Is Heidelberg Worth Visiting? Here’s Why I Loved this River Side Town in Germany

Is Heidelberg Worth Visiting? Here’s Why I Loved this River Side Town in Germany

If you open any guidebook about visiting Germany, then usually the most recommended destinations are Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, or Cologne.

In my opinion, these definitely aren’t the best travel destinations in Germany. (except Hamburg, because it is awesome). How do I know? Well, I have been living in Germany for 5 years and I have traveled across most of the country.

Now you may argue with me and say that Munich is pretty awesome too. Well, the main city isn’t but Munich is an amazing gateway to explore Bavaria and see the best of Germany’s mountains. Guess what, Bavaria is expensive!

The Massive Heidelberg Castle over the city

In my opinion, if there’s one German destination that has it all, it is Heidelberg. No, it isn’t in Bavaria but there are little mountains in Heidelberg too.

I wasn’t prepared to like Heidelberg so much but for me, it was like a mini Prague. And, it was definitely affordable if compared to many other German destinations.

So, is Heidelberg visiting? If you’re visiting Germany and are looking for ideas for where to go, then let me convince you to visit Heidelberg. Here’s why Heidelberg is going to be your favorite German destination:

FYI: This post isn’t a city guide but more of a list of things that I loved about Heidelberg. If you are looking for one, then check out my Heidelberg city guide post with a list of things to do, how to reach, where to stay, and more.

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Schloss Castle – via Pixabay

Germany’s famous for its castles. There’s the epic Burg Eltz which was an inspiration for Disney’s movie. There’s also Neuschwanstein Castle, which is an unbelievable sight. Heidelberg is no less in this respect. Heidelberg castle is called Heidelberg Palace and is massive.

Inside Heidelberger-Schloss via Pixabay

When you catch the first glimpse of Heidelberg castle, you will notice that it is built over the hills. It looks like it is a part of the hills as it emerges from the middle of green forested hills. The castle overlooks the old town of Heidelberg.

Entering Heidelberg Castle is not free. In case you’re visiting the city and are going to do some of the other activities then I highly recommend you get the HeidelbergCard. It includes not just the Heidelberg Castle entry but also public transport, cable rail to and back from the castle, and a discount on other attractions.

Click for the HeidelbergCard

This card is valid for 1 – 4 days so make sure you get it if you’re going to visit the castle and ride the cable train to it.

If you decide to go inside the castle, can admire the view from the Scheffel Tower. You will also see the romantic garden – Hortus Palatinus.

Ever heard of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? He was a famous poet and inside you will see his statue. The Heidelberg castle also has a massive wine barrel, it is called the Great Heidelberg Tun. You can taste the wines here, isn’t that awesome?

Old Town, Old Bridge

Karl Theodor Bridge in Heidelberg – aka, the Old Bridge

What’s the one common thing about some of the most beautiful European cities? Most of them have a bridge and an old town. Yes, Prague, Paris, Porto, Mostar, Lucerne – many cities all over Europe but hardly any in Germany. Except for Heidelberg!

Heidelberg’s bridge is often called “the Old Bridge” but another name is Karl Theodor Bridge. It kind of reminded me of Prague. If you walk over it, you can directly see the castle and enter the old town.

Walking on the Old Bridge in Heidelberg

The walk on the bridge is an experience in itself because of interesting things like arches, Brückenaffe (a bronze statue of a monkey), and Baroque tower helmets.

Heidelberg’s old town is prettier than most of the old towns in all over Germany. There are old buildings, and narrow streets with a distant hill in the background. Even the German tourism board names Heidelberg in the top 3 because of its stunning old town.

Heidelberg Altstadt (old town) is a place where you will spend most of your time. There are restaurants in Market Square, interesting shops on Hauptstrasse, and many old churches – all of them together in a little Old Town. Exploring the old town is quite possibly the most popular thing to do in Heidelberg.

