemühle restaurant is nicknamed the ‘coffee mill’ for its popularity as a lovely spot for enjoying coffee against a backdrop of beautiful views.
212 Am Wall, Mitte Bremen, Bremen, 28195, Germany, Phone: +49-42-11-44-66
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Situated in the heart of the Old Town (Altstadt), Schröters is a cozy restaurant with several dining spaces and an open-air kitchen. The quiet restaurant is ideal for an intimate dinner or a private celebration with secluded dining rooms from which to choose, and a beautifully decorated Toulouse-Lautrec room showcasing reproductions of the artist’s work. The restaurant serves a variety of European dishes ranging from classic Wiener Schnitzel to Italian risotto, and an extensive wine list boasts a selection of fine wines from around Europe, along with craft beers and signature cocktails. Schröters also has a charming summer garden decked with fairy lights for alfresco-style dining.
Schröters, Schnoor 13, Bremen, Germany, +49-4-21-32-66-77
18.Theaterschiff (The Theatre Ship)
© Theaterschiff (The Theatre Ship)
The Theaterschiff (The Theatre Ship) is a floating restaurant and theater anchored near the Wilhelm Kaiser Bridge with spectacular scenic views of the Weser River. The unique restaurant boasts floor-length windows and soft lighting, creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere for elegant evening dinners. Seasonal menus feature international cuisine from prime steaks and handmade Italian pasta to German schnitzel, all of which are accompanied by a wide range of beverages from the full-service bar, including fine wines and sophisticated cocktails. The Theaterschiff also hosts plays and performances several times a week.
4 Anleger, Mitte Bremen, Bremen, 28195, Germany, Phone: +49-42-17-90-86-00
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Located in a historic 17th-century townhouse that was lovingly restored from decay and converted into a guesthouse in the Schnoor Quarter, Concordenhaus specializes in local dishes from the Bremen region and North Germany. The Schnoor District, commonly referred to as the ‘Schnoor Quarter,’ is a charming medieval district of Schnoor that has been regentrified from being one of the poorest parts of the city into a bustling artistic haven. The restaurant serves traditional dishes such as Labskaus (corned beef, herring, onion, and beetroot) and Knipp (goat and pork), and the bar offers a wide range of fine wines, craft beers, and signature cocktails.
2 Hinter der Holzpforte, Mitte Bremen, Bremen, 28195, Germany
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20.The Grashoff Bistro
© The Grashoff Bistro
The Grashoff Bistro is a Michelin-starred, Parisian-style bistro that specializes in classic French and traditional Northern German cuisine, French delicacies, and gourmet food items. The French-inspired eatery has a comfortable dining room with leather seating, soft lighting, luxurious décor, and cream-colored, art-adorned walls, and has a delicatessen and gourmet shop offering treats for taking away. The culinary gem serves classic French and traditional Northern German cuisine such as flank steak in a pepper sauce, spaghetti with lobster, and fresh seafood and fish. Desserts include fresh pastries, homemade tarts, and mouthwatering crème brûlée.
Grashoff’s Bistro, Contrescarpe 80, Bremen, Germany, +49-42-11-47-49
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© Tatyana A. - tataks/stock.adobe.com
Café Tölke is a charming Viennese-style coffee house that serves freshly roasted and brewed coffee from sustainably sourced coffee beans from around the world, along with handmade cakes, pastries, cookies, scones, and muffins. The café has plush, comfortable sofas and furnishings, ornate mirrors, comfy upholstered chairs, and ambient lighting, and the coffee menu offers a wide variety of coffee and espresso drinks, loose-leaf teas, hot chocolate, and other beverages.
Schnoor 23, A, 28195 Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-4-21-32-43-30
Café Heinrich is a charming café that serves delicious breakfast and lunch dishes, homemade cakes, and freshly baked pastries. The coffee shop also serves a variety of traditional and specialty coffee drinks, including americano, cappuccino, macchiato, and espresso-baked sips, as well as pour-overs, cold brews and brewed teas. The food menu offers a delectable array of baked sweet and savory goods, gourmet sandwiches, fresh salads, organic vegetarian dishes, and other light snacks, and the café is open all day, seven days a week.
Contrescarpe 45, 28195 Bremen, Germany, Phone: +49-42-13-30-68-04
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22 Best Things to Do in Bremen, Germany
- St. Petri Dom Bremen (Cathedral of St. Peter in Bremen), Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Bremer Rathaus (Bremen Town Hall), Photo: tichr/stock.adobe.com
- Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Bremen Town Musicians), Photo: Sina Ettmer/stock.adobe.com
- Schlachte Embankment, Photo: pillerss/stock.adobe.com
- The Schnoor District, Photo: venemama/stock.adobe.com
- Kunsthalle, Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com
- Bottcherstrasse, Photo: Friedberg/stock.adobe.com
- Beck’s Brewery Tour, Photo: Relay24/stock.adobe.com
- The Roland Statue, Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com
- Bleikeller (Lead Cellar), Photo: ANDREI/stock.adobe.com
- Standige Vertretung (Permanent Representation Rhineland Bremen), Photo: Ständige Vertretung (Permanent Representation Rhineland Bremen)
- Spitzen Gebel, Photo: Spitzen Gebel
- Bremer Ratskeller, Photo: Bremer Ratskeller
- Henry’s Bar, Photo: DimaVinogradov/stock.adobe.com
- Scharfrichter Lounge, Photo: Andrey/stock.adobe.com
- Kaffeemuhle, Photo: Kaffeemühle
- Schroters, Photo: Ilshat/stock.adobe.com
- Theaterschiff (The Theatre Ship), Photo: Theaterschiff (The Theatre Ship)
- Concordenhaus, Photo: Victority/stock.adobe.com
- The Grashoff Bistro, Photo: The Grashoff Bistro
- Cafe Tolke, Photo: Tatyana A. - tataks/stock.adobe.com
- Cafe Heinrich, Photo: dusanpetkovic1/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com