Situated on a mountain spur, the town developed from a fortress built in the 13th century. Today, the third smallest town in NRW is particularly dedicated to tourism and is also known as a place of pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary and for the traditional Hallenberg Easter Vigil and the unique open-air stage in the former quarry. With its narrow, winding streets, churches and monuments worth seeing, the more than 775-year-old Altstadt invites visitors to linger. The Kump information center directly on the market square is the contact point for guests and citizens and provides information on topics such as history, customs, tourism, nature and the economy. Traditional customs are still cultivated in Hallenberg today.

Here we have arrived at the cradle of the town of Hallenberg. For here once lay the vanished village of Merklinghausen, whose parish church was the so-called Unterkirche opposite. After the foundation of the town, the church built on the town hill became the parish church, but the Unterkirche with the image of grace kept there remained the center of the pilgrimage to "Unterer Lieben Frau von Merklinghausen" for centuries until today.