Why is it worth visiting Heidelberg?

During my short visit to Frankfurt, I have decided to organise a day trip to Heidelberg, considered in many rankings one of the most charming towns in Germany.

Picturesque views at Heidelberg’s old town

Heidelberg is easily reachable by train (it’s situated 80 km from Frankfurt), main attractions of the city are situated within walking distance.

My main goal of the visit was Heidelberg castle, a picturesque fortress which is rated by many as of of the most romantic castles in Europe (but also in the world).

I recommend to see the castle first–in order to make sure you have enough of time for a detailed visit and take part in guided tour for English speakers, and only then proceed to sightsee the old town–which is also found by many as one of the most charming German cities.

  • Heidelberg Castle 

Heidelberg castle is one of the most visited places in Germany and you can find it on almost all romantic paths around the country. 

Heidelberg Castle

The construction of the castle started in Middle Ages, at the beginning the building was a fortress, with time gradually changing to have more representational function which resulted in building renaissance style sculpted decorative façades, the building was extended with part of it transformed into palace. The castle was bustling with social and cultural life, Shakespeare’s plays were performed in the theater situated in one of the towers. The castle was also famous of its magnificent gardens full of sophisticated sculptures, altars and flower arrangements, sadly the gardens no longer exist.

When taking a glance at the castle, one sees the contrast between former glory and destruction resulted from many dramatic events

The castle’s history is full of dramatic events, almost completely destroyed by French troops led by king Luis XIV in 17th century, then it was seriously damaged by the lightning in 1764 when majority of the building burned from the fire.

The castle was abandoned, and only at the end of 19th century its restauration began. The tragic history and architectural values made the building one of the symbols of 19th century German romanticism.

Today, the castle is open to visitors, one can look at the impressive gothic renaissance facades of the castle, walk on the terraces overlooking Heidelberg town and hills on the other side of Neckar river.

One can enter also enter few chambers inside of the castle during guided tour. There is only few visits conducted in English during the day, so make sure you arrive early enough (not late afternoon).

During guided tour you can visit part of the castle’s interiors, yards and terraces which are not accessible for visitors with general admission ticket

Attention catches old solar clock hanging on one of the walls of the castle and the big wine tun in the basements where you have to take stairs to get on top of it–this is one of the world largest barrels so definitely have a look!


Enormous wine barrels in the basements of the castle, one has to climb the stairs to get on top of them
Apparently, Heidelberg castle can be rented for special events (this hall can be visited on guided tour)

The Heidelberg castle hosts also the Pharmacy Museum (the entry is included in general ticket). The exhibition shows the use of natural medicaments–herbs, plants or stones which were used in a healing process across centuries (from Middle Ages up to Early Modern Age). You can see how various ingredients were stored and preserved in the old times pharmacies. You will find there approximately 1,000 remedies. Some of the ingredients known for the healing and strengthening powers are a part of contemporary healthy cuisine (ginseng root, ginger, rhubarb), some would be considered dangerous to health nowadays.

More and less mysterious substances from medieval pharmacies

Part of the museum rooms are also designed to show how the pharmacy from previous centuries looked like, wooden furniture with endless small shelves containing the ingredients, countless jars and bowls, weight and other accessories which gave impression we are in an alchemist’s study. The modern pharmacies definitely do not have the same charm (but for sure more efficient drugs).

Stylish interiors of old pharmacies

  • The old town

After visiting the castle, it’s worth strolling down from the hill to the old town. Heidelberg is an academic town, the university was founded in 1386 and is Germany’s oldest academic institution (and one of the oldest in the world). The academic traditions visibly shaped the city’s prosperity since it was a cultural centre for the arts (mainly literature) throughout the centuries.

During one day trip, it’s worth to have a walk around the Old Town to admire the historic buildings and stop by to try the traditional German cuisine. Don’t miss the Karl Theodor Bridge known as the Old Bridge. The construction was built 250 years ago, however it is a successor of 8 bridges erected in the same place before (first of them in the 13th century).

The old town of Heidelberg has plenty of charming small streets and squares

From the bridge, you have a beautiful view at the old town, Heidelberg castle and the vineyards on slopes of the hills surrounds the city.

