The Heidelberg Bergbahnen is an easy means of transport uphill for a castle visit. But you can travel even to Heidelberg's highest lookoff point The Königstuhl at 550 Meters altitude.
There are two tracks. The lower is the steep one departing from the Kornmarkt station, with a stop at the Castle and ending at the Molkenkur. The upper tracks start at the Mulkenkur, where you have to change trains (also change the train type) and ends at the Königstuhl.
The Kornmarkt station is well equiped, with directions for the international traveller and very good bathroom facilities.
A single ticket for the lower/upper tracks: € 3,00
A return tiket for the lower/upper tracks: € 5,00
A single ticket for the combined tracks: € 5,00
A return tiket for the combined tracks: € 8,00
Winter: 9AM 5PM Lower tracks every 10 minutes; Upper tracks every 20 minutes
Summer: 9AM - 8PM Lower tracks every 10 minutes; Upper tracks every 20 minutes
A TRAIN TO HEIDELBERG was definitely the way to go. Jess and Bernd bought group tickets for up to five persons for only Euro 27,00. It worked out to Euro 5,50 per person and that was return fare, including the bus in Heidelberg to the castle. We were to meet at the Karlsruhe train station for 1:10 p.m. and the train trip took about 45 minutes. When we arrived in Heidelberg at the main train station " Hauptbohnhof" on Willy-Brand-Platz 5, we waited for a bus marked "Bismarckplatz", in the front of the station, to take us to Old Town and the Castle.
As the walk up to the Castle was a very steep climb, most of us took the HEIDELBERG FUNICULAR. For groups of ten or more the cost was Euro 2,00 one way. The trip up only took a few minutes. After our tour of the Castle, we all walked down the steep walkway which was cobbled and hard to walk on. Gerry, thanks for your strong helping hand down the walkway - you're the best!
when visiting heidelberg castle i suggest using the funicular. you can walk to the castle from the heidelberg altstadt but the road is quite steep. there are two stations, one at the castle an another at the top of the mountain. i arrived in heidelberg by car and instead of trying to find a parking place in the altstadt i drove to the top of the mountain and took the funicular down to the castle. there was plenty of parking spots and the funicular was not crowded.
The best way to get to Heidelberg is by train. If you are coming from Karlsruhe, you can take the train to Heidleberg. Just remember to get off at the Hauptbahnhof. There is a stop before that one and we got off there and then had to take a bus the rest of the way.
Once you exit the main train station, take a bus to Bismarkplatz where you can start your tour by walking down the Hauptstrasse, or Main Street!
You can either walk up to the castle on a very steep path, take the stairs or then you can take the funicular railway up in 2 minutes time. The train runs every ten minutes and a one way ticket from the old town to the castle costs 3 EUR (The return trip costs €5).
The train doesn't only go to the castle, you can also go up to the next stop Molkenkur if you feel like a day in the hills. This part of the funicular has recently been renovated, which makes it the most modern funicular in German. It even got a glass roof as well as a fancy new entrance area. There's a third stop at the top of the hill (Königstuhl) and this part is the oldest electric funicular in Germany.
The funicular railway project was first presented in 1873 and finally built in 1888. Back then a water box with a capacity of 8 cubic metres was fitted in the two cars. To move them the upper car was filled with water until it was heavy enough to lift the lower car. A funny idea isn't it?
We used the 5 tram to get back to the Hauptbahnhof. By this point were were feeling the tired and decided that it was best to buy the ticket for the short ride back.
The price was 1 Euro each for the single trip ticket which needs to be validated when you board.
The website below is in German only.
The closest international airport to Heidelberg is Frankfurt. Heidelberg belongs to the Rhein-Neckar area, one of the most densely populated and industrialised in Germany. The main centre thereof is Mannheim-Ludwigshafen, which is fairly close to Heidelberg.