Neckar River

Neckar River, Heidelberg, Germany

Most of the historical cities all over the world were built around major rivers. This is because major long-distance transport was over the water.

But on today’s date, we can enjoy the beauty of the river that goes through a lovely historical city and feast our eyes on the stunning landscapes that these rivers make. That’s the thing is Heidelberg too.

Family Kayaking on Neckar River, Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg’s Neckar River creates many stunning viewpoint opportunities. Moreover, as you hike along the river, you will notice many interesting sights like meadows, parks, and little hills. I also saw a family kayaking on the Necker river and I’m sure you can do a few other water sports like SUP, paddle boating, and more.

Odenwald Mountains

Odenwald Range around Heidelberg, Germany

You’ve got a castle, a river, a bridge, and an old town, so how can the landscape get even better? Add mountains & hills. Yes, I was truly delighted when I realized that as stunning as Heidelberg is, it is even better than I imagined it to be because of the little hills that surround the city.

The Odenwald range is bigger than the hills. In fact, they are a low mountain range that extends all the way to Bavaria. In Heidelberg, we see a part of Odenwald that’s along a part of Neckar river valley is very green.

We were able to enjoy the best of Odenwald’s greenery as we camped next to Neckar river in Heidelberg. This is because we traveled to Heidelberg with our camper van.

Camping in Heidelberg

Two interesting spots of Odenwald that you will enjoy while in Heidelberg are Königstuhl-Mountain (567.8m) and Heiligenberg (445m) which is a part of the Philosophenweg hike.

Heidelberg Viewpoints

Heidelberg view from the top – via Unsplash

Where there are hills, there are definitely viewpoints. The most known spectacular viewpoint of Heidelberg is from Königstuhl-Mountain, from where you can see the old town, Heidelberg Palace, and the river.

In order to reach Königstuhl-Mountain, you can climb the Himmelsleiter “Ladder to the Sky” with 1220 steps. Or, you can just take it easy and ride the Bergbahn funicular – the mountain cableway. This ride starts from “Kornmakt” in the Old Town to Heidelberg Castle and to the Königstuhl.

If you’re thinking of riding the cable rail and also entering Heidelberg Castle then we highly recommend you get the HeidelbergCard to save money.

Click for the HeidelbergCard

Apart from Königstuhl, there are many other viewpoint possibilities because of the hills and rivers. You can check out the view from Neckarwiese, for which you won’t have to climb at all.

Neckarwiese is actually a flat meadow by the south bank of the river Neckar. From here, you can see the river and the castle beyond it. On a nice summer day, you will see a lot of locals and students here.

Or you can also check out the view from Scheffel Terrace, which has an observation deck within the Heidelberg castle.

Hiking Trails

Philosophenweg – Philosopher’s walk in Heidelberg via Unsplash

I have a thing for nature & viewpoints and because of this, I love to hike. Heidelberg has many small hiking trains and the most famous one is called Philosophenweg, which means Philosopher’s Way. As the name suggests, this walk was started by Heidelberg university professors and philosophers.

Necker River and hiking trails – Heidelberg, Germany

The Philosopher’s Way hiking trail in Heidelberg goes along the Neckar river and is easy to do if the weather is nice. This hike leads to the Heiligenberg mountain of Odenwald from Neuenheim.

We actually did this walk with our baby in a stroller but had to pick it up manually at some spots. The total distance of this hike is around 2 kms.

Craft Beer

Explore the Beer Scene in Heidelberg

Heidelberg has some famous breweries and an amazing craft beer scene. Head to Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus, which is where I had one of the best-tasting beers. It is located right in the heart of the old town. Enjoy the beer with typical German food like Flammkuchen, Weißwurst, or Schnitzel.

