On to one of my FAVE places…
Now, this post is not a Van Travel blog like my usual ones, however, I couldn’t possibly leave this hidden gem of Germany out.
You can tell it’s one of our favourite places as we even named our Labrador after it!
My dad came out here to work for 6 months a few years back. He was lucky enough to be working here over the winter months so he got to experience all of the exciting festive events and activities.
Since my dad worked here, we have made visits back at least once a year for the Friemarkt and the Christmas markets. So instead of documenting my weekend to you, I’m going to write down what I would class as the best things to do and see in Bremen.
The Freimarkt translates to ‘Free market’ and is one of the oldest fun fairs still held in Germany. It originally started as a market for farmers and traders in the harvest to sell their goods and buy everything they required for the winter months. As the market and its popularity began to grow, it attracted magicians, showmen, jugglers, fortune tellers, clowns and town criers. It was only at the beginning of the last century that the Bremen Freimarkt started to include what we would now call a ‘Fun fair’. The Freimarkt predominately takes place at Bürgerweide.
From my experience of the Friermarkt, its 2 weeks of market stalls, similar to Christmas markets, funfair stalls, food stalls, fairground rides and beer tents. More recently, there seem to be more and more Germans wearing their traditional dress which is really nice to see.
The Freimarkt this year was between the 13-29th of October. It tends to follow similar dates each year. As mentioned above it is a harvest festival of sorts. Please see below link for up to date news on the Freimarkt.
2. Burger Park
The Burgerpark is one of my favourite places in Bremen, it literally translates to Citizens Park which I think is a lovely touch.
When walking to the park you are greeted by the Park Hotel with its lake and water fountain at the front, once past this you get to the Burger park itself and you are welcomed by tree lined walk ways, open spaces of grass, a lake with boats, childrens play areas and coffee shops.
My absolute MUST NOT MISS in Bremen is the Burgerpark boats. Especially in Autumn, the colours are beautiful. Im not going to say much more about the boats or the Burgerpark as I believe a picture speaks a 1000 words so I’m just going to leave you with some pictures instead….
3. Hansel and Gretel Pub (Spitzen Gebel)
This pub is the smallest in Bremen. I was built in the 1400’s and rebuilt in a gothic style in the 1590’s. It has been a listed building since 1973.
Its definitely worth a visit however it may be worth keeping in mind that if there are anymore than 10 of you, you will without a doubt fill the place!
The best part about this pub is the ‘Lamp Oil’. This is a shot you can ask for and should ask for as part of your initiation to Bremen! With the shot you will receive a short story explaining the benefits of the Lamp Oil. Its quite a quirky feature of the pub and is something we do every time we visit.
The Schnoor is the old town part of Bremen. It dates back to medieval times. This is where the workers from the ship yards used to live. The Schnoor has very narrow streets and tall buildings which are now filled with small shops and restaurant’s. It is also where the smallest hotel in Europe is. Please see below for some pictures.
5. Christmas Markets
The Christmas Markets in Bremen are not to be missed! They cover the town square, some of the side streets, the Schlachte and Burgerweide area. Full of market stalls, food and drink stalls and small fairground rides.
The Schlachte is a promenade that runs alongside the River Wesser. It was once one of the cities harbours but now its more famous for its selection of restaurants, beer gardens and riverboats. At Christmas time, this is one of the best places to be as all of the ships that are moored up are beautifully decorated and the promenade is filled with market stalls.
7. Bremen Town Musicians
The Bremen Town Musicians statue is located in the heart of Bremen. It depicts the famous Brothers Grimm tale of The Bremen Town Musicians. If you haven’t heard this story I don’t want to spoil it for you as there are plenty of places in Bremen where you can read it. However the statue is of a Hen on top of a cat, on top of a dog, on top of a donkey. Legend has it, if you rub the donkeys hoof all of your dreams will come true!
8. Spitting Stone
Now, this one is a bit grimm and definitely not for the weak stomached. For this reason, I wont be posting a picture!
The stone in the cobbles of the cathedral square is a reminder of the last public execution of the infamous poisoner Gesche Gottfried. So if you see locals spitting, its not that they are rude, its most likely you are in the vicinity of the spitting stone!
Between 1813 and 1828, Gesche Gottfried murdered a total of 15 people with arsenic. Se was executed on 21 April 1831. This was the last public execution in Bremen.
This is essentially the Market Square of Bremen. Its home to a number of buildings including the town hall and is well worth a quick visit. The Hachez chocolate shop is also located here!
This is a street in the centre of Bremen which is famous for its unusual architect all of the way along. It is one of the main attractions in Bremen, with a different attraction around every corner including a clock which tells a number of stories.
11. Muhle Am Wall (Windmill)
This beautiful little windmill located in a park dates back over 100 years and is now a restaurant and coffee shop. It is also a listed building. If you’re looking for a souvenir to bring back with you, the Pandora shop sell the Windmill as a charm!