castle and bridge in heidelberg germany
Statue of a Woman Reading in Heidelberg
Orange and Peach Colored Houses in Front of a Church in Heidelberg
Attic Room with Graffiti on the Walls
Stone with a Round Hole in the Center
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Heidelberg

April - DecemberGermanyEUR
Hiking, Biking & Kayaking
Castles & Chateaux
Literature

Heidelberg is buried deep in the forests of southwest Germany. Flanking both sides of the Neckar River, Heidelberg's red and white baroque old town looks like something from a book of folk tales. 


On the hillside above the town, you'll see the looming, tumbledown remains of Heidelberg's Gothic-Renaissance castle, Heidelberger Schloss. The subject of strange local legends, the castle has been struck by lightning not once but twice. Formerly home to knights, a famous court jester, and perhaps even a witch, it is said the first person who pulls out an iron ring embedded in one of the great doors will be the castle's true owner. When you visit, you may as well try pulling the ring, as once you see Heidelberg Castle, you'll definitely want to claim a piece of it as your own.  


The thick forest around the north of Heidelberg is known as the Odenwald. Lesser known than its neighboring Black Forest, the Odenwald is as mysterious as it is beautiful. Truly the stuff of medieval tapestries, the Odenwald forest is associated with old stories about giants, beasts, and unicorns roaming through the trees. To witness the magic of the Odenwald for yourself, just visit at the turn of a season. The brightening colors of the fall leaves or the green spring buds mean that this area is a must for hiking. If you're feeling active, you can trace the Neckar river from Heidelberg down to the town of Neckarsteinach, on foot or by bicycle.


For a more gentle stroll, however, you don't need to leave Heidelberg. In the forest, just beyond the town, you can hike to the wistful, mossy stone ruins of St. Michael's monastery.  These lie just above a path known as The Philosophers’ Way, named for the passage of local scholars. Heidelberg University is the oldest in Germany, and its leafy, temple-like campuses contribute to the gentle, contemplative atmosphere of the town. It's no wonder Heidelberg inspired writers like Mark Twain and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The city has even been recognized by UNESCO as a City of Literature. 


A poetic city with the dreamy feel of a watercolor painting, Twain, in particular, fell head over heels for Heidelberg. He wrote that "One thinks Heidelberg by day — with its surroundings — is the last possibility of the beautiful; but when he sees Heidelberg by night, a fallen Milky Way... he requires time to consider upon the verdict." Even for Twain, this is especially swoony prose. On misty, grey days, Heidelberg has a way of sweeping you up in its romanticism.    

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An Old Stone Castle in Heidelberg
Heidelberg Castle
Castles & Chateaux
Brick Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg
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A Path Through a Stone Walkway Surrounded by Trees
The Philosophers' Walk
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a Bridge Leading to Gabled Houses and a Church Near a Hill
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Rotunda with a Statue in it in a Formal Garden
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Statue of a Lion Outside the University of Heidelberg
University of Heidelberg
Historic Landmarks
Optional Day Trips
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Sinsheim
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Small Castle on a River Bend in Neckarsteinach
Neckarsteinach
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Rows of Grape Vines on a Hillside in Neckar Valley
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Mainz
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