From the likes of Goethe being captured by it’s intense beauty to the scores of students who flock here each year, none can resist falling for the quaint charm and good looks of the home of German Romanticism. 

With it’s thriving arts and culture scene, as well as it’s rich scientific hubs, Heidelberg is a bustling town catering for all.

If you’re keen to visit, here are six sights the best of Baden-Württemberg has to offer.

Sights To See In Heidelberg: Heidelberg Castle

Destroyed from war and weather but revived through tourism, the castle is one of the highlights of the city, attracting millions of visitors annually.

Uncover the secrets of the castle with a tour of the Apothecary Museum. Transporting visitors back thousands of years to discover traditional medicinal practices, over 20,000 exhibits illustrate 2,000 years of medical marvels, journeying from treatments used in the Middle Ages to arrive at modern day. 

If medicine makes you squeamish, head for the Heidelberg Tun instead — the world’s largest wine barrel that sits at the basement of the castle is sure to please you! 

Built in 1751, the gigantic structure stands seven meters high and over eight meters wide to hold up to 220,000 litres of wine that is enjoyed frequently by the town’s party animals!

Heidelburg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

Sights To See In Heidelberg: Thingstätte

A park cast over the site of former temples and monasteries sounds like a spiritual paradise, but the open-air theatre built in 1934 was used by the Nazi Party for political activities and entertainment, giving way to darker associations.

As part of his mission to indoctrinate the entire German population during the Nazi occupation, Joseph Goebbels started the Thing” movement which aimed to build huge outdoor settings where thousands of people could gather in specially constructed outdoor amphitheatres called Thingplatz or Thingstätte, for propaganda presentations.

While more than 1,000 Thingstätte were planned, only 45 were finished as the movement never gained popularity. Of those commissioned, one lies on the Heiligenberg (Holy Mountain), covering 25 meters of land to ominously overlook the town. 

Despite this, it’s difficult not to credit the architectural grandeur of Thingstätte. The construct allows people even at the back of the theatre to hear crystal clear conversations from the stage, and as a result, Thingstätte now hosts events and performances throughout the year.

Heidelbergs Thingstatte

Thingstätte

Sights To See In Heidelberg: Philosopher’s Walk along the River Neckar Trail

Tucked away on the southern side of the Heiligenberg across the Neckar river lies the Philosopher’s Walk offering unbeatable views of the city and its iconic castle. The walk is named in honour of the town’s past philosophers and university professors who would walk and wonder about the world along the pathway.

Along the path is the Philosopher’s Garden where a plethora of flower beds and picturesque picnic spots provide the perfect setting for sunset viewings. 

For those feeling more adventurous, farther up the mountain trail lie ancient burial grounds including the ruins of the 11th-century Monastery of St. Michael and the smaller Monastery of St. Stephen, as well as the aforementioned Thingstätte. In addition, the area also once hosted a Roman temple at the summit dedicated to the god Mercury, as well as a Celtic hill fort from the 4th century BC.

Heidelbergs Philosophers Walk

Philosopher’s Walk

Sights To See In Heidelberg: The Old Bridge

A distinguished landmark of the city rising above the River Neckar, the Old Bridge connects the Old City with the quarter of Neuenheim. Previously a prison, as well as a defence against a French attack, today it’s notable for the curious monkey statue that has visitors going bananas for a photo.

The bridge has featured a poised primate as far back as the 15th century. According to the legend, it was erected to symbolise the fact that neither city-dwellers nor those who live outside of the city were better than the other, and that they should look over their shoulder as they cross the bridge to remember this.

The bronze monkey is said to bring a wealth of luck to those who rub it; rubbing the mirror will bring money and fortune and rubbing his fingers ensures you’ll return to Heidelberg one day, which rubbing the little mice nearby are said to bring you fertility.

Heidelberg castle and bridge

The Old Bridge

Sights To See In Heidelberg: Market Square and Museums

Take a seat at one of the bars or cafés that line the market square to soak up the atmosphere of the city as you tuck into your pretzels and beers. 

The markets that open twice a week are a great place to pick up some local delicacies as souvenirs, as well as to people watch.

Once you’ve had your fill, head to some off-beat attractions by taking a walk along the river to visit the Carl Bosch Museum which archives the life and work of chemist and Nobel Prize-winner Carl Bosch or alternatively, the German Packing Museum which gives an overview of the history of packing and wrapping goods. 

Close to the square also sits the Documentation and Culture Centre of German Sinti and Roma which describes the Nazi genocide of the Sinti and Roma peoples. Though harrowing, the museum serves as an important memorial to the innocent victims lost to the regime.

Heidelberg Marketplatz

Sights To See In Heidelberg: Student Prison

Students, for their all-nighters out, breakfast at 15:00 and last-minute essay cramming are seldom taken seriously and the townsfolk of Heidelberg a few hundred years ago thought no different. They may have taken their actions a little too far however by imprisoning students for being such a nuisance!

Getting thrown in the slammer eventually became a rite of passage for the youth, and those who served time also spent a lot of time drawing along the walls and ceilings of their confinement when they didn’t have class!

Pop in for a look at pre-war student life by walking through the stairway to a room no bigger than a medium-sized apartment that still carries a lot of its original fittings where the kids would be kept away from trouble.

Student Prison Heidelburg

Now you know what to see and do in Heidelberg, discover where to eat and drink in Heidelberg.

Choice Hotels in Heidelberg