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    Car hire in Bremen - the Best of Northern Germany

    Boasting a wealth of architecture of great historical value, the old and very attractive city of Bremen is a beautiful, multi-faceted destination with a large number of tourist attractions. This picturesque place nestling idyllically on the banks of the River Weser has evolved from being an ancient trading base into a thriving metropolis with plenty of cosmopolitan appeal. A stroll through its historic centre reveals well-preserved Gothic façades, medieval houses and a labyrinth of narrow cobbled alleyways, making it the ideal city to discover on foot.

    In the Middle Ages, it was a busy seaport trading in a range of commodities, including grain, wine and salt. The city’s pride and joy today is without doubt its 600-year-old Town Hall whose architectural splendour makes it the jewel in the crown of the city's historical market square. Another highlight for tourists are the pretty little half-timbered houses dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries which line the narrow lanes of Bremen's old and lovingly-restored Schnoor quarter, providing visitors with a good idea of what the city would have looked like centuries ago.

    Close by stands the oldest wine cellar in Germany, the Ratskeller where the locals have been enjoying fine wine and good food since 1409 in its huge vaulted hall filled with imposing columns and ornate wine barrels. Bremen also boasts some fine 20th-century architecture, such as the Böttcherstrasse (an impressive street dating from the 1920s) and the magnificent Haus der Bürgerschaft building completed in 1966.

    This delightful Hanseatic city located in Germany’s lush green north-west is a leisurely ninety-minute car journey from Hamburg, which means that there’s plenty to see and do with your car hire in Bremen once all the local sightseeing is done. Hannover, one of the country’s upcoming cultural capitals, is an equally accessible 85-mile drive south-east of Bremen. Another very pleasant car journey option within reach of Bremen is the Fairytale Road offering drivers the best of Germany's history and landscapes.

    Despite the fact that Allied bombing destroyed more than half of Bremen during World War II, it has grown into one of Germany’s richest and arguably most socialist cities. This handsome port city seems quite rural in many respects, so use your car and head out west to the Bürgerpark, a formal and very expansive green space, or even further to Stadtwald (meaning ‘city forest’) which feels remarkably wild for somewhere so close to the heart of a big city.

    By working closely with all the world’s top car rental companies - including Thrifty, Budget, Avis, Europcar and Hertz - Auto Europe has established itself as one of the world's oldest and most successful car hire brokers. Founded in 1954, we now offer over 24,000 pick-up and drop-off locations in more than 180 different countries around the world, including the nearby cities of Hamburg and Hannover.

    Book your car rental in Bremen in a few clicks using the Auto Europe booking engine. Alternatively, if you need some help planning your itinerary, just give our reservation specialists a call on +44 123 3225 114. They're on duty 7 days a week and will be more than happy to give you all the advice you need. For tips on driving around Bremen and the rest of the country, please consult our Germany driving guide for information about driving distances, road rules, age restrictions, etc.

    How's the traffic in Bremen?

    Visitors need to be aware that Bremen has a low-emission zone which means that only cars displaying a green disc can travel in the districts of Altstadt and Östliche Vorstadt, some parts of Schwachhausen and most of Neustadt. If your accommodation is inside the low-emission zone then you can drive around this area for the duration of your stay without having to display the disc. Instead, you must display a booking confirmation that is clearly visible though the front windscreen and stating where you are staying and for how long. This does not apply if you are staying in accommodation outside the low-emission zone, in which case you will need a green disc or special dispensation to drive your vehicle in this area. The city of Bremen is well known for its ambitious strategies on public transport and getting around by car. There’s a high quality of life in all aspects of city life and an estimated 60% of all trips in the Bremen area are achieved by the sustainable modes of walking, cycling and collective public transport and this number is on the rise due to the recent increase in car-sharing initiative. All this means that getting around town is much easier due to there being less cars on the city’s roads, while at the same time it should be noted that the authorities are imposing restrictions on certain parts of the inner city in order to deter cars and lorries and urge locals and tourists alike to use a more sustainable form of transport.

    Where can I park my car hire in Bremen?

    The city's excellent parking system comprises over a dozen large and very well organised municipal car parks. Before you enter the city centre, a parking information system shows you how many spaces are available in each car park. There are convenient tram and bus (BSAG) services to all the main attractions, and these services are free if you park at the Brepark. Some of Bremen's most popular inner city underground car parks include Hochgarage am Bahnhof (Rembertiring 6), Herdentor (Rembertiring 7 - 9), Hillmannplatz (Hillmannstraße 2 - 4) and Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 9), while for on-street overground parking we suggest Bahnhof Vegesack (Vegesacker Bahnhofsplatz). Additonally, Bremen's well-established Park & Ride system is a very practical and cost-effective alternative for visitors to the city. Park & Ride car parks in the outskirts are located in close proximity to bus and tram stops so you can easily park up and continue your journey by public transport.

