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Sitting on the Weser River in Germany's northwest region, Bremen is brimming with handsome old buildings. Among the most impressive are the opulent Gothic town hall and the double-spired St Peter's Cathedral, with mummified remains in its Romanesque crypts, which date back to 1066. But that's not to say this city's stuck in the past – it also has a cool club scene and is home to the Beck's Brewery, where you can take a tour ending with a tasting of this world-famous lager.
Hostels in Bremen include a huge, modern space with a bar, as well as stays with social spaces such as common rooms and shared kitchens. Pick a Bremen hostel with free city maps to help you navigate the neighbourhoods, too. If you're renting a bike for rides to Blockland Dykes in the countryside, you'll find Bremen hostels with cycle storage, and most also have lockers for your luggage. For a friendly stay in the city, opt for a family-run guesthouse.
The Schnoor Quarter is Bremen's oldest neighbourhood, an area of squat houses dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. Built in the 1920s, Böttcherstraße street is newer with museums and workshops as well as shops and restaurants to dip in and out of. For riverside strolls, the Schlachte Embankment is a calm area with peaceful waterside cafés and eateries. Head to industrial Überseestadt to see how this old dockside district has been renovated, or the Viertel quarter for bold, colourful street art.
One of the main sights in Bremen is the 15th-century UNESCO-listed town hall with its Renaissance façade; model ships are hung up inside as a reference to the city's maritime past. For Second World War history, the Denkort Bunker Valentin is a memorial at the site of a former bunker where submarines were built. The 200-hectare Bürgerpark park is a serene escape from the city streets, where you rent a boat on the Emmasee lake.
Bremen has around 380 trams and buses – download the VBN app onto your smartphone to plan journeys or find the latest timetables. You can also take a taxi. Bremen Airport is about 9 minutes away by tram to the Domsheide stop in the city centre. Departures are every 10 minutes or less, apart from on Sundays and public holidays when you might need to wait 20 minutes. Bremen's also connected to other cities around Germany by train.