, known for
its famous castle
, also boasts Germany’s oldest university, plus
history-laden lanes in its old town quarter. These attributes
are responsible for its “romantic town” label. But these
attractions are only a few of the reasons that the city is able
to welcome around 3.5 million visitors each year, many of whom
come for professional reasons. The city also prides itself on
being a modern scientific and economic location of international
repute. Heidelberg lies on the River Neckar and is located in
the densely populated region know as the Rhine-Neckar-Triangle.
The greater part of its economy is provided by service
industries, including tourism.
The programme of events held in the city is wide ranging and
includes the Ball of the Vampires, (the German equivalent of
carnival) in February; the Heidelberger Fr�hling Classic Music
Festival and the international Easter Egg Market in spring; the
Heidelberger Castle Festival (Student Prince and others) in
summer; the Old Town Autumn Festival; and the Christmas Market.
The Heidelberg folk certainly know how to celebrate – whatever
the time of year.
is easy and there are many choices. The
nearest international airport is Frankfurt, or Stuttgart for
domestic flights and Frankfurt-Hahn for Ryanair. From the first
two airports you can take a train to Heidelberg – the city is on
an ICE high speed train line - and from Frankfurt-Hahn you can
get a bus which takes 2 hours. If you are driving, the A5 links
Heidelberg to Frankfurt and Karlsruhe. You don’t need a car in
the city, however: public transport is good with a tram and bus
system, as well as a mountain railway that will take you to the
castle and the summit of the 400m K�nigstuhl mountain.
Apart from the historic streets of the Altstadt, the
Universt�tsplatz, and the castle (audio guide available), don’t
miss the Kurpf�lzisches Museum if you are interested in the
city’s history. A good walk along the Neckar River is ‘The
Philosophers’ Way’, so called because it has supposedly been the
haunt of numerous famous philosophers throughout history.
If eating and drinking is more your thing, there are very many
choices, for example along Hauptstrasse. One that you might not
think of is the university canteen, called ‘Mensa im
Marstallhof’, with food and beer at low prices in an historic
building with a beer garden – and you don’t have to be a student
to take advantage of it.
For families, there is Heidelberg Zoo, and a fun theme park in
the forest based around fairy tales, called ‘Maerchen Paradies’,
which is suitable for young children only (probably up to 10
years). Heidelberg is very bike-friendly, and if you are not
coming by car and can’t bring your own, you can easily rent them
for an excursion. Peddle boats and rowing boats are also
available to hire on the River Neckar
The best time to visit Heidelberg is in late spring or early
summer, when it is warm but not too hot (highs of around 20�C).
In August you tend to get some days of heavy rain. However
southern Germany does not suffer from great extremes of
temperature, so if you want to visit at any time of year
(perhaps for one of the many festivals mentioned earlier) it
should be reasonably comfortable.