The romantic baroque city on the River Neckar is a popular destination and home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.
Thanks to its position in one of the Odenwald's valleys, Heidelberg enjoys some of the warmest weather in Germany. The city makes a popular destination for tourists who want to enjoy its romantic scenery, explore its history or simply take a stroll along the Neckar.
Heidelberg has laid claim to an impressive history since it was founded in the fifth century. The city centre is characterised by architecture in the Gothic and Romantic traditions surrounding its many cosy beer gardens and cafés. A winding, kilometre-long street offers you many different shopping options and brings you to Heidelberg's triumphal arch, the Karlstor, erected in honour of Prince Karl Theodor.
From here you can take the funicular railway up to the Heidelberger Schloss, the castle sitting majestically over the city centre. This famous tourist attraction is a Renaissance masterpiece and had already been rebuilt several times when further fires and wars finally took their toll and the castle was left as a ruin. In spite of this, the Heidelberger Schloss, with its facades from different historical periods, is still an architectural wonder. The castle is the city's most important landmark and one of the most important Romantic ruins in the world.
At the castle you can also visit the stunning Renaissance Hortus Palatinus Garden stretching over several terraces to the Königsstuhl Hill. Before the destruction of the castle and the surrounding area, this garden was considered the "eighth wonder of the world". Today the hike is still worth it to enjoy the breath-taking view of Heidelberg and the Old Bridge.
Many of the city's old buildings survived the heavy bombing of Heidelberg during the Second World War. After the war, the city was occupied by American troops and Heidelberg is still the central headquarters of the US military in Europe. This explains why a not inconsiderable portion of the population has American heritage.
Travel to Heidelberg is not complete without a visit to Heidelberg University, one of the oldest higher education institutions in Europe. Walk through halls that have been paced by famous scientists and thinkers such as Jürgen Habermas and Karl-Otto Apel. Every year the university attracts new students and so ensures that this old and romantic little city always keeps in touch with its younger side, something made obvious by its many stylish bars and annual music festivals.