Bremen, Germany’s smallest state, is located in the north of the country, around 75 miles southwest of Hamburg. The city is often associated with the four animals riding piggyback – characters from the Brother’s Grimm fairy tale “Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten" (The Bremen Town Musicians). An iconic bronze statue on Bremer Marktplatz (Bremen’s main square) is one of the city’s most photographed attractions.
But Bremen, stretched on both sides of the river Weser, offers much more. The city, once a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, is home to a unique street built completely in Art Nouveau style, there is a medieval quarter and magnificent Bremer Rathaus (Bremen Town Hall) which is one of the most important examples of brick Gothic architecture in Europe.
Bremen’s famous mascots are a rooster, cat, and dog riding piggyback on a donkey - these characters from the Brother’s Grimm fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians” (Bremer Stadtmusikanten) have been immortalized by the German sculptor Gerhard Marck’s, who created a bronze statue of the fairy tale animals. Located next to the Town Hall, the Bremen Town Musicians are the city’s most photographed attraction and the donkey’s nose is shiny golden from all the visitors who touch it for good luck.
The world-famous Beck’s beer is brewed on the riverbanks in Bremen. Beck’s and its local version, Haake Beck’s, have been crafted here since 1879.
For a glimpse behind the scenes of the brewery, take a tour which includes access to the brewing rooms, malt silos and fermentation tans, and then educate yourself in the Beck's beer museum.
In the heart of Bremen, you’ll find the striking Marktplatz (market square) in the center of the city. It is dominated by the opulent Bremen Town Hall. The building, which is part of the of the UNESCO World Heritage List, dates back to the 15th century and is one of the most important examples of brick Gothic architecture in Europe.
Another famous citizen of Bremen is Knight Roland, the city’s century-old protector. Charlemagne’s knight was immortalized in 1404, and his towering 10-meter statue, holding a sword and a shield decorated with the Imperial eagle, stands guard for Bremen and its people.
In 2004, Roland was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, and you can find him on Bremen’s main square facing the impressive cathedral.
Bremen’s most famous street is Böttcherstraße, a unique street built completely in Art Nouveau style. Walk through the spectacular golden entrance and you’ll find a narrow lane lined with red brick and sandstone buildings that are adorned with intricate facades, reliefs, colorful windows, and the city's Glockenspiele. Running from Bremen’s main square to the river Weser, Boettcherstrasse is home to arts and crafts shops museums, as well as the Hilton Hotel, which is set in the historic Atlantishaus.
Filled with well-preserved medieval houses, the small Schnoor quarter is a great place to stroll around. Its crooked lanes are home to old fisherman houses that have been transformed into cafes, specialty shops as well as art galleries. Look out for the Hochzeitshaus, which claims to be the smallest hotel in the world.
For a sweet souvenir, check out Hachez, a traditional Bremen chocolatier. Located close to Bremen’s main square, the shop offers everything from pralines and cocoa truffles, to the famous Bremen Kluten (peppermint sticks covered in chocolate).