Heidelberg Germany | Travel Guide | Top Things to do!

This time I’m in Heidelberg, Germany
famous for its charming castle the funicular and the longest high street in
a European city. Let’s go check it all out! Heidelberg is a cute University town
on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany. 45 minutes drive away from
Frankfurt Airport the altstadt “”old town” is popular with day-trippers and tours to
the Heidelberg palace. I was up early to capture some of the scenery in the
glorious morning sun, but don’t be fooled it’s going to get much busier as the day
goes on. A gothic Church dominates the main town square with the outer
perimeter lined with cafes, later this will be filled with seating and tourists
grabbing a coffee or some lunch. The Heidelberg bridge monkey dates back to the 15th century and stands guard to the side of the bridge gates. It used to be a
stone statue but was previously destroyed and replaced with a bronze one
in 1977. Apparently touching the monkey means you will return to Heidelberg. The purpose for the towers either side
of the gate on the altstadt part of the bridge was to instill fear and respect
into anyone entering the town. The Old bridge spans the Neckar River and is fully pedestrianised so you can take a stroll at your leisure and take in the
movements on the river and get a great view of the Heidelberg Palace looming
over the hillside. As the cafe’s start to open up I made my
way to the funicular railway. The funicular railway begins from a rather
unassuming carpark building more than a million passengers a year use this
service so it’s one of the most popular attractions in the town. Split into three parts the lower and
middle sections run on new trains with the upper section still retaining a
restored old original single carriage. You can decide which services you wish
to use entry to the castle is included in the prices one adult can enjoy the
castle and all three parts of the funicular for 12 euros. Arriving early is
the key to avoid the main tours that seem to arrive around 10 a.m.
they can bypass the queue and take an entire carriage. Uou can also walk up to
the castle if inclined it’s steep though so be warned, and when the funicular is
included in the price of the castle why would you really! As I entered the castle the first tour
groups began to form this was around 10 a.m. The views back down over the city
are beautiful and you will get a good picture of the layout of the town. Over the years various wars French
troops blasting holes in it and in 1764 a lightning bolt causing a fire, made it
permanently inhabitable. Preservation of the ruins has been the priority since. Building work first started in the 12th
century it is made up of a number of buildings over many hundreds of years in
construction, so it does look a bit haphazard and covers many periods of
German architecture. The Otthinrich building is one of the most beautiful and oldest Palace structures of the German Renaissance. Elaborate sculptures adorn the facade with the interior showcasing examples of the luxurious
decor. Today the Emperor’s Hall and the Lord’s
Hall are used for exhibitions. The German Apothecary Museum has resided in the basement since 1958. The sign said “big barrel” and walking
down into the cellars of the castle I was surprised to find people crowding
around a large wine barrel. There have been three giant barrels in the palace the first was installed in 1591 holding a hundred and thirty thousand litres of
wine, but this was destroyed in the thirty year war. In 1660 the second
barrel the one I think you’re seeing now was installed holding a whopping two
hundred thousand litres. When you first enter the barrel building everyone
including myself thought this was the largest barrel but wait…. 100 years later
they decided to make an even larger barrel this one the largest wine barrel
in the world holding two hundred and twenty thousand liters of wine, empty now sadly! Standing guard over the barrel is a wooden statue of Perkeo an 18th
century court jester that the then Prince Carl Philip had brought to
Heidelberg to entertain the court. He was renowned for being able to hold his
liquor and supposedly died from a single cup of
water! Uou can walk around up and over on
wooden viewing platforms, the video just does not do its size justice. Walking out onto the elevated terrace I
was blessed with wonderful views of Heidelberg and the river below, but this
is not the highest point for views. Due to time constraints I decided to forfeit walking around the palace gardens and to make my way back onto the funicular
heading for the 550 meter high viewing point. The second station on the
funicular offers further views and walking trails but is also the
interchange point to ride on the third and final part of the railway on board
the old restored carriage. The train is slower and much smaller
than the modern carriages on the previous sections, you may also have to
queue for a while as a result. I have sped up this part of the video but it
does take about 10 minutes to reach the summit. Here at the top on a clear day you can
see right across the Neckar Valley and beyond. A little cafe offers light snacks
and a place to rest. Again there are walking trails and some people do try to
walk back down the side of the hill to the lower stations. For me it was time to
head back down and check out more of the old town. The town was now alive with visitors and
the streets were filled with seating and hungry travelers soaking up the sun with
a snack or a beer. I took to the shade and people watched
with a mocktail and schnitzel salad. The banks of the river were lined with
stalls, beer tents and sausage sellers doing a roaring trade. I’m not sure if
this is a regular weekend thing or if this was a special event but in any case
the atmosphere was fun and exciting. Heidelberg has the longest pedestrian
shopping street in a European town and although a Sunday with many shops closed it was bustling with people strolling its length. There are many boutique shops with
interesting items to buy and some more traditional carved wooden toys and
trinkets stores. Make sure you explore some of the side streets where more
cafes and bars are waiting to welcome you. Heidelberg is a stunningly beautiful
town with much to offer and I hope you’re inspired to visit sometime soon.
Feel free to contact me in the comments for any advice or help. Remember to Like
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the @MemorySeekers, happy travels!

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