Heidelberg is a city of about 150,000 located on the
Neckar River. The area was first inhabited by the Celts around 400
BC, while Heidelberg was founded around 800 AD. The city has
become very popular with the increase in river cruising on the Rhine and
the Danube. It is about 20 minutes from Mannheim on the Rhine
River and 1.5 hours from Miltenberg on the Main-Danube Canal. The
center of attraction is Heidelberg Castle and Heidelberg University is
well known internationally. The city is renowned for its large wine barrels.
Heidelberg was not significantly
damaged in World War II and it became the headquarters for American
forces in Europe during the war.
Heidelberg is a summer tourist destination. Average temperatures peak in July
and August at
80 F (26 C), while lows are about 60 F (16 C).
and January average highs are 44 F (6 C) and average lows are
just above freezing. Precipitation peaks in July and again in
November. August is likely the best month to visit Heidelberg for
Heidelberg is best accessed by train. Mannheim is
under a half hour to west and it provides high speed train service
connections. Alternately, the autobahn connects with Frankfurt an
hour to the north and Karlsruhe 40 minutes to the south. Rhine River
cruises typically disembark passengers in Mannheim for an excursion by bus
to Heidelberg. The central station in Heidelberg is at the western
edge of town and a tram is available for access to the downtown
area. Heidelberg Castle is accessible from town by funicular,
charter tour bus or by
Visit Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss)
- the most popular attraction in Heidelberg. Walk up to the
castle from the Old Town or take the Bergbahn (funicular) from the
Kornmarkt up the hill. The gardens are free, while the Castle
has a small admission fee. The Germany Pharmacy Museum is
Walk the Old Town (Altstadt) or take a guided
tour. Stops include Universitätsplatz at Heidelberg University,
the Karzer Student Prison on Augustinergasse, the Jesuit Church (Jesuitenkiche),
the Kornmarkt (corn market), the Markplatz, the Church of the Holy
Spirit (Heiliggeistkirche), Untere Strasse,
Mainstreet (Hauptstrasse), Knight St George's house (Haus zum Ritter,
now a hotel), the Old Bridge (Alte Brücke) with the Brass Monkey
Statue at the Bridge Gate (Brückentor) and St Peter's Church
(Peterskirche, the oldest church in Heidelberg).
Ride the Bergbahn (funicular) - First stop is
the Heidelberg Castle. Second stop is the Hotel Molkenkur restaurant
and guesthouse. Third stop is the Konigsstuhl (King's throne) for a view of
the city and the country side, plus the Falconry bird show, Märchen
Paradies children's theme park, the Berghotel und Restaurant Königstuhl and the State Observatory.
Visit at Christmas to see the transformation of all
the market squares.
Walk 45 minutes through the forest to Heiligenberg to
see Thingstätte (a Nazi amphitheatre) and an abandoned monastery.
The Bridge Gate on the Old Bridge
Savor the Tastes of Heidelberg:
Try a Heidelberg Student's
Kiss. They are made of chocolate
praline nougat and wafers covered in chocolate and individually
wrapped in a small picture of a couple kissing. In the 1880s men
and women were discouraged from meeting in public. Fridolin Knösel
came up with the idea of putting a secret compartment in the chocolate
wrapper so that notes could be concealed and exchanged. The idea
caught on with university students, who began exchanging chocolate in
the same manner that text messages are exchanged today. Café Knösel
still sells Heidelberg Student Kisses and so do a number of other
retailers in the tourist district.