Why Heidelberg, Germany Should Top Your List

What lives in Germany and has castles, rivers, fairytale bridges, scenic vistas, shopping and nightlife all within a few square miles? The charming town of Heidelberg! It’s a small city, but in my opinion, one of the best places to visit in Germany!

Heidelberg is a university town in the southern part of Germany. It is right on the Nektar river (which lends to some of its charm and is one of the most picturesque cities I’ve been to! It has remained true to its historic roots (surviving WWII Ally bombing) and has beautiful baroque architecture and charming cobblestone streets.

If you’re looking for ideas for where to go while in Germany or already know you’re visiting Heidelberg and need some ideas for what to do, you’re in the right place!

Heidelberg, Germany
Old Town “Allstadt”

What I’ll cover:

  • What to see
  • Where to eat
  • Where to drink
  • Where to stay

What to See:

Heidelberg, Germany
The castle

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle sits high above the city in the hills. At night, it offers a romantic glow over the Old Town to add to the already great ambiance of the cobblestone streets and glittering river. Some of it is actually in ruins, but still very interesting to see! They say at least a million people visit each year. You can climb, drive or take the funicular to the top. Don’t forget to look down and admire the city! You can spend time in the castle gardens for free or buy tickets to view the castle interiors. (See more on the website)

Heidelberg, Germany
The Old Bridge

Old Bridge 

The old bridge is one of the million dollar shots of Heidelberg. It connects the two sides of the River Nektar and has an imposing and impressive Baroque style bridge gate and sculptures of monkeys across it! Bring your camera and try to get there early to get some good pics!

The Hauptstraße Heidelberg, Germany
The Hauptstraße

Allstadt (Old Town)

This part of the city right beneath the castle is uber charming. It is an area of colorful buildings, winding cobblestone streets, shopping, cafes, restaurants, hotels and university school buildings. The Hauptstraße pedestrian street runs through this area which is a long shopping street filled with cute local shops and also ones you know such as H&M and Mango. Between the shops are pubs and restaurants, so there is plenty to keep busy with as you stroll through!

Heidelberg, Germany
Banks of the River Nektar

Philosophers’ Way

This is a scenic walk where you can look out over the city, named for the philosophers and professors that would stroll this path for quiet and solitude. It is located on the banks of the river opposite that of the castle. If you can make it for sunrise or sunset, those will be the best viewing times. You can walk there from Old Town, but there are steep steps to get up to where you need so you can also take a taxi and walk back after, which will save you some energy. You can easily spend 30 minutes to an hour walking the path, taking in the scenery and decompressing.  

Heidelberg, Germany
Colorful streets of Heidelberg

Where to Eat

Zur Herrenmühle – Rustic, authentic (and charming!) restaurant in Old Town with German/European menu. 

Wirtshaus zum Nepomuk – German restaurant right in Old Town with pretty presentation. This one was a gem! Really enjoyed our dinner here. 

Wirtshaus zum Spreisel – This historic German restaurant is located right by the river and has been serving customers for over 400 years! 

Heidelberg, Germany

Where to Drink

The Dubliner – When your feet need a rest from shopping (or you simply want a beer!) you can stop at this Irish pub right on the Hauptstraße. The also have some great bar snacks.   

Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus – Brew pub famous for brewing the world’s strongest beer at over 30% alcohol content. 

Bent Bar – This one was my favorite! A cozy, local spot focused on making really great handmade cocktails. When you need a break from the beer, this is the perfect spot! You’ll also be unlikely to see a lot of tourists here. 

Heidelberg, Germany
View from castle hill

Where to Stay

Villa Marstall – This is where I stayed and it was perfect. Great location, friendly front desk (fluent English) and comfortable rooms. The rooms were small, but most are in Europe. 

Hip Hotel – Great boutique 4-star choice right in Old Town. I always appreciate a design hotel! 

Qube Heidelberg – Another design hotel, this one offering a roof terrace with views of the city.

Trust me when I say you should carve out a 2-day stop to enjoy Heidelberg! For other ideas to round out your trip itinerary, check out: 

Old Bridge Gate in Heidelberg, Germany
Old Bridge Gate

 

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Author

Marissa is a travel consultant and digital marketing professional from Chicago, USA. Her business, Sips & Sojourn, specializes in helping busy people with full-time jobs travel more and travel better. Travel is Marissa's absolute passion but she believes you can hold down a successful career AND travel the globe. Marissa enjoys unique destinations, design hotels, sampling a culture's food and drink and meeting local guides focused on small, immersive experiences.

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