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2 May 2017 - Ingrid Krause

Summer on a budget

Promenade along the river Weser
© WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Do you feel like a holiday, but money is tight? How about a city break on a budget? Fortunately, there’s plenty to do in Bremen that won’t break the bank.

My perfect summer’s day on a budget

“Saturday morning. The first rays of sunshine awaken me gently and my noisy alarm clock stays silent. The smell of coffee. The smell gets stronger – coffee in bed. Perfect. My partner and I wonder what to do today. Something outdoors, in the sunshine, perhaps involving a little exercise. So we start packing – sunglasses, camera, mobile phone, keys, picnic gear and a blanket. But only a little cash. And then we set off on our bikes.

The steps on the Weser promenade Schlachte
Weser Promenade Schlachte © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

We head towards Schlachte Embankment, stroll past the flea market stalls and sit down on the steps. People watching and checking out the hustle and bustle on and around the Weser river. We grab an ice cream at the kiosk, that’s not a luxury too far, then it’s off on foot into the city centre. I remember telling my partner about the Cathedral Museum and that it’s only open until noon on Saturdays. So we check out the church for free.

Europahafen in the Überseestadt district
Europahafen in the Überseestadt district © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

We cycle onwards to Überseestadt to see what’s going on there. Oh, look, another new building! The Überseestadt district is growing fast and looks different every time I’m here. Then a stop-off at Schuppen Eins, where we cool down surrounded by the cool classic cars on display here. Day-dreaming of hopping into a VW camper van and heading to Italy. Or to Spain, maybe? No, we’ll stay in Bremen, there’s no place quite like it!

The arcade in Bürgerpark
Bürgerpark in Bremen © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

A break would be nice, and my stomach’s rumbling. So it’s off to the huge Bürgerpark for a small picnic. A little nap afterwards feels well deserved. At some point my partner pinches me as he’s keen to carry on. Everything packed up and off towards the Ostertor quarter. We leave our bikes at the river and take the ferry on foot, which is also cheaper. On the other side, we can’t resist the sandy beach. The blanket comes out again. We enjoy some fries with ketchup and mayo, a must-do whenever you visit Café Sand.

The beach on the Weser
Bathing fun in the city © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

As the sun envelops us in its warm evening glow, we make our way back to the Ostertor quarter. After a relaxing day, we’re heading for the city’s liveliest spot, the ‘Eck’. We buy a cheap falafel wrap, called a rollo, and sit on our blanket near the junction. On the step in front of Coffee Corner. The shop opposite sells cold beer for a euro. Life passes by like scenes from a movie. A warm evening begins after a perfect summer’s day – and we’ve hardly spent any money.”

The corner crossing at Sielwall
The corner of Sielwall in the Viertel quarter. © Jonas Ginter

This is exactly what my perfect day might be like. And here are few tips from my colleagues:

Maike’s insider tips

The Bremen Town Musicians and the town hall are must-sees on any visit to Bremen, obviously. But if you like exploring beyond the beaten track, here are a few of my tips for experiencing Bremen for free:

Two bicycles
Bicycles, with the Breminale Festival in the background © WFB/ Ingo Wagner

Walking and cycling

Flat terrain, leafy paths and plenty to see – it comes as no surprise that Bremen is very popular with cyclists, particularly as everywhere is really quick and easy to get to. We’ve put together a couple of interesting routes for you. You can enjoy the varied scenery in Bremen along the Weser Cycle Route, travel through the lush Blockland region or take the five rivers photo tour. If you prefer to get around on foot, check out Ingrid’s tips on walking in the city, or explore Bremen’s seven ‘miles’.

Vintage car exhibition in Schuppen Eins
Schuppen Eins © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Art and culture for free

Sure, Bremen has great museums, science centres, theatres, cabarets and plenty more. But if you want to enjoy culture for free, you should check out the many artworks on display in public places. There’s also some cool street art to admire. Petrol heads will love the classic cars that are on show all year round in Schuppen Eins. And it’s free to get in!

View of the Stadtwaldsee
Stadtwaldsee © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Close to nature – parks and lakes

Need to cool off on a hot summer’s day? Then why not take a dip in one of Bremen’s many swimming lakes. The trees in Bremen’s Bürgerpark offer plenty of cool shade, and there’s a small zoo for the little ones to enjoy. Beautiful blossom can be seen in Rhododendron Park, and we’ve captured it on film in all its glory.

