Heidelberg Castle and Bridge, Germany

Hotels in Heidelberg, Germany

Where to stay - Accommodation in Heidelberg

Home of Germany's oldest university, Heidelberg is a perennial favourite even among veteran tourists, not in the least because of its picture-books look captured on canvass by British William Turner.

Modern-day Heidelberg had its beginnings in 5th century B.C. when it was the site of a Celtic fortress, upon which a monastery grew around it in the 12th century. "Heidelberch" rose (and fell and rose again) to become the seat of Conrad, Count Palatine, with the Heidelberg Castle – now in half-ruins and overlooking the red-roofed Altstadt or old downtown – becoming residence to various dukes and German emperors, and one-time prison to deposed Antipope John XXIII.

Walking around the city's Baroque Old Town (which fortunately survived unscathed from Allied bombs) makes for a great introduction to Heidelberg and would help you understand why the city was the birthplace of German romanticism led by the poet Goethe, and attracted other authors like Victor Hugo and Mark Twain. Follow in their tradition and linger around 16th century market squares and open-air cafes right at the doorsteps of the hotels in Heidelberg, Germany. The Old Town runs for a modest two kilometres and paved with cobblestone, so strolling around the neighbourhood with Renaissance townhouses overlooking pedestrians is a bit of a time-travel in itself. Book online to find where to stay in Heidelberg old town.

But why settle for a townhouse when you have a castle right in your horizon? Within striking distance of affordable accommodation in Heidelberg, Germany lies the famed Heidelberg Schloss. Linger in the castle’s courtyard and in the beautiful gardens; familiarize yourself with city landmarks from the terraces; or plan to exchange vows in the chapel with the romantic half-ruins as your backdrop (many couples do, and are pleasantly surprised that they can stay within budget, too).

Feast your eyes and breathe in nature as you burn calories when you follow in the footsteps of Hegel via the 300-year-old Philosopher's Walk. This will take you through exotic spots and blooms and wooded areas of the city and unto the top of the hill with magnificent views of the river valley and castle. If that would prove more than what your legs can afford, cross the medieval bridge which spans the river Neckar, and take in views of the castle from here, or get your feet wet by rowing a boat and picking out a picnic spot in the grassy riverbanks. The Carl Theodor Old Bridge (Alte Brucke) was built in the 18th century and connects either side of the Neckar River.  Not only is it an important historic site but it is also one of the most scenic in the city.

Then follow the cobblestoned streets running parallel to the river to get to Old Town's lower street and join the 30,000-strong student population of Heidelberg University for great parties at basement prices. While it’s easy to crawl back to your bed and breakfast in Heidelberg, Germany from one of these late-ending student parties, you will be well-advised to keep your cool when coming out to avoid a run-in with the police.

Avoid that scenario altogether with a more tourist-friendly venue at the bustling Marktplatz, the main square, where you can drink at your leisure while doing a harmless exercise of looking at people. Some prefer to climb the tower of the Church of the Holy Spirit for great views and a modicum of peace and quiet that can be hard to come by when the inebriated college crowd colonizes the Studentenkarzer (student jail) nearby.

Things to do in Heidelberg

The Heidelberg Zoo is home to a large collection of animals while Tinnunculus focusses more on birds.  Both of which are great places to visit and, in particular, for younger travellers.  So, if you are taking your children on a family holiday, you should visit at least one of these two facilities.

As for the local gardens, two favourites include the Botanischer Garten der Universitat Heidelberg and the Bonsai Zentrum.  These are two lovely locations to enjoy the therapeutic effect of nature as you take your time to walk around.

There are also a number of fantastic museums in Heidelberg.  The Old Heidelberg University (Alte Universitat), the Deutsches Apotheken Museum, the Museum of the Palatinate (Kurpfalzisches Museum) and the Friedrich Ebert Memorial (Gedenkstatte) are all top choices.  The Church of the Holy Ghost (Heiliggeistkirche), the University Library (Universitatsbibliothek) and a trip up to the King's Throne (Konigstuhl) are all popular sights and activities in the area.