Heidelberg Castle: Why You Need to Visit

Heidelburg Castle is nestled on top of a hill overlooking the city. Not surprisingly, it is one of the best things to do in Heidelberg, Germany.

Heidelberg Castle is just one of the great things to do in the city of Heidelberg. The city is surrounded by beautiful wooded hills that offer amazing views and the fairytale charm that I have come to expect in this part of Germany

A view of the Castle from across the Necker River

Related Reading: My Favorite Castles in Southern Germany

The History of Heidelberg Castle

The first structure of Heidelberg castle was built in 1214 and was originally intended to be a fortress. The castle hasn’t had the best luck having been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years. In spite of its haphazard history, it once served as a sanctuary to Martin Luther and was also the seat of German Kings for hundreds of years. 

 

Heidelberg Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg Castle: How it Inspired Artists 

Although the castle was eventually abandoned and became a ruin, during the 19th Century many writers and painters took inspiration from the Castle and the surrounding city of Heidelberg. Writers such as Mark Twain frequented the area. Mark Twain even makes reference to the castle in his book A Tramp Abroad. 

Heidelberg Castle is one of Germany’s most famous castles, along with Neuschwanstein and Hohenzollern Castle.

Interior castle walls

Related Reading: Neuschwanstein: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Cinderella Castle

Walking Through Heidelberg Castle

It’ not just the exterior walls of Heidelberg Castle that are beautiful, the interior walls also demanded my attention:

Castle interior walls as seen from the courtyard

In many ways, Heidelberg castle reminds me of an elegant older woman’s face. It looks beautiful from a distance, but when you get too close you start seeing all the wrinkles, reflecting the age of its owner. But instead of judging the wrinkles as flaws, it just makes the woman more beautiful and gives her even more depth.

 

You can still see the damaged caused by one of the three fires to Heidelberg Castle.
You can still see the damaged caused by one of the three fires to Heidelberg Castle.

And Heidelberg Castle definitely has it’s “wrinkles” after being damaged by fire not once, but three times. Twice by the French in war and the third time when it was struck by lightening making it uninhabitable.

Related Reading: Linderhof Palace: King Ludwig’s Fairytale Castle

Heidelberg Castle proudly wears it scars, reflecting its life history.
Heidelberg Castle proudly wears its scars, reflecting its life history. I think it’s looking pretty good for its age.

The Worlds Largest Apothecary Museum

Heidelberg Castle houses the World’s Largest Apothecary Museum (Deutsches Apotheken Museum). Your ticket includes admission. At the Apothecary Museum, visitors can see over 20,000 pharmacy-related objects.

The collection dates back over 2000 years and a quick look at the medical equipment makes you thankful that you didn’t live in the middle ages. As regular readers know, I love my quirky museums with the World’s Largest Pig Museum in Stuttgart still being one of my favorites.

Items from the Apothecary Museum
Some of the items on display at the Apothecary Museum.

Related Reading: Burghausen Castle: The Longest Castle in Europe

The Heidelberg Tun

Wine lovers may be interested in the Heidelberg Tun. It’s the world’s largest wine barrel measuring 7m high x 8.5 m wide. It could hold 220,000 liters of wine. Why was such a large wine barrel needed at Heidelberg Castle? To hold the taxes from the winegrowers who often paid in wine.

Legend has it that the wine barrel watcher used to imbibe so much wine that when he drank water by mistake he died.

The Castle Lighting 

There’s also the Castle Lighting that happens 3 times a year throughout the summer. The event commemorates one of the fires that destroyed the Castle and is quite the event.

The Castle is set alight making it look as if it is burning and is followed by a massive firework display. This is definitely an event you don’t want to miss when visiting Heidelberg Castle. You can find more details here.

View from the castle
The view of Heidelberg from the Castle.

An hour south of Heidelberg you can continue your castle journey with Schloss Ludwigsburg, which is my favorite castle tour, before heading further south to Hohenzollern Castle and the small, yet worth visiting Lichtenstein Castle.

Heidelberg Visitor Info

Places to Stay in Heidelberg

3-Star Hotels

Hotel Villa Marstall

This hotel is perfect for a getaway in Heidelberg. It’s located 200m from the city center and has an amazing rating of 9.1/10. The hotel is set in a 19th Century Villa, complete with stunning furniture and breakfast that is served in a historic vaulted cellar. The premises are right next to the Necker River which offers you the most amazing views. 

Hotel Zur Alten Brücke

Located 500m from the Heidelberg Castle and directly at the Old Bridge, this hotel offers you beautiful views of Heidelberg. The rooms are cozy and modern and the breakfast here has great reviews. 

4-Star Hotels

Hip Hotel

This is not your average hotel. The premises are over 250 years old and each of the rooms is decorated and named after a different international city. The hotel is quirky but guests give it great reviews. The hotel is also located right next to Heidelberg University.

Arthotel Heidelberg

Behind the classic facade, the hotel offers modern facilities with great interior design. The hotel is located in the Old Town, making it easy to access the best things to do in Heidelberg. The hotel has its own restaurant and serves excellent breakfasts.

5-Star Hotels

Hotel Europäischer Hof Heidelberg

This hotel and spa is perfectly located in Heidelberg’s old town. The hotel offers a mixture of modern and antique decor with a royal flair. The rooms and bathrooms are massive and comfortable. The hotel also offers you excellent views.

Castle Tours

Tour: Residence of the Electors

Learn more about the history of Heidelberg Castle whilst enjoying the beautiful views from the hill on which it sits. The tour takes you through the castle ruins and finishes with a tour of the Heidelberg Tun and the Apothecary Museum. You can even opt to stop for wine samples during your tour. 

Private 3-Hour Tour with Castle Visit

This tour includes the Heidelberg Castle as well as other famous places around Heidelberg. This is a great way to experience what the city has to offer you. The tour is great for families.

Heidelberg Castle is one of the most majestic experiences in Germany. Have you been to Heidelberg yet?

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