Heidelberg Germany Travel Guide

Heidelberg - A University Town with Romantic Castle Ruins and More

heidelberg picture
James Martin

Heidelberg is located in Southeastern Germany along the Neckar river, in the region of Baden Wurttemberg, an hour south of Frankfurt. Heidelberg is part of Germany's "Castle Road." It is a lively University town overlooked by evocative castle ruins.

Airports Nearby Heidelberg

The closest international airport is Frankfurt Airport (Flughafen) Frankfurt Rhein-Main, 80km away and reachable in one hour.

TLS will take you from the Frankfurt airport right to your Heidelberg hotel for 29 Euros per person one way.

Lufthansa Airport Bus runs between the Terminal 1 arrival area to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Heidelberg every hour. At time of writing, the bus will cost you 22 Euros one way if you have a Lufthansa air ticket.

Ryan Air uses the smaller Airport Frankfurt Hahn, 1.5 hours from Heidelberg. Transport to Heidelberg by "BKK Buses": phone 01805 - 225287, 16 Euros one way.

Find out all the ways to get from Frankfurt to Heidelberg.

Heidelberg HBF - The Train Station

Heidelberg's central train station (Hauptbohnhof) is located at Willy-Brandt-Platz 5. You can get buses and taxis from the front of the station. The station is a bit of a walk from the old town, about 25 minutes. In front of the station is a stop for buses and trams--take any one indicating "Bismarckplatz" to get you to the main street in Heidelberg's old town.

You'll find the Tourist Information in a kiosk in front of the train station.

Book a Ticket to Heidelberg.

Where to Stay

There are many hotels in Heidelberg, so finding a place isn't that difficult in the off season. If you are going in summer, book a room in advance to be sure.

For those who wish to stay a while, and for families or groups of friends who want some room to spread out, a self catering vacation rental might be in order: Heidelberg Vacation Rentals (book direct).

The Heidelberg Card

Three types of Heidelberg cards are available: 1 day, 2 days, 4 days, and a family option. The card gives you a discount in some shops and cafes, and free entrance to some of Heidelberg's main attractions. 

Heidelberg Tour From Frankfurt

Viator offers a half-day tour from Frankfurt that might be of interest if you are staying in that city: Heidelberg Half-Day Trip from Frankfurt (book direct). If you plan your trip between November 23 and December 22, you will also visit the Heidelberg Christmas Markets.

Heidelberg Top Tourist Attractions

  • Heidelberg Palace (Schloss) - Heidelberg's castle ruins have been famous for centuries as romantic ruins, so they've not been fully restored. Yet this is one of the most evocative castles you might visit in Europe. Inside is a wonderful Pharmacy museum, as well as the world's largest wine barrel (a vat having a capacity of 195,000 liters or approx. 51,514 gallons.) There is a wine bar inside the palace, and a small cafe outside where you can get a drink or eat a light meal (or what passes for one in Germany, anyway). Admission is 2.5 Euros at time of writing.
  • Heidelberg University - The cornerstone for Heidelberg's "Old University" was set on June 24th, 1712. The area around abounds in interesting cafes and shops. There is a university museum and very interesting Student's Prison, where students were imprisoned for minor and fashionable transgressions like drinking at night and disturbing the peace. There is a free Botanical Garden in the University of Heidelberg; entrance is free. Closed Saturdays.
  • The Old Bridge ((Carl Theodor Bridge)) - Prince Elector Karl Theodor built Heidelberg's first stone bridge, erected between 1786 and 1788. The bridge leads to a well-preserved medieval gate on the town side.
  • Shopping in der Hauptstrasse - Heidelberg features the longest pedestrian zone in Europe.
  • Museums - Being a University town, Heidelberg has many museums to visit, but the most unique might be the Bonsai Museum, the only one of its kind.

Plan a Trip to Heidelberg, Germany: The Travel Planning Toolbox

Learn German - It's always a good idea to learn some of the local language in the places you're going, especially the "polite" expressions and a few words pertaining to food and drink.

German Rail Passes - You can save money on longer rail journeys, but Railpasses aren't guaranteed to save you money, you'll have to plan your trip to use the pass on longer journeys, and pay in cash (or by credit card) for the short runs.