Heidelberg Castle or the Schloss Heidelberg is a very prominent castle in Germany that displays a Gothic and Renaissance architectural design. A lot of tourists make it a point to drop by here even for a short layover via Frankfurt Airport. After all, this is only about an hour distance from the airport and getting here is easy by train or shuttle bus.
Things To Do in Heidelberg Castle
Set against the deep green forests on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, the red sandstone ruins of Heidelberger Schloss tower majestically over the Neckar valley. From its lofty position, the palace’s silhouette dominates the old town centre of Heidelberg.
Tour the Castle
The castle has been around more than 3 centuries since being partially rebuilt since numerous challenges around 17th and 18th centuries.
Initially built in the year 1294, a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle in 1537. The existing structures had been expanded during 1650 but were damaged again by later wars and fires. Yet in the year 1764, another lightning-bolt caused a fire and destroyed some rebuilt sections.
All these events caused a new trend of inspiration called Romanticism in the 19th century in reverence for nature’s power, beauty and man’s imagination. Especially famed by Mark Twain’s – A Tramp Abroad, he tells “Heidelberg Castle is deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful”. No wonder, this ruins garner at least a million visitors annually.
Moreover, this is because coming here at the museum gives you a lot to do. There is also the Deutsches Apotheken Museum or the German Pharmacy Museum located in here.
Visit the German Pharmacy Museum
Deutsches Apotheken-Museum (German Pharmacy Museum), is a fascinating museum. In here is a documentation, presentation and showcase of 2000 years of medical science and pharmacy in Germany.
So if you are keen about the evolvement of this branch of science, coming here will really enlighten you. Otherwise, try the next door showcase within the Heidelberg Castle’s grounds – the biggest wine barrel in the world.
See the Biggest Wine Barrel in the World
Heidelberg Tun locally called as the Großes Fass is the biggest wine barrel in the world. It boasts of 221,726 litres capacity, made from one hundred and thirty oak trees. Presently, it is a top tourist attraction in Heidelberg.
(Sorry, for my photo. Needless to say, I was standing next to the small barrel. So can you imagine how small I was compared to the Heidelberg Tun? I was even just a quarter size, to be honest.)
Anyway, don’t leave Heidelberg without strolling on the castle’s draw bridge.
Stroll the Karl Theodor Neckar Bridge
Don’t miss the fantastic views from the Karl Theodor Neckar bridge. This is one captivating activity to look forward to.
“There is a saying that if a stranger will pass over the drawbridge and walk across the court to the castle front without saying anything, he can make a wish and it will be fulfilled. But they say that the truth of this thing has never had a chance to be proved, for the reason that before any stranger can walk from the drawbridge to the appointed place, the beauty of the palace front will extort an exclamation of delight from him.” – Mark Twain, A Tramp Road
Tour the Heidelberg Old Town
Lastly, take the time to stroll around the old town. You will enjoy the market stalls, cafes, shops and local produce. Grab a beer, wine and pretzels to enjoy Germany to its premium.
How to Get Here
Getting to the old town of Heidelberg is your aim when reaching here. Then it will be a stroll away to the castle.
- Heidelberg Castle – Schloss Heidelberg
- Address: Schlosshof 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
By Train from Frankfurt Airport
Reaching the Heidelberg Castle (Schloss Heidelberg) from Frankfurt airport by train takes one hour. You need to take a train at the ICE Munchen Hauptbahnhof (HBF) for half an hour ride to Mannheim Hauptbahnhof (HBF). You change trains here for bound the Heidelberg Altstadt (Old Town) for another 30 minutes onboard. Then you walk for about 25 minutes bound towards the Bergbahn or the funicular going up the castle.
Shuttle Bus Option from Frankfurt Airport
A shuttle bus runs from Frankfurt airport to Heidelberg and drops passengers off at the Crowne Plaza in Heidelberg in the old town. Once you arrive here, you can take a leisurely walk your way towards the funicular (Bergbahn) to the castle grounds.
Fees and Savings Tips
There is a Euro 7 admission fee to get to the grounds of Heidelberg Castle, including the funicular ride, entry to the Pharmacy Museum and the Heidelberg Tun. However, joining a guided tour costs an additional Euro 5 per person.
(This is a look inside the rebuilt sections of the castle when you take on a guided tour.)
I suggest that you grab a Heidelberg Card that is available for 1 or 2 and 4 days for a solo traveller or family that costs between Euro 15 to Euro 36 (Family Card). This will entitle you a Free Entry and tour in the Heidelberg Castle, The Heidelberg Tun (Wine Barrel) and the German Pharmacy Museum including the funicular ride (Bergbahn). This is true value especially for families because aside from the mentioned perks, having this Heidelberg card will give you a discount on Heidelberg city tours, train, bus and boat rides, as well as museum entries. A free city map and a welcome bag will be given to you upon purchase of this card.
You can buy a Heidelberg Card at a Tourist Information Centre at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) or at the Town Hall (Rathaus) at the market square (Marktplatz). Try to check the airport or your hotel as they might offer this to you too.
Overall, Heidelberg Castle is worth the visit and a romantic stroll. Famous authors, national heroes and philosophers in the world never failed to visit this place.
So, take your time and write Heidelberg on your list of must-visit places.
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