Tips & ideas for your visit to Heidelberg

With its impressive castle ruins, quaint Old Town and its location on the steep, green slopes of the beautiful Neckar Valley, Heidelberg is among the most popular tourist destinations in Baden-Württemberg. No other German city is more symbolic of German Romanticism, as Heidelberg was home to many renowned poets, thinkers, and philosophers.

With a population of around 160,000, Heidelberg is the fifth-largest city in Baden-Württemberg. Located on the edge of the Odenwald directly on the Neckar, it couldn't be more picturesque. That's why it has always been one of my and many others' favorite destinations for a day trip, as Heidelberg is only 45 minutes by car from my hometown of Heilbronn.

The journey by train, bike, or car along the Neckar Valley is a highlight in itself. You will pass numerous castles and palaces, vineyards and forests on this picturesque journey. But watch out: there are plenty of speed cameras around here.

More than 11.9 million tourists from all over the world flock to Heidelberg every year. The historic old town, Heidelberg Castle and the Philosophers' Walk are well-known for their stunning views. Within Germany, Heidelberg is primarily known as a student city. Founded in 1386, the Ruprecht Karls University is, in fact, the oldest in the country. It is therefore no wonder that the 30,000 students add a special flair to the city.

Student pubs, street art and many concerts are very popular as a result. In the following travel blod you will find my insights for your trip to Heidelberg. Enjoy your trip!

Why a trip to Heidelberg is worth it

Heidelberg is by far the most beautiful city in the region, call home. Heidelberg Castle is a symbol of German Romanticism, the Old Town has a picturesque beauty and the Philosophers' Walk and the Königsstuhl offer wonderful views of Heidelberg's highlights.

Visit the many student pubs, explore the street art and take a boat trip on the Neckar. Go on a hike or explore the city with the many activities on offer. I keep coming back here to discover new perspectives of this beautiful city.

Tips and ultimate Travel Guide to Heidelberg, Germany

Getting there: how to Travel to Heidelberg

As there are plenty of parking spaces in the city center, but they are often filled up (there are many multistory car parks), I would advise you to travel to Heidelberg on the train. That way, you can also enjoy the panoramic journey along the Neckar. In addition, there are some great street art paintings at the main station, which you can spot as soon as you arrive.

The main station is located in the center of the Old Town.

How do I get around in Heidelberg?

Definitely not by car. Parking spaces are rare and expensive, especially around the Old Town. It's better to use public transport or, ideally, to walk.

Within the city, you can actually easily get to your destination on foot, and this is the best way to reach the sights in Heidelberg.

If you do want to park your car in Heidelberg, you should go to one of the multistory car parks. These are not cheap, but there are hardly any free car parks.

Recommendation: Best Heidelberg travel guidebook

Since I live in the Heidelberg region (Heilbronn is only an hour away), I own several travel guides for Heidelberg (in German). As a tourist, I recommend the Lonely Planet Germany, as there is no official book for visiting Heidelberg.

Where to stay?

As Heidelberg is quite popular, finding a free bed is not a problem. There are numerous hotels that are well located for exploring Heidelberg. Only in summer and during the Christmas season (the Christmas market is outstanding) should you book a hotel longer well in advance.

Since the Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg is worth a visit anyway, you should consider checking in directly at the Kulturbrauerei in the heart of Heidelberg.

You can view the rooms here

Another great option is the fairly new Qube Hotel Bergheim. The main train station is just 800 metres away and the rooftop terrace offers fantastic views! Book now.

Save money: the Heidelberg Card

For sightseeing, you should buy the Heidelberg Card before travelling. This sightseeing ticket includes many sights and tours free of charge. You can also use local public transport. Take a look at my Heidelberg Card review.

It includes the Heidelberg Castle Ticket with a return journey on the mountain railway. In addition, you will receive a Heidelberg Guide with a city map and free travel on public transport.

  • Card available for 1, 2 or 4 days. The family ticket is ideal for families.
  • The longer you are staying here, the more you can save
  • If you order the Heidelberg Card online before you travel, it is usually cheaper than buying it on site (also available at the tourist information centre)

Order the Heidelberg Card online here (GetYourGuide is a partner for many years).

Excursions and day trips around Heidelberg

Boat trips with the "Weißen Flotte"

A boat trip on the Neckar allows you to see the sights in Heidelberg and the surrounding area from a different perspective. The White Fleet is the largest river cruise company in south-West Germany.

The ships sail from April to October and are not just for elderly visitors. Find out more about your boat trip from Heidelberg Tourism or directly from Weisse Flotte Heidelberg GmbH + Co KG and Heidelberger Solarschifffahrtsgesellschaft mbH.

In addition to regularly scheduled trips (Heidelberg to Neckarsteinach), there are also themed trips on offer. The flagship "Königin Silvia" and six other ships operate on the Neckar and Rhine. From June, boat trips will also be offered on the Rhine as far as Worms. There are also long excursions to St. Goar, the Loreley valley, Bad Wimpfen (near my home and a tour we often took in my childhood) or to the "Rhein in Flammen" (Rhine in Flames).

We used to take the boat trip from Bad Wimpfen via Neckargemünd and Neckarsteinach to Heidelberg. But that's only one of the options. There are also round trips in Heidelberg (50 minutes) if you don't fancy spending a whole day on the boat.

The Rhine Valley cruise to Rüdesheim via Mannheim and Worms is certainly also an interesting option. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to do this myself. You can find all the boat trips here.

Sinsheim Museum of Technology (Technikmuseum Sinsheim)

You can spot the Auto & Technik Museum, Sinsheim as soon as you arrive at the freeway. Behind the high walls, you will see a French Concorde soaring into the air. The museum was opened in 1981 and offers more than 3,000 exhibits as part of an indoor and outdoor exhibition. The museum is connected to the Technik-Museum Speyer, which is about 30 minutes away by car.

The biggest attractions are the French Concorde and the Russian Tupolev Tu-144. The Concorde was donated to the museum by Air France in 2003 and was a huge attraction in our region. Due to the increasing number of rear-end collisions on the German Autobahn (everyone wanted to see this spectacle), it was necessary to erect high walls along the freeway. I'm not even joking. And by the way, Sinsheim is the only place where you can see both supersonic passenger planes side by side.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helped answer your questions. If you have any ideas or questions, we look forward to your comments here on the travel blog.

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Katrin Lehr, Gründerin Reiseblog und Reise-Expertin
Hi ich bin Katrin!

I'm Katrin, I travel a lot and am a real travel expert! I am eager to explore the whole world with a Camper van or backpack. Furthermore, I founded this travel blog to share my experiences with you!

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