The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is Germany’s smallest state. Its informal name, used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen or ‘State of Bremen’. The state is comprised of two cities – its namesake Bremen, and Bremerhaven – located in the North of Germany. They are separated from each other and surrounded by the larger state of Lower Saxony. Bremen is the state capital and is officially the ‘City’, while the city of Bremerhaven is the other enclave – both of them located on the River Weser, with the latter situated further downstream and serves as a North Sea harbour. Both cities are entirely surrounded by the neighbouring State of Lower Saxony and are the only administrative subdivisions the state has. In 2012, the state had a population of 660,999 in the city.
What to see & do
There are a number of things to see and visit while one is in the state. In the city of Bremen, there’s the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rathaus (Town Hall), one of Europe’s finest. It is an important display of the wealth and freedom of the city. Built more than 1,200 years ago, one must check out Dom St Petri (Cathedral of St Peter) and its massively towered façade that dominates the main square. Its impressive interior is adorned with fine painted details on the ceilings. In addition, there’s also a treasury that displays the cathedral’s collection. There’s also the statue of the Knight Roland on the main square. The Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten (Town Musicians of Bremen), whose image is very familiar with those who grew up knowing the characters from the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale. Other notable attractions include the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) street in Böttcherstrasse that runs from the main square towards the river; the lovely park of Am Wall; and the twisting lanes of Schnoor.
How to get around within Bremen
One can navigate the city of Bremen in several ways. The best way to explore the old city and its surrounding districts is by foot. One can also get around by shared car. Those who are members of the Cambio car-sharing network can hire cars. The company’s headquarters is located in the city. Bremen has an intensive public transportation network with street-cars (trams) and buses. Night buses and trams are available almost the whole night. Taxis are abundant in Bremen. Two of the main taxi companies in the city are Taxi-Roland and Taxi-Ruf, which operate 24 hours. One can also hire bicycles at the railway station or at any of the bike shops. Among the biggest German cities, Bremen is the most bike-friendly city so there should be no problem when navigating around.
How to get there
The city of Bremen is accessible in several ways. By plane, one will arrive at Bremen Airport, which is located in the southwest of the town. It offers flights to and from most of the bigger German cities, as well as a number of European destinations via airlines like HOP!-operated Air France, AIS Airlines, BMI Regional, Germania, Germanwings, KLM Cityhopper-operated KLM, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Scandinavian Airlines, SunExpress, Tailwind Airlines, and Turkish Airlines. From the airport, public transport is readily available. There’s also a direct bus link from Bremen to Groningen; regular and frequent train services that link the city with the rest of the country; by car, via Autobahn 1, which runs to Hamburg in the north and Cologne in the south; or by coach, via Eurolines, which has a connection between Bremen and several European cities. On the other hand, to get into Bremerhaven, one can choose to fly in via Bremerhaven Airport, a regional airport located in Luneort, which is 7.6 kilometres (4.7 miles) from the city centre. It is served by OFD Ostfriesischer-Flug-Dienst, which flies to Heligoland. There’s also a train station in the city centre, with trains arriving from throughout Germany via Bremen with Deutsch Bahn, as well as with EVB from Hamburg via Buxtehude. One can also drive into the state, via the A27 northbound; or by camper, by taking exit 10 from the A27.