Heidelberg, Germany: Things to See and Do

heidelberg castle, heidelberg, neckar valley, germany
Heidelberg Castle photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Are you visiting Heidelberg for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in the City of Romance.

When I have a visitor from out of town, the first place they want to see is Heidelberg Castle, but I also take them to the Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Walk) – for a more local, authentic experience.

When I want to escape the crowds/tourists, my favorite place to visit is Kloster Stift Neuburg (Benedictine Abbey Stift Neuburg).

If this is a romantic trip, I recommend a boat trip to Kloster Stift Neuburg for kissing with a view.

The best place to walk the dog is the boardwalk along the river Neckar.

Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the Königstuhl (mountain) with the funicular railway.

cheese, heidelberg, germany
Don’t miss the local cheese. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Regional Food of Heidelburg:

If you are looking for typical Heidelberg cuisine, I recommend one of the student restaurants in Heidelberg: Zum Roten Ochsen, Zum Seppl or Schnookeloch.

The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Café Florian Steiner in the quarter of Heidelberg “Neuenheim”

Looking for cheap food in Heidelberg? Go to the canteen of the University in the Marstall building.

The Schnitzelbank is the spot for late night dining (until 1 am).

For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to the restaurant Hirschgasse, a lovely “star restaurant.”

neckar river, old bridge, heidelberg, germany
View of the Neckar River. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Heidelberg is best known for Heidelberg Castle and the Old Bridge

When you come to Heidelberg, get your picture taken from the Old Bridge or the Philosopher’s Walk.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of the Königstuhl.

Heidelberg offers great views and the Neckarwiese (boardwalk along the Neckar river) is the best place to watch or experience the Schlossbeleuchtung (Castle illumination.)

Der Brückenaff, monkey, old bridge, heidelberg, germany
Der Brückenaff Monkey on the Old Bridge. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

In Heidelberg, outdoor lovers will want to hike, bike, and walk everywhere. If you are looking for a little exercise, walk along the Philosopher’s Walk.

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After a day of adventure, the Hotel Europäischer Hof with its spa (open to the public) is the best place to go for a spa treatment.

If you are a museum lover, one of Heidelberg’s best museums is the Kurpfälzische Museum (Museum of the Palatinate.)

Looking for exciting night life? Go dancing at Nachtschicht or Schwimmbad Musik Club for live music.

The Rhein Neckar Zeitung will keep you posted on what’s happening in Heidelberg.

You can tell a lot about Heidelberg from visiting and watching the Heidelberger Schlossfestspiele (Heidelberg Castle Festival.)

In the spring you should attend the “Heidelberger Frühling” (Heidelberg Spring Festival.)

In the summer you’ll want to see the Heidelberger Schlossbeleuchtungen (Castle Illuminations.)

heidelberg castle, architecture, door, germany
Old world architecture in Heidelberg. Photo © 2016 Nancy D. Brown

Did you know that Heidelberg is known for Jazz music? Plan a visit to the Enjoy Jazz Festival in the fall (October/November.)

If you visit Heidelberg in the winter, you must see the German Christmas Markets. Heidelberg Christmas Market, also known as Heidelberger Christmas Market, runs from late November until a few days before Christmas in December. Against the romantic backdrop of the Castle, couples glide hand-in-hand on skates. With 140 brightly decorated Christmas stalls, the atmosphere is unique. The stalls are sprinkled amongst the historic squares of the Old Town, offering a warming glow of light along one of the longest pedestrian zones in Europe. Until the start of January, “Germany’s most beautiful ice-rink” on the Karlsplatz is available for ice skating.

Glühwein, heidelberg castle, heidelberg, germany, christmas market
Glühwein at Heidelberger Christmas Market. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Early to mid-December the Heidelberg Castle Christmas will cast its spell again with a blaze of lights in the famous Castle’s “Stückegarten.” Festively decorated pagoda tents feature regional artists offering their handicrafts made of felt, wool, glass, wood, ceramic and leather.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked “Student’s Prison” in Heidelberg. I’ll bet you didn’t know about this unique prison for students (until 1914. Just outside of Heidelberg you can visit the “Heiligenberg” (mountain) and have lunch at the restaurant “Waldschenke”

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If You Go
To learn more about Heidelberg events and Heidelberg Palace click here, or visit the Germany National Tourist Office. I was a guest of Viking River Cruises while researching additional travel stories. Article, video and photos are my own, as are my opinions. www.heidelberg-event.com and www.schloss-heidelberg.de