I’m a big fan of hot summer’s and cold winters, I want it all or nothing, not a fan of the whole drippy, soggy weather the England is burdened with through the winter dragging through to spring. So in the depths of soggy February headed for the hills of Heidelberg in Germany. Heidelberg is situated in Baden-Württemberg, south-west Germany. Heidelberg is full of beautiful walks, things to do and places to see, so bring some good shoes you’re in for a good glute work out! It’s a beautiful romantic cityscape, and one of the stops on the romantic road, so has quite a lot going for it, but here are the highlights of our trip:
1. We opted for the funicular railway up and beyond Heidelberg Castle. We took the rather modern swooshy tram as far up as possible, then switched for the rickety old wooden tram that will take you up to the tip of Konigstuhl. Konigstuhl means the Kings throne and gives a beautiful vantage point over the town below, the Neckar river splicing through the middle and the rolling hills mirroring on the other side. Drink up the views and whilst you’re at it there’s a little kiosk with hot drinks and delicious soups great to take off the winter chill. 2. Heidelberg Castle sits prettily above the town on Konigstuhl hill, and I couldn’t help but draw similarities to Hogwarts when looking up at it. As well as the sweeping views of Heidelberg below. It is more than a castle, more like it’s own village! There is an inner courtyard with several buildings clustered around. Each building representing a different style of architecture and contain a bakery, wine cellar and other private rooms. The styles range from Gothic grandeur through to Renaissance romanticism. Even though it is but a shell of what it would have been in full working order, it is still stunning. In the 17th Century it was celebrated as the eighth wonder of the world! The fountain just brought to mind that in the centre of Belle’s little town. The castle itself has seen its fair share of tragedy, being torn to ruins in the 17th Century in the War of the Grand Alliance and then being hit by not one but two lightening strikes in 1764. In more recent times there is a lot of restorative work going on and whilst we were there a gallery/museum was being built to show case artefacts found around the sight. 3. Right in the belly of the castle is the wine cellar, which is ridiculously huge. They have a barrel the size of a small ship. It is known as the Heidelberg Tun and is the World’s largest wine barrel! It stands at an impressive 6 meters high and can hols 220,000 litres of wine,unfortunately it has spent most of it’s life empty. 4. The Baroque style old town is a beautiful cobbled car-free part of Heidelberg. It is long and narrow and starts at the south side of the Alte-Brucke, where the medieval gate stands. Centring around Hauptestrasse lined with shops, food vendors, you’re never too far for a coffee and a cake, or a meal piled so high you won’t be able to see the person the other side of the table. There are lots of lovely winding streets off Hauptestrasse, so great for wandering too.
5. Philosophers walk is another one to add to the to-do list of Heidelberg. It’s on the opposite side of the river to the castle and the old town, so gives you a chance to cross the Alte-Brucke. It’s only a small sign for the Philosophers walk up schallenweg (snake path) across the road, so if you don’t look out for it you may just miss it. Then the climb begins, luckily there are a few ‘view points’ with benches if you need to catch your breathe and strip off a layer.
But once you reach the top you are welcomed by a long flat walk. This is where professors of the university below, were said to have pondered the questions of the universe. It is now lined with allotments some well maintained others not so, but that doesn’t detract from the beautiful panoramas. 6. If you don’t fancy the climb, walking along the Neckar was a really lovely walk as well. The streets on the banks are lined with lovely restaurants and hotels so a great place to build up an appetite, settle down for a bite to eat and indulge in some good ol’ fashioned people watching. 7. The Heidelberg University Library. Unfortunately due to its size, my small camera and the little streets surrounding it I didn’t manage to get a good picture of the library. It’s a gorgeous red building plastered in gold leaf looking quite decadent against an otherwise red-grey town.
8. The food. Traditional German food is pretty one dimensional, hearty portions, plenty of meat and potatoes, but they do it well and perfect for the cold winters. 9. Last, but not least are the people there, most treated you like a long lost friend, catching you up with what’s going on with the city, what they’ve been up to and where’s best for a night cap! As you can see it’s a stunning place which I imagine looks beautiful at any time of year and I look forward to visiting once we get round to driving down the romantic road.