Bremen is the oldest coastal city in Germany. It grew from a small fishing village to become one of Europe’s biggest ports and the second biggest city in Northern Germany in terms of population.
Spend a day or two exploring Bremen’s historic buildings and districts, many of which have been preserved. Bremen is northwest of Hanover on the River Weser near the North Sea. It is home to Gothic and Renaissance architecture, such as the Schötting, a 16th-century guildhall, and Böttcherstrasse, a reproduction of a medieval street filled with restaurants, shops and galleries. The street, which was reconstructed after World War II, was designed to be a recreation of German life in the city at the time.
Wander through the district of Schnoor where you will find artists and craftsmen selling African souvenirs, jewelry and Christmas accessories in unique shops and art galleries in the area’s medieval buildings. The restored historic location to the east of the city was originally home to fishermen quarters.
If you are looking for high-end shopping, try the Lloyd Passage, which is a strip of up-market chain stores. Or head to the Waterfront Shopping Center, located on the River Weser, which has more than 80 shops selling fashion, accessories, shoes and leather goods. It also holds a number of festivals, concerts and food festivals throughout the year.
You will find numerous eateries in Bremen’s shopping districts, but for traditional restaurants and cafes, head to Schlachte, along the Weser River. In Böttcherstrasse, you can try traditional cabbage and fish dishes, including Labskaus, a sailor’s dish with potatoes and corned beef.
Take a tour of Beck’s Beer brewery, which is available in English and German. Enjoy a night out in the Schlachte and Viertel districts, which cater to a younger crowd. For a more relaxed alternative, try the pubs and wineries in Böttcherstrasse.
There is an international airport 1.8 miles (three kilometers) south of downtown Bremen. The city is easy to get around by bus and tram.