There are surely many other places in Heidelberg where you can enjoy craft beer. Including the one I tried, here’s a list for you for your trip here:

  • Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus (tried and tested by me)
  • Kulturbrauerei,
  • Heidelberger Brauerei GmbH,
  • Hopfenkind Craftbrewing Co,
  • Brauerei zum Klosterhof GmbH

Let me know if you try them. Personally, I’d love to return to Heidelberg and visit them all one by one.

Small Town Feels

Heidelberg has small-town feels

Heidelberg is popular amongst tourists but I love the fact it has retained some small-town feel. This is one thing that I miss when I visit cities like Hamburg, Frankfurt, etc – but Heidelberg wins here.

You can explore most of Heidelberg on foot and I love that kind of freedom. In fact, we camped 2 KMs outside the old town but it was a nice walk along the river to Heidelberg’s old bridge and then further to the old town.

Lively Nightlife

Heidelberg is tiny but it has more than 300 bars and clubs! Since it is a student town, the nightlife scene here is amazing. Most of the bars stay open till 1 am and even much later for student bars.

Some locals say that if you are young and can be mistaken as a Heidelberg University student, you can also find out about student parties by asking around. If you find a party like that then you are guaranteed a good time since these parties go on till 6 or 7 am in the morning. Moreover, beer is much cheaper at these parties.

So, is Heidelberg worth visiting?

Having lived in Germany, I have seen many destinations all over the country and also on an island. For me, one of the best travel destinations in the country is Heidelberg because it has everything. Exactly for this reason, it will appeal to every kind of traveler – young, old, solo, family, adventurers, party animals, wine aficionados, history buffs, Potterheads, and more.

Heidelberg is charming, and historical, has amazing nature, hiking possibilities, a dreamy castle, an old town with a romantic bridge, and a super amazing party scene. Have you ever visited Heidelberg? Let me know in the comments.

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Hamburg Instagram Spots: 13 Photo Spots in Hamburg + MAP

Hamburg Instagram Spots: 13 Photo Spots in Hamburg + MAP

Here are the exact locations of some of my Instagram reels and posts from Hamburg. It took me multiple visits to find some of the most amazing photo spots and to compile this list of my favorite Hamburg instagram spots.
Hamburg made me fall in love with Germany. There are canals, bridges, a stunning warehouse district with Dark Acadamia aesthetics, massive ships on the Elbe river, a tunnel and loads of street art. There is also a narrow street with the whole Harry Potter Diagon Alley vibe.
Hamburg is where even the subway stations look gorgeous, bus interiors look adorable with a tiny bookshelf and also the town hall is an interesting place to photograph. Is the rest of Germany also like this? Umm, no.
If you’re visiting Hamburg and you’d like to create some memorable photos too, then here’s my list that’s specifically curated for that purpose. Here are top instagram spots in Hamburg.

1) Brooksfleet, Speicherstadt

View of Brooksfleet in Speicherstadt, Hamburg

Speicherstadt is a German word that means “warehouse district”. It is super special because Hamburg has the biggest warehouse district in the world. And it is stunning!

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is my favorite photo spot in Hamburg because all the buildings are red. The icing on the cake is that there are intersecting canals, that make the photos look stunning.

Something about the red buildings and Hamburg’s gloomy cloudy weather give me massive Dark Acadamia vibes on this particular spot.

Brooksfleet canal in Speicherstadt, Hamburg photo spots

Speicherstadt is within the HafenCity quarter. You will find many photo spots but the best ones aren’t on top of the big bridges. Get on one of the narrower bridges that go over Brooksfleet canal and click a picture. You won’t be disappointed!

The Brooksfleet in Speicherstadt t is the extension of the Kehrwiederfleet. I found this spot randomly in 2017 while I was getting out from Miniatur Wunderland, and I revisited in 2022 for a few photos and reels.

Exact location: the narrow bridge right behind VLET restaurant in Speicherstadt that goes over Brooksfleet.

Click Here for coordinates on Google Map.

