15 BEST Things To Do In Heidelberg, Germany

By Before You Go / January 4, 2024

Step into Heidelberg, where fairytale castles rise above a charming Old Town, where the world’s oldest university awaits curious minds, and where the Neckar River weaves through a picturesque landscape. Here are the best things to do in Heidelberg, Germany.

Number 15: Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg)

Perched majestically on a hilltop, the Heidelberg Castle is a prominent historic landmark that enthralls visitors with its rich history and architectural marvels. This magnificent Renaissance structure stands as a testament to the grandeur of the past and beckons you to explore its sprawling ruins. As you wander through its corridors, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of Heidelberg and its picturesque surroundings.

While you’re there, enjoy the fascinating stories that echo through the castle’s walls, transporting you back in time. And take your time to discover hidden corners, appreciate the intricate details, and soak in the charm of this magnificent castle.

Number 14: Heidelberg Old Town (Heidelberg Altstadt)

Heidelberg Old Town is an intriguing destination that transports you to another era. Its charm lies in the delightful blend of history and beauty. Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets and immerse yourself in the centuries-old architecture that adorns every corner. 

Admire the intricate fountains, masterpieces of craftsmanship passed down through generations. Before leaving, visit any of the top museums scattered throughout the district, each offering a trove of captivating stories behind their doors.

Number 13: House Of The Knight (Haus Zum Ritter)

The House of The Knight holds a treasure trove of cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the city. Admire the intricate façade, adorned with impressive characters that depict the legendary Charles Berlier and his beloved wife. 

As you explore Heidelberg’s enchanting attractions, pause for a moment to appreciate the remarkable preservation efforts that have safeguarded this historical gem throughout the ages. Allow yourself to be transported back in time, which allows you to imagine the stories and events that have unfolded within these ancient walls.
Number 12: German Pharmacy Museum (Deutsches Apotheken-Museum)

If you’re interested in the history of German medicine and pharmaceutics, then the German Pharmacy Museum, nestled within the stunning Heidelberg Castle, is the right place to be. Prepare to be amazed as you step into a world where the past comes alive.

Explore the museum’s absorbing exhibits, filled to the brim with lovely artifacts like old prescription bottles and beautifully crafted apothecary jars. Get ready to go on a journey through time as you discover how pharmaceutical packaging and advertising have transformed over the years.

Number 11: Schwetzingen Castle

Schwetzingen Castle, located conveniently between Heidelberg and Mannheim, is an entrancing destination you don’t want to miss. This magnificent baroque-style summer residence of Prince-Elector Carl Theodor boasts expansive and attractive gardens that are a sight to behold. 

As you wander through the appealing grounds, you’ll immerse yourself in a world of culture and beauty. Learn more about the rich history behind the castle and be engrossed by the intricate details of its design. The gardens alone are enough to leave you breathless, with their grandeur and allure.

Number 10: Heidelberg Market Square (Marktplatz)

Heidelberg Market Square is a vibrant destination with a rich history. This picturesque spot is loved by tourists and locals alike, offering a charming atmosphere to explore. Strolling through its cobblestone streets, you’ll love the architectural wonders that grace the square.

For more excitement, soak in the lively energy of street performers who never fail to entertain. Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine and tantalize your taste buds with delectable delights. As you wander, take the chance to browse through the charming stores that adorn the square, perfect for finding unique souvenirs.

Number 9: Student Jail In Heidelberg University (Studentenkarzer)

When in Heidelberg, be sure to visit the Student Jail at Heidelberg University. This historical site played a significant role in the 18th century as a place where students were confined for breaking academic rules and campus customs. 

Interestingly, classes were still conducted within the cells, allowing students to continue their education while being disciplined. The Student Jail offers a unique glimpse into university traditions and student discipline from centuries ago, making it an essential stop for those interested in the history of higher education.

Number 8: Neckar River

Hop on a boat and cruise along the Neckar River for a delightful adventure! This sightseeing cruise lets you discover the city and its castle from a whole new perspective. As you glide along the tranquil river, you’ll be treated to amazing views of the charming Old Town, which stretches along the waterway. 

Don’t miss out on this quintessential Heidelberg experience! It’s not just about enjoying the picturesque scenery; it’s also about familiarizing oneself with the local culture. Join the locals who rely on boats for their daily commute and feel the true essence of German life.

By the way, check the links in the description for recommended tour operators that will enhance your Heidelberg experience, and save you valuable time and effort.

Number 7: Heidelberg Philosopher’s Walk

For a more thrilling experience, don’t miss the chance to hike along the famous Philosopher’s Walk. This scenic trail on the south side of Heidelberg offers astounding views that showcase the beauty of the city and the majestic Neckar River.

Envelope yourself in nature as you embark on this adventure-filled hike. But it’s not just about the views! Join a guided tour to discover the interesting history behind this trail. Learn about the philosophers who once strolled these paths and gain insights into their teachings.

Number 6: Heidelberg Old Bridge (Karl Theodor Bridge)

Heidelberg Old Bridge is an iconic landmark that you simply can’t ignore when visiting the city. Step onto the bridge and be transported back in time as you walk in the footsteps of Prince Karl Theodor himself, who commissioned its construction over 200 years ago

As you stroll along the bridge, take a moment to appreciate its nine arches, which are adorned with sculptures depicting Prince Karl Theodor and Roman deities.

Don’t forget to admire the medieval-style gate, a remnant of the city’s ancient wall. This bridge is not just a beautiful sight, but a testament to Heidelberg’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Number 5: Königstuhl Funicular

Get ready for a fantastic adventure on the Konigstuhl Funicular, famously known as The King’s Seat! This incredible mountain cable railway takes you on a thrilling journey from Heidelberg’s old town to the majestic Königstuhl hill, soaring 1,860 feet (567 m) high. 

Nestled in the Odenwald Mountains, this hill is connected to the Old Town by the Bergbahn funicular railway. When you reach the top via The King’s Seat, get ready to be awestruck by the jaw-dropping panoramic view of Heidelberg. 

Number 4: Day Trip To Bad Wimpfen

Looking for a day trip away from Heidelberg? Look no further than Bad Wimpfen, a medieval town oozing with charm! Its well-preserved buildings and winding streets will transport you back in time. 

Don’t miss Wimpfen Imperial Palace, a true icon of the city, where you can soak up Germany’s history and enjoy cultural events year-round. For another glimpse into the past, visit the Bad Wimpfen Rathaus, a town hall that dates back to 1526 and was once part of Staufer Castle. 

And if you’re searching for unique souvenirs or local artwork, swing by Steinhaus. You’ll find everything from handmade pottery to beautiful paintings and jewelry.

Number 3: Heiligenberg Hill

Climbing to Heiligenberg Hill is highly recommended as you visit Heidelberg. With its impressive height of over 1,300 feet (400 m), this hill rewards you with hair-raising views and a perfect setting for outdoor activities like hiking.

But it’s not just the scenery that makes it special; the hill has deep ties to myths and stories, making it an ideal spot for history enthusiasts. As you explore this natural wonder, you’ll also get a glimpse into the local culture.

Number 2: Dilsberg Fortress (Burgfeste Dilsberg)

Dilsberg Fortress is a hidden gem nestled on a hill, beckoning you to explore its ancient wonders. With its origins dating back to the 12th century, this architectural wonder was crafted by the counts of Lauffen and has stood the test of time. 

A mere 30-minute drive from Heidelberg, it’s worth every minute of the journey. Once you arrive, prepare to be engrossed by its historical allure and astonishing views. Take a relaxed stroll along the fortress walls, enjoy the rich history, and soak in the awesome vistas of the surrounding landscape.

Number 1: Church Of The Holy Spirit (Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg)

Located in the marketplace of Heidelberg’s old town center, the Church of the Holy Spirit is an iconic Gothic-style church that stands out for its impressive red brick tower. 

Built between 1398 and 1515, this church boasts magnificent architecture, including Romanesque and Gothic styles that will leave you enthralled. Climb to the top of the church tower to get a wide view of Heidelberg’s picturesque streets below and enjoy a beautiful glimpse into Germany’s rich history.

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