Heidelberg is a beautiful city. Romantic and charming with ornate architecture and fascinating history, there are plenty of things to see in Heidelberg.
Built on the banks of the peaceful Neckar River, Heidelberg is often described as being a fairy tale city. There really is a unique feeling to the place and it is a gorgeous town to explore.
I loved the combination of old-fashioned but pretty town squares, tiny alleyways, noisy student bars, and the culture of philosophical thought.
Amazing Things to See in Heidelberg
The Old Town nestles beneath the castle and features a mixture of chalet-style buildings, sculpted trees, and modern homes. There are hidden courtyards, cobbled streets, and chocolate box squares full of quaint shops, street cafes serving delicious coffee and cakes, and cute little art galleries.
The ‘Hauptsrasse’ is the main road into the Old Town and this is where shoppers head to pick up their bargains.
Take some time to peer down the side streets and through doorways. Your curiosity will be rewarded by the discovery of secret statues, hidden ornaments, and historical plaques.
‘Heidelberg Castle’ is a 15th-century monument to power and grandeur. The towering red walls and sapphire blue domes are a fabulous sight perched above the city. They can be reached on foot or by a rickety funicular railway.
The combination of historical styles is what makes the castle special and my favourite part was the ‘Friedrischsbaum’, a Renaissance castle from whose elegant terrace a stunned visitor can take in the breath-taking vista of lovely Heidelberg spread out below.
I would highly recommend a visit to the castle’s winery where you can taste delectable local wine. There’s also, rather bizarrely, a museum detailing the history of German pharmacists and alchemy.
Photographers adore the 18th century ‘Old Bridge’ (also known as The Karl Theodor Bridge) its solid red stone structure contrasts wonderfully with the ornate castle and lush green trees behind. Some of the best views in the city can be enjoyed from the middle of the Old Bridge. Gaze up at the castle and down to the dazzling white towered town gate below.
Before you head back into town for lunch, search for the funny monkey statue that delights all users of the bridge.
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Church of the Holy Spirit
‘The Church of the Holy Spirit’ is one of the oldest buildings in the city, having survived the many wars Heidelberg has seen over the years and it stands proudly protecting the red roofs of Market Place.
It was 1398 when the first stone was laid but the church wasn’t completed until 1544. Architects agree that the time and effort was worth it as it is a fine example of late Gothic design.
‘The Church of the Holy Spirit’ is a wonderful illustration of how it’s possible for different religions to work in harmony. It has been a sanctuary for both Protestants and Catholics and in 1706 the church elders allowed both denominations to have services there at the same time.
‘Schwetzingen Palace and Gardens’ lie just outside of Heidelberg. They are a wonderful summer’s day out. The Palace was the splendid home of both Karl Philipp and Karl Theodor, rulers of the Rhine region of Germany.
The palace itself is magnificent and fascinating. However, it is the famous baroque gardens that draw the crowds. They are a feast for the eyes with geometric planting schemes, a pale pink Mosque, an elaborate fountain with a stag centrepiece, and even an aviary.
Heidelberg University has had a massive impact on the city for many years. It is a place where many Nobel Peace Prize winners have studied and is a world-renowned centre for scientific and philosophical thinking.
In the 1600’s student ‘prisons’ were created so that earnest academics could police the troublemakers, drinkers, and fighters. They would be required to reside in jail for a few days or a week and only allowed out to be escorted to lectures.
Eventually, the rebels began to fight back. Imprisonment became a mark of honour. Visitors would sneak in to celebrate with the accused and glorious pandemonium would ensue. Profound, rude, and impassioned graffiti began to cover the walls.
The Heidelberg student prisons have been preserved for posterity and it’s a joy to imagine the electric atmosphere created by young forward thinker and freedom lovers.
PLANNING YOUR PERFECT HEIDELBERG TRIP
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