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Heidelberg

Heidelberg 2  

  The Antarctic Diet  
Heidelberg, 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.

Travel to Heidelberg 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.

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