Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Heidelberg, Germany

  • Published 2022/08/17

One of the most sought-after tourist destinations, Heidelberg, Germany needs little or no introduction.

From being a historic university town to being a cult favorite when it comes to its rich history, this place is a true cultural hotspot.

The Baroque architecture, combined with the remarkable remnants of the Renaissance castle, inspired and continues to inspire countless generations.

Heidelberg boasts storybook vistas and a beguiling allure that cannot be compared.

Bordered by forested hills, it has both a romantic cityscape and its fair share of attractions.

These are the best things to do in Heidelberg, Germany:

Make Your Way to Heidelberg’s Iconic Old Bridge

Daytime view of Old Bridge Heidelberg

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This impressive structure is a classic example of stone bridge construction and dates back over 200 years.

Also known as the Karl Theodor Bridge, the Old Bridge was built during the reign of Elector Charles Theodore.

Apart from being the stunning monument that it is, it also connects the old city with the eastern part of the Neuenheim district.

People hanging out on the Old Bridge

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According to the legends, the bronze monkey on the Old Bridge is said to bring good luck and fertility.

Due to its meaning and need for preservation, it has been added to the World’s Monument Fund.

Aerial view of the Old Bridge

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Go Back in Time at the Deutsches Apotheken Museum

Exterior of the Heidelberg Castle

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With over 20,000 objects that stand for the rich history of the medical sciences, the Deutsches Apotheken Museum is wondrous.

If you are curious about the many pharmacies and medicines that ran in Renaissance Germany world, this museum is a must-visit for you.

Interior of Deutsches Apotheken Museum

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Hailed as one of the largest and finest of its class, this museum is housed in Heidelberg Castle.

Apart from the 700 to 1,800 centuries-old pharmacy kits, pieces of equipment that were used to make them are also displayed.

Make sure you appoint a proper guide for your tour so that you do not miss out on anything.

Pharmacy display in Deutsches Apotheken Museum

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See the Preserved Artworks at Studentenkarzer

Exhibit in Studentenkarzer

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Situated at the back of the Old University in Augustinergasse, Studentenkarzer was once a jail for students who committed minor wrongdoings and misbehaviors.

At that time, the administration enjoyed autonomous jurisdiction and legal jurisdiction to keep the students detained for offenses like disturbances of the peace, participating in duels, and even insulting the higher authorities.

Desk and chair in Studentenkarzer

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More popularly known as the Student’s Jail, this place has decorations and other embellishments that were created by the students who were imprisoned here.

The many graffiti, paintings, and artworks are well-preserved to this date.

Studentenkarzer is open year-round, with visiting hours depending on the season.

Wall art in Studentenkarzer

Laurascudder, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

View the City from the Top of the Church of the Holy Spirit

Exterior of the Church of the Holy Spirit Heidelberg

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This late Roman basilica stands deferentially at Marktplatz.

Striking for its Gothic-styled construction, the Church of the Holy Spirit has withstood many wars.

It was attacked by the French in the Nine Years’ War, which explains the majorly run-down tombs.

The Gothic-style windows give you the intricate details of very creative craftsmanship.

Something very interesting is the “Physics” window, which has records of Einstein’s equations and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima.

Interior of the Church of the Holy Spirit

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If you wish, find some time to attend some of its religious music performances.

You will be surprised at how much the church speaks of the Protestant and Catholic cultures.

Plus, the church is just a 15-minute walk away from Heidelberg-Altstadt station.

Don’t miss out on the excellent view of the beautiful city when you are at the church’s topmost point.

Aerial view of the Church of the Holy Spirit

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Snap Photos at the Heidelberg Thingstatte

Daytime view of Heidelberg Thingstatte

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Have you ever heard of Walpurgis Night?

Well, Heidelberg Thingstatte is where the grand celebration takes place.

Known for its famous theatrical performances that mainly include traditional German folklores, this open-air theater has a rich beauty in its structure alone.

Open air auditorium of Heidelberg Thingstatte

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While it has lost its significance as a performance arena, it remains open to visitors as a public park.

During warmer climates, however, you may still be lucky enough to witness several opera performances.

Shaded part of Heidelberg Thingstatte

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Treat Your Taste Buds to Authentic Indian Cuisine at Raja Rani

Thanks to the leading edge of globalization, you will find authentic Indian cuisine being served even in the remotest corners of Heidelberg.

However, these places are not just for Indians visiting Germany but also for the tourists who want to taste some of the best Indian delicacies (with a German touch, of course).

