Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heidelberg Castle in Germany


Heidelberg’s sprawling castle sits front and center above the old city, proudly heralding its ancient history.  The castle is an enormous fortification built in 1214 AD to overlook and protect the Neckar River, a vital German shipping route during the Middle Ages.  Although the fortress has been damaged twice by lightening, tourists today are fortunate that so much of the structure has survived.  It is beautiful to visit and I recommend it as a free attraction for you and your family.  Yes, it costs €3 for adults and €1.50 for children to enter the inner courtyard and visit a small portion of the interior, but those are really not essential to the enjoyment of the fortress.  The capacious grounds are free to roam and offer the same splendid city views as elsewhere in the castle. 


One can literally spend an entire afternoon picnicking and wandering the terraced, upon terraced, upon terraced gardens with their numerous sculptures, fish ponds, and grottos.  On the eastern side of the grounds is an observation deck where one can view the castle from a distance and take great photos.  Follow the very deep moat around the structure - there are various collapsed towers and other interesting ruins.  Super tip of the day:  there are free restrooms on the grounds, near the entrance to the courtyard.





Mark Twain said, after visiting Heidelberg Castle,
"Nature knows how to garnish a ruin
to get the best effect."

There are four ways to get up to the castle from town.  You can walk up the strenuous Burgweg path which begins next to the Rathaus (city hall), you can ride a bike or drive a car (we drove and had no trouble finding parking on a side street near the castle), or you can ride the funicular, or Bergbahn (the most fun for kids.)  Catch the Bergbahn just south of the Kornmarkt in town in parking garage #12 up the side of the mountain.


9 comments:

  1. I always love your posts about Germany and seeing these pictures reminds me of my trip to Heidelberg when I was my son's age - 11!! It's amazing how its beauty just doesn't change. Will definitely make this one of our stops if we (ever) get to Germany.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ive been there, its gorgous. I lived in Germany for 3 years and it was amazing. I miss it sometimes, you let me remember some of the things I did, like this castle.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I could tour every castle in Europe and never get bored! Isn't the castle that inspired the Disney one somewhere in the area, too?

    ReplyDelete
  4. This post reminds me of one disadvantage of living in Hawaii - we're SO FAR from Europe! Love the architecture there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great photos and one of my favorite castles in Germany - I've been three times in the past year.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Following you now -- what a great blog! Just a little jealous! ;) Can't wait to read more! ~Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post and pics. And I love a good Mark Twain quote.
    Jane

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sonja - thank you for your blog :) I traveled extensively as a child, and we are getting ready to start with our kids. Would you be willing to share some suggestions? Heading to Frankfurt next month for nearly 10 days. (My husband has a conference to attend for 3 of those days). Our children are 5 & 7. What should we not miss? What resources would you recommend for planning? Thinking to take the rail and overnight in other places, but where? Any help would be much appreciated :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting for you and your family! Frankfurt doesn't have that much history to offer since it was mostly destroyed in WWII, so if you're interested in castles and palaces and old buildings head south into Bavaria. The Romantic Road starts about an hour south of Frankfurt and you could overnight in Würzburg, Rothenburg, or Dinkelsbühl - all great towns. Another 3 hours south and you're in the Munich area with Neuschwanstein Castle, the Alps not far away, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, etc. - gorgeous countryside. In Frankfurt itself your kids might like the Frankfurt Zoo or picnicking in nearby Darmstadt (there's a small lake there - can't remember if it's called Lake Darmstadt?) Or take a Rhine River cruise! As far as resources for planning, of course I recommend my blog ;) and lots of other great blogs (see my blog roll)! I do like Rick Steves' books and website too. Good luck!!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...