Famous Heidelberg bridge and serene views from it
  • Wines

Heidelberg is situated in Baden region where you can try German local wines–Pinot Noir, Riesling (also known as Klingelberger) and Spicy Gewürztraminer. If you are wine connoisseur, you can prolong your stay and continue along Baden Wine Route which passes through the wine-growing areas of the Baden Mountain Route, Kraichgau, Ortenau, Kaiserstuhl, Tuniberg, Breisgau and Markgräflerland. I didn’t follow the wine path this time, but would definitely discover at least part of it during longer stay. During one day trip to Heidelberg you can have a small glass (or a bottle) of local wine in many authentic restaurants and cafes in the old town or (my choice) in the restaurant in Heidelberg castle. Slowly sipping glass of local Riesling and overlooking the gothic renaissance façade of the castle is a very refreshing–and romantic if you came with someone to share this moment–experience.

Riesling tasting
    • Practical tips
      • Heidelberg is a perfect one day trip destination from Frankfurt. You will have to change a train in Mannheim and take regional train S1 to Heidelberg-Altstadt (check the official German railways website for schedules here)
      • Since there are only few English guided tours around the castle, it’s better to start your visit there, and then proceed to the Old Town
      • For opening hours and ticket information, check official website of the castle (click here).


  1. Elle

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! I included Heidelberg in my spring German itinerary. The pharmacy museum looks super cool 😎
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Aldona

    Nigdy nie słyszałam o tym zamku a byłam w Niemczech kilka razy;)
    Mega mi się podoba to miejsce i miasteczko też jest urocze.

    Super fotki i pisz częściej, bo lubię to wracać 😉

  3. Krzysiek

    Niemieckie zamki chodzą mi po głowie od dłuższego czasu. Słyszałem, że w tym roku ma być jakiś program dla turystów, z miesięcznym tanim biletem po całych Niemczech. Jak to zrobią, to chyba zrobimy taki objazd po zamkach, ewentualnie samochodem. Mam nadzieję, że winiarnie mają przy wielu zamkach, jako taką aktywność uzupełniającą 😁

  4. Elżbieta

    Ale ładnie wszystko Pani opisała. Tyle razy byłam w Niemczech (i Frankfurcie), ale do zamku nie zajrzałam a uwielbiam takie miejsca, gdzie czuje się ducha pradawnych czasów. Myślę, że wpadnę tam z wnuczką jesienią, widoki i kolory muszą być o tej porze obłędne…

  5. Ona

    Super, nigdy o tym zamku nie słyszałam a teraz jak planuje tydzień na rowerach po Niemczech to trafilam na Heidelberg i regiony zamków, świetnie się to zapowiada a Ty mnie przekonałaś na wycieczkę z przewodnikiem po zamku, istna perełka ;)))

  6. Zosia

    Do tej pory raczej bywaliśmy w Bawarii, ale ten post inspiruje mnie, żeby odkryć nieco zachodnią część kraju i region koło Frankfurtu. Faktycznie, tyle tam zamków i ciekawych historii 😉 Do tego to region win, więc wieczorem po odwiedzinach w zamkach można udać się na degustację… Rozmarzyłam się 🤭

  7. mar99

    Romantic castles of Germany, we want to do this path and HEidelberg with the wine region around is a perfect stop 😀 Your photos convinced me 👍 Pity that 9 euro ticket deal is ending soon but hope for more deals like that from German railways 😎

  8. Ula

    Somehow when thinking about castles in Europe I’ve always thought of France. But now I’ve read your post and delved into the topic and it looks like German castles are really interesting and beautiful. I really want to see few of them at least 😁

  9. Olivia

    Hmm…I wonder, it’s mostly ruins and not much is left of the interiors no?
    I mean there is no rooms like in Neuschwanstein Castle for example? And then is it worth doing the guided tour or just walking around is enough?

    Btw, I love your photos!

  10. Kathy

    Germany looks like a nice summer destination. I’m tempted to start with Bavaria…but Frankfurt area is so interesting too, Heidelberg seems to be so calm and cosy 😀

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