Rinteln used to make its living from the ships that moved goods up and down the Weser River.
Not far from the gorge known as the “Gate to Westphalia” the town was a booming market place throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Alert to new trends, the town has continually adapted over the years to do whatever it took to bring people into town.
Costumed performers at 4 pm everyday in the Rinteln market square all summer? Check. Daytime historical tours and nighttime ghost tours? Check. Restored half-timber pedestrian zone? Check. Aggressive pushing of church attractions? Check, check, check. ;-)
This is a town that knows how to sell. And baby, do they sell themselves hard.
Unlike some other towns with picturesque historical structures fading into disrepair, Rinteln locals recognized the asset under their noses and have hustled to make it nice and easy for visitors to have a good time here. Even when you feel a little over-commercialized, there is no denying that the tourist stops are well-maintained, easy to find, and done up so that they look good in photos.
The half-timber houses on the market square, covered in snow and rimmed with white Christmas market lights, are postcard-perfect by design.
Yet even when you know they just want your tourist dollar, you have to admire the zeal of the place. It brims with life and zest and enthusiasm for doing things and exploring. This is not a place to sit idly in the square having a beer, because even if the square in Rinteln is nice, there’s the river bank to explore, the museums of dinosaur bones, and even the memorials to their WWII experiences tucked among the preserved buildings from the 16th century.
You won’t be bored here. The fine folks in Rinteln won’t let you — they talk to strangers, point out things to see and do, and suggest good places to eat. While they may be at it a little too hard, there’s no denying that they have a good product to sell.
Rinteln is worth exploring… every day at 4 pm, all summer long, right after the costume show. ;-)