Visiting Bremen's Christmas Markets, Germany
A perfect location for your first Christmas market taster
The Rathaus in Marktplatz
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
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.
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.
Looking down Sögestrasse
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.
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.
Feuerzangenbowle glühwein – the fiery one
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.
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.
Bratwurst and Currywurst
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).
ImWeihnachtsmarkt sign with a symbol you'll soon become familiar with
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.
The Dom at night
Gifts for everyone
As we have so often come to find, that the Christmas markets in Germany are for the enjoyment of all ages.
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?
The little ferris-wheel
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
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.
Our glühwein, eierpunsch & schmalzuchen
Schlachte Magic Christmas Market
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.
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?
The Blacksmith's stall - check out his footwear!
“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.
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.
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.
Always something to buy
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.
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.
A cool glass of Haake Beck
There’s more to Bremen than Christmas
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.
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.
The "Town Musicians of Bremen"
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 statue of Roland is also inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The Roland monument at night
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.
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.
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 charming restaurant in Schnoor
The cobbled lanes of Schnoor
There were tiny cobbled lanes, quaint little homes and shops and some delightful architecture.
A quaint little square
We just couldn’t resist popping into one of the little cafés and enjoy what felt like quite a decadent brunch.
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.
Being a little decadent - and why not?
Schnoor is an area of Bremen you really don’t want to miss, it has wonderful character, charming architecture and some fun little sculptures dotted around.
The charming streets of Schnoor
Keeping out of the rain
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.
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.
Watch the Tower, Bremen!!
The Lindenberg panel
Where we stayed
For the two nights, we stayed in Bremen our accommodation was at Elements Pure Hotel. As mentioned this hotel was only about 8 minutes’ walk from the Altstadt and the main Christmas market, so an ideal location.
It also had on-site parking, which was one of the reasons we chose it. I would highly recommend this hotel, and the staff were extremely helpful.
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