Raja Rani is one Indian restaurant in Heidelberg that you have to check out.

It is known for its absolutely tasty Indian and Asian delicacies.

The tandoori and tikka (meat and fishes topped with fresh lentils and vegetables) are the main attractions on the menu.

Diners get to choose the range of spiciness for their dishes.

For the dessert, do not miss out on their mango lassi, which is a creamy mango-flavored yogurt drink.

Experience the Best of Heidelberg’s Food and Shopping at Hauptstrasse

Buildings along Hauptstrasse Heidelberg

Firn /

You will find a lot to do at the Hauptstrasse, a pedestrian zone and famous shopping street.

Also known as Heidelberg’s Main Street, it packs a punch when it comes to shopping—it is a one-stop destination for all your retail needs, from cosmetics to footwear.

Shop signs at Hauptstrasse


Combine that with plentiful historic landmarks, and a walk through this street will take your entire day.

Some of the most visited attractions include the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Town Hall.

If you are feeling hungry, turn to the street’s excellent restaurants and treat yourself to some of the best German desserts and delicacies.

People dining alfresco at Hauptstrasse


Have a Satisfying Meal at Weinstube Schnitzelbank

Without a shadow of a doubt, Weinstube Schnitzelbank is a gourmet’s best choice.

This restaurant serves the most incredible German, European, and Central European cuisine.

The menu is extensive, with almost all kinds of options for people of all diets.

Its quaint, homely atmosphere is what attracts most of its diners.

To add to this, the rustic and wooden interiors are sure to charm you.

On the menu, you have the crispy pancakes and the very famous cordon bleu.

What makes these dishes special is that they are filled and sauteed with creamed sausages, Gorgonzola cream sauce, and butter noodles.

Therefore, if you are really interested in these authentic and cozy meals, Weinstube Schnitzelbank can be your ultimate stop.

Try Delicious Middle Eastern Dishes at Mahmoud’s

Famous for its Lebanese cuisine, Mahmoud’s provides you with vegetarian, vegan, and halal meals at an affordable price.

One must simply try their “Shawarma mit Chips” and “Spezialtellermit Shawarma,” which are served with falafels and salads.

The meals are very well-known and popular enough to have many branches across the country.

This restaurant also serves some of the freshest hummus, which is prepared with chickpea mousse and sesame sauce.

They are also garnished with olive oil and cumin.

Most of its dishes (on the demand of the customers) are served in rolls of pita bread and are delicious and crispy.

In a nutshell, if you are looking for the best Middle Eastern, look no further than Mahmoud’s.

Taste Germany’s Famous Saumagen

A plate of Saumagen

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This popular dish consists of a stuffed casing of pork, sausage meat, and potatoes seasoned with spices such as nutmeg and white pepper.

The word “saumagen” translates to “pig’s stomach,” which is an integral component in the preparation of the dish.

More than the actual dish, it is the toppings that make saumagen stand out.

Most of the restaurants that serve saumagen also offer complimentary drinks like German Beer or dry white wine.

Have Delectable Quetschekuchen for Dessert

Heidelberg is popular for its authentic plum tarts.

Quetschekuchen has traditionally been served with potato soup for generations.

Usually, however, you will see fresh plums served with cinnamon and sugar, layered with jam, and served on a thin and soft cake.

Made with the best plums in the country, quetschekuchen is served in various forms with slight variations on almost all corners of the street.

Indeed, this impressive dish is not to be missed while in Germany.

Have a Quiet Night Out at Bent Bar

If you crave the nightlife, the exciting charm of Bent Bar will excite you like no other.

Situated away from the Old Town of Heidelberg, this cozy bar offers a respite from all the hubbub of the city and is a must-visit if you are in the area.

It is not without reason that this place is one of the trendiest places in the city.

They serve some of the most delicious cocktails and drinks for you to relish.

If you ever find yourself here, try tasting their most popular drink—the Commonwealth, prepared with a flavorsome fusion of gin, Earl Grey tea, and ginger beer.

It surely won’t disappoint you.

Another best seller is the Four Roses Bourbon, a proper cocktail made of honey, lemon juice, and sliced ginger.

Taste Local Wines at Weingut Clauer

Germany may not be that famous for its wine, but if you are craving some, Heidelberg does have some amazing places that serve delicious wines.

Weingut Clauer is one very popular place that wine lovers must visit.

Wines such as Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc are best produced here.

The vast vineyard is one of the most stunning landscapes you’ll see in Heidelberg.

