Though relatively small and not as widely known as other cities in Germany, Heidelberg is a beautiful historic town just south of Frankfurt. It’s home to the oldest university in modern Germany, has a pretty badass castle overlooking the town, and, simply put, is just really beautiful. If that’s not reason enough to check it out, here are some of the things to do in Heidelberg that might just have you extending your stay!
1. Walking Down Hauptstraße (Main Street)
The main street in Heidelberg, Hauptstraße, is a beautiful pedestrian-only street with plenty of shops and cafes to keep you busy. Not only is there plenty of shopping to be done, and food and drinks to be had, but there’s also many historic buildings to admire. But, don’t just stay on Hauptstraße the whole time; wander down an alley or two – you never know what you might find!
2. Eat Gelato
There are dozens of cafes and gelato shops where you can get your fill of this delicious frozen treat, but I’ll let you in on a little secret if you’re as serious about your gelato as me: head to Gelato Go on Hauptstraße. You’ll likely see a queue outside of the shop, but it’s well worth the wait. I tried their pomegranate yogurt gelato and their Bounty (chocolate and coconut) gelato, both of which were some of the best gelato I’ve ever had.
3. Visit A Church
There are a few churches in the Old Town that you can visit if you’re looking for a little escape from the main strip. Entrance is free and you’ll be able to get a glimpse into some of the town’s historic churches as well as their recently renovated ones.
4. Walk Along The Old Bridge (Alte Brücke)
Dating back to the 18th century, this bridge remains a famous landmark of the town and is one of the few remaining examples of classical stone bridge building. This bridge connects the Old Town to the eastern end of the Neuenheim district along the Neckar River. When you’re on the bridge looking towards the town, you’ll be able to see the Castle to the upper left, as well as the Bridge Gate that was once part of the city wall.
5. Explore Heidelberg Castle
A visit to the Heidelberg Castle is a must for its historic charm and great views of the town. You can wander through the old castle and hang out in their large garden that overlooks the city. In my previous post, I wrote about Heidelberg Castle, so for more information you can click here.
6. Walk Along “Philosopher’s Walk”
The Philosopher’s Walk follows a trail between the Old Bridge and Theodor-Heuss-Bridge. The walk itself is quite short (maybe 20 minutes) with a few great views of the Old Town across the Neckar River, however, if you’re looking for a more strenuous adventure, you can turn up the fork in the trail and hike up into the hill where there is another lookout and a restaurant.
7. Have A Drink In The Marktplatz
Though the Marktplatz is certainly overpriced, over-hyped, and is laden with tourists, you’ll come out unscathed if you only sit down for a drink and not a full meal. The open area is lovely on a nice summer day and makes for a prime people-watching spot.
8. Explore Neuenheim District
While you might be tempted to stay on the main strip where the Old Town is, you really should cross the River Neckar and spend an hour or so aimlessly wandering around. Though not nearly as busy as Hauptstraße, you’ll find plenty of shops, cafes, and beautiful buildings.
9. Eat A Döner Kebab
For whatever reason, Kebab shops are literally everywhere in larger cities in Germany and locals often joke about how the kebab is one of Germany’s national food dishes. So instead of having lunch and dinner at an expensive cafe, why not live like the local university students and head over to a kebab shop for a cheap and delicious döner.