Heidelberg Castle towers majestically above the Neckar Valley and continues to enchant visitors from near and far. It used to be the residence of the Palatine Counts and Electors from the House of Wittelsbach, who ruled the Palatinate of the Rhine from here for over 400 years. The palace is a demonstration of their royal status and in its golden age rivalled the splendor of the imperial courts in Vienna and Prague. Heidelberg Castle was full of bursting with life, the scene of lively festivities with dancing and tournaments. Unforgotten is an outstanding elector like Frederick the Victorious or the frolicsome and enlightened Frederick II, but also the lovers Frederick V and Elizabeth Stuart. But the walls also tell of the destruction of the castle at the end of the 17th century, its slumber in the 18th century, and the beginning of tourism under the sign of the romanticism of the 19th century. With the reconstruction of the Friedrichsbau, a unique monument of historicism was created. And in the cellar still stands the largest wine barrel ever filled in the world.
From here you can enjoy a unique panorama of Heidelberg. The Philosophers’ Walk opens up a true postcard view of the old town, the river, the Old Bridge, the castle, and the highest mountain in the Odenwald, the King’s Seat, which towers over the city at almost 600 meters. This sunny spot on the southern slope of the hill of the Saints is reminiscent of Tuscany with its mild climate and vegetation. Unprotected, exotic plants thrive on this climatic island, which is one of the warmest places in Germany: Japanese woolly medlar and American cypress, Spanish broom, Portuguese cherry, lemon, and pomegranate, bamboo, palms, pines. Everything blooms weeks earlier than in the valley.
The Studentenkarzer was the student prison of Heidelberg University until 1914.The Studentenkarzer (students’ prison) is located at the back of the Old University in Augustinergasse. Here, from 1778 to 1914, students were punished for “peccadilloes” (meaning minor transgressions which were kind of fashionable among otherwise honourable gentlemen inscribed at the Heidelberg University, most of them being members of student fraternities) such as violent mensuration, nocturnal disturbances of the peace, or other violations of public order – often they were humid and merry pranks. At that time, the university still had its own jurisdiction, so a bailiff could impose carceral punishments. The detention lasted between three days and four weeks, depending on the offense, but the students were allowed to attend their lectures. After university sessions, prisoners had to serve their time in the Karzer. Many passed the time by immortalizing themselves on the walls with their likenesses and sayings. These “works of art” can still be seen today.
There is much to discover in Heidelberg. You can find information about individual sights here. (https://www.heidelberg-marketing.de/en/discover/experience)
A boat trip on the Neckar
One way to get to know Heidelberg from the water is to take a boat ride. Due to the location directly on the Neckar River, there are various offers: from small pedal boats to kayaks to excursion boats with moderated tour guides, there are many options.
More information: https://www.heidelberg-marketing.de/en/planning-booking/boat-trips
Visit speciality shops like:
Thousands of sweets and a very cute couple to help you choose. You need time, because the motto here is deceleration. You have to take your time, also to be able to play another little game with the owners.
More information: http://www.heidelberger-zuckerladen.de/
Here you can try the famous student kiss.
More information: https://www.cafeknoesel-hd.de/
Delicious cakes, pies and chocolates can be found in this traditional cafe.
More information: https://www.cafe-schafheutle.de/
Heidelberg offers some beautiful museums. Even if the weather is not so nice, you can discover many new things here. A few examples:
German Pharmacy Museum: https://www.deutsches-apotheken-museum.de/en/
Museum of the Palatinate: https://www.ebert-gedenkstaette.de/pb/Startseite/English+version.html
German Museum of Packaging: https://www.verpackungsmuseum.de/
Sammlung Prinzhorn: https://prinzhorn.ukl-hd.de/home/?L=1
Visit one of the gardens in Heidelberg
Bergfriedhof (Mountain Graveyard)
Concealed behind high walls on a former vineyard and deliberately designed as a park, Heidelberg‘s Bergfriedhof surprises with its new Garten der Kulturen (Garden of Cultures). Poetry readings are held in a pavilion. Botanical treasures and monumental graves ornamentally line the paths. Familiar names of famous Heidelberg citizens bring to mind the relevance of this city in past centuries. Male participants must cover their heads while in the Jewish graveyard.
Barockgarten (near the venue)
More information: http://www.as.uni-heidelberg.de/institut/geschichte_e.php
You can use the free time to take a walk above Heidelberg on the Philosophenweg. From here you can enjoy a unique panorama of Heidelberg. The Philosophers’ Walk opens up a true postcard view of the old town, the river, the Old Bridge, the castle, and the highest mountain in the Odenwald, the King’s Seat, which towers over the city at almost 600 meters. This sunny spot on the southern slope of the hill of the Saints is reminiscent of Tuscany with its mild climate and vegetation. Unprotected, exotic plants thrive on this climatic island, which is one of the warmest places in Germany: Japanese woolly medlar and American cypress, Spanish broom, Portuguese cherry, lemon, and pomegranate, bamboo, palms, pines. Everything blooms weeks earlier than in the valley.
City tours through Heidelberg
Whether on foot, by bus or by Segway. Heidelberg Marketing offers a wide variety of tours through Heidelberg and thus provides the opportunity to get to know Heidelberg better.
More information and tickets: https://www.heidelberg-marketing.de/en/planning-booking/city-tours
Sightseeing In Nearby Towns
Travel short distances from Heidelberg by train, taxi or automobile to visit Schwetzingen Palace and Gardens and Speyer, a small city with interesting architecture and medieval sites.
More information: https://www.schloss-schwetzingen.de/en/
In Speyer, visit the Historical Museum of the Palatinate and learn about the history of the region from prehistory through Roman antiquity to modern times.
More information: https://museum.speyer.de/startseite/
More information about events, shopping and sightseeing can be found on this website: https://www.heidelberg-marketing.de/en