This post may contain affiliate links, please see the privacy policy for details.

Nestled on the North Sea coast of Germany, Bremerhaven is a city that offers a unique blend of rich maritime history, stunning outdoor scenery, and cultural gems. From exploring the German Maritime Museum to relaxing on sandy beaches, there is something for every traveler in this charming port which is known as Sea City. Read on to explore Bremerhaven’s captivating attractions, cuisine, and tours, showcasing the best things to do in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The Victoria Classic Boat Festival in Bremerhaven.
Photo credit: Choochart Songsuk/Shutterstock.

Explore the port City of Bremerhaven in northern Germany. Enjoy learning about maritime history and culture through its museums, ships, lighthouses, and outdoor attractions.

Riding a bike in Bremen, Germany.

Thank you to the Germany Tourism Board for inviting me to visit Lübeck, Bremen, Rügen Island, and Bremerhaven.

Historic lighthouse at the mouth of the river Geeste in front of the modern Atlantic Hotel Sail City.
Photo credit: Heide Pinkall/Shutterstock.

Brief History of Bremerhaven

Bremerhaven, fondly known as the “Seestadt” (Sea City), is situated at the North Sea in the northwestern region of Germany on the banks of the Weser River. This port city boasts a lengthy history as a significant center of commerce and is still a critical component of the nation’s trade relations today. Visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s maritime atmosphere by walking along the Weser dyke, where the Weser River meets the sea.

Bremerhaven, Germany at sunset.

The city offers various attractions that reflect its maritime roots, from museum ships waiting to be explored to the German Maritime Museum, showcasing Germany’s fascinating seafaring past. Bremerhaven’s rich history sets the stage for a memorable visit, with many experiences waiting to be discovered.

Tug boat in the Bremerhaven marina.

Getting to Bremerhaven

Located in the northwest corner of Germany, Bremerhaven is easily accessible for those traveling within the country or outside Germany. The most efficient method of reaching Bremerhaven is by rail, connecting the city to other major German cities and European destinations. The train takes less than an hour to travel from Bremen to Bremerhaven, making it a great add-on to a vacation in Bremen or a trip along the Fairy Tale Route.

Binoculars on the promenade in Bremerhaven at sunset.

Bremerhaven is a popular cruise port and is one of the busiest in Europe. For those arriving by cruise ship, the Columbus Cruise Center Bremerhaven serves as a docking station, offering a variety of services such as a restaurant, bar, souvenir shop, and currency exchange.

Sunset in Bremerhaven with houses and ships.
Photo credit: Mustafa Kurnaz/Shutterstock.

The cruise center also provides a shuttle service to the city center and the airport, ensuring a seamless transition for visitors.

Getting Around Bremerhaven

Once in Bremerhaven, the city’s attractions are easily accessible by foot, public transportation, or bicycle, allowing visitors to explore the city at their own pace.

Bike riding on the dyke in Bremerhaven.

Bremerhaven is a great destination for cycling enthusiasts, with many scenic routes and trails to explore. The city is well-connected with a well-maintained network of cycle paths, making it easy to get around on two wheels. Whether you are looking for a leisurely ride along the picturesque waterfront or a more challenging route through the countryside, Bremerhaven has something to offer. The city is also home to several bike rental shops, making it easy to hire a bike and explore the area at your own pace.

Harbour area and lighthouse in Bremerhaven.

Maritime Marvels: Uncovering Bremerhaven’s Rich History

Bremerhaven’s maritime history is extensive and prosperous, with the city having acted as a significant port for many years. Visitors can delve into this fascinating past through the city’s numerous museums, which provide a glimpse into the city’s prior role as a major port and its earliest traces in history.

Bremerhaven marina at sunset.

From the German Maritime Museum to museum ships and North Sea coast exploration, there’s a wealth of maritime marvels waiting to be discovered.

Museum boat in Bremerhaven.

German Maritime Museum

The German Maritime Museum, located in Bremerhaven, exhibits the history of seafaring in Germany, featuring displays of model ships, whaling, polar exploration, container shipping, fishing and the German navy.

Boat at the Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven.

This comprehensive Maritime Museum offers visitors a chance to discover the nation’s maritime past and appreciate the pivotal role Bremerhaven played in shaping Germany’s seafaring history. This journey through Bremerhaven’s maritime heritage will not only shed light on the city’s history, but also offer a unique perspective on the people, vessels, and events that shaped this remarkable port city. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the city’s past, Bremerhaven’s maritime attractions will captivate and inspire.

the Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Museum Ships

Bremerhaven is also home to several museum ships, such as the Wilhelm Bauer U-boat and the FMS GERA. These vessels provide an enlightening experience for visitors, offering the opportunity to learn about life at sea and the history of shipbuilding.

Harbour in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, a lot of tourists visited the city on the annual gold boat,German submarine.
Photo credit: Krzysztof Pazdalski/Shutterstock.

