Schloss Heidelberg

Top choice castle in Heidelberg

Image by Richard Fairless Getty Images

Towering over the Altstadt, Heidelberg’s ruined Renaissance castle cuts a romantic figure, especially across the Neckar River when illuminated at night. Along with fabulous views, attractions include the Deutsches Apotheken-Museum. The castle is reached either via a steep, cobbled trail in about 10 minutes or by taking the Bergbahn (cogwheel train) from Kornmarkt station. The only way to see the less-than-scintillating interior is by tour. After 6pm you can stroll the grounds for free.

Once you arrive up top, you'll be struck by the far-reaching views over the Neckar River and the Altstadt rooftops. Show your ticket to enter the Schlosshof, the castle’s central courtyard, which is framed by reconstructed Gothic and Renaissance buildings with elaborate facades. The most eye-catching belongs to the Friedrichsbau, which is festooned with life-size sculptures of kings and emperors.

You can't miss the enormous wine cask, the Grosses Fass, with a capacity of 221,726L.