2) Nikolaifleet & Deichstraße

Nikolaifleet - Hamburg’s Prettiest Canal

Nikolaifleet – Hamburg’s Prettiest Canal – I photographed this in June 2017

Oh Hamburg, stop pretending to be Amsterdam! Just kidding. But yes, this spot will remind you of Amsterdam because the buildings along the canal are narrow.

Nikolaifleet is the name of a canal that is in Hamburg’s old town. What makes this photo spot special is that it is along Deichstraße, a pretty street with historical narrow buildings.

Nikolaifleet canal in July 2022, Hamburg Instagram spots

First mentioned in 1304, Deichstraße is the oldest remaining street in Hamburg’s old town – Hamburg Altstadt. The historical canal side houses here are from the 17th – 19th century. This photo spot is right opposite Speicherstadt. 

There’s also a bench here, so that you can sit down and take a break. If you have something nice to sip while you wait here, then that is even better. If not, then just admire the view, click a few photos and move on.

I have mentioned this photo-spot in my things to do in Hamburg post already. To get to this spot, arrive at Haus der Seefahrt and walk a few steps further and you will see this view. 

Click here for location coordinates on Google Map.

3) Wasserschloss (Water Castle), Speicherstadt

Wasserschloss (Water Castle), Speicherstadt via Unsplash

The most photographed spot of Speicherstadt is the Wasserschloss, which means “the Water Castle”. It is at the end of the the historical Holländischfleet-Brücke. This photo spot is interesting because of two intersecting canals – Wandrahmsfleet & Holländischbrookfleet with the Wasserschloss building in the middle. 

The Wasserschloss building was the home and working space of the those that maintained the warehouse district’s rope winches. Not many were privileged to live inside the warehouse district, but they were.

Speicherstadt at night - Hamburg's Warehouse District

Speicherstadt at night – Hamburg’s Warehouse District

How to photograph the Water Castle (Wasserschloss) in Hamburg? You don’t get too close to it but find a bridge that overlooks it. In order to see it, you will have to get on to the Poggenmühlen-Brücke, which is close to the Schmidtchen Speicherstadt cafe.

Click here for location coordinates on Google Map.

A lot of elaborate townhouses in Speicherstadt that belonged to the merchants from Holland along the Holländischfleet-Brücke were demolisghed to makje roopm for new warehouses. Also, many historical buildings were destroyed duering the World War 2 but some were restrored brick by brick.  

As of 1991, the warehouse district is under monumental protection, and from 2015 the entire Speicherstadt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Other interesting buildings in Speicherstadt are:

Cafea GmbH, Am Sandtorkai 2 

Building along St. Annenfleet, Speicherstadt, Hamburg via Unsplash

The stunning building at Am Sandtorkai 2 next to St. Annenfleet canal is Cafea GmbH, which was a coffee store that’s permanently closed. This building is stunning and is definitely worth photographing. 


It means the Warehouse District Townhouse and is the head office of HHLA transport and logistics.


This is a cute small buuilding that you will see from the bridge as you walk around in Speicherstadt.

Café Fleetschlösschen

This building was once a customs booth on Brooktorkai but is now a restaurant. 


4) Elbphilharmonie, HafenCity

The Elbphilharmonie, HafenCity or Elbphi, Hamburg, Germany via Unsplash

The Elbphilharmonie or just the Elphi is a massive concert hall in Hamburg’s HafenCity. It is an iconic glass building that you should try to photograph if you visit Hamburg.

Some people say that the Elbphilharmonie shape resembles the top of the sail. Others even say that it looks like an iceberg, or a wave or a quartz crystal – but I will leave it to you to decide.

As per the architect (Herzog & De Meuron), the Elbphi gives an impression of a giant crystal that reflects the town, Elbe River and the sky differently from any position and at any hour of the day. You guessed it, it isn’t a historical landmark. The Elbphilharmonie was inaugurated in January 2017.

