I lost my heart in Heidelberg…
This well-known phrase and same-titled film and song perfectly describes Heidelberg – the beautiful multicultural city in the Southwest of Germany! As a matter of fact, it’s not just partners that you can fall in love with in Heidelberg… You’ll also find yourself losing your heart to the city itself! It’s no wonder the incredibly picturesque old town attracts visitors from all over the world. Heidelberg immerses you in the German language but also surrounds you with a wide variety of other foreign languages! Sometimes you will hear English, French or Spanish on a walk through this bustling city!
Things to do in Heidelberg
What shouldn’t be missed from a trip through Heidelberg is a visit to the main sights:
- The Castle
- The Old Bridge over the river Neckar
- The Old Town
- The University – the oldest one in Germany!
Another attraction worth visiting is the Philosopher’s Walk on the other side of the river Neckar. This is a perfect spot for a romantic, peaceful walk close to the city centre. From this vantage point you can enjoy a magnificent view over Heidelberg. Moving on up you can continue through to the Bismarck tower, which offers an even better view over the entire Rhine valley all the way to France!
Explore the beautiful city centre
A good starting point to explore the Old Town of Heidelberg surely is the Bismarckplatz, a 20 minute walk from the main railway station. The most important buses and trams of the Heidelberg districts (15 in total) intersect here. In the Hauptstraße (main street) itself, there is no public transport at all, making it easier for you to enjoy your leisurely stroll.
When starting your tour at the Bismarckplatz, you won’t only pass typical big city department stores, bakeries and restaurants, but also find regional delicatessen shops, little boutiques and cosy cafés. Interesting and unique shops are hiding away amongst the side streets and small alleys, branching off the main street.
The chocolate manufacturer Knösel, just a few steps from the Old Bridge, provides the typical Heidelberg Student Kiss – a chocolate-nougat praline coated in delicious dark chocolate. If you want to try some other sweet delicacies, try the Lindt Boutique on the market place as well as the Zuckerladen – a sweetshop definitely worth seeing. Its quirky atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in a whole different (and small) world! Try not to eat too much chocolate as there are plenty more things to see and do!
Further recommendations for the young and the old, day and night, throughout the seasons
Heidelberg doesn’t have to just be experienced during the day. In the evening and during the night it’s definitely worth visiting the old town. The Untere Straße (lower street) parallel to the main street (which is also one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe) is famous for its many small bars and pubs. Here you can enjoy both the student and night life of Heidelberg firsthand!
By day, you can take a picnick to the the Neckarwiese or just find a spot to relax! This meadow next to the river is an idyllic part of the city, admired and frequented most of all by students of Heidelberg. If it’s not enough for you seeing the Neckar from the riverside, you could also take a boat trip on the so-called Weiße Flotte, discovering the city from a completely new perspective!
While the city prides itself on events like the Castle Festival (theatre performances) and the Castle Illumination & Fireworks in the summer, Heidelberg’s Christmas market in the winter season is also definitely worth a visit. There are lots of festive stalls all over the city as well as at the castle. In order to get up to the Heidelberg Castle, you can either walk the steep path or opt for the funicular, the end station of which is the Königstuhl mountain, located in the Odenwald forest.
Excursions to nearby places
If you’re still not satisfied after all that then don’t worry! You can easily travel to other beautiful cities nearby including Karlsruhe, Mannheim, and Schwetzingen. The latter is mostly famous for its castle and impressive gardens. Or you can go on an excursion to Hockenheim and have a look at the world-famous Hockenheimring, a motor racing course that also hosts Formula One races.
All in all, Heidelberg offers a unique mixture of historic as well as modern atmosphere, and can impress with both idyll and international flair!