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The second largest city in Northern Germany. Bremen is home to over 500,000 people, making it Germany’s 11th largest city and the largest in the state of its namesake. It is part of the larger metropolitan region of Bremen/Oldenberg which is home to over 2 million people.
One of the most important cities in the Christianisation of Germany. Bremen was one of the Hanseatic League’s most important cities. In the 15th century it became known as a sponsor of piracy. In the 19th century Napoleon invaded the city and the port city Bremerhaven was built due to the river silting up. It was heavily bombed in World War 2.
Today Bremen is a prosperous city and is known as the home of Becks beer. Many large manufacturers are based in Bremen. The University of Bremen is regarded as one of the best in Germany. Tourists are attracted to its charming medieval streets, great shopping opportunities and modest gay scene.
For information about gay rights in Germany, please check out our Gay Berlin City Guide page.
Bremen is incredibly welcoming towards the LGBT community. The gay carnival of 1979 was one of the first of its kind in Germany and one of its squares is named for the gay rights pioneer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. The gay scene is small but friendly with a gay bar, club, cruise club and sauna catering to gay customers.
Whilst Bremen doesn’t have its own Pride (the neighbouring Oldenberg hosts the Christopher Street Day of the North West festival), there are many LGBT-friendly festivals in the city. There is a film festival, The Queer It! arts festival and a large gay presence at the city carnival.
Bremen Airport Hans Koschnick (BRE) is a small airport located 3 km from the south of the city centre. It offers a decent range of services to cities and holiday destinations in Europe and the Middle East.
Tram Line 6 runs every 5-10 minutes (20 minutes on Sunday) and will take you into the city in around 10 minutes. Tickets can be bought from a machine on the tram (with change!) and a single to the centre will cost €2.75.
Taxis can be found outside the terminal building or ordered in advance. Car hire desks can be found in Terminal 3 and be sure to have the necessary documentation. The drive into the city centre will take between 10-20 minutes depending on the traffic situation.
Bremen Hauptbahnhof is centrally located and well-connected with regular services to major German cities where you can connect to the wider European rail network. There are international connections to and from Switzerland.
The majority of sights in Bremen are within walking distance and this is the best way to explore the old town.
By public transport
Bremen has an integrated system of buses, trains and trams. Services are pretty regular during the day with some night services. Singles start at €2.80 and covers the majority of the city and day passes cost €8. You can also buy a pack of 4 singles for €10.20. Tickets can be bought from the driver (except trains) and inspections are common.
Taxi ranks can be found outside prominent locations in the city, at all times. You can order in advance but it is usually not necessary (the telephone operatives are likely to not speak English, anyway). Taxis are generally reliable and safe but take the usual precautions. Uber is not available in Essen.
Bremen is a very flat city which makes cycling a very popular way to get around. It is one of the most cycle friendly cities in Germany. There are many cycle hire companies in the city and places to leave your bike.
For a list of recommended hotels in Bremen, please check out our recommended hotels in Bremen page.
Theater am Goetheplatz – one of the oldest buildings in Bremen and a striking building at that. Adolf Hitler visited the theatre in 1941 and it was rebuilt extensively after damage in World War II.
Rathaus – commonly regarded as being one of the best town hall buildings in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can take tours of the interior.
Dom St Petri – an imposing cathedral and one of Bremen’s most significant landmarks. Entrance is free but you can pay €1 to climb the south tower where you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the city.
Böttcherstrasse – a stunning Art Nouveau street that plays host to a good selection of upmarket shops and quirky boutiques.
Weserburg – a great modern art museum with a varied collection ranging from the 1960’s to the present day.
Weser Stadion – the home of Werder Bremen, one of the German football heavyweights. Why not take in a game and soak in the atmosphere?
Bürgerpark – a large and scenic park in the centre of the city (some have compared it to Central Park!). Perfect for a picnic or a romantic stroll.
Beck’s Brewery – take a tour (and taste) in the production site of one of the world’s most famous beers.
Bremen’s geographic location allows for moderate temperatures, although heat waves are not uncommon in the summer, as are extended periods of frost in the winter. Rain can happen at any point in the year with occasional storms in the summer. Summers are busy but not as crowded as other German cities.
There are many festivals and events held in Bremen throughout the year. In June, the popular Vision Techno Parade along the riverfront. The end of October sees the Freimarkt take place which is one of the biggest and oldest fairs in Europe. The Christmas Market outside the city hall is also very popular.
Germany is within the European Schengen visa area. If travelling from outside Europe, check to see if you require a Schengen visa.
Germany is a member of the Eurozone. Cash dispensers are widely available. You may be asked for photo ID if paying with a credit or debit card in a shop.
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