    Bremen Airport

    With almost thirty non-stop flights to and from countries all over Europe and North Africa, Bremen Airport ranks among Germany’s key international commercial airports. Located only a couple of miles south-west of Bremen's city centre, the airport is one of the fastest in Europe for passengers arriving and departing because it takes only eleven minutes to reach either the airport or the city centre, depending on which direction you are travelling. Even the tram stops directly in front of the terminal, which suggests how close the airport is to downtown Bremen. The airport itself is modern and stylish with a single terminal building which opened in 1998 where on-site facilities include a dozen restaurants, bars and cafés as well as a good selection of duty-free shops and boutiques. The current list of airlines flying in and out of Bremen Airport includes Air France, Eurowings, KLM, Lufthansa, Rynair, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and Wizz.

    Bremen Airport (BRE)
    Website: www.bremen-airport.com
    Telephone: +49 (0) 421 55950
    Address: Flughafen Bremen GmbH, Postfach 28 61 52, 28361 Bremen, Germany

    What to do in Bremen

    Nestling along both banks of the River Weser, Bremen is a very easy place to navigate for visitors planning a busy sightseeing itinerary, with the entire city set on plains meaning that it is perfectly flat and good for discovering on foot. Many of its key attractions are located in and around Bremen's historic heart called Schnoor, a district that the locals have painstakingly restored to perfection in recent years.

    • Town Hall: Vast and turreted, the city’s old town hall was built in the Gothic style in the early 15th century after Bremen joined the Hanseatic League. The building was renovated in the so-called Weser Renaissance style in the early 17th century and its rich interior reflects the city’s opulence brought about by trading freely as an independent Hanseatic town.

    • Bremen Roland: The city’s famous statue has stood outside the Town Hall for well over 600 years. A protector and much-loved beacon of strength, it was erected as a representation of the rights and privileges that Bremen had as a free and imperial city. Many settlements across Germany had these in the medieval period but this is the oldest still intact.

    • Cathedral: Located close to Bremen’s old Town Hall across Marktplatz square, St Peter’s Cathedral (St Petri Dom) has retained its prominent position in the city centre for more than a thousand years. The building’s most notable features include a striking Renaissance façade and Gothic interior, including the oldest choir stalls in Germany and an ancient baptismal stone originally carved in 1229. Other important aspects are the intricate carvings decorating the interior and the Bleikeller (lead cellar) where the mummified bodies of 17th- and 18th-century aristocrats can be seen. It also has a strong musical tradition, being the place where Johannes Brahms conducted the première of his German Requiem in 1868.

    • Universum Bremen: With its rich mix of attractions, the futuristic Universum Bremen is a scientific adventure landscape with a series of interactive features for both adults and kids, particularly the latter who can do crazy things like defying gravity and discovering what it feels like to be a yo-yo. Other highlights are the 5,000 square-metre EntdeckerPark where visitors can test their agility and the Earthquake Sofa where people can sit and feel the force of a major earth tremor.

    • Rhododendron Park: One of Bremen’s most popular attractions is Rhododendron Park, a 46-hectare garden area that houses one of the world's largest and most impressive collections of rhododendrons - around 550 different species in all. Its Botanika facility (described as Germany's largest nature centre) has a diversity of rhododendrons from Nepal, Tibet and Myanmar as well as statues from south-east Asia, prayer wheels, a Chinese tea pavilion and the largest depiction of Buddha outside Asia.

    • Kunsthalle: Ranked among Germany’s top museums, the Kunsthalle has a fine collection of 19th-century paintings by Manet, Monet and Cézanne, plus works by a selection of 20th-century giants like Picasso and Max Beckmann. It’s also worth mentioning that the museum purchased Van Gogh’s The Poppy Field over a century ago, much to the lament of a multitude of envious German artists.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Bremen

    Bremen is well-placed for an interesting trip with your rent a car in Bremen around its environs starting with some fresh sea air at Bremerhaven, the nearby North Sea port ashort drive north of the city. The artists' village of Worpswede is also worth exploring in the lowlands of the River Hamme in an area known as Devil's Moor (Teufelsmoor). Here follow a few more suggestions for your visit once all the local Bremen sightseeing is done;

    Hannover

    Capital of Germany’s delightful Lower Saxony province, Hannover (a comfortable drive south-east of Bremen) is one of the most appealing cities in the north of the country. Must-see attractions include the grand 19th-century Opera House (Opernhaus) built in the Neoclassical style and the city’s impressive Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) whose massive central dome affords spectacular views of the city centre.

    Münster

    Heading south-west of Bremen brings you to the lovely city of Münster with its imposing Town Hall which dates from the 12th century. The city’s great cathedral (Dom St Paulus) built on the Domplatz main square in the mid-13th century is famous for its astronomical clock. On the same square, don’t miss the Westfälisches Landesmuseum which specialises in Gothic art or the nearby Lambertikirche (built 1375-1450), one of the most typical old churches in the country.

