Heidelberg City Guide for Travelers

The Castle of Heidelberg
••• The Castle of Heidelberg. Peter Adams/ Getty Images

Heidelberg - Overview:

Heidelberg, located in the southwest of Germany, about 1 hour away from Frankfurt, is one of the few German cities that was spared by allied bombers in World War II. The city retained much of its original baroque charm, which fills the narrow cobble stone streets of Heidelberg’s Old Town.

Steeped in century-old tradition, Heidelberg is home to famous Heidelberg Castle, and Germany’s oldest university, which transformed the city into the center of German intellectualism and romanticism in the 18th and 19th century.

Nestled in the idyllic Neckar river valley, close to vineyards and forests, Heidelberg is one of the most picturesque travel destinations in Germany.

Heidelberg - Population:

Despite its relatively small size (130,000 inhabitants), Heidelberg is a culturally diverse and international city, with almost 30,000 students and the same amount of Americans, thanks to the U.S. Army Base in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg and Mark Twain:

In the 19th century, American writer Mark Twain visited Heidelberg for several months, while writing his travel book “A Tramp Abroad”. In this book, he praises Heidelberg with poetic words:

"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, with that glittering railway constellation pinned to the border, he requires time to consider upon the verdict."

Heidelberg - Getting There:

  • By Plane: The closest major airport is Frankfurt International Airport. From Terminal One, you can take the Lufthansa Shuttle Bus, which drops you off at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Heidelberg (1 hour travel time, about 35 Euros).

  • By Train: You can take direct trains from Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, and Mannheim to Heidelberg.
    Heidelberg’s main train station is located in the western part of the city, close to the Tourism Office. Walk from there to Heidelberg's Old Town (25 min), or take a bus or tram to "Bismarckplatz".

    Heidelberg - Getting Around:

    The historic center of Heidelberg is compact and small, and the best way to explore it is by wandering its cobble stoned streets.
    Besides walking, Heidelberg’s trams and buses are also a good and affordable option.
    Feeling a bit more adventurous? Do as the locals do and hop on a bike. You can rent bikes here.
    If you decide to visit the Heidelberg Castle, which thrones majestically over the Old Town, or the surrounding hills and vineyards, you can either hike up there or take the Heidelberg cable car.

    Heidelberg - What to Do:

    From the Heidelberg Castle, and the Old University, to scenic walks in the surrounding vineyards and parks along the Neckar River, here are the best things to see and do in Heidelberg.

    Heidelberg Hotels:

    Whether you want a hotel that is smack in the historic middle of Heidelberg's Altstadt or a family-friendly bed and breakfast in the tranquil outskirts of the city, here are great accommodations for every taste and budget:
    Hotels in Heidelberg

    Heidelberg Map:

    Check out this interactive map of Heidelberg’s Old Town and its most interesting sights and attractions:
    Map of Heidelberg

    In the mood for love? Check out more romantic getaways in Germany.