The Best Travel Guide to Heidelberg
Section in Heidelberg
Do & See
Heidelberg is considered one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. The harmonious ensemble of Castle, Old Town and river in the midst of mountains was an inspiration to the poets and artists of the Romantic period, and has lost none of its fascination today for millions of visitors from all over the world. The symbol of the city, Heidelberg Castle, lies some 70 meters or 230 feet above the Neckar on the hillside of Heidelberg’s local mountain, the Königstuhl (King’s Chair). The ruins of the Castle towering above the town are among the most impressive sights that a trip through Germany can offer the marveling traveller. The city of the oldest university in Germany (founded in 1386, and since 2007 officially a University of Excellence) looks back on more than 800 years of history: from the former residence city of Germany’s Prince Electors up to today’s modern and future-oriented center of knowledge and economic growth. Among other achievements, in 2007 Heidelberg was the nation-wide leader in the conservation of nature.

Heidelberg Castle (with the Barrel Cellar and the German Pharmacy Museum)

The Castle was erected on a medieval fortress complex high above Heidelberg. For five centuries, the powerful Prince Electors of the Palatinate region, members of the House of Wittelsbach, resided here. In 1693, during the War of Palatinate Succession, the Castle with its towers was destroyed. The magnificent ruins became the symbol of an entire epoch, the German Romantic period. Today during the annual summer Castle Festivals the Castle is an enchanting stage setting for numerous open-air performances.
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Weisse Flotte Heidelberg (White Fleet)

Whether you are exploring Heidelberg for the first time, rediscovering your hometown or seeking a mini-vacation, a White Fleet cruise is a relaxing way to see one of Germany´s most beautiful townscapes. There are numerous cruises to choose from. During our tour of 40 minutes up to three hours you get great impression of Heidelberg, the castles in the Neckar valley, the Mannheim harbor or the Old Rhine at Worms. Chartern: Are you looking for a special location for an event or a festivity? Client parties, Corporate events, Private group trips, Weddings, and so on.. Great music, food, laughter and constantly changing scenery will make your celebration one to remember. We assist you in planning your special event. Please contact us for more detailled information about buffets and prices.
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Solarboat Neckarsonne

The ship (length: 36,90 m) on the Neckar River is powered by solar energy. The passengers experience the most delightful views of the city while the ship gently gildes by. The views are only enjoyable from the waterside. This is an environment that makes the trip the experience. Additional to the fascinating round view the ship offers many pleasant comforts: two bistros, PA system, and toilets. The largest and most modern solar steel ship in the world. Its maximum capacity is 200-250 persons. There are approximately 150 seats in the heated interior and 100 more available on the outside deck. The ship and the pier are both handicap accessible.” Charter Trips: You can also rent the solar shuttle for private charter trips. The commodious interior is ideal for bus and travelling groups. Weddings, meetings and all kind of group-events can be celebrated on board. Gliding on the Neckar River every event becomes a special highlight. We would be glad to support you in questions of catering, decoration, program and route.
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Heidelberger Liebesstein

The "Heidelberger Liebesstein" is an Odenwald sandstone which stands on the north side of the Old Bridge. Couples in love can fix an engraved love lock there to seal their eternal love. The engraved love locks seal the eternal love of couples. According to an old tradition, couples close the lock together and throw the key into the river. The view through the love stone opens up a unique photographic perspective of the romantic landmark of the city - Heidelberg Castle.
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Walking Tour of the Old Town

Enchanting alleys and squares, small gardens that pop up unexpectedly, museums and galleries: Heidelberg's Old Town has many facets. So that you do not miss any of it, we offer guided walks around the Old Town. Our tours will breathe life into the city's past, adding rich detail to the contours of today's city. Whether it is the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit), the Jesuit district, Germany's oldest university with its Studentenkarzer (Students´Prison), or the other sightseeing attractions: every place of interest in the Old Town has a unique ambience and history well worth immersing yourself in for a few minutes. The tour also passes along the Hauptstrasse (Main Street), one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe. Many detours into the alleyways of the Old Town confirm once again the truth of the sentence which says "only truly learn about the countryside by taking the back roads."
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City and Castle Sightseeing Tour

It feels like your own VIP box: Your seat on the bus gives you a stunning view of the "Heidelberg stage". First act: Karlsplatz in the center of the Old Town, with its imposing view of the Heidelberg Castle. This is followed by a leisurely drive along the river Neckar, with a break at the Old Bridge for a first photo stop. Discover the magical interplay of bustling everyday life and world-famous sights. Act 2 is entitled "Heidelberg Castle": There you will experience a fascinating tour through the history of the world famous building. A visit to the inner courtyard and the largest wine barrel in the world ever filled with wine. At the end of the guided tour your Castle ticket allows you to enjoy the ride on the funicular railway which stops in the Old Town at the bottom Kornmarkt station.
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The Old Bridge

Together with its famed Bridge Gate, which was once a part of the city wall, the Old Bridge has always been a symbol of Heidelberg. The statues of Karl-Theodor (who built and gave his name to the current stone bridge) and of Pallas Athena, the goddess of wisdom and culture, stand enthroned here above the Neckar. The Bridge Monkey, re-erected in the 1970’s on the Old Town side of the bridge, is one of the most popular photo motives. On the closest bridge column, below the statue of Karl-Theodor, are chiseled the impressive flood markings of recent centuries.
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Philosophenweg (Philosophers’ Walk)