On top of that, there is a beautiful restaurant attached to it that organizes wine tasting events from time to time.

Catch a Glimpse of Heidelberg’s History at Altstadt

Kornmarkt statue at Altstadt

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In the shadow of the Schloss Heidelberg ruins is Altstadt, Heidelberg’s magnificent Old Town.

Many characteristics that people love about old German towns can be found in Altstadt, including cobblestone alleys, century-old buildings, and lively market places facing the hilltop of the castle and gardens of Heidelberg.

These may include Gothic or Baroque churches or architectural masterpieces like the 1718 Mary statue on Kornmarkt, which serves as a reminder of Heidelberg’s tumultuous connection with Catholicism.

Exterior of the Town Hall at Altstadt

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The Baroque aspect of Altstadt, which was brought on by fires started by a French invasion during the Nine Years’ War in 1693, is one of the city’s unique characteristics.

The Town Hall, which dates back to 1701, still bears the Heinrich Charrasky-sculpted electoral coat of arms.

Explore the Magnificent Ruins at Schloss Heidelberg

Daytime view of Schloss Heidelberg

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The ancient residence of Heidelberg’s Prince-Electors is among the most stunning ruins in the whole world, perched 80 meters high up Altstadt and Neckar.

Schloss Heidelberg was built in the 13th century as a fortification but was later developed into a palace suitable for Heidelberg’s imperial emperors during the 15th to 16th centuries.

Window ruins of Schloss Heidelberg

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Heidelberg’s residents have been constructing new homes with the stones from the castle thus far.

A central courtyard is surrounded by a multitude of structures that make up the castle.

Come and visit the magnificent Renaissance ruins.

Admire Historic Artworks at the Kurpfälzisches Museum

Entrance to the Kurpfälzisches Museum

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Charles de Graimberg, a count and a French immigrant, chose to dedicate his collection to the history of the Palatine dynasty and Heidelberg Castle in 1810.

The Palais Morass, which serves as both the headquarters and the most exquisite Baroque Palais, is on exhibit in the Kurpfälzisches Museum located in the center of the city.

The Lower Neckar Valley’s long human civilizations, as well as Heidelberg’s period as the Electoral Palatinate house, are portrayed in the Palatinate Museum through artworks and archaeology.

Bicycle archetype in Kurpfälzisches Museum

Gun Powder Ma, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, there are rooms that are decorated in 17th- and 18th-century fashions and are stocked with glassware, historical attire, and porcelain from the renowned Frankenthal Factory of the 1800s.

The museum also features collections of graphic collections, regional heritage, and the “Kurpfalz,” as well as canvases from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

Witness Breathtaking Views at the Philosophenweg

Scenic view from Philosophenweg

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The Philosophenweg or Philosophers’ Walk provides a picture-perfect panorama of the Old Bridge, the river, the castle, the Old Town, and the King’s Seat, the Odenwald’s tallest mountain at approximately 600 meters.

With its moderate temperature and lush foliage, this sunny area on the hill of the Saints’ southern slope is evocative of Tuscany.

Exotic species, such as Spanish broom, American cypress, and Portuguese cherry, flourish on this climatically mild island in Germany.

A trail at Philosophenweg

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The route may also be accessed on the east side via the Old Bridge.

It ascends the Heiligenberg Hill from the Neuenheim district.

Shortly, you’ll reach Philosophengärtchen, a magnificent terrace garden with the most incredible views of the Upper Rhine Plain and downwards to Altstadt.

Wooden benches along Philosophenweg

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Climb the Towers at the Heiligenberg

Lookout tower of Heiligenberg

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After Philosophenweg, you could take a side trip to take your time discovering Heiligenberg.

The earliest traces of human settlement in Heidelberg may be found on this 440-meter-high sandstone hill.

The Celtic defense wall, which dates to the fourth century BC, is the oldest of all.

Ruins of St. Michael monastery at Heiligenberg

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When you reach the crest, keep walking, and you’ll come upon the remains of the almost 500-year-old St. Michael Monastery from the 11th century.

The Heiligenbergturm, which was constructed in the 19th century, actually contains sandstone pieces from the long-gone Monastery of St. Stephen from the 11th century.

Final Thoughts

All in all, a visit to Heidelberg is remarkable because of its rich history, beautiful scenery, and historic sites.

If you decide to make the city of Heidelberg your next vacation spot, prepare to have an amazing time.

Come check out this city of excitement and adventure for yourself; there will never be a dull moment here!

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