Heidelberg Tourist Attractions

Heidelberg CastleHeidelberg Castle
Situation and characteristics
Heidelberg, the old capital of the Palatinate and an ancient university town celebrated in song and poetry, lies at the point where the Neckar emerges from the hills of the Odenwald into the Rhine plain. Over the old town, caught between the river and the hills, looms its famous ruined castle. The best general views of the town in its beautiful setting are to be had from the Theodor Heuss Bridge and the Philosophenweg.


From Bismarckplatz in Heidelberg, at the south end of the Theodor Heuss Bridge, the 2km/1.25mi long Hauptstrasse runs east to the Karlstor (1775).

Palatinate Museum

Half way along the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg, in the Baroque Palais Morass, can be found the Palatinate Museum, with a collection of great artistic and historical interest (Windsheim Apostles' Altar, by Tilman Riemenschneider; cast of the lower jaw of Heidelberg Man, c. 500,000 years old).
Farther east are the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost; 1400-41), formerly the burial-place of the Electors Palatine, the Town Hall (Rathaus, 1701-03; from the nearby Kornmarkt a view of the castle), and the Haus zum Ritter, a Renaissance building of 1592. Here too, in the old Palais Weimar, is the Museum of Ethnography (Völkerkundemuseum).
Address: Hauptstrasse 97, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany


On the south side of the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg lies Universitätsplatz, with the Old University (Alte Universität; 1711). On its east side, in Augustinergasse, is the Pedellenhaus, with the student prison (Karzer) which was in use from 1778 to 1914 (open to visitors). The New University (Neue Universität) was built in 1928-31, with American aid. Behind it rises the Hexenturm (Witches' Tower), once part of the town's fortifications.
Opposite, in Grabengasse, are the richly stocked University Library (Universitätsbibliothek), whose principal treasure is the 14th century "Manessische Handschrift", an illuminated manuscript book of medieval songs, the Seminargebäude and the Mensa (students' refectory) in Universitätsplatz. The little Peterskirche (15th C.) is now mainly used as the university church.
Address: Grabengasse 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany


Between the Hauptstrasse and the Neckar in Heidelberg are the narrow streets and lanes of the old town. On the Neckarstaden (left bank of the river) is the old Marstall (Court Stables), now housing the University's art collection.


Downstream from the Neckarstaden in Heidelberg stands the Stadthalle (1903) used for congresses and other events. Here too is the landing-stage of the passenger boats on the Neckar (to Mannheim and Neckarsteinach).

Karl Theodor Bridge

Upstream from the Neckarstaden in Heidelberg are the Karl Theodor Bridge, known as the Old Bridge (fine views), and the twin-towered Brückentor (Bridge Gate).

Philosophers' Path

From the Philosophenweg in Heidelberg, which runs east from the north end of the Theodor Heuss Bridge along the right bank of the Neckar, on the slopes of the Heiligenberg, there is a famous view of the town and the castle.
Also on the north side of the Neckar are the Zoo (in Tiergartenstrasse), the Botanic Garden (in Hofmeisterweg) and a number of recently built University institutes.

Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle can be reached either by the funicular, which runs up from the Kornmarkt (continuing to Molkenkur and Königstuhl), on foot by the Burgweg (15 minutes' walk) or by car on the winding Neue Schlostrasse. Built of red Neckar sandstone on the terraced hillside (alt. 195 m/640ft), the Castle is one of the noblest examples of German Renaissance architecture. This once splendid Electoral residence was built mainly in the reigns of Electors Otto Heinrich (1556-59), Friedrich IV (1583-1610) and Friedrich V (1610-20). After its destruction by the French, who devastated the Palatinate in 1689 and 1693, it has remained a ruin - in situation, size and picturesque beauty the most magnificent ruin in Germany.
On the east side of the picturesque courtyard (dramatic performances in summer) is the Ottheinrichsbau (Otto Heinrich Building; 1557-66), the finest achievement of the early Renaissance in Germany. On the lower floor can be found the German Pharmacy Museum (Deutsches Apothekenmuseum). On the north side of the courtyard are the Gläserner Saalbau (Glass Hall) and the Friedrichsbau, one of the outstanding monuments of the mature Renaissance style in Germany (by Johann Schoch, 1601-07), with statues of rulers of the Palatinate (originals inside the building). On the west side is the Frauenzimmerbau (Women's Apartments; c. 1540), with the Königssaal (Royal Hall). Set back a little are the Library (c. 1520) and the Gothic Ruprechtsbau (c. 1400). A passage leads under the Friedrichsbau to the terrace (magnificent view).
To the left of the Friedrichsbau, lower down, is the Cellar (Keller) with the famous Great Tun of 1751, which has a capacity of 220,000 liters/48,400 gallons. Opposite can be seen a wooden figure of the court fool Perkeo (c. 1728).
From the Great Terrace a superb view can be enjoyed.
Three times each summer fireworks are held at the castle to commemorate a fire which destroyed the Palace of Electors during the War of Succession and the castle that struck the castle in 1764.

