by Janis on 11th December 2018 / 0 comments

Visiting Bremen's Christmas Markets, Germany

A perfect location for your first Christmas market taster

Woohoo, we’d arrived in Bremen our first destination on our 2018 German Christmas market road trip.

It was a bit of a long drive from Calais (410miles/660km), but once again Gary got us there safe and sound.

All checked in and parked we had 2 nights to discover Bremen’s delights. Time to dust off our 'Things to do in Bremen' list and hit the markets.

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Where is Bremen?

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Discover Bremen at Christmas

A short hop
The hotel we’d chosen (details below) was in a great location, just around an eight-minute walk. Crossing through Wallalagen Park, bypassing the Am Wall windmill, and we were in the heart of Bremen’s Altstadt and Christmas Markets.
A Windmill set in parkland in Bremen, Germany
The Am Wall windmill

Just along Sögestrasse (Sow/Pigstreet) is a delightful little sculpture of a swineherd.

It’s one of those bronzes you just want to touch, that’s probably why the pig’s noses are now extremely buffed.

Where to stay in Bremen

- ACHAT Hotel Bremen City - A sophisticated hotel just on the edge of Bremen's old town (5 minute walk away)
A collection of bronze statues in Sögestrasse, Bremen, that represents a pig farmer and his drove of pigs.
Looking down Sögestrasse

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The Christmas Markets at Bremen

Instant winner
Gary and I instantly loved Bremen, we both immediately had a warm feeling about the city. The architecture all around the Marktplatz was incredible, it made it such a wonderful backdrop to the Christmas festivities.
Looking up at the illuminated Rathaus, with Bremen Dom in the background after dark.
The Rathaus with the Dom in the background

After strolling around for a little while, we both agreed that Bremen is a perfect size for an introduction to your first German Christmas market.

Or if you wanted a location that wasn’t too tiring on your feet, as the two main markets are within a short walk of each other.

The top of the Feuerzangenbowle glühwein drinks cabin in the Bremen Christmas Markets
Feuerzangenbowle glühwein – the fiery one

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Exploring Bremen at Christmas

Go with the flow
We arrived around 5pm, so the sun had already set, and like all Christmas Markets, they truly come alive after dark.
Two wine glasses full of glühwein on a wet table in front of a drinks cabin in the Christmas markets of Bremen, Germany
Our first Glühwein of the season, in wine glasses too!
There was no holding the revellers back, the bratwurst & glühwein was flowing, and of course we didn’t want to stand out from the crowd, so thought we’d join in.
A wooden Christmas Pyramid, atop a stall, in the Rindermarkt Christmas markets, against the backdrop ornately decorated buildings that line the square.
Bratwurst and Currywurst

Did you know?

Bremen’s Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Bremen’s Weihnachtsmarkt

To give it its proper name
Bremen’s central market is the Weihnachtsmarkt, which meanders all around the Rathaus, Bremen Cathedral and across into the picturesque square in front of the Guild House (Schütting).
An illuminated sign welcoming you to the Christmas Markets of Bremen, Germany
Weihnachtsmarkt sign with a symbol you'll soon become familiar with
The ornate 17th century Schütting building in Bremen's Marktplatz at night
The Guildhouse
This market is beautiful, it has a really quaint quality about it, and full of all those wonderful gifts and decorations that we’ve truly come to love.
Christmas Markets stalls in front of the twin towers of Bremen's Dom
The Dom at night
A collection of unique and somewhat quirky china ornaments on a craft stall in the Christmas markets of Bremen, Germany
Gifts for everyone
As we have so often come to find, that the Christmas markets in Germany are for the enjoyment of all ages.
A group of people in front of a small, brightly lit, children's Ferris wheel.
The little ferris wheel

However, there is a very colourful and bright part of the market by the Dom, that young children will love.

Carousels, mini-rides and who doesn’t love a Ferris wheel?

Looking back to a Christmas Market scene in Bremen, in the evening, with a small Ferris wheel and brightly lit huts with people gathering around them.
The kids side of the market
A German market wouldn’t be quite complete if it didn’t have the traditional Käthe Wohlfahrt cabin, selling the amazing soldier nut-crackers and smokers, for once we held back.
The Käthe Wohlfahrt pop-up store on Bremen's German Christmas Markets, Germany
The Käthe Wohlfahrt pop-up store
Of course, we had to have another cheeky glühwein and eierpunsch (egg-nog) and sample some schmalzuchen, which are little doughy pillows sprinkled with icing sugar. They are rather nice if not a little moisture-sapping.
Heart-shaped Christmas mugs and a bag of little mini doughnut style treats dusted with icing sugar on a bench in Bremen's Christmas Markets.
Our glühwein, eierpunsch & schmalzuchen

Good to know

The tram intersects between Weihnachtsmarkt, so ideal if you’re heading in from out of town.

Bremen's Schlachte Magic Christmas Market

Something a little different

Or, the medieval and swashbuckling market as we came to affectionately name it.

Set along the edge of the River Weser, no detail has been left out here.

As you stroll in you are greeted with the delightful sound of a harpist.

A street musician playing the harp in period costume on the River Christmas Market in Bremen, Germany
The Harpist with his medieval harp
And wander on a little further & potions are being mixed, blacksmiths are busy at the anvil, and medieval gifts are being crafted. What’s not to love?
An ironmongers stall, complete with furnace & smithy, on the Christmas Markets of Bremen, Germany
The Blacksmith's stall - check out his footwear!

Have You?

Visited any German Christmas markets, let us know which ones you enjoyed, as we're always looking to discover more?