    Hamburg

    Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg, is a must for people exploring the area by car. The city’s damaged Neo-Gothic Nikolaikirche Tower serves as a reminder of the ravages of World War II, in contrast to the Jakobikirche (1340) which has been rebuilt in its original style. Art lovers cannot miss the Kunst-halle (one of the world’s best museums) which traces the history of European art from medieval times to the 20th century. Lake Binnenalster to the north of Hamburg provides plenty of recreational opportunities after all the city sightseeing is done.

    Wildeshauser Geest Nature Park

    Barely more than 20 miles south-west of Bremen (along the A1 motorway) lies the Wildeshauser Geest Nature Park, one of northern Germany's most magnificent stretches of moorland. Covering 580 square-miles, the land is mostly flat and ideal for cycling and hiking on the many well-signposted paths that also pass through a series of picturesque villages (ideal for a leisurely lunch-break), as well as the occasional cluster of megalithic tombs still standing tall after thousands of years.

    Geographic Information & History

    Bremen is a rather long and narrow city lined along both sides of the River Weser. Along the north-west/south-east axis it stretches for about 6 miles but only 1.5 miles across. It boasts an important geographical location just 37 miles upstream of its North Sea estuary. Opposite Bremen's Altstadt (Old Town) is the point where the Middle Weser becomes the Lower Weser and from Bremen's well-placed port the river has been made navigable to ocean-going vessels. The region on the left bank of the Lower Weser (through which the Ochtum flows) consists of the Weser Marshes and the terrain on its right bank is part of the Elbe-Weser Triangle. The Lesum and its tributaries (the Wümme and Hamme, Schönebecker Aue and Blumenthaler Aue) are the downstream tributaries of the Weser.

    Independence has been a recurring theme throughout the city’s history. In AD 787, Charlemagne elevated Bremen to the status of diocese and almost two hundred years later Emperor Karl Otto I bestowed the market privilege upon it which paved the way for urban trade to develop, thus helping the town evolve into a city. Even in the heyday of the Hanseatic League, Bremen had to protect its independence and in 1629 the three most powerful cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck forged their own alliance which carried on until the beginning of the 20th century. The city continued to develop economically and there’s no better illustration of its struggle for independence than the Roland (see above), Bremen’s traditional emblem built in 1404 and still the city's the most popular tourist attraction today.

    How to get around Bremen

    Take a break from driving your car hire in Bremen safe in the knowledge that each and every day Bremer Strassenbahn AG operates around 380 modern trams and buses which keep the entire city moving freely and efficiently. The company prides itself on its service and quality to provide locals and visitors alike with convenient, punctual and safe transport to all parts of the city, day and night.

    Car

    The Bremer Kreuz intersection is a major transport hub linking the A27 Cuxhaven-Bremerhaven-Hannover autobahn and the A1 Hamburg-Osnabrück-Rhineland autobahn. Bremen can also be reached via the A28 autobahn from East Friesland and Groningen in the Netherlands. The easiest route into the city centre is via the Bremen-Arsten or Bremen-Hemelingen exits from the A1. Be aware that there is a state-of-the-art traffic management system in the city centre that is subject to low-emission zone restrictions.

    Bus

    Bremen offers an extensive public transportation network with excellent bus services operating to all parts of the city. Please note that there are regular night buses (indicated by an "N") that run throughout the night at half-hour intervals from central station.

    Tram

    Bremen’s tangle of medieval streets makes walking the best option but there is also an efficient tram network operated by BSAG (Bremen's Straßenbahn AG) which takes you straight into the city's historic centre where many of the top attractions exist. Buy your ticket from the driver or from ticket machines located at tram stops.

    Train

    Bremen is on the ICE line with its main station conveniently located in the heart of the city centre. Regular and frequent services connect Bremen with the rest of Germany and there are two trains every hour to Hamburg in the north and Osnabrück, Münster and the Ruhr Area in the south, plus Hannover is also very well connected by train. To the west lie the cities of Delmenhorst and Oldenburg and the popular Frisian islands, plus there are also trains (via the main railway station) to Verden via Mahndorf or Sebaldsbrück.

    Taxi

    Bremen is a city blessed with more than 500 taxis, so in combination with its excellent public transport network visitors will have no problems getting around. Taxis are inexpensive (tips aren't expected) but cannot be hailed in the street so it's best to head for a taxi rank or call an authorised company such as BetterTaxi, Taxi-Roland or Taxi-Ruf.

    Bicycle

    Bremen is a model city for bike-riders with cycle paths on practically every street. You can hire bicycles at the railway station and several bike shops in town.

    Useful links

    Bremen Tourism

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