I work for a German company and our global headquarters is close to Heidelberg, so have been fortunate to make many trips over the years to this charming city. Heidelberg is about a one hour drive Southwest of Frankfort, but seems like light years away. The juxtaposition is extraordinary. While Frankfort is a very modern, industrial city, Heidelberg is picturesque, almost out of a fairytale.
Heidelberg sits on the Neckar River between a pair of green mountains with many bridges that take you across to the two sides. There was hardly any damage from WWII so the original beauty still stands; the old bridge leading into old town, the red-sandstone ruins of Heidelberg, surrounded by park grounds, sits on Konigstuhl hill, the Gothic Heilggeistkirche church towers over the café-lined town square (Marktplatz) in the old town (Altstadt).
My favorite places to stay:
- The Hirschgasse – Hirschgasse 3, hirschgasse.de – a small luxury hotel with two of the city’s best restaurants housed within.
- Arthotel Heidelberg – Grabengasse 7, arthotel.de, +49 (0) 6221 65006 – located in the center of old town.
- HIP-Hotel – Hauptstrabe 115, hip-hotel.de, +49 (0) 6221 20879 – rooms with views of the Neckar River and Castle are available.
- Villa Marstall – Lauerstrabe 1, villamarstall.com, +49 (0) 6221 655570 – rooms with views of the Neckar River and castle are available
- Weiber Bock – Grobe Mantelgasse 24, weisserback.de, +49 (0) 6221 90000 – located in the center of old town, rooms with views of the Neckar River and castle are available
- Burg Hornberg – Burg Hornberg 1, Neckarzimmern, burg-hotel-hornberg.dec – the ruined castle of a famous German knight is now a hotel surrounded by vineyards outside the city. They serve their wines at the hotel restaurant.
- Schlosshotel Hirschhorn – Schlossstrasse 39-45, schlosshotel-hirschhorn.de – another ruined castle and hotel sitting on a mountain above a medieval German village.
The city has many interesting restaurants, from casual local food to haute cuisine. Avoid eating at the Castle as it is a pure tourist trap and the food is mediocre. My favorites:
- Le Gourmet – Hirschgasse 3 – one of the top two restaurants in The Hirschgasse hotel
- German Mensurstube – Hirschgasse 3, the other top restaurant in The Hirschgasse
- Europaeischer Hof – Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 1, europaeischerhof.com –
- Weiber Bock – Grobe Mantelgasse 24, weisserbock.de – German regional specialties with a European twist
- Simplicissimus – Ingrimstrabe 16, simplicissimus-restaurant.de – exquisite cusine in the center of old town
- Zum Seppl – Hauptstrasse 213, heidelberger-kulturbrauerel.de – serving local German specialties like bratwurst and schnitzel and home-brewed beer.
- Zum Roten Ochsen – Hauptstrasse 217, rote-rochsen.de – a 300 year-old pub is now a family-owned pub and restaurant since 1839. family owned, excellent traditional German food served in a historic building.
- Zum fuldenen Schaf – Hauptstrabe 115, schaf-heidelberg.de –
As for sightseeing, the list is short. Walk over the water by the Old Bridge leading into old town, then up the steep incline to Heidelberg Castle, explore the castle and surrounding grounds. Visit the Church of the Holy Spirit standing in the middle of the market place in the center of town. Sit in one of the many café’s and enjoy a beer and watch the world walk by.