Enjoying Bremen's Christmas Markets

“Pieces of eight”
Heading further through the Christmas market and all things medieval are left behind and you then stroll into a swashbuckling market with sawdust under your feet.
Looking down on the Bremens River Christmas markets under a canopy of trees lit in electric blue.
A view of the pirate river market
The pirate’s ship washed up in the middle, cunningly disguises a bratwurst stall. Buccaneers are racing up rope ladders, shanties being sung by the bars, and a grog or two being enjoyed.
A wooden pirate ship in the centre of the Schlachtezauber market on the quayside in Bremen that is actually a food stall
The Pirate ship
I really adore these themed Christmas markets, you can’t help but smile at all the costumes, antics and everyone enjoying themselves. And although they come into their own in the evenings, they are still really enjoyable to stroll around during the day and are usually a bit quieter.
People perusing a stall at Hamburg's maritime market.
Always something to buy

Discovering more of Bremen

The Local Brew
It would have been rude not to sample the local brew, I know you can enjoy a Becks in a lot of places around the world, but surely it’s best to try it at its spiritual home. Or even one of its contemporaries Haake Beck.
A glass of crisp, cool Haake Beck Pils in Bremen during our visit to the Germany Christmas Markets.
A cool glass of Haake Beck

Popping into a bar also gives you the opportunity to mix with the locals.

So while having a little chat, our plans for the following day were given the thumbs up, and Schnoor was definitely the place to head.

Be prepared

Comfy shoes and warm layers are a must. 

There’s more to Bremen than Christmas

A historic German city
Bremen is a lovely city and one we could easily visit any time of the year. Actually, with the Christmas markets taking pride of place in Marktplatz, you are often distracted by the amazing surroundings.
A view through the market in Bremen to the Rathaus and St. Petri Dom.
Marktplatz with the Rathaus & the Dom spires in the background

One of Bremen’s must-see sculptures is “The Town Musicians of Bremen” The sculpture depicts a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster the fairy tale was first published in Grimms’ Fairy Tales in 1819.

By touching the Donkey’s front hooves, your wishes are said to come true. These characters have become a city emblem and can be seen in all different guises around Bremen.

A bronze statue of a rooster, on a cat, on a dog, on a donkey representing the Town Musicians of Bremen.
The "Town Musicians of Bremen"
A fairy light statue to the Town Musicians of Bremen outside a café.
The "Town Musicians of Bremen" in lights
Also, keep a lookout for the Roland statue, this was erected in 1404 and stands facing the cathedral.
The illuminated Roland monument Bremen's Marktplatz
The Roland monument at night
The statue of Roland is also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Why not?

Start creating your own German Christmas Market adventure. Search for your flights in one easy place with ebookers.com. Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Or alternatively, like us discover a few of Germany’s Christmas markets on a road trip. If you’re venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle.

Although, if you’re unable to bring your own car or you are flying into this lovely country give Rental Cars a go. They search multiple well-known car hire brands for the best deals.

Bremen’s Dom

The city's Cathedral
Bremen’s cathedral is so colourful inside, I just didn’t expect it. As soon as I stepped in, the enormity of the interior just hit me, it so attractive.
The restored interior of Bremen's ornate Cathedral
Interior of the Cathedral

It has beautiful arcades running through the central nave in Gothic style and incredible vaults above the cathedral’s main organ.

This cathedral is certainly worth a visit in opinion.

Not to be missed in Bremen

Schnoor
We strolled down to the Schnoor district of Bremen, and although it was on our list to visit we had heard some lovely things about it. And, we certainly were not disappointed.
A row of bicycles outside a traditional restaurant in the Schnoor district of Bremen, Germany
A charming restaurant in Schnoor
A view down a narrow cobbled street Schnoor district of Bremen at Christmas
The cobbled lanes of Schnoor
There were tiny cobbled lanes, quaint little homes and shops and some delightful architecture.
A Christmas tree in a quaint cobbled square, lined with tall thin pastel coloured historic buildings on two sides.
A quaint little square
We just couldn’t resist popping into one of the little cafés and enjoying what felt like quite a decadent brunch.
Janis in the Cafe Tölke with a hot chocolate and slice of cake in the Schnoor district of Bremen, Germany
Being a little decadent - and why not?

Gary had a rum flavoured hot chocolate, apple strudel and cream, and I had peppermint hot chocolate, and my cake was apple, chocolate and rum.

Mmmm it was lovely.

A cobbled lane between historic buildings in the Schnoor neighbourhood of Bremen, Germany
The charming streets of Schnoor
A bronze statue to Heini Holtenbeen, an eccentric character from the 19th/20th century, in the Schnoor district of Bremen
Keeping out of the rain

A must-see in Bremen

Glockenspiel
Another area not to miss while in town is around Böttcherstrasse, just south off the main square and very quaint. Beautiful architecture and of course the cities’ Glockenspiel House.
Looking up at Glockenspiel House in Bremen, German
The Glockenspiel House
The 30 Glockenspiel bells chime three times a day and the whole display last around 8 ½ minutes. While the bells are chiming a panel within the tower to the left of the bells rotates, and depicts pioneering seafarers and aviators.
The tower at the edge of Glockenspiel House in Bremen, German
Watch the Tower, Bremen!!
The tower at the edge of Glockenspiel House, in Bremen, displaying one of its wooden panels
The Lindenberg panel

Our video of Bremen at Christmas

The Christmas Markets experience through our eyes

We have created a little YouTube video of Bremen at Christmas

Also, why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

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