I have lived in Southern Germany and later traveled there a lot on business – and Heidelberg became my favorite city to stay during those trips. With it’s historic old town with cobblestone streets and narrow alleys, the big castle overlooking the town and plenty of restaurants and bars, with a mix of tourists and locals, business travelers and students, it makes for a great place to stay on business or leisure trips!
It’s easy to like Heidelberg on arrival – despite being a city of more than 150,000 people, it has preserved its small town feel. The historic old town is a pedestrian area, with many stores along the main street and lots of little bars and restaurants in the side streets.
You can admire the architecture of the buildings and there are churches on every other corner to look at. And above all of it is the old castle, partly in ruins that adds to the stereotypical “German” feeling that so many tourists are looking for.
It’s worth a visit – you can not only learn about the history of the castle and the city, but also see the largest wine barrel in the world – they do take their wine seriously and it makes for great photos!
But despite the tourist appeal, Heidelberg doesn’t feel old-fashioned or like Disneyland at all: More than a quarter of the population are students at the university, giving the city a youthful energy that makes it a lot more fun than you’d expect! That energy also made it attractive for young professionals who often pick Heidelberg over nearby Mannheim as a great place to live. Whether you walk the streets of town or head to one of the many small bars and restaurants, you’ll find a much younger population than many other German cities of similar size.
Add to that old town and youthful attitude some of the warmest weather in all of Germany and you have the ingredients for a great place to visit. You also have modern public transport, making it easy to get here by train or bus from Frankfurt Airport, Mannheim or other cities in the region and by Germany’s popular high-speed trains to anywhere in the country, quickly.
I enjoyed staying in Heidelberg on business, being able to have a short break in the evening, getting away for a little bit. And I enjoyed returning for leisure, being able to spend more time to see the castle, the churches or just taking a walk along the river and across the bridges! Whether you are traveling on business or just have one night before or after a flight from nearby Frankfurt, check out Heidelberg and you might come back again as well!