This post is also available in: Dutch

Latest update: 9 July 2024

Do you know the story about the pied piper from Hamelin? And did you know Hamelin actually exists? This cute town in the north of Germany is a must-visit in Lower Saxony. A few hours is enough for a mini city trip.

The story of the Pied Piper

Hamelin is, of course, known for the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I just never realized that Hamelin is a real place on earth. I thought it was a fairytale town. The story is that the Pied Piper came to Hamelin to rid the city of rats. He was warmly received and would be rewarded if he managed to get the rats out of town. The Pied Piper lured the rats with his flute to the river, where they drowned, but then the city council refused to pay the man.

Wrong decision. As revenge, the Pied Piper lured 130 children out of Hamelin. How it ends depends somewhat on the narrator: sometimes the children end up in a cave, sometimes on a mountain, but in some versions, they eventually pay up and the Pied Piper brings the children back.

Center of Hamelin

Hamelin is a city, but the center feels like a village. It’s really small, so you can see it all in just a few hours. By the way, the Germans call the town Hameln, not Hamelin. With the world-famous Pied Piper story, it will probably not surprise you that Hamelin is full of rat references. It starts with the paving stones that contain rats.

If you visit Hamelin, for example from Hannover, I would plan it on a Wednesday or Saturday. Because: see next point….

Open-air play Pied Piper of Hamelin

In the summer, a play about the Pied Piper is performed every Sunday at 12 noon, and the musical Rats is conducted every Wednesday at 4.30 pm. So if you are there on one of those days, you can enjoy the show for free.

I’m there on Sunday, and an hour beforehand, it’s already getting busy on the benches at the town hall. Apparently, it is the first showing of the season because the mayor of Hamelin is giving a talk. It really is a village play: nice and cozy. Children in rat suits cheerfully wave at grandparents in the audience. Very cute.

Google Maps location

Pied Piper street highlights: Osterstraße

On the Osterstraße, you will find plenty of terraces, beautiful half-timbered houses, and some sights that, of course, have to do with the Pied Piper. At number 23 (here), you will find the Rattenfängerhaus. It is a beautiful old building with an inscription on the facade that refers to the disappeared children. A placard reads:

A.D. 1284 – on the 26th of June – the day of St. John and St. Paul – 130 children – born in Hamelin – were led out of the town by a piper wearing multicolored clothes. After passing the Calvary near the Koppenberg they disappeared forever.

Now, there is an Indian restaurant in the stately building. A little further down the street is a statue of the Pied Piper (here). The statue is surrounded by cafe chairs and tables, but if you are in Hamelin you can’t not take a photo, right?

At numbers 8-9, you will find the Hamelin Museum (here). The museum is dedicated to the story of the Pied Piper and also the history of the city of Hamelin.

Take the Rattenbrücke to the island of Hamelin

If even remotely possible, a rat reference will be made in Hamelin. A big golden one, in this case. On top of the bridge to the small island of Hamelin is a large rat. You can take a very short walk on the island and look around the park. There is also a beer garden with a lovely garden and a centuries-old lock.

Google Maps location

Sights without rats in Hamelin

A stone’s throw from the center, you will find a beautiful church and a small park with a view over the water. It is the St. Boniface Munster Church (Google Maps location), and on the other side of the main road is the Europaplatz Park (Google Maps location). On a sunny day, it is nice to stroll around here and enjoy the peace and quiet.

By the way, if you prefer to get guidance when wandering through Hamelin, there is an interactive walking tour that you can do on your own. This one. The route is 4 kilometers long and contains a story and quizzes.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Coffee time at Barista

In a traditional town like Hamelin, I didn’t expect such a hip coffee bar. If you don’t fancy the busyness near the church, you can try a backstreet, towards the Munsterkerk and the park. Die Barista Coffee & Eatery has good coffee, and you can order breakfast or lunch. Or a piece of cake. Always a good idea.

Google Maps location

Die Barista Coffee & Eatery Hamelin

More Lower Saxony

Finished Hamelin? There is even more to do in the region. Visit one of the other cities in Lower Saxony: Braunschweig, Celle, Einbeck, Göttingen, Goslar, Hannover, Hildesheim, or Wolfenbüttel. I can recommend Celle and Hannover from personal experience!

Want more Germany inspiration?

  • Accommodation. Have a look at Booking.com and Campspace. Would you rather stay in a hostel? Check Hostelworld.
  • Activities. You book the best tours and activities with GetYourGuide and Viator. Another good option is WithLocals. Book ‘free’ walking tours with Freetour.com or GuruWalk. For bike tours, you can try Baja Bikes.
  • Attractions and museums. Interested in a 5% discount on museums and other attractions? Use this discount code at Tiqets: KIMOPREIS22
  • Car rental. Compare your options at Discover Cars and Rentalcars.com.
  • Money. Your bank cards may not get accepted everywhere. You could opt for a Revolut card as an additional card when you travel.
  • SIM card. Beware of unexpectedly high phone and internet costs. Buy a local SIM card when you arrive, or arrange one online via Airalo.
  • Train and Bus Travel with NS International to Germany. And reserve bus seats with Busbud, 12Go or Omio.
  • Flights. Compare all your options! Definitely check out Skyscanner and Kiwi.
  • Package deals. Rather go on a catered trip? Expedia and CheapOair offer options.
  • Yoga retreat. Or what about a yoga retreat in Germany?

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, I might receive a small commission.

Write A Comment