Rightly pigeonholed under “romantic,” Heidelberg is dominated by one of Germany’s grandest castles. Built as a fort, then converted into a residential palace, this is a must-see, with its walls, gates and moat – let alone the fabulous views over the city and Neckar River.
Heidelberg also has fine parks, charming houses and the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386.
- The Castle (Schloss): Take a tour to learn about the history and architecture (from Gothic to Renaissance), the 14th-century pharmacy (Apothekerturm) and one of the world’s biggest wine barrels. The extraordinary wooden Grosses Fass has a capacity of 58,000 US gallons (approx 220,000 liters)!
- The Old Town (Altstadt): Another highlight, with narrow lanes, old houses and churches.
- The Old Bridge (Alte Brücke): The nine red sandstone arches are over 200 years old, but the bridge spanning the Neckar retains an even older medieval gateway.
- The Student Jail (Studentenkarzer): Although it closed in 1914, you can visit the 500-year-old jail, with its original fixtures and graffiti!