Old Town/Altstadt, Heidelberg
Heidelberg is the fifth-largest city in the State of Baden-Württemberg. It lies on the River Neckar in a steep valley in the Odenwald.
Heidelberg is popular due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town.
Heidelberg Castle is a famous ruin in Germany and landmark of Heidelberg. The castle ruins are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps.
The earliest castle structure was built before 1214. However in 1537 a lightning-bolt destroyed the upper castle. The present structures had been expanded by 1650 before damage by later wars and fires. In 1764 another lightning-bolt caused a fire which destroyed some rebuilt sections.
You can watch my 4 min 40 sec Video Heidelberg Altstadt out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
Old town is quite small and an easy way to see the city is by walking. We decided to start our walk up to Heidelberg Castle, then make our way back down to old town. The Christmas Market was in full force and we walked around checking out all the Christmas stalls.
Fondest memory: Walking around in search for a special "football" scarf for someone back home. I enjoyed walking through the Christmas market and looking at all the Christmas ornaments...I brought a few back home with me.
This map provided by the Heidelberg Tourism Board is excellent, and even though I'm a "local" I still use it!
This particular link I am sharing with you describes the locations of all the major and minor sights, statues, historic buildings, etc. in the old town:
--> simply zoom into certain parts on the map by clicking on the magnifying glass with the "+" symbol, draw a square with your mouse and that section will be enlarged. Then "walk" down the Haupstrasse (main street) by using the arrows on the border of the map.
I usually start my walk at the Bismarkplatz (this is where I get off the tram) and walk down the street towards the Heilig Geist Kirche (Holy Ghost church), with the Neckar river to my left.
Fondest memory: This map is a fantastic way to explore Old Heidelberg before your trip. The map doesn't give detailed information about the nature of certain buildings, so I recommend this link for fantastic information: http://ww2.heidelberg.de/Altstadt-Information/english/index.htm
There is also a search feature on the left side of the map. Enter the address of e.g.: your Hotel, and the map will show you the sights closest to you.
CLICK HERE for your digital walk!
--> (if you click on this link, you will see instructions on how to use the Map: http://ww2.heidelberg.de/hd_map/html_hd/about_poi.html)
Let's face it. Half the joy of being in Heidelberg is about the surrounding scenery with the Neckar valley and so on. Therefore, one of my absolute favourite things to do is to visit the viewpoints. Either Philosophenweg for views across to the Castle and Old Town, or as in these pictures, the many terraces in and outside the Castle for views down to the Old Town.
Fondest memory: Brewery Vetter. Which has nothing to do with viewpoints :)))
Favorite thing: The old town, nestled on the banks of the river, is simply charming with all its tiny winding lanes and alleys. The Altstadt district is for pedestrians only which is very pleasant as you won't get disturbed by honking cars and ringing bicycles.
If me and my friends have time to do nothing, we often just take a stroll through the streets in the Altstadt (old town). Great fun, and you always run into someone you know.
Fondest memory: Friendly atmosphere. No one is a stranger long in Heidelberg.
The Markt Platz is a lovely open square...great place for a coffee at of of the many cafes and people watching and admiring the architecture around you.
In days of old people would have watched witches and heretics being burnt in the 15th century.
One of the distinctive character of the Heidelbergtown are to be found at the market suqare; they are the Holy Ghost church on the left of this picture and nearby is the Rathaus which is the old town hall.
It was here in olden days public courts of justice were held, and witches were punished and possibly burned to death.
In this picture you also see the fountain, Herkulesbrunnen who as if looks down to all passerbys.
Fondest memory: The Hercules statue was made in 1700s - Baroque styled.
wander around ALTSTADT, the Old Town area. For me, this is the most ideal way of exploring a place. The Old Town does not cover a particularly large area... so don't panic about getting lost here. :-) You can start your exploration right from Bismarckplatz (like what I did). From Bismarckplatz, stroll along the pedestrianized high street called 'Hauptstrasse'. For the shopaholics amongst us - hear ye, hear ye! This is the main shopping street in Heidelberg and you'll definitely go dizzy at the many opportunities to pick up some of your favorite souvenirs or stop for a coffee break/ bite to eat.
Fondest memory: See what I chanced upon whilst wandering along Altstadt? Haus zum Ritter (or 'Knight's house' in English) - just off Marktplatz. This is apparently the oldest Renaissance-style private house (built in 1592) in Heidelberg. It is today a quaint and lovely hotel!
Favorite thing: In the summer, hang out in the Markplatz, a favorite of the lounging, drinking crowd. Watch the sunset (late!) over the old Castle on the hill. The Markplatz is a favorite gathering place.
Favorite thing: Take a walk in the numerous narrow streets of the Old Town; they are filled with typical little houses.
Favorite thing: Stroll around the narrow streets and enjoy the flair of town's history. Or just sit down in one of the numerous pubs and watch the people passing by.
Favorite thing: Yet another building showing the architectural variety of Heidelburg. I have a feeling this is going in the direction of the rooftops of Dobrovnik.......
Favorite thing: Take a walk and your camera with you to downtown Heidelburg. Just the "common" buidlings almost without excepition have a story to show or tell.