Discover Heidelberg: Things to Do, Places to Visit, and More

Peter Scherk
January 16
Written by Elena Kostas

Find the best activities in Heidelberg and explore the charms of this historic city. Discover the top highlights and immerse yourself in its medieval charm.

Heidelberg is a city that perfectly blends its historical past with a modern and vibrant lifestyle. Known for its famous university, beautiful castles, and picturesque old town, it offers a wide range of activities and places to visit.

Explore the Heidelberg Castle, one of Germany's most impressive castles, and enjoy panoramic views of the Neckar River and the city. Wander through the cobblestone streets of the old town, where you'll find charming shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Don't miss the iconic Karl Theodor Bridge, a must-see landmark in the city. You can also visit the University of Heidelberg, one of the oldest in Europe.

In Heidelberg, you can also enjoy nature in the beautiful gardens of Schwetzingen Palace or take a boat ride along the Neckar River.

Discover all the wonders of Heidelberg and be captivated by its unique charm.

1. Heidelberg Castle

Historical Monuments and Architecture$$$
gray concrete building near green trees during daytime
Heidelberg Castle / Christian De Stradis, Unsplash

Heidelberg Castle is a must-visit for tourists in Heidelberg. Located on Königstuhl hill, this castle combines history, impressive architecture, and panoramic views of the city and the Neckar River.

Built in the 13th century, Heidelberg Castle has witnessed many historical events over the years. It was the residence of the Palatinate electors and home to the University of Heidelberg. Today, it is one of Germany's most famous castles and a significant symbol of the city.

When visiting Heidelberg Castle, tourists can explore its various areas, such as the Great Barrel, one of the world's largest wine barrels, and the Garden of the Princes. Additionally, the courtyards and terraces offer spectacular panoramic views of Heidelberg and its surroundings.

2. Karl Theodor Bridge

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Discover Karl Theodor Bridge in Heidelberg

Karl Theodor Bridge, also known as Old Bridge, is one of the most important historical sites in Heidelberg. Built in the 18th century, this stone bridge connects the two sides of the city and offers breathtaking views of the castle and the old town.

Immerse yourself in the history of Heidelberg

As you cross Karl Theodor Bridge, you'll be transported back in time and be able to appreciate the architecture and charm of this historic gem. Walk along its cobblestones while enjoying panoramic views of the Neckar River and its surroundings.

Enjoy the views and the unique atmosphere

Karl Theodor Bridge is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or to capture stunning photographs. You'll also find charming cafes and shops along the bridge, where you can indulge in local cuisine and find unique products.

3. University of Heidelberg

Science and Education

The University of Heidelberg is a must-see attraction in Heidelberg. Founded in 1386, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe and has been a birthplace of important scientific discoveries and advancements in education.

With its impressive Gothic architecture and picturesque location, the University of Heidelberg offers a unique environment for learning and exploration. Its faculties excel in various academic areas, from humanities and social sciences to natural sciences and medicine.

In Heidelberg, research is a vital part of university life. Numerous Nobel laureates have emerged from its lecture halls and laboratories, and interdisciplinarity and a spirit of innovation are encouraged.

4. Schwetzingen Gardens

Natural Spaces and Parks

The Schwetzingen Gardens are one of the main tourist attractions in Heidelberg, offering visitors a unique experience amidst nature and history.

The gardens feature a wide variety of landscapes, from exotic themed gardens to beautiful ponds and fountains. Additionally, the architecture of the place is impressive, with stunning pavilions and historic buildings.

Take a stroll along the extensive pathways, uncover the rich history of the gardens, and relax in a peaceful and serene environment. The Schwetzingen Gardens are truly a gem in Heidelberg that you cannot miss.

5. Neckar River Boat Ride in Heidelberg

Outdoor Activities and Sports

Experience the charm of Heidelberg from a different perspective with the Neckar River Boat Ride. This tourist attraction offers the opportunity to relax and enjoy stunning views of the city and its natural surroundings.

Board a comfortable boat and let yourself be carried along the calm waters of the Neckar River. Along the way, you'll be able to admire beautiful landscapes, including the famous Heidelberg Castle and its picturesque streets and bridges.

The Neckar River Boat Ride is a perfect activity for the whole family. Enjoy the fresh breeze, learn about the city's history with the guide's explanations, and capture unforgettable moments with your photographs.

6. Philosophers' Walk

Natural Spaces and Parks

The Philosophers' Walk is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Heidelberg. Located on a hillside overlooking the Neckar River, this charming path is perfect for those seeking to connect with nature and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Connect with history as you walk along the same path that philosophers and professors from the University of Heidelberg used to traverse. This iconic walk has witnessed many ideas and reflections throughout the centuries.

Admire the architecture of the historic buildings that line the Philosophers' Walk. From the Old Bridge Gate to the Jesuit's Grave, this route will surprise you with its historical charm and architectural beauty.

7. Heidelberg Tun

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Discover the Heidelberg Tun, one of the most famous tourist attractions in Heidelberg. This impressive wine barrel, built in the 18th century, is known as the largest wine barrel in the world. With a capacity of over 220,000 liters of wine, it is a symbol of the wine culture and tradition of the region.

The Heidelberg Tun is located in the basement of Heidelberg Castle, offering visitors the opportunity to explore this magnificent castle while discovering the history and wine-making process in the region. Admire its impressive size and enjoy the architectural beauty of this ancient barrel.

Don't miss the guided tour of the Heidelberg Tun, where you can learn more about its history and curiosities. Discover how this enormous barrel was used to store wine and how it has endured over the centuries as a symbol of the rich wine tradition in the Heidelberg region.

8. Hauptstrasse

Shopping and Commerce

Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg is a must-visit destination for architecture, history, and shopping enthusiasts in the German city of Heidelberg. This picturesque street, stretching for over a kilometer, features numerous historic buildings that reflect the charm and history of the city.

While exploring Hauptstrasse, you can admire the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of the buildings, colorful facades, and unique architectural details. You will also find a variety of boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or indulge in traditional German cuisine.

Hauptstrasse is also home to a wide selection of restaurants, bars, and pubs, where you can taste delicious German food and experience the vibrant nightlife of Heidelberg. Additionally, along the street, you will come across several tourist attractions, including the famous Church of the Holy Spirit, Heidelberg University, and the historic city gate, Karlstor Gate.