“Mountain of Saints”, “Pearl on the Neckar River”
Almost 7 years have passed since the first and only time we’ve come here to the beautiful city of Heidelberg, and actually today was quite an unexpected return to be honest. I did not plan in coming here at all, however, because all of the previous cities we’ve been today were so small (Lorsch, Speyer and Maulbronn), and because the days now almost in June were lasting that long, so sunny and great weather, we could still benefit from some more daylight hours and enjoy a brief re-visit and nice dinner in this city, and let our other friends travelling together in this trip see more places.
I take the chance to remake this guide as well, as it was too old and quite short. One of the first ones released when I launched my travel blog live. I will only retain the travel map from the trip back in August 2010, showing another of our usual crazy trips packing as much as possible in a weekend where we came from Dusseldorf, reached Zurich in Switzerland, and stopped along the way for sightseeing Heidelberg which was in turn, the original plan that weekend. Zurich happened our of the blue decided in the go.
The city as small as it is (or might appear at first look), will shock you for the great amount of sights. Literally every building is of historical importance and beauty, not to mention the incredible views you will get from the banks of the river Neckar with the old bridge, city and the castle up in the hill. It is the 5th largest city in the region of Baden Wuttemberg, where Stuttgart is the capital. Not only you will find in Heidelberg this type of architecture, generally stone constructions and timber-framed traditional houses, but in the whole region on every village. Thankfully it was not as heavily destroyed during WWII as other regions and cities on the west of Germany were, meaning you can enjoy a complete Baroque style old town.
As for planning your time, well this is not a city where you would need to spend more than a day. With half a day you are done, meaning you could prepare in advance a route in order to visit other places nearby. In this point we are truly experts, and it’s self-explained in the notes before where we came after visiting many other places. But back in 2010 it was the same story, and after visiting Heidelberg, we departed for Eppstain and Diez, not far to the north after Frankfurt.
For more information about the city check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Heidelberg:
- Castle Original construction started back in the 14th century and the latest addition was finalised in 1934 with the King’s Hall. From the top you will get great views over the city down below, the valley, river and beyond.
- Old Stone Bridge From 1788 is one of the symbols of the city. One of the city gates is on the side of the city and attached to the bridge.
- Market Place The main square in the old town where the main attractions are.
-Town Hall One of the finest Baroque buildings, easily recognisable at the northeast corner.
-Heiliggeistkirche The Church of the Holy Spirit is the largest in the city and the tower is seen from most streets around.
-House of Knight St. George In Renaissance style, one of the oldest in the city.
- Hauptstrasse It’s the main street, running parallel to the river and completely filled with historical buildings, too many to list in here one by one. The side streets and parallel ones complete the old town. The best way to visit is by doing zigzags.
- Universitätsplatz Is a nice square in the old town where you can find the old building of the university.
- Karlstor Karls’ Arch was built in 1791 in honour of the Prince Elector Karl Theodor.
Monastery of St. Michael From 1023, now only the ruins is all is left.
- Mountain Railway it connects the lower part of the city near the old town with the castle as intermediary stop, then continues to the upper station at Molkenkur. You can change here for the next section to Königstuhl farther up. The views you will get from here are the best.
Photo album from the recent trip:
Photo album from August 2010 trip:
The nearest airports to Heildelberg are either Frankfurt at 95 kilometres north, or Stuttgart 115 to the east. Any information about the base city from where we came, Frankfurt, and its great network of public transport is published and available in the relevant guide here.
Coming overland is fast and reliable by railway or bus. Direct high-speed trains link north towards Frankfurt and beyond, and south towards Stuttgart in a matter of few minutes. Heidelberg is a big rail and road junction hence it’s great connections within the country.
Within the city there is a good tram and bus network, although you won’t need to take any public transport when visiting. Distances are very short and majority of the historic centre is pedestrian friendly. The only occasion you will definitely need it, it is actually the funicular to the very top of the Molkenkur mountain if you have this included in your plans.
Although we did not stay overnight in Heidelberg as our base was Frankfurt, I cannot recommend anywhere in here, however the city boast a fair selection of hotels and bed & breakfast smaller accommodations. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, Hotels Click, LateRooms or Ebookers.
For a travel guide of Frankfurt including the hotel we stayed for our tour, click here.