Heidelberg is one of the most romantic cities in Germany with its famous castle ruins, exquisite old bridge and magnificent nature. The city stands along the Neckar river which inspired Mark Twain to write Huckleberry Finn. At first sight, Heidelberg gives everyone a heart-warming welcome with the mixture of many natural colors of green and auburn. Heidelberg was also one of the best-preserved cities in Germany after World War II, that's why the city itself offers a great experience of history and cultural activities.
It is also a splendid city for young people -especially students- to have an entertaining experience with fulfilling education at Heidelberg University which is the oldest one in Germany. It attracts almost four million tourists in a year with its fairly warm weather. Heidelberg is a must-visit-city for every age group. You can reach the city from Frankfurt Airport in 45 minutes by train or by using a bus from the airport.
I have always been in love with cute small cities, that's why Heidelberg has always had a great place in my heart. I love to spend my time enjoying the city's charming architecture, the radiant colors of its forest and the fresh air, sunbathing near Neckar with cute ducklings and the overall feeling of living in a fairytale. If you also want to experience this beautiful city as a true Heidelberger, here is your guide :)
The Hauptstrasse is the main street of Heidelberg; the pedestrian street is parallel to the Neckar river. It is encircled by medieval architecture, shops, restaurants, and cafes. No matter how the weather is, this street is always crowded with so many locals and tourists. It is easy for tourists to communicate since in every shop everybody can understand and speak English. If you continue walking while listening to street musicians, you will end up at the gothic church named Heiliggeistkirche, "The Church of the Holy Spirit", which was built in the 15th Century. To see a breathtaking view of Heidelberg, you have to climb 208 steps to the top of the tower of Heidelberg's famous church. Another stop (which is right next to Heiliggeistkirche) is the Haus Zum Ritter which was built in 1592, survived the demolitions during the World War II and today is used as a restaurant and hotel. Also, don't forget to buy some Student Kiss chocolate or have a beer next to the Hercules Fountain.
The Heidelberg Castle is one of the famous landmarks of the city. Its ruins stand at the top of the hills above the Altstadt/Old Town. The castle was constructed in 1214 but the "higher" castle was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire, so today we can only see the "lower" castle. You can reach it by climbing the stairs (if you really trust in your fitness) while gazing at the Neckar river or you can take the Bergbahn. Inside the castle, you can taste amazing Heidelberg wine and take a photograph with the world's largest wine barrel! After that, you can visit the German Pharmacy Museum which is also inside of the castle, to enjoy the large collection of everything related to historic pharmacy. Children can also blend their own herbal tea or take a sniffing test :) To become mesmerized by another entrancing view of Heidelberg, you can take a walk in the castle's garden and even get married from February to December :). If you visit the castle between June and August, you can enjoy The Heidelberger Castle Festival which is a mix of theater and music. Here is the view from the castle;
This famous bridge, known by a lot of painters and poets, connects the two sides of the city. It was built in the 18th century as a replacement - the wooden bridge that had previously stood in its place had been destroyed in a fire. Various sculptures charm every person who visits the bridge.
At first sight, the brass Monkey greets you with its mirror and it's mice friends. Legend says that if you touch the mirror, it will bless you with wealth. If you touch its fingers, it will give you a chance to return back to Heidelberg, and if your children touch the mice, it will bring them gifts and luck.
At the end of the Karl Theodor Bridge, you will see a sign to the Philosophenweg. Going up there is a little bit tricky because you have to climb the stairs (I know, again!) but the view of the castle and the Neckar river with the bridge is absolutely breathtaking (right after you get breathless from the stairs). You can enjoy it while listening to a 2-guy band in the background, surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees. This is a path to be alone to think or to enjoy with family and friends. After being mesmerized by the beauty of Heidelberg, you can continue walking into the forest to calm your thoughts, feed your soul with every shade of green or brown (depending on the season) and enjoy the fresh air. You can also visit the ruins of the Monastery of Saint Michael and the Thingstätte which was a Nazi-era amphitheater. Here is a view from the Philisophenweg;
After all the walking and hill climbing, take a break on the banks of Neckar (Hooray!). You can relax on the grass, sunbathe, barbecue and play games with your family and friends. If you still have some energy left, you can rent a rowboat and/or enjoy Neckar cruises! And a big plus, you can be overwhelmed by the cuteness of ducklings right next to you!
This is a must visit place if you are traveling with kids because this zoo is hosting 1,100 animals with 250 different species! It is also registered member of "Europe Endangered Species Program". And if you are still hungry for more nature, don't forget to visit Germany's oldest and the largest Botanical Garden!
Heidelberg has endless options when it comes to food. Vegetarian/Vegan or not, you can find food for every taste. You can always enjoy your food with German beer or wine. If you dig German traditional foods, you can visit Weisser Bock, Goldener Hecht or Schnitzel Bank. There are lots of vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants in the Hauptstrasse as well. If you are more into cafes, then you should visit Cafe Extrablatt or Schmelzpunkt. You can also enjoy hamburgers in plenty of restaurants or if you are in a hurry, just grab a currywurst with fries or if you have a sweet tooth, then ice creams are amazing in Heidelberg!
If you want to become a true Heidelberger, all you have to do is create a trip on itinari! Here is the list of activities!
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.