A nice day trip from Hamburg, Bremen, Germany, is an old Hanseatic League trading city.

In the 14th century, Bremen was an important port city, but the port has since been filled in, and the harbor area is in the process of being revitalized as a center for restaurants, art galleries and shops.

Although heavily damaged during World War II, it still retains a nice town square, Marktplatz, with an ornate Gothic and Renaissance town hall and cathedral (don't miss the mummies in the basement). Nearby is the life-sized bronze statue of the city's most famous animals: the Bremen town musicians (a rooster, cat, dog and donkey), heroes of a Brothers Grimm story.

The city deserves at least a half-day visit, just so you can walk around—be sure to stroll among the old houses and art galleries of Bottcherstrasse and the Renaissance Schnoor quarter. If you're there in May, don't miss the Rhododendron-Park.

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