Heidelberg is a historic university town that has survived unscathed since the 18th century. I suggest you give yourself plenty of time to visit this town, as there are some great finds. As well as green spaces to discover and enjoy there is an abundance of museums’ and beautiful architecture to absorb.
I once again took advantage of a tourist card, the HeidelbergCARD, I found this was a useful and money-saving option. Included was a Castle ticket combining a return journey on one of Germany’s most modern electrical funicular railways, via the Schloss (Castle) as well as one-time admission to the Castle courtyard, the barrel cellar and a visit to the German Pharmacy Museum.
I also had free use of public transport in Heidelberg on all the Rhine NEckar public transport system’s (VRN) buses, trams and authorized trains plus additional discounts from more than 60 partners covering eateries, entertainment, and culture.
Where to stay – Marriot Hotel Heidelberg– Located on Neckar River’s waterfront. This was a convenient location base with all amenities you may require for a pleasant, comfortable stay. After a day of sightseeing, give yourself time to unwind in their indoor pool or fitness centre, relax in their bar or visit their acclaimed steakhouse restaurant GRILL 16. We took advantage of the room service and the food was excellent.
Where to eat
Over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, successive generations of the Schaaf Family produced beer within the walls of the Kulturbrauerei; and still today, brewing-malt is produced and beer brewed for the pub „Zum Zeppl“. In former times, the beer was transported through an underground passageway from the cellar to the pub – a meeting point for students, as popular today as it was then.
Zum Seppl– The former ballroom was transformed into a restaurant with 300 seats, where you can enjoy excellent food on large, impressive wooden tables, and once the weather gets warm, one of Heidelberg’s finest beer gardens awaits outside.
This historic and truly atmospheric dining setting offers a great menu and should be accompanied by one of their unique flavoured beers. Thanks to the speciality imported hops from Australia, America and New Zealand.
There are two restaurants in Heidelberg one in the Old Town, and the other in West City. For either booking is advised as they get very busy, totally understandable, as the food is exquisite. The staff and service were excellent too.
Perched 80 metres above the Altstadt this is one of the most beautiful ruins in the world.
The castle is a combination of several buildings surrounding an inner courtyard. Each building highlights a different period of German architecture. Its life began as a fortress in the 13th century, but in the 15th and 16th century was expanded into a palace fit for Heidelberg’s imperial rulers.
Inside the castle grounds, you have access to the German Pharmacy Museum – Apothekermuseum
This can be found on the lower floor of the Otto Heinrich Building. This unique museum allows the visitor to learn about the history of the pharmacy and of dispensaries.
Across 11 rooms they have documented the history of pharmacies and medical science in Germany.
There are 20,000 pieces on display here, but what really captures the imagination are the seven complete pharmacy sets, the earliest dating back to the Renaissance.
The museum has what is claimed to be the world’s largest collection of 18th-century earthenware, as well as valuable majolica, faience, and technical glass containers and equipment from the 1600s to the 1800s.
You will also have the chance to visit The Heidelberg Tun – the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel”.This was built in 1751 by Prince Elector Karl Theodor to house the wine paid as taxes by the wine growers of the Palatine. It stands seven meters high, is eight and a half meters wide, holds 220,000 litres (58,124 gallons) of wine, and has a dance floor built on top of it.
The barrel has only been used for wine a few times in its history and was filled just three times.
Heidelberg Old University
The Student Prison
On Augustinergasse in a Baroque building at the back of the Old University is a small jail where students were temporarily locked up for minor offences.
The jail was in use from the 1770s to the dawn of the First World War, and students would end up here for any number of reasons, this could have been drunken behaviour, practical jokes on the university or city authorities or even duelling, which remained a common activity right up to 1914. Students would be released to attend lectures, but were expected to return to the jail to stay out of their sentence, which could last for up to a month.
The Studentenkarzer shows a creative display of graffiti and pictures covering the walls of the jail by students bragging about their exploits.
Church of the Holy Spirit – this is the most famous church in Heidelberg. It stands in the middle of the marketplace in the old centre of Heidelberg not far from Heidelberg Castle.
The church first took shape in the 13th century but was at the turn of the 15th century that it got its current Late Gothic design.
The steeple of the church, rising above the roofs, dominates the town. It is possible to scale the tower to look over Heidelberg from the tower’s platform at 38 metres. However, I suggest you go with a friend, on a quiet day it is quite eerie climbing up the endless winding staircase alone, although the view at the top makes it all worthwhile.
The Body Works Museum
A highly recommended visit, a great day out and it was an exciting journey working my way around all the interactive exhibits and learning about the human body.
Here you will see more than 150 plastinates that explain the most important body functions, organs, and diseases.
The exhibition was focusing on the anatomy of happiness, a really inspiring focus. I finished my visit full of positive thoughts and scientific understanding.
Although not unusual for a hotel, the Marriot Hotel offered a great breakfast selection, I took advantage of the chef’s freshly made omelettes every day and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them, it was the perfect start to my morning. Sadly, I have not been able to replicate the lovely taste since returning home!