Probably the easiest way in and out of Heidelberg from Frankfurt airport. Buy your roundtrip ticket on your way in and be sure to call to reserve your return ride a day or two early. We left several people waiting who had not reserved their ride. The bus does run hourly but you will need two to three hours to clear inspections and preflight boarding on your way out. E36 roundtrip, oneway E20. If you did fly with Lufthansa the ticket is discounted, show the driver your boarding pass. Don't forget to tip your driver. Not everyone does but I'm sure one euro per bag/ person is good.
The card is a great deal if you plan to use trams, buses and the bergbahn around town. Just be aware that the ticket office at Bismarckplatz is closed on Sunday so you may have to go to the hauptbahnhof if you need to buy tickets then.
Most people only take the furnicular up to the first stop, the castle. A few years ago, the trains were modernized and can now hold up to 130 people.
If you want to take the furnicular all the way up to the top of the mountain, the Königstuhl, you have to change trains at the Molkenkur stop.
From there, it's still the old train, which only holds up to 40 people. So you may to wait a while at the Molkenkur.If you're in a hurry, ask before you buy your ticket, as it can take as long as one hour, depending on how many people are waiting in line. There is nothing to do while waiting, you just stand stand in line.
But it's worth the wait! This is a really old train, climbing up the very steep mountain. If you're sitting in the last car, turn back and enjoy the view across Heidelberg and the Neckar.
Historically the best fortresses & castles have always been built on a steep slope for military purposes. This made it difficult for the enemy to approach, and easier for the castle to defend itself (horror-stories of pouring molten-hot tar on the enemy, etc,,,) Heidelberg Castle is no exception.
There are 3 ways of getting to the castle:
a) take the "Burgweg" (=castle path). A steep cobbled path starting at the Kornmarkt (my favourite way to walk)
b) take the stairs (over 300 steps)
c) take the Funicular (for the lazy ones amongst you :-)
WALKING is of course the healthiest, cheapest & most traditional option... and just when you think you're about to collapse, imagine ascending this steep path every day in full knight's armour! Wear comfortable shoes and enjoy the sense of achievement when you've reached the top :-)
The FUNICULAR railway line is 489 metres long & at its steepest point has a 43% gradient. The 2 split-level cars each carry 50 people & travels at about 4 metres per second.
--> In 2007 the railway line celebrates its 100th birthday!
PRICES (year 2007):
> Historic rail: return ticket from Kornmarkt to Castle starts at 3 EURO.
Children (6yrs - 14 yrs) pay 2 EURO.
> A round-trip rail ticket (Kornmarkt to Koenigsstuhl and back) costs 8 EURO.
Children (6yrs - 14yrs) pay 6 EURO.
(Children younger than 5yrs ride for free.)
> Groups: for groups larger than 30 people there are special ticket offers.
Check their WEBSITE for more details (also in English).
There is a good public transportation system in Heidelberg. Just in front of the Hauptbahnhof (central train station) there is a stop for buses and trams. Take any bus or tram that goes by the "Bismarckplatz" and get out there - it is the beginning of the Main Street that will lead you towards the Cathedral and eventually towards the Castle!
From there you can walk up to the castle or take the funicular - but it is fairly expensive (€2,50) return trip!
Heidelberg can easily be reached by ICE and IC/EC trains (express trains) from all over Germany as well as local trains for trips to and from surrounding cities like Karlsruhe.
Heidelberg Hbf means Hauptbahnhof and that means central station.
The pedestrian route to the castle is lovely as you can see, but it can be strenuous as it is all uphill and cobbled. Therefore, there is a Bergbahn (see second picture) which has the Castle as its first stop on the way further up the mountains to the Molkenkur restaurant and then you have to change trains to get all the way up to the Kaiserstuhl. If all you want to do is get to the castle, it is quite expensive to catch the Bergbahn though, so if you are fit and have time you might as well walk. Otherwise, there are various daycards if you want to combine several of the mountain destinations. See the link below for current information. Oh, and don't be alarmed when one of you can get through the ticket barrier whilst the rest of you cannot. This just means that they have sold out the next departure and you will all have to wait for the barrier lights to go green again once that train has actually left the platform.