• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Hameln

Given their relationship with one of the most famous fairy-tale characters of all time, it’s unsurprising that Hameln’s townsfolk continue to take advantage of the Pied Piper. Known locally as the Rattenfänger, or "rat-catcher," these days he tends to be celebrated more than exploited (even if his name does adorn everything from coffee mugs to restaurants), and regular costumed tours through the town relive his deeds, while a bronze statue of him stands proudly in the town’s lovely pedestrian zone. Not as exciting as Hannover to the north or as relaxing as Bodenwerder to the south, Hameln is still one of the top places to visit along the Fairy-Tale Road thanks to its fairy-tale legacy, elegantly painted and inscribed half-timber buildings, and laid-back atmosphere.

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