Philosophers’ Walk is considered one of the most beautiful walkways in all Europe. The famed pathway that meanders along the sunny side of the Heiligenberg has inspired countless scholars and poets through the centuries, and today offers visitors an unimpaired view of the castle and town, as well as numerous benches on which to linger and enjoy the matchless panorama. Above Philosophers’ Walk is the Heiligenberg, 439 meters or 1,440 feet above sea level. On its the many footpaths, visitors can explore the still partially preserved celtic ring wall, the Roman Temple of Mercury, from the Mithra cult, the Thingstätte – a gigantic open-air stage from the time of National Socialism – and the ruins of the monasteries of St. Michael and St. Stephan.
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Heidelberg Funicular Railway and the Königstuhl Mountain

Aim High – Reach the Top with the Heidelberg Funicular Railway For over a hundred years, a ride on the Funicular Railway, has been a special experience in Heidelberg. From the romantic Old Town, the railway takes Heidelberg’s visitors and residents first to the Castle station, then to the Molkenkur station, and finally to the top of the Königstuhl (King’s Chair) Mountain, at a height of some 400 meters or 1,300 feet above the Neckar valley. Along the way there is much to discover. With the attractively priced Castle Ticket, the newly renovated railway transports you quickly and comfortably to the Castle and back again to the Kornmarkt station. The entrance fee for the Castle courtyard, the Barrel Cellar, and the German Pharmacy Museum is included in the price. Those wishing to go higher can take the railway up to the next stop, Molkenkur. Here, where in earlier times guests partook of a coveted whey cure (Molken-Kur) in the hotel, today’s visitor can enjoy coffee and cake on the spacious, sunny terrace looking onto the town. While the lower funicular presents its streamlined form in dynamic silver grey, a change of trains at the Molkenkur station propels you into nostalgia. From here onward, the historic original car designed of venerable wood in 1907, and completely restored in 2005, takes the visitor to the peak of the Königstuhl and the surrounding forests. The spectacular view, from a height of 567 meters or 1,860 feet above sea level, is sublime. From the terrace of the funicular station, the panorama stretches over the entire Rhine-Neckar area to the chain of hills of the Palatinate Wine Route.
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The Old University

In the Alte Aula, the hallowed old lecture hall of the Old University building, famous graduate students have defended their doctoral theses and received their degrees for some 300 years. Today the Alte Aula is the ceremonial hall of Heidelberg University. Mural paintings on the ceiling and front wall of the wood-panelled room represent the history of Germany’s oldest university. On the ground floor of the building, the three exhibition rooms of the University Museum trace in pictures, documents and German texts the history of the University.
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Studentenkarzer (Student Prison)

From 1778 to 1914, the university’s young students were briefly imprisoned here for minor offenses, such as willfully disturbing the peace of the citizenry. Many of the inmates passed the time away by immortalizing themselves on the walls of the prison with drawings, silhouettes, and expressive phrases. Their spirited artwork can be admired today on a visit to the prison. A combination ticket is available for entrance to the Alte Aula and the prison (Karzer).
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University library

The red sandstone facade of the library, adorned with sculpted figures and portraits, proclaims the significance of the building that presides over some 3 million books. Within, the staircase landings display carved busts of famous scholars, and the library’s regularly changing exhibitions invite a closer look. A special attraction is the "Codex Manesse", the world-famous medieval collection of secular Lieder which once was part of Heidelberg’s Bibliotheca Palatina.
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Market Square with the Church of the Holy Spirit

One of the city’s oldest squares, Market Square is framed on the east by the town hall and on the west by the Church of the Holy Spirit. In the center of the square stands the majestic Hercules Fountain, erected between 1706 and 1709 as a reminder of the immense efforts required to rebuild the city after its almost total destruction in the War of Palatinate Succession, 1689-1693. The Church of the Holy Spirit was constructed from 1400 by Ruprecht I as both a collegiate church and a final resting place. The distinctive feature of the church is its loft galleries, where originally the famed Bibliotheca Palatina was housed as a safely enchained library, until its abduction and transport to the Vatican in the Thirty Years’ War. Today the Church of the Holy Spirit is the city’s main Protestant church, and attracts visitors in large numbers to its concerts and church services.
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Kornmarkt with Madonna statue

The Madonna statue on Kornmarkt was erected in the course of recatholisation efforts under Prince Elector Karl Philipp. Created by Peter von den Branden in 1718, the Corn Market Madonna is considered the most beautiful baroque statue in Heidelberg. On the western side of the Kornmarkt stands the stately Palais Prince Carl – from 1788 an inn, till 1915 one of Heidelberg’s leading hotels, today an event venue with a magnificent Mirror Hall - and on the far eastern corner is the pale yellow house of the French Count de Graimberg. Charles de Graimberg became by his own volition and immense efforts the conservator of the castle and the founder of the city’s art collections. Graimberg died in 1864, having lived to see his dream of preserving the castle come true.
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Karlstor (Karl’s Gate)

The triumphal archway in honour of Prince Elector Karl Theodor was erected at the eastern end of the city between 1775 and 1781, following plans drawn up by the court architect Nicolas de Pigage. The Elector himself was present for the laying of the first stone on October 2, 1775, and it was also he who prompted the architect to blend elements from three submitted drafts into a final fourth plan. Thus came about a classical construction in the tradition of a Roman triumphal arch, crowned by four Palatinate lions. In the middle section of the facade facing the city are portraits of the Elector and his consort, beneath the electoral chapeau, while on the facade looking away from the city, the middle field bears the dedication inscription below a weaponry trophy with the coat of arms of the Electoral Palatinate. The sculptures are the work of Peter Simon Lamine. The gate was never entirely completed.
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