From exploring the cramped quarters of the Wilhelm Bauer U-boat to observing the fishing industry’s history on the FMS GERA, these museum ships, including a prominent museum ship, serve as a testament to the city’s maritime heritage.

North Sea Coast Exploration

No visit to Bremerhaven would be complete without experiencing the beauty of the North Sea coast. With its picturesque lighthouses, stunning beaches, and breathtaking views, the coast offers a serene escape from the bustling city center.

Simon Loschen Lighthouse

The Simon Loschen Lighthouse, situated at the entrance to the Kaiserhafen, is the oldest lighthouse still in operation on the German bay and an iconic landmark in Bremerhaven.

Beautiful view of old Loschen-lighthouse (Simon Loschen tower) in famous Havenwelten in the hanseatic city of Bremerhaven, Germany.
Photo credit: canadastock/Shutterstock.

Pingelturm Lighthouse

This is a red brick structure and it is the only lighthouse in Bremerhaven with a fog bell.

Man takes a photo of a lighthouse and a silhouette of a ship in Bremerhaven, Germany in front of scenic sunset sky, translation: "Pingelturm ostfeuer kaiserschleuse" is the name of the lighthouse.
Photo credit: Heide Pinkall/Shutterstock.

Minaret Lighthouse

This red and white lighthouse is a key landmark in Bremerhaven. The view at sunset is beautiful!

Minarett lighthouse on the Willy Brandt square in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Photo credit: Marc Venema/Shutterstock.

Geestemünde Lighthouse

This historic lighthouse is at the mouth of the Geeste River and is a striking view when shown in the front of the modern Atlantic Sail City Hotel.

Red lighthouse at the harbor entrance of Bremerhaven, contemporary buildings in background.
Photo credit: Oliver Hoffmann/Shutterstock.

Cultural Gems: Bremerhaven’s Unique Attractions

Bremerhaven boasts an array of unique cultural attractions, showcasing the city’s diverse history and offering something for everyone. From the historic Mayor Smidt Memorial Church to the modern Klimahaus Bremerhaven, these attractions provide a captivating insight into the city’s past and present.


Bremerhaven’s new Havenwelten, which means Harbor Worlds, is where you will find Klimahaus, the German Emigration Center, the German Maritime Museum, and the Zoo at the Sea. This new district on the Weser dyke is a maritime tourism center full of attractions.

Marina city of Bremerhaven, Germany.
Photo credit: Sina Ettmer Photography/Shutterstock.

Mayor Smidt Memorial Church

The Mayor Smidt Memorial Church is a historic European church with a rich history and beautiful architecture. This picturesque church, characterized by its northern German brick Gothic-style architecture, is a testament to the city’s past and offers a peaceful retreat for visitors to reflect and admire its stunning design.

View towards the entrance of the Mayor Smidt Memorial Church in Bremerhaven - Germany with three statues.
Photo credit: Harald Lueder/Shutterstock.

Klimahaus Bremerhaven

The Klimahaus Bremerhaven is an interactive science center and theme park focusing on climate change and sustainability.

Arctic exhibit at Klimahaus Bremerhaven.

Visitors can journey through a variety of climate zones, experiencing the transition in temperature from the temperate German North Sea Coast to the rainforest in tropical Cameroon.

Outside the Klimahaus building.

Each zone at Klimahaus Bremerhaven is a multi-sensory experience, complete with sounds, temperatures, humidity, fog bell, smells, and scenery, making it a truly unique and educational attraction for all ages.

Stairway inside Klimahaus in a desert exhibit.

German Emigration Center

The German Emigration Center is a museum that delves into the history of migration with recreated rooms and interactive exhibits. With over 7 million Europeans sailing to North America from Bremerhaven, this museum provides an insightful look into the lives of those who embarked on a journey to the New World in search of a better life.

Exhibit at the German Emigration Center.

Visitors can explore the Emigration Center dynamic accounts of life on board the ships and engage with the interactive stations, gaining a deeper understanding of the city’s role in global migration.

The German Emigration Center building.

There are also resources to research your ancestors that may have travelled through this port on their migration journey.

German Emigration Center exhibit.

The museum restaurant, Speisesaal, has coffee, sweets and a mix of modern regional and international cuisine with a large patio and indoor seating.

Ship model at the German Emigration Center.

Other Notable Bremerhaven Attractions

Zoo at the Sea

The Zoo at the Sea, known as Zoo am Meer, focuses on arctic wildlife, including polar bears, penguins, and seals. With its stunning exhibits, knowledgeable staff, and commitment to conservation and education, Zoo at the Sea is a great destination for anyone interested in marine life.

The Zoo at the Sea (Zoo am Meer) building in Bremerhaven.

Outdoor Adventures: Exploring Bremerhaven’s Natural Beauty

Bremerhaven’s natural beauty offers a variety of outdoor escapes, from beaches to parks and gardens. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand or explore the city’s green spaces, there’s no shortage of options for enjoying the great outdoors.