If you want to explore the HafenCity and Elbphi, check out this 3 Hour Bicycle Tour with Elbphilharmonie that goes through many famous landmarks here and also Elbphilharmonie, where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the city.

Because it is massive, it isn’t a good idea to get close to it to photograph it. Instead, get to a place from where you can photograph the Elbphi over the water.

In my opinion, the Pedestrian Bridge Opposite Haus der Seefahrt is an excellent spot for photographing the Elbphilharmonie.

5) Alsterarkaden & Otto Liss Gedenktafe

Otto Liss Gedenktafe overlooking Vleet restaurant, Hamburg

There is a spot right after you get out of the Rathaus complex where cars can’t go but you can stand on the bridge that’s called Schleusenbrücke. Go on the bridge to look at the water and the restaurants along with it.

If you walk further 150 meters further and cross VLET restaurant, you will find a spot that’s marked on Google Maps as Otto Liss Gedenktafe. That my friends, is where I clicked the above picture.

Otto Liss Gedenktafe viewpoint overlooking Rathaus and Vleet restaurant, Hamburg

I really like this photo spot in Hamburg because you can see the iconic Rathaus building in the background with the canal and restaurants. 

The best time for this photo is at night because that’s when you can capture the romantic vibe of the canal side restaurants because of the warm lamps.

Alsterarkaden in Hamburg with Rathaus in the background

The canals here are Kleine Alster and Alsterfleet.  This photo spot overlooks the VLET restaurant. Yes, I have mentioned them already in the first point and no, they aren’t paying me to mention them. But it seems that this chain restaurant is all over the famous Instagram spots of Hamburg.

Click here for location coordinates to click the main evening photo at the top of this section.

6) Rathaus – inside and outside

Rathaus in Hamburg – top photo spots

Now that you’re near the Rathaus, you will notice that it is an interesting building with Neo-Renaissance architecture. The building is wide, so you have to find a way to fit it properly in a 5×4 frame that’s a preferred photo frame for Instagram. Of course you would need a wide angle lens but nowadays all good cellphones have that too.

Hamburg Rathaus – top IG spots in Hamburg

Don’t just stay inside the Rathaus, but go inside too and you will love the photo possibilities. The water fountain and the Hygieia sculpture behind the Rathaus also make a nice photo background.

Behind the Rasthaus when you cross the fountain and look towards the road, there is an arch. That makes a good photo spot too. I did not click a photo there but shot an Instagram reel.

As you get out of the Rathaus, walk around to see different photo possibilities. There’s the Handelskammer Hamburg building next to it that’s also worth photographing.

Click here for photo coordinates.

7) Stintfang for Landungsbrücken Station, St. Pauli 

View of Landungsbrücken from Stintfang, Hamburg Insta Spots – July 2022

How can a train station look so stunning. But of course Hamburg has it all.

Landungsbrücken is actually a set of bridges that connect the floating landing stations for the ships to the land on Hamburg docks. But in this point we are talking about the Landungsbrücken station in St. Pauli.

Landungsbrücken station building is very interesting because there are certain inscriptions and also a clock tower that actually is used to measure the water level too. This entire complex is a protected monument.

The best place for photographing Landungsbrücken is from a spot called Stintfang. It is an observation deck that’s across the road and you have to slightly climb up. From here you will also see the Elbphilharmonie, the famous Rickmer Rickmers museum ship and the busy Hamburg dock.

Landungsbrücken Station, St. Pauli viewpoint – June 2017

I remember I visited this spot in 2017 from a park where a lot of people were sitting with beer to watch the sunset over Landungsbrücken. This time in 2022, I saw lot of those sitting spaces on the grass were closed off for people and instead there were just the benches.

You can also arrive here directly from Landungsbrücken station as you go on the bridge that crosses the road and then climb more steps to reach on top.

Click here for photo coordinates.

