Vivid history


Heidelberg has always been known how to enchant its visitors. Rich in art, culture and sights, the city on the Neckar river is a place with vivid history.

Heidelberg is one of Germany's most beautiful cities. The harmonious ensemble formed by the Castle, the Old Town and the Neckar river surrounded by wooded hills was a source of inspiration for poets and painters of the Romantic period and still never fails to fascinate millions of visitors from all over the world. There are lots of sights to discover here.

The home of Germany's oldest university (established in 1386) looks back on 800 years of history. Its scientists, many of whom are Nobel prize winners, have turned Heidelberg into a synonym for first-class research.

Modern Heidelberg is notable for pioneering science and research. At the same time, it is a thriving business location and the vibrant heart of the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan region. Cosmopolitanism and a truly international spirit are key features of this city, which maintains intensive town-twinning relationships all over the world.

The town, one may say, has something ideal with its situation and its entire surroundings.
J. W. von Goethe, 1797

The town, one may say, has something ideal with its situation and its entire surroundings.
J. W. von Goethe, 1797

To see Heidelberg again must be wonderful, just thinking about it brings me to a different state of mind.
Heinrich Heine, 1832

To see Heidelberg again must be wonderful, just thinking about it brings me to a different state of mind.
Heinrich Heine, 1832

Discover Heidelberg


Heidelberg Castle and Castle gardens

World-famous and the embodiment of German romanticism – the Heidelberg Castle. The castle ruin reigns majestically above the rooftops of the Altstadt. The electoral princes of the Palatinate resided there for five centuries. Today, the mysterious castle enchants the city’s guests every year. The castle gardens are famous for their geometrically structured terraces: “Hortus Palatinus”, designed by the well-known landscape architect Salomon de Caus, was considered as the eighth wonder of the world by his contemporaries. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe loved these gardens, he visited them on several occasions. A bust on the terrace commemorates the great poet and thinker.


It’s the heart and historical centre of Heidelberg – the Altstadt (Old Town). It was first mentioned in a document in 1196 and is world-famous for the unique trinity of an urban environment, hills and the river. The medieval layout of the town with narrow streets and old baroque buildings, the bourgeois buildings on the hillside of the Königstuhl, the castle reigning over the Altstadt, and the monuments and sights attract about three million visitors every year.

Philosophers’ walk

It’s a natural balcony: When walking along the philosophers’ walk, everybody has a first-row seat and can let nature and the view of the picturesque town sink in. The path is one of the warmest places in Germany and allows exotic plants to grow, such as the Japanese Loquat, Portuguese cherry, lemon or pomegranate. Even palm trees, pines and bamboo can thrive here. Everything blooms earlier than in the valley, and the climate and vegetation remind us of Tuscany. You can enjoy the “Heidelberg trinity” of the Altstadt, river and hills wonderfully here.

Old Bridge

The Old Bridge is one of the last examples of classical stone bridge construction and was originally constructed by electoral prince Karl Theodor in the 18th Century. The bridge, made of sand stone from the Neckar valley, connects the Altstadt with the Neckar bank at the east end of the Neuenheim district. The medieval bridge gate, which was part of the early city wall, is located on the city side of the bridge. The original bridge was bombed during the last days of the Second World War by German soldiers. Only two years after the war was over, donations from the citizens enabled the city to open the newly rebuilt bridge..


Heidelberg’s highest mountain, the Königstuhl, is located only a stone’s throw away from the Altstadt, with a height of 567.80 m above sea level. Hikers have a wonderful view of the valley and of Heidelberg from its summit. There are various ways to reach the top: From the castle, you can take the stairs known as the “Himmelsleiter” (“sky ladder”) right up to the summit. And those who prefer a more less strenuous journey can always take the funicular railway. In addition to the the spectacular view, the Königstuhl has further attractions: a falconry which offers public flight shows and the State Observatory.

Market Square

A fountain, constructed between 1703 and 1706, with the statue of Hercules standing on a pillar forms the centre of this historic square. The hero known for his strength from the Greek myth stands for the huge effort of Heidelberg’s population during the reconstruction of the destroyed town after 1700. Today’s Hercules is a copy, the original can be found in the Palatinate Museum. Market day is twice a week and on other days, the space is used for street cafes.

Studentenkarzer (Students‘ prison)

The Students‘ Prison is located in the Augustinerstraße, on the back side of the Old University. Between 1778 and 1914, students were severely punished there for disturbing the peace at night-time. The arrest could take up to four weeks, during which the students were at least allowed to attend their university lectures. Then, they went back to the Karzer, where they “decorated” the walls with comments and drawings. These can still be seen today.

Heidelberger Zoo

Big cats and meerkats, giant tortoises and chimpanzees: Heidelberg Zoo is known for its variety of species. In addition to the African steppe with zebras, kudus, blesbocks, pelicans and the elephant enclosure with the elephant house known all over Europe, the South American sea lions also are one of the main attractions of the animal park. On top of that, one of the region’s nicest playgrounds is located within the zoo, including true-to-nature installations and steppe and jungle themes.
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