I love visiting a new city with no expectation or knowledge of what that city will be like and been blown away! Heidelberg was that city for me. It has a romantic old world charm similar to Salzburg but feels a little more dramatic like Prague. Located in south-west Germany, Heidelberg is very different to Berlin. Heidelberg offers a little something for everyone, whether you like history and beautiful old buildings, hiking or food and wine. I think what made our stay in Heidelberg so special was that we stayed with a lovely Germany couple. They had a beautiful, cosy home and went out of their way to ensure that we had a wonderful experience.
We began our stay in Heidelberg with a walk along Philosophers Way. The area’s name comes from the philosophers and academics who walked there and drew inspiration from nature and beautiful city views. We then crossed over the Karl Theodor Bridge and into the Old Town. Once in the Old Town we explored the Market Square, Church of the Holy Ghost and other historical sites.
One of the most interesting sites in Heidelberg is the Student Jail. Yes, there is such a thing as student jail! Education is very important in Heidelberg with a university that is more than 600 years old. The student prison was established a means of detaining students who were disrupting the peace and causing a ruckus. Students were rarely detained for more than a couple of days, but were still expected to attend their lectures! While the jail has not been functional since 1914, tourists can visit the jail and admire the student artwork that covers the walls.
A stay in Heidelberg is not complete without a visit to the Heidelberg Castle. Set on a hilltop, amongst the forest, the red sandstone ruins paint a pretty picture. The oldest part of the structure was built in 1214 and was expanded in later years before being a casualty of war. Today there is more to see than just the castle as there are often special events held on the castle grounds.
There is no shortage of wine and beer to be sampled in Heidelberg as both are made locally. Because Heidelberg has such a strong student culture the city boasts an active nightlife with plenty of bars and pubs available. Be sure to sample some of the local food, which is somewhat influenced by the European neighbours. I highly recommend having dinner at Alt Hendesse, a cosy traditional German restaurant were you are treated to delicious food and drink.