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 four animals riding piggyback – the characters from the Brother’s Grimm fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians”, and their bronze statue on 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 inspired Art Nouveau style, a medieval quarter, and the Bremen Town Hall, one of the most important examples of Brick Gothic architecture in Europe.
1. Bremen Town HallIn the heart of Bremen, you’ll find the striking Marktplatz ("market"), the central square 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. Wine connoisseurs should check out the restaurant of the Town Hall; the Ratskeller has been offering German wines for over 600 years, and one of the oldest German wines, dating back to 1653, is still stored in its original barrel in the basement of the restaurant.
2. The Bremen Town MusiciansBremen’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.
3. Bremen RolandAnother 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.
4. BoettcherstrasseBremen’s most famous street is Boettcherstrasse, a unique street built completely in Art Nouveau style; walk through the 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 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.
5. Schnorr QuarterFilled 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, and art galleries. Look out for the Hochzeitshaus, which claims to be the smallest hotel in the world.
Beck’s beer is brewed on the riverbanks in Bremen; slightly bitter and known around the world, 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 tour, which includes access to the brewing rooms, malt silos and fermentation tans, and then educate yourself in the Beck's beer museum.