Ships in the Museumshaven Vegesack
Museumshaven Vegesack © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

On the water’s edge

No trip to Bremen is complete without a visit to the Weser river. A must-see is Schlachte Embankment with its many beer gardens. You can even bring your own drinks, sit on the nearby steps and watch the boats and the lapping waters of the river. A little further upstream lies Osterdeich, where there is plenty of room for a picnic on the grass between the street and the river – but please clean up after yourself! Bremen’s ‘maritime mile’ can be found in Vegesack along the museum harbour, which is also the oldest man-made harbour in Europe. Large information boards tell stories of the colourful harbour life over the centuries. A more modern take can be found in the redesigned Europahafen in the Überseestadt district. The large seating area at the head of the harbour is a convenient place to watch the comings and goings along the shore and in the marina. Here’s an unusual tip: the fish ladder at the end of Werdersee lake is the favourite spot of our former blogger Theresa.

Bunker Valentin at the Weser
Bunker Valentin © Harald Schwörer, photein.de

Tales from the past

The Hanseatic city of Bremen has a colourful history going back 1,200 years. And you don’t necessarily have to visit a museum or go on a guided tour of the city centre to explore it. The Valentin site is a ruined U-boat pen that belonged to the German navy at the time of the Second World War. Between 1943 and 1945 thousands of forced labourers from all over Europe were deployed here in Bremen-Farge. A new discovery trail has been opened around and through the site, and there is an extensive memorial centre. The discovery trail around Binnendüne, an inland sand dune, takes you even further back in time to the Bronze Age. As you walk around the low hills of the surrounding area, known as Bremen Switzerland, small boards provide information on the local history and on the Bronze Age artefacts discovered here.
If you still want to go on a conventional sightseeing walk, you can download our free audio guide for your tour. Simply follow the markers in the ground all around the city centre and listen to our tour guide on your phone.

Insider-Tipps von Ute und Claudia

Traces of fire © Kultur vor Ort e.V./Claudia Hoppens

Our events and activities section lists many free outdoors events, such as La Strada, the Breminale, the Maritime Festival and the Haake-Beck rubber ring regatta. Here are our personal favourites:

  • Fête de la Musique: a summer music festival that takes place at several sites around the city centre
  • Summer Sounds: a music and arts festival in the up-and-coming district of Bremen-Neustadt
  • Feuerspuren: an international storytelling festival in Bremen-Gröpelingen featuring fire, fireworks and fascinating tales
  • Bremen Skate Night: several routes through Bremen are turned over to skaters of all types

Marina and Claudia’s insider tips

The beach on the Weser
Café Sand © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Stroking animals and beach-side fun – our tips for families and more:

  • A walk along the Weser river to Jürgenshof restaurant is always worth your while. You can even stroke donkeys there.
  • Huchting urban farm is a great place for a day out by Lake Sodenmatt in Huchting.
  • The sandy beach at Café Sand is perfect for little ones to play and build sandcastles.

Okka’s insider tips

Candy manufactory in Böttcherstraße
Candy manufactory © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Free activities in Bremen:

On the website of the local newspaper, Weser-Kurier, I came across a list of 16 free activities in Bremen. Check them out and see if there’s something for you. Here are my favourites:

  • Enjoy views across Bremen from the viewing platform of Bamberger-Haus
  • Give your muscles a workout on the outdoor equipment in Tenever
  • Discover how sweets are made in Böttcherstrasse
  • Listen to the carillon in Böttcherstrasse
  • Stroll around Rhododendron Park
  • Get in touch with nature at the sensory garden
  • Explore Bremen with the free audio guide tour

Children with ice cream in Schnoor
Enjoying an ice cream in the Schnoor quarter © WFB/ Ingrid Krause

Free family fun in Bremen:

The website Familienkultour has a lot of great tips. Rhododendron Park, the sensory garden and the audio guide (also available in a version for children) all get a mention here. So, what else?

  • Bremen’s Bürgerpark has many play areas and an animal enclosure
  • You can build sandcastles (for free, of course!) on the beach along the river Weser
  • Huchting urban farm has ponies, sheep, pot-bellied pigs and many other animals
  • The cathedral and its museum – who can find the church mouse?
  • The Schnoor, Bremen’s oldest quarter
  • A visit to the Bremen Town Musicians
  • Town Musicians fairytale play on Bremen’s cathedral square every Sunday at noon from May to September
  • Werdersee and Stadtwaldsee are Bremen’s most popular lakes for swimming
  • Cycling, for example around the Blockland region

Cocktails at Schlachte
Sitting is free on the Schlachte Embankment, it’s a pity the cocktails aren’t too! © Jonas Ginter

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