Travel | City Guide: 12 Hours in Heidelberg, Germany

Hello travel friends, today I want to talk about Heidelberg! It’s been some time since I have travelled, but I finally got out of the city again to explore the world. Okay, I haven’t gotten very far this time, but have nonetheless discovered one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Which wasn’t really on my radar to be honest, not like Paris for example. And especially since it seems so popular with foreign tourists. I guess it’s the traditional and beautiful architecture and the gorgeous scenery!

If you really want to know why I haven’t published anything last Wednesday, I will not spare you the details: First of all, I got stung by one of my bees on Easter Monday (rest in peace dear). Which was my fault alone, because I was too lazy to put on my protective gear to remove that wedge minimizing the size of the hive entrance. But, you learn from you mistakes. Anyway, my foot grew the size of, hm, well, an eggplant? And it got hot and itchy, and then a huge nasty blister appeared. If you want photos (maybe you’re into that), contact me! 

So when I had a small circulatory failure on Wednesday morning, I went to the hospital. Just to be sure. They wanted to keep me there and told me horror stories of removing my leg as the worst possible outcome. However, I had trial work for a new job that day. And I knew from past experiences that it wouldn’t come that far. Please don’t imitate my behavior when stung by a bee! Since I know I’m not allergic, there was only the possibility of a bacterial infection. But, I kept a close (internal) eye on my health the whole day, and everything was fine by Friday. Whew. Now that’s the reason I wasn’t able to publish something!

So back to Heidelberg. 

My First Impression of Heidelberg

Since we arrived by car in Heidelberg and it was a holiday, there wasn’t much fuss concerning the arrival for us. We were lucky enough to park at the hotel parking garage (we stayed at the Crowne Plaza). And, we could already stow away our things in the hotel room. What a luxury to stay in such a hotel! Although I’m not a huge fan of outmoded furniture and hotels in general. So off we went into the old city. 

Heidelberg isn’t that huge compared to Cologne, since they have only around 150.000 residents. As we would only be there for one day, this was perfect! Plus, we could reach basically everything by foot. Another thing that was convenient was the fact that it was a holiday. So pretty much all the shops were closed. Don’t get me wrong! I do like to shop, but on this day I wanted to enjoy the city, not a crowded pedestrian area. Speaking of pedestrian area: Heidelberg has the longest in Europe, which might be wonderful for some tourists. But to me, they all kinda look the same.

As we reached everything by foot, we took our time to enjoy a cup of coffee and some juice in a sweet little café in one of the side alleys. Nana’s Lieblingsbar & Caféis a super cute place, make sure to pay it a visit when you’re there! After these refreshments it was time to get sporty and see Heidelberg castle. Don’t be afraid to go up there by foot, it’s just a rather steep ten-minute walk. Or you can take the stairs. Or, if you’re a bit lazy (I don’t judge), you can take the mountain railway. 

However, as we had the best of weathers, we enjoyed the walk and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and the river. Now I know why all those tourists love this place! Do make sure to stroll a bit in the gardens and on the terraces. If you want to, you can even visit the castle itself, but we wanted to enjoy the weather a bit more. 

What’s There to See?

Since Heidelberg isn’t a huge city like Hamburg or Berlin, you can easily discover it in one or two days. And I would recommend discovering Heidelberg by foot, this way you can soak in the city and enjoy the atmosphere best. Of course, there are a few things one has to see as a visitor in this beautiful city:

  • Philosophenweg – This hillside path offers you a marvelous view on Heidelberg, the river Neckar and Heidelberg Castle. It’s a small path that starts at the old bridge in the center of the town, leading you in serpentines past traditional huts and houses. As the name suggests, this is a place for thinkers – many poets, thinkers and artists have found their inspiration on this hill.
  • Alte Brücke – quite typical for riverside cities, an old bridge can be found in Heidelberg, and such a beautiful one! The old bridge has a nice photogenic bridge gate (which was sadly covered in scaffolding when we were there) and on the other side the ‘Liebesstein’ where you can attach love padlock. Just like in Cologne, I wonder who came up with this idea first…
  • Studentenkarzer – this one’s located near the pedestrian area and allows you an insight into the history of German fraternities. This ‘prison’ was formally used to incarcerate students to bring them to reason. You can see their creative writings on the walls. Nowadays it’s a museum and one of Heidelberg’s most popular sights.
  • Heiliggeistkirche Heidelberg – the biggest church in Heidelberg and the place of burial of the electoral princes. It’s located in the old town, right along the extension of the Alte Brücke. Nearby you find the old market place with a beautiful fountain, the city hall and lots of cafés.
  • Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle) – this is one of the main attractions in Heidelberg and requires you to either use the mountain railwayor your stamina to get on the hill. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you use the mountain railway, you can even go up further to see the Königstuhl with an even better view on the city. We enjoyed the stroll in the gardens and the view on the city and the old walls of the castle. I even discovered some beehives near the grand tower!

If you’re not as lucky as we were and experience bad weather, there are a handful of interesting museums to visit: 

  • Deutsches Verpackungs-Museum – experience old and new German packaging and design
  • Körperwelten – learn more about the human body and what makes it happy in this exhibition about happiness
  • Deutsches Apotheken-Museum – Inside Heidelberg Castle you can learn everything about pharmaceutics and its history from ancient times until today.
  • Studentenkarzer– see the artworks of countless students which were incarcerated for trivial offences from 1778 to 1914.

12 Hours in Heidelberg – My Recommendations

If you’re visiting Heidelberg, don’t make the mistake of falling into tourist traps. Which means, try to avoid restaurant chains (which is boring anyway) and orient yourself by the small backstreets. Because that’s where you find the true gems, in any big city. I would normally recommend avoiding the Hauptstraße (pedestrian area), but in Heidelberg I’ve found that there are some nice cafés and restaurants for having lunch and observing (judging, hehe) people. 

As to having dinner: Heidelberg has some excellent and quaint restaurants with local food and some excellent wine: For example Wirtshaus zum Spreisel,Schlossbergkelleror Schnitzelbank. And for the drink afterwards I recommend strolling along the Untere Straße, where you find loads of bars and places to drink wine. For example Weinlochor La Fée.

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  • Avatar
    Audrey Zehner
    8th May 2019 at 1:18 am

    Lovely pictures!

    • Michelle
      8th May 2019 at 6:07 am

      Thank you

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