We visited Heidelberg, Germany in late winter, and it was breathtaking! There is so much to see and do in this sprawling, historic town, we could’ve spent an entire month here and not done everything we wanted to. Home of one of the best universities in Europe, Heidelberg University, this town was once the home of several German royals and nobles throughout its thousand year history. I loved walking the cobblestone streets, exploring Heidelberg Castle, popping in and out of shops, and sampling hearty local foods. Scroll on to see my recommendations of what to eat, see and do in Heidelberg, Germany!
Where to Stay
During our time in Heidelberg, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the City Centre. The cost of parking and breakfast was included in our stay, they had a lovely pool and spa area, and it was located right in the middle of the city. The staff all spoke English, and despite being right next to a railroad, we didn’t hear the noise from our room, and we were in a room facing the street. The next time we visit, we will likely stay at the hotel nearest Heidelberg Castle, Europäischer Hof Heidelberg, simply because it’s closer to what we were interested in doing. Other hotels that were recommended to us were the Hotel NH Heidelberg (decorated in a white monochrome & green palette) and Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg (also near the castle).
Heidelberg felt very safe, and we didn’t feel uncomfortable walking alone at night. Everyone we met was kind and eager to practice their English with us. Like any bigger tourist city, just be aware of your surroundings and be alert.
What to See
Heidelberg Castle was one of the main draws of the city for us, because both my husband and I share a love for architecture and history. Read more about its impressive history, pink color, and see more photos of it here. The entire town is beautiful and full of fascinating shops, museums, and restaurants, so we spent a day just exploring Old Town and the more modern downtown. Heidelberg has a massive zoo as well that is worth seeing, because they have animals from all over the world and participate in several conservation programs throughout Europe and abroad. I loved walking through town and taking in the sights and sounds of the city, which is made even more enjoyable because I love photography and took as many photos of the town as I could. There are some very large churches in town, a market area, and the 7 arch bridge shown above that are all worth seeing as well. is the best place to see the sunset in the city, and you can simply take a tram to get to the top of the hill, or drive if you have a vehicle. We had a picnic at the top of the hill while the sun was going down and it was such a great view of the village, the valley, and the rivers and hills surrounding town.
What to Eat
There was so much great food in Heidelberg, I loved it! We ate at the restaurant inside Heidelberg Castle called Scharff’s Schlossweinstube and it was delightful. While we were walking downtown, we tried a local dessert called a Schneeball which is a fried ball of dough, flavoring and sometimes fruits, and I highly recommend trying at least one type, because they’re only made in this region of Germany. We purchased two vegetarian Schneeballen (fried in oil and not fat), for around €3, but we couldn’t finish it because they were massive! We ate breakfast at our hotel most days, and headed into town for lunch or dinner at places like Bay Jok (vegetarian Thai restaurant), Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus (Heidelberg’s oldest brewery), Gogi Mactha (Korean Grill & BBQ), and Schlossbergkeller Heidelberg all of which were outstanding. There is a huge variety of foods from around the region and Eurasia, as well as lots of vegan and vegetarian options around the city. While we aren’t picky eaters, we were surprised to find we really enjoyed everywhere that we ate while in town.
What to Do
We had the most fun wandering around the city and exploring the markets while practicing our German. Heidelberg has some beautiful spas, great nightlife, and interesting museums, incredible architecture, as well as some awesome spots for shopping and just sitting and people watching. We were a lot more spontaneous with this trip than we usually are, so we just arrived in town and went to places the locals recommended, or that we found on our own.
Overall, I’d highly recommend adding Heidelberg to your Germany travels. The city is vibrant and full of wonderful people, the food is fantastic, the architecture is unique and beautiful, and the cultural sites are really interesting. Have you ever been to Heidelberg? If so, what were your favorite things to do and see in the city?
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