Have you been to Bremen? Have you even thought about going? You really should.
It’s one of those places that flies under the radar a lot because people are busy going to Rome and Paris and London, but it’s gorgeous; the sort of place that manages to be sophisticated and quaint at the same time.
Having a good time in Bremen on a budget is pretty do-able too, so if you want a city break that won’t send you into the dark depths of your overdraft, put it on your list.
For a little inspiration, here’s a list of ten cool things to see, eat and do there that cost under a tenner each.
Nothing like a good breakfast to help kick-start a love affair with a new city, and if you’re looking for one for under a tenner in Bremen, Presse Bar Cuisine is a pretty good bet.
They make good food. You can have sweet Italian pastries, cold cuts and cheese platters, or fancy scrambled eggs, all for between €3 (for the pastries) and €9 (for the platters).
Our favourite is one of the platters, for the pure feastiness of it – or the Cottes Frühstück, because for €7 you get two breadrolls with cream cheese, salami and cheese, as well as a coffee or cappuccino. Sorted.
If you’re not aware of the story of the Town Musicians of Bremen by the Brothers Grimm, I’m not sure you have any business visiting Bremen. So let me get you up to speed.
These four plucky little farmyard runaways, tired of being neglected by their owners, find each other – and decide to make their way to the big city (Bremen) to become musicians and chase their fortune.
Long story short, they never actually make it to Bremen but everyone lives happily ever after, and the city of Bremen has given the four furry friends honorary citizenship.
Go see the statue of the animals, on the west side of the town hall. Rub their legs and kiss the donkey for luck, if you feel inclined.
From there, make your way to the Hole of Bremen (which isn’t as sinister as it sounds), also in Market Square. Throw a euro into the hole, and you’ll hear the musicians say thank you. Your euro goes to charity. Everybody wins.
The Schnoor Viertel is the oldest part of the old town, and one of the most charming little areas you will ever have the pleasure of wandering around.
It’s a perfectly preserved little neighbourhood in the medieval centre of Bremen, all higgledy-piggledy cobblestoned alleyways lined with lovely little shops and cafés that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, or onto the set of a Disney film.
To walk the streets is free, so splash out and spend some of that tenner on a Bremen souvenir (we vote for something town-musicians-related)!
The Rathaus is slap bang in the middle of Bremen and the focal point of the city’s famous Market Square where it’s stood for around 600 years.
It’s a really cool building even to look at from the outside, but for five of your finest euros you can have a gander at the inside of the building too (it’s quite fancy), along with a guided tour to give you a little bit of local history.
The tours are available in German and English, they don’t take too long, and the guides keep it interesting. Check out times and more information here.
Just spend a tenner on lollipops and sweets. Do it because you CAN.
Find Bremer Bonbon Manufaktur. It’s on Bottcherstrasse which we’re about to tell you about shortly, but if you have any problems just follow the smell of candy that floats out of the shop and down the street and you’ll find it.
It’s a small place where you can actually see them making the sweets and lollipops right in front of you. A tenner will get you a few nice souvenirs – sweets, sticks of rock, or lollipops – that you can take home and give to loved ones.
Or just eat yourself. Your call. I’d probably just eat them.
Bremer Knipp is proper local food. It’s a blood sausage, but a really thick one (maybe 10cm in diameter) that’s served and sold in slices rather than in sausage form.
Go to the Schüttinger Gasthausbrauerei for a particularly fine example of this lovely little slice of Bremen cuisine. It’s hearty, and fatty, and served fried to a crisp with fried potatoes, bacon, onions and pickle.
So, perfect for anyone watching their figure, then… But who cares; you’re on your holidays! It’s only €9.90 for a plate of this loveliness. Enjoy.
St Peter’s Cathedral is Bremen’s tallest building – and apparently there’s an unwritten rule that it should remain so.
It’s a gorgeous building, a bit of a mix between Romanesque and Gothic, and even if you’re not into visiting churches you should really visit this one. For €2 you can climb the church tower.
It’s a couple of hundred steps on a spiral staircase (which should be fun if you have just eaten knipp at Schüttinger), but at the top you’ll have a big beautiful panoramic view over Bremen.
Because it’s always nice to have a break from the city during a city break. Burgerpark, sadly, is not a magical land full of hamburgers.
What it is though, is a big, beautiful, peaceful park in the city that’s gorgeous for chilling out in if you’re in Bremen on a nice day.
You can stroll around, rent a boat, cycle, visit the little zoo in the park grounds, see an open-air performance, go to one of the park’s cafés, or our personal favourite option – lie down on some grass and do absolutely nothing at all. Admission is free.
Named after the böttcher (coopers) who used to live and make their barrels there, Böttcherstrasse connects Market Square with the Weser river.
In the early 20th Century it was bought by a local coffee merchant (Ludwig Roselius, who also invented decaffeinated coffee), who then set about rebuilding it with the help of some local architects.
They did a good job. Today it’s an architectural work of art that contains two cool museums as well as loads of little shops and restaurants, a glockenspiel, and loads of street performers.
Enjoy the street’s built-in art, then go to Museen Böttcherstrasse and look at some more art. It’s €6 (adults) to get in.
Spitzen Gebel on Hinter dem Schütting (about one minute’s walk from Market Square) is one of Bremen’s most famous buildings.
It’s the last medieval townhouse still standing in the city, and it’s now a lovely cosy pub. But it’s not like any old medieval townhouse turned pub – this place has a tradition that you can help to keep alive.
In 1913 the place was used by piano movers, which was a thing that was needed regularly at the time, it seems.
The poor lads weren’t allowed to booze on the job, so they used to hide schnapps in an old lamp in the building and take a surreptitious sip from time to time.
For the princely sum of €2, you can have a ‘sluk ut de lamp’ (sip from the lamp) too. Be warned, it’s not the nicest schnapps you’ll ever taste. But it’s tradition. And you can wash it down with €8 worth of delicious local beer.
Flights to Bremen
- Dee Murray