Ah Heidelberg – a romantic German city boasting Renaissance and Gothic architecture of days past. I was immediately swept away by the character of the Altstadt (Old Town), but even more so by the castle on the hill. Surrounded by rich, green mountains and softly curved slopes, Heidelberg feels cradled by nature. It’s easy to see why this city is named one of the most inspiring spots across the globe, and if it’s good enough for Mark Twain, it’s good enough for me.
Lex and I actually added this day-trip to the list right before we departed for Frankfurt, as *cough cough* we may not have done enough research about the latter, which is more of a stopover than a destination. Heidelberg was only an hour away by bus, and well worth the ride.
As you make your way towards the Old Town, you fall into a time warp that takes you to the 13th century. An inspiring balance of modern and ancient shops stand side by side as you make your way through this open-air tunnel, and local artists + ice cream carts abound. It’s hard not to stop at every alleyway because of the unique qualities each possesses, and aimless exploration is one of the best activities you can do.
As we approached the Markplatz, the sight of Schloss Heidelberg 300 ft. above left us breathless. Perched atop the city like a crown jewel, this fortress would have been even more magnificent in its prime. The fact that it was bombed heavily by the French in the 17th c and STILL looks this magical says it all. We thankfully discovered a funicular to take us to the top and albeit a short ride, the view from the top was quite a dream.
FUN FACT: this castle’s wine cellar houses the largest wine barrel in the world >> 58,100 gallons worth of wine!
With rumbling tummies, we made our way back down to the Old Town by foot – only about a 10-15 min walk, which allowed us to see some of the darling homes that dot the cliffside.
We practically made a beeline for Schnitzelbank, a restaurant we had been told has the best schnitzel in all of Heidelberg but often fills up quickly. True on both accounts, this tiny establishment is tucked away down one of the narrow alleyways and is comprised of 1 room with about 4 communal tables. This schnitzel gave me life. I don’t know any better way to put it, and I will definitely be living through the photos until my next traditional German meal.
We absolutely loved our visit to Heidelberg and would 10/10 recommend. The only thing I’d avoid if you can is Flixbus. We were lured in by their cheap prices and convenience factor (with pickups/dropoffs at the airport and city center). But twice they were late for our scheduled departure time without notice or any way to contact them — 1 of these was over an hour delay! Though our experience with Flixbus was horrible, thankfully this German dream town made up for all the travel woes, and we would do it again in a heartbeat!
To be honest, there wasn’t much to see in Frankfurt, but I would definitely recommend Apfelwein Wagner for dinner if you have the chance! This seems to be the nicer district and their veal schnitzel of course is perfection. Sit at a table with Germans, flirt your way to free appel strudel and “prost!” as loudly as you can with traditional apfelwein- after all, you’ve gotta look the part!
Next trip to Germany will be in 2 short weeks when I hit Munich! Until then, auf wiedersehen.