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24 January 2019 - Diana Bluhm

No need to hibernate – part 1: Explore Bremen's countryside

Quality of life
Destinations for winter excursions and seasonal outdoor activities in Bremen

That's the way to enjoy winter: tobogganing in Knoops Park © WFB / Jens Lehmkühler

From ice skating to a 'kale tour' and the samba carnival – there's no danger of the winter blues in Bremen. We have selected activities and events for you to try outdoors during the winter season.

When the first snow is falling it's time to put on your scarf, hat and gloves and trudge outside in your boots. Who doesn't love to hear the snow crunching underfoot as you're walking through the park? We have selected the best walking destinations in Bremen for you, including the Weser weir, Wallanlagen Park, the Blockland area, Knoops Park and the Bürgerpark:

Winterspaziergänge in Bremen

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Should you prefer skating to hiking during the winter months you are also well catered for in Bremen. The locals take to their blades on natural 'ice rinks', such as a frozen meadow in the 'Links der Weser' park or on the Semkenfahrt canal in the Blockland area, which is about three kilometres long. If the temperature proves uncooperative there is always the option of the Paradice indoor ice rink in Bremen-Walle.

Semkenfahrt canal in winter
The Semkenfahrt canal in Bremen's Blockland is perfect for ice skating © WFB / Jens Lehmkühler

When Bremen does have a proper winter and the city is covered in snow, people of all ages enjoy tobogganing, in the Wallanlagen Park in the city centre, along the river on Osterdeich and Jürgensdeich, or in the many other parks. In the following video we show you some scenes that will make you dig out your sledge.

Rodeln in Bremen

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An essential fixture on any menu during the winter season is curly kale, a very popular dish in Bremen. It often features as the highlight at the end of a 'kale tour', a tradition dating back more than 100 years. Together with their friends and colleagues, the locals pull a handcart with music through the town or a park. Along the way they tend to have a drink or two of schnapps to keep warm. During the walk, the participants play various games, such as teabag throwing. The tour concludes at an inn, where the party tucks into kale and pinkel sausage, cured pork and other smoked sausages to round off the day's activities in a relaxed fashion.

Kale tour in Bremen
A trip through the park with handcart, snacks and drinks: 'kale tour' season in Bremen © BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale

Outdoor events

Nothing is better for getting you into the festive spirit than listening to carols at a Christmas market with a glass of glühwein in your hand. See our video for an overview of Bremen's Christmas markets, and to find out which ones are still open until the middle of January.

Christmas market in Bremen
The Christmas market in front of Bremen's town hall attracts locals and visitors to the city centre © BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale

Every year on 6 January at twelve o'clock, 15 men dressed in black gather on Punkendeich embankment (Osterdeich). They follow a 'tailor' weighing 99 pounds and bet on whether the ice on the river Weser will support him. Street theatre? Not exactly. This is the ice wager, a curious Bremen tradition dating back to 1828. Two groups consisting of a total of 700 people from the world of politics, business and public life bet against each other on whether the river is frozen or not. The losers hold a banquet for the winners – including curly kale, of course. At the meal the participants collect donations which go to the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service.

Ice wager
A long-standing tradition: the ice wager © Lea Kleinspehn / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale

So much for the dark days of winter: it's time for Bremen's colourful samba carnival. Around 100 samba groups will parade through the city on 22 and 23 February 2019, filling the streets with their drumming and colourful costumes. A hint of Rio de Janeiro in northern Germany.

Samba carnival in Bremen
Colours to drive out the winter grey – the samba carnival adds a touch of the exotic to February. © Jan Rathke / BTZ Bremer Touristik-Zentrale

Coming soon: in the second part of our series 'No need to hibernate' we will give you tips on exciting indoor activities.

You can find more ideas for what to do in Bremen during the winter on the city portal bremen.de.


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