Surrounded by forest, Germany’s oldest and most famous university town is renowned for its baroque Altstadt, beautiful riverside setting and evocative half-ruined hilltop castle, which draw 11.9 million visitors a year. They follow in the footsteps of the late 18th- and early 19th-century romantics, most notably the poet Goethe and Britain’s William Turner, who was inspired by Heidelberg to paint some of his greatest landscapes.
In 1878, Mark Twain began his European travels with a three-month stay in Heidelberg, recounting his observations in A Tramp Abroad (1880). Heidelberg's rich literary history, along with its thriving contemporary scene, saw it named a Unesco City of Literature in 2014.
Heidelberg’s Altstadt has a red-roofed townscape of remarkable architectural unity. After having been all but destroyed by French troops under Louis XIV (1690s), it was rebuilt during the 18th century. Unlike many German cities, it emerged from WWII almost unscathed.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Heidelberg.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Heidelberg.