Beach in late afternoon sunlight in front of vivid blue sky and Atlantic Hotel Sail City, the "Klimahaus 8°Ost" and dome of shopping center "Mediterraneo".
Photo credit: Heide Pinkall/Shutterstock.

The city’s coastal location provides the perfect backdrop for a day at the beach, while its parks and gardens offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling city center. Experience the best of Bremerhaven’s natural beauty with these outdoor adventures.

The Simon Loschen Lighthouse.

Shopping and Dining: Indulging in Bremerhaven’s Flavors

Bremerhaven offers a delightful culinary scene, with a variety of dining options that cater to every taste. From traditional German dishes to international cuisine, the city’s restaurants and cafes provide a feast for the senses.

An ice cream cone at the harbour.

In addition to its vibrant dining scene, Bremerhaven also boasts a range of shopping destinations. From traditional markets to contemporary malls and specialty shops, there’s something for everyone in this bustling port city.

Fishery market in Bremerhaven.
Photo credit: TGP-shot/Shutterstock.

Local Cuisine

Sample Bremerhaven’s local cuisine at its many restaurants and cafes, offering a variety of fresh seafood and traditional German dishes.

Lunch from the Emigration Center restaurant, Speisesaal.

With such a rich maritime history, you can expect to find delicious fish dishes, freshly caught shrimp, and seafood delicacies to satisfy your taste buds, all thanks to the thriving deep-sea fishing industry at the fishing port, a significant part of the larger fishing industry.

Dinner from Dock IV in Bremerhaven.

We ate dinner at Dock IV at the Window Fishery Harbour (Fischereihafen) for dinner and enjoyed the fresh fish and produce. For lunch, we ate at the Emigration Center restaurant, Speisesaal.

Outside Dock IV Restaurant in Bremerhaven.
Traditional North German herring fish filet with onion rings in a wheat bun in the female hand on the background of the sea and ships, traditional Fischbroetchen.
Photo credit: Lapa Smile/Shutterstock.

Shopping Destinations

Explore Bremerhaven’s shopping destinations, from local markets to modern malls and specialty shops. Visit MEIN Outlet & Shopping-Center or Columbus Center for a range of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options. Don’t forget to stop by Market Square (Window Fishery Harbour) for a true taste of the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Willy Brandi Platz at sunset in Bremerhaven.

For a more traditional shopping experience, check out Fischraeucherei Franke, a fish smokehouse, or Fiedlers Fischmarkt, a local fish market.

Fish shaped bench in Bremerhaven.

Harbour Tours and Cruise Port Experiences

Bremerhaven’s harbour tours and cruise port experiences offer a unique opportunity to explore the city’s maritime heritage from a different perspective. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply interested in the workings of a bustling port, these experiences provide a fascinating insight into the city’s past and present.

Sail Bremerhaven with traditional sailing ships and people from behind to the harbour tour, Germany.
Photo credit: Gabriele Rohde/Shutterstock.

A harbor tour in Bremerhaven is an excellent way to explore the city’s bustling port area. Board a glass top boat for a one-hour tour, providing a glimpse of all seven overseas ports, shipyards, colossal vessels, and much more.

Where to Stay in Bremerhaven

Finding the perfect accommodation in Bremerhaven is easy, with options ranging from budget-friendly hotels to luxurious stays. Whether you’re visiting for business or leisure, there’s a comfortable and convenient lodging option to suit your needs.

The ATLANTIC Hotel Sail City.

We stayed at the ATLANTIC Hotel Sail City, which was centrally located to the attractions in Bremerhaven and along the promenade.

The breakfast buffet at the ATLANTIC Hotel Sail City.

There is a viewing platform at the top of the hotel that is open to all visitors. The lookout platorm at Sail City provides a panoramic view from the city’s highest building. The entrance fee is € 4,00 for an adult and was one of my favourite activities in Bremerhaven.

The view from the platform at the ATLANTIC Hotel Sail City.

The hotel also had bikes that you can use to ride along the dyke promenade.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bremerhaven known for?

Bremerhaven is best known for its large harbour and maritime history, having been an important part of Germany’s trade for centuries. Home to shipbuilding, research institutes, museums and cultural organizations, the city continues to preserve much of its seafaring heritage.

What does Bremerhaven mean in German?

Bremerhaven translates to “Bremen’s harbor” in German, referring to the city’s sprawling North Sea port, which is Europe’s fourth largest in terms of trade volume.

What is the difference between Bremerhaven and Bremen?

Bremerhaven is part of the city-state of Bremen, but is a city in its own right. Both are port cities in northern Germany.

Looking out the binoculars at the viewing platform at ATLANTIC Hotel Sail City.

So Many Things to do in Bremerhaven!

Bremerhaven uniquely blends rich maritime history, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant cultural attractions. From exploring the city’s museums and taking harbor tours to indulging in its local cuisine and shopping destinations, there’s something for everyone in this charming port city. Discover Bremerhaven’s captivating history and modern charm, and create unforgettable memories along the way!

A boat at the Maritime Museum.

You Might Also Like

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.


You Might Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *