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Heidelberg, Germany | 15+ Stunning Things to do in Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a picturesque town in Germany, just outside the city of Frankfurt in the southern region of the country. It’s known for being one of the most romantic cities in Europe, with its magnificent history and stunning river views. If you are planning to visit Heidelberg here are some things to do in Heidelberg, Germany. 

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Things to do in Heidelberg Germany - Image of the town of Heidelberg

Heidelberg, Germany | 15+ Stunning Things to do in Heidelberg

Heidelberg is a city rich in history and things to see. With over 55,000 university students this city is most definitely alive with activity. There are so many things for you to discover around this amazing city that it’s hard to keep track of them all. 

Top Heidelberg Attractions

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle - Things to do in Heidelberg

The castle of Heidelberg was originally built in the early 13th century as a fortification. Heidelberg Castle is one of the most iconic sites in the city. The original castle was built sometime between 1037 and 1050, however, it has been modified many times since then. The castle of Heidelberg is one of the most important Renaissance buildings in Europe, and it has become a popular Heidelberg tourist attraction.

Heidelberg Castle is one of the most iconic sites and German Landmarks in the city. The original castle was built sometime between 1037 and 1050, however, it has been modified many times since then. After several wars, it fell into disrepair, but during the 19th century, King Louis I had it rebuilt into its current form. The current castle’s design is a result of many years of construction and renovations. Things to do in Heidelberg Germany include a visit to the castle’s museum, picturesque gardens, and stunning views across the town. 

TIP: You can purchase your tickets at the entrance near Parkhaus P12. You can either hike or take the cable car up from Parkhaus P12. Wanting to take a tour from Frankfurt? Save money and book your here!

Deutsches Apotheken-Museum

Heidelberg Castle Pharmacy

The museum is located in the old Heidelberg castle and offers a very interesting insight into not only the history of drugs but also methods of dispensing them. It is well worth a visit to learn more about something that you use every day and may not fully understand. This is included in the ticket to enter Heidelberg Castle. This was one of the most interesting things to do in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg Tun

Heidelberg Tun - Second Largest Wine Barrel in the World at Heidelberg Castle

This is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Heidelberg. It’s an enormous wine barrel, holding 220,000 liters (61,700 gallons) of wine! The Heidelberg Tun stands in the cellar of a medieval building that was once used to store and age the wine. This attraction is very popular with visitors throughout the year. Did you know that this is the second largest wine barrel in the world?

Karl Theodor Bridge aka The Old Bridge

The Old Bridge in Heidelberg

The Old Bridge was first constructed in 1395, but it has been destroyed and reconstructed many times over the centuries. Things to do in Heidelberg Germany include strolling across the bridge at sunset when it is illuminated. The bridge towers above both banks of the river and offers stunning views out across the valley towards the castle on one side and the old town on the other. 

Schloss Schwetzingen  

Also known as Schwetzingen Palace, is filled with many beautiful things to see, and one of the best ways to explore it is by car. There is a charge for parking but it’s worth it when you get to see all that there is to offer within the palace and gardens. The path leading to the Schloss Schwetzingen is one of the best in Europe, it’s known as the “most beautiful avenue in the world”.  

The palace and gardens are both open daily from 9 am until 6 pm from April until October and between 10 am and 4 pm from November until March.

Heidelberg Zoo – things to do in Heidelberg with Kids

The Heidelberg Zoo which is home to over 1,000 animals is located here. Heidelberg Zoo is located on the northern edge of town at Bergheimer Strasse. You can visit with your family for less than €10 per person which is a great little outing for you all. The zoo offers free admission to all visitors, including children under 3 years.

Church of the Holy Spirit

Church of the Holy Spirit

The Church of the Holy Spirit is in the center of town, in Heidelberg’s old quarter. Things to do in Heidelberg include visiting this stunning Gothic church designed by Giovanni Battista Brocchi. The interior has some impressive frescoes that date back to 1491. 

The Philosophers’ Way

The Philosophers’ Way is a path that takes you from Heidelberg’s old town, through the hills and pastures that overlook the river. Things to do in Heidelberg Germany include walking or cycling along this scenic route.

Thingstätte Heidelberg

Thingstatt in Heidelberg

Things to do in Heidelberg Germany include a visit to the Thingsstätte, which is a permanent outdoor installation by artist Joseph Kosuth. The Thingsstättes are intended as places of discussion and debate. It was known to be created by the Nazis and was used to spread propaganda. 

Lindt Chocolate Boutique

Lindt Chocolate Boutique

You must include a visit to the Lindt Chocolate Boutique which offers free chocolate tastings Things to do in Heidelberg at night includes visiting the shop during their evening chocolate-making session.  

Studentenkarzer 

This historic structure is located near the old university. This is where students who were accused of committing offenses against the university would be sent to serve their sentences. The sentences included drunken offenses and practical jokes. Although some of the building was torn down in 1890, people can still see the remains of these rooms while visiting the castle. 

Heidelberg University 

Things to do in Heidelberg include a visit to this historic institution where some of the world’s most influential minds gained their knowledge. Germany includes using the campus as a backdrop for your Heidelberg travel photos.  Be sure to visit the university’s library. 

Botanical Gardens Heidelberg

The Botanical Gardens are situated near the northern part of the city next to the Neckar River. The gardens contain a wide range of plants from around the world, and it is common for people to come on a nice day to relax in the park-like setting while enjoying the fresh air along with a view of some flowers. 

Cinemas in Heidelberg Germany

There are many cinemas in this town. The new “Central” cinema is situated in the central downtown area and has international films as well as those from Germany.

Heidelberg City Centre 

Many of the most popular activities in Heidelberg are based in or around the city centre, including the numerous cafes that line the cobbled streets, offering a great chance to people watch when you’re not checking out the wonderful architecture! 

The city center is home to Heidelberg Cathedral, Market Square, and the River Neckar. 

Kurpfälzisches Museum

The museum hosts a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including those related to the history of Heidelberg. The building also offers a nice view over the Neckar River and is located right next door to the famous castle. 

Heiligenberg (Holy Mountain)

Heiligenberg (Holy Mountain)

If you like hiking then this is definitely the place for you! There are many paths that lead up Heiligenburg mountain into the forest. The path is 10 kilometers long and it takes approximately 3 hours to complete. There are many beautiful views along the way, so take your camera to document your hike. 

Heidelberg Christmas Markets

Heidelberg is a popular destination during the holidays because many of the local events are usually held on Sundays. Beginning in mid-December, Heidelberg hosts its annual Christmas Market at the castle. This event features unique gifts, including handmade ornaments and toys that were made by locals who are trying to make a living. The holiday decorations are beautiful and it is a nice place to spend the day shopping during the festive season.

FAQS about Heidelberg

Want to know more about Heidelberg? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Heidelberg. 

View of Heidelberg Castle from the other side of the river

Is Heidelberg worth seeing? Why visit Heidelberg

Ultimately, YES! Heidelberg is one of the most well-preserved German cities, with many historic buildings that are still in use today. The town’s castle, the Heidelberg Castle, has stood for over nine centuries and houses artifacts in its museum & gallery.

How long do you need in Heidelberg?

We spent one day in Heidelberg and unfortunately we didn’t feel like it was enough time. We did see a lot, but there were a few things we did miss out on. 

Best time to visit Heidelberg

Heidelberg gets extremely crowded in summer, so the best time to visit is during autumn or spring. Things to do in Heidelberg at Christmas include taking part in the festive markets and enjoying some hot mulled wine. 

How to get to Heidelberg

By train, it’s a 90 minute trip from Frankfurt and just over an hour from Mannheim. You can also look into taking a tour and save money and book your here!

How to get around Heidelberg

Cycling is a great way to get around and there are many cycling paths around the area, plus you can hire bikes to use while you’re there. The city once you get there is fairly walkable which makes it pretty easy to get around. 

Where to stay in Heidelberg

There are many hotels of all classes available to suit every budget.

  • BS Boutique Hotel – This is a quaint little hotel that is quite beautiful and located on the other side of the river where you can get a great view of the famous Heidelberg Castle. 
  • Boardinghouse Luise 5 – This is a great small apartment located in a beautiful traditional building in the heart of Heidelberg. It’s centrally located which makes it a great location to stay at. 
  • Staycity Aparthotels Heidelberg – This is an affordable option that is perfect for families and not too far from the main and central area. It’s a beautiful hotel which has a bus stop right out front that can easily take you to the main square. 

Where to shop in Heidelberg

There are a few cute shops to go shopping at in Heidelberg. A couple of the ones I saw that were amazing and you should check out are the tourist shops near the cathedral. They have some amazing cuckoo clocks and beer steins there. 

  • Lindt Chocolate Boutique
  • Marketplace
  • Baren Treff – A Gummy Bear Store
  • Unicorn – A Christmas and Trinket Store

What to eat in Heidelberg | Where to eat in Heidelberg

If you are looking for some traditional German food, then Schnitzel will be the best choice by far. However, there are quite a few delicious restaurants that aren’t just German in the area as well. Since Heidelberg is pretty much a small college town, there are a lot of variety in cuisines in the area. 

  • Soban Restaurant – Korean Restaurant
  • Emma 24 Lieferservice – Pizza and Burger Restaurant
  • Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg – German Fine Dining, you’ll need to make a reservation
  • Schnitzelhaus Alte Munz
  • Mosch Mosch
  • Weinstube Schnitzelbank

Where to park in Heidelberg

Parking in Heidelberg can be quite intense and it can be quite stressful if you don’t know where to park. I’ve made it easier for those of you who are either living in Germany or renting a car in Europe. These are the best places to park in Heidelberg and the prices are fairly affordable. The Parkhaus P12 parking lot is close to the cable car you take up to see the castle. 

Currency in Heidelberg

The currency used in Heidelberg Germany is the Euro. Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife venues will accept credit card payments where ever you happen to visit while you are there. 

Language in Heidelberg

The people of Heidelberg are very proud of their city and, therefore are happy to help you when you are in town. The language spoken in Heidelberg Germany is mainly German although many people can speak English too. 

Things to do in Heidelberg on a Sunday

A lot of things may be closed in Germany on a Sunday, but these are some of the things to do in Heidelberg on a Sunday. According to Google Maps and their website hours, it shows that these locations are open on Sunday. However, I would double-check prior to making your trip to Heidelberg. 

  • Heidelberg Castle
  • Deutsches Apotheken-Museum
  • Heiligenberg (Holy Mountain)
  • Karl Theodor Bridge aka The Old Bridge
  • Thingstätte Heidelberg
  • Kurpfälzisches Museum
  • Heidelberg City Centre 
  • The Philosophers’ Way
  • Church of the Holy Spirit
  • Heidelberg Zoo

Map of Heidelberg

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