Situated just to the north of the historic city of Hamelin, Hessisch Oldendorf is an appealing small town on the banks of the Weser River. It lies at the entrance to a region known as Weserbergland, where you’ll marvel at the steep mountain forests, attractive valleys, and the serene waters of the Weser winding its way north.
The town was founded some 750 years ago by the Counts of Schaumburg, and you can still be overwhelmed by its picturesque medieval heart.
Wander amongst the half-timbered buildings, around the old market place, that look so pretty with their floral window boxes. If you look closely, you can spot many buildings with dates indicating their period of construction, many dating back hundreds of years.
Nearby you can see one of the best examples of the Weser Renaissance architecture. The impressive Münchhausenhof is a large stately castle, that is well worth some of your time to visit. Also worth a trip is the thousand-year old Stift Fischbeck or Fischbeck Abbey, with its immaculately preserved Romanesque cloisters.
The monastic tradition of the ladies refuge still carries on to this day, and the women will be happy to talk to you and pass on their knowledge and wisdom.
The Weserbergland nature park covers a vast area to the north of Hessisch Oldendorf, and is a magnet for walkers, hikers, cyclists, and bird watchers. You could spend days here and still only scratch the surface of all there is to see. Come back a few weeks later, and you’ll think you’re in a different place. The colors, smells, and wildlife, change constantly as the seasons come and go. The best way to explore is on foot, but cycle hire will give you the opportunity to see more in a shorter time.
Two natural wonders in particular should be included in your itinerary. Your visit to the breathtaking Schillat Cave will begin with a descent into the earth inside a glass elevator. Once into the cave you will be awestruck by the amazing colors that shimmer around the rock surfaces of the 180 metre long cavern.
Less well known, but no less impressive, is the Langenfeld Waterfall, which until recently was used to power the adjacent 18th Century mill. The waters tumble down into what the locals call Hell Creek.
But this region is far from hellish, and both Hessisch Oldendorf and the surrounding countryside would be much better described as a little bit of heaven.