Heidelberg Castle Festival

This annual four-week festival runs from late July to late August and includes numerous musical events, ranging from concerts featuring choral and chamber orchestras, to jazz bands and folk groups. At least one opera is also performed every year.
Around 20 performances are held in the Heidelberg Castle Ruin or the King's Hall annually.
Address: Theaterstrasse 8, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany

German Museum of Pharmacy

The German Museum of Pharmacy in Heidelberg covers the history of apothecaries during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their instruments and examples of their preparations are on display. Furnishing from pharmacies since the Baroque period, manuscripts, pharmacy emblems and books are also featured at the German Museum of Pharmacy.
Address: Schlosshof 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany

International Festival of Women Composers

The dates for this annual four-day festival vary from year to year. Events include chamber concerts, and piano and organ recitals, as well as seminars and exhibitions highlighting women composers.
The repertoire is mainly contemporary and focuses on works by European women.
Two events are usually held on each day of the festival in impressive venues including Germany's oldest university, the Church of the Holy Ghost and the Kurpfälzisches Museum.
Address: Henriette-Feuerbach Haus, Theatersrasse 11, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany

Memorial to Kirchhoff and Bunsen

A plaque on the commemorates the work of Kirchhoff and Bunsen in the field of astrophysics. Across the street is a statue of Bunsen.



7km/4.5mi east of Heidelberg rises the Königstuhl (568 m/1,864ft; funicular), with an 82 m/269ft high television tower. There are extensive views of the Rhine plain, Neckar valley and Odenwald.


Southeast of Heidelberg is Mauer (reached by way of Neckargemünd), where Heidelberg Man was discovered. There is a Prehistoric Museum.

Schloss, Schwetzingen, Germany

12km/7.5mi west of Heidelberg, in the Rhine plain, is Schwetzingen, famed as a center of asparagus-growing. It has an 18th C. palace, Schloss Schwetzingen, which was a summer residence of the Electors of the Palatinate (concerts in summer). The Schlossgarten (73 hectares/180 acres), laid out partly in the French and partly in the English style, contains a number of 18th C. buildings (including a Roccoco theater by Nicolas de Pigage, 1746-52; festival performances) and works of sculpture.
A more modern feature of Schwetzingen is the Bellamar bathing center (whirlpool, flume, sauna, solarium, games rooms, etc.).

Schwetzingen Festival

Schwetzingen Festival is an annual two-month event that runs from late April to mid-June and includes a wide array of events. Since 1952, the festival has offered over 30 annual events, including operas, symphonic, choral and chamber concerts, recitals and dance performances.
The repertoire varies from classical to contemporary and the events take place both inside the Schwetzingen Palace and outdoors in the Palace Park.
The palace itself is known as the place where Voltaire once took refuge and where Mozart performed as a 7-year-old boy.
Address: Hans-Bredow-Strasse, D-76530 Schwetzingen, Germany

Hockenheim, Germany

Hockenheim, a few kilometers south of Schwetzingen, is famed for its Grand Prix racing circuit (Motodrom). There is a Motor Sport Museum, with many motorcycles and racing cars, a multi-media show and a collection of documents. At Obere Hauptstrasse 8, in the town center, is a Tobacco Museum. Also in the town is the Aquadrom swimming pool.

Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany

The town of Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, has preserved part of its medieval walls. In the old town are the Old Town Hall (1554) and historic old half-timbered houses. Higher up is Schloss Berckheim, set in a beautiful park.
Above the town are the ruins of Burg Windeck (12th-13th C.; view). Still higher up is the Wachenburg (1913).
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