8) Elbe Tunnel & Steinwerder

Inside the Elbtunnel in Hamburg – Photo spots in Hamburg

You must have noticed that I have mentioned the Elbe River a few times. Yes, it is a major river in Central Europe and it goes through Hamburg. A lot of things and places in Hamburg have the word “Elb” because of this river.

The Elbe tunnel (or Elbtunnel in German) goes under the Elbe river and is the longest river tunnel in the world. The entry point is located actually in the Landungsbrücken complex, so pretty close to the previous point on this list. 

The Elbe Tunnel, Hamburg – top photo spots

There is a lift that will take you to the starting point of the tunnel. The lift doesn’t operate after 6 pm. It gets very close un this tunnel so I hope you carry something warm to wear.

On the other side of the Elbe River through the Elbtunnel – Steinwerder

You can walk from one side to another in less than 10 minutes. If you want, you can also explore the area on the other side of the harbor. It is called Steinwerder, and it is a maritime industrial area.

Click here for the entry coordinates for the Elbtunnel.

9) Strand Pauli at Sunset

StrandPauli, Hamburg – top photography spots

Strand Pauli means Pauli beach – but this isn’t a beach spot but is a bar that’s a good photo spot because of the location.

Like most of the spots on this list, this place also looks good at sunset. But I understand that you can’t be everywhere at the sunset time. In that case, I’d recommend you arrive here before or just after the sunset to capture a reddish hue before the purple hour of the photography begins.

To make things better, there is a frame of an old van here that makes a lovely photo frame. We saw it in 2022 and I hope it is still there when you visit.

Click here for the photo coordinates.

10) St. Michael’s Church (Hauptkirche Sankt Michaelis)

St. Michael’s Church Clock Tower, Hamburg via Unsplash

St. Michael’s Church is Hamburg’s most famous church and is one of the five main Lutheran churches. The building is iconic because of the 433 feet tall clock tower that hovers over most of the background pictures of Hamburg from many directions.

St. Michael’s Church interiors – Hamburg Instagram Spots via Unsplash

The clock tower of St. Michael’s Church was once used to navigate the ships on the river Elbe. Today this tower features an observation deck with panoramic views of Hamburg from every direction. The clock on this tower has faces on the four sides and these are the biggest clock faces in all of Germany.

Click here for the photo coordinates.

11) Hamburg Street Art: St. Pauli & Schanzenviertel

St Pauli Street Art, Hamburg

If you want to capture different perspectives of Hamburg, then you can’t miss St. Pauli & Schanzenviertel. This is where several artists began their journey, including the Beatles. (Yes, the band is from Liverpool but St. Pauli is where they were when the rise of Beatlesmania began.)  

In order to see the street art, get to the skate park in St. Pauli and walk around. Explore the area around Pauli U-Bahn station and Schanzenviertel. The walk from St. Pauli to Schanzenviertel won’t take more than 15 minutes but will take longer if you stop often for photos.

Street art St. Pauli Skate Park Hamburg

Hamburg’s Red light district – Reeperbahn is also a part of St. Pauli. For obvious reasons, you can’t click photos in that part of the city. I just wanted to make sure that you’re aware of this.

I know that the street art in Berlin is famous, but I enjoyed Hamburg too. In my opinion it was certainly more vibrant. Get to the skate park in St. Pauli and you will find an interesting spot to photograph. 

12) Hamburg Skyline From Boat

View of Hamburg Skyline from the boat

Hamburg’s skyline looks amazing at night, so where should you go to photograph it? Get on a night boat tour. The boats leave a little before it gets dark so that you can see the buildings along the water and massive ships that are lit up.

Hamburg Evening Tour with Lights

As the night darkens, you will see how the colour changes. I have personally done this tour and many people have booked it on my website over the last many years. It is a popular tour and is one of the best ways to see the skyline in a romantic setting.

This tour lasts around 60 minutes and is totally worth it. There is an outdoor deck which is rooftop and tends to get full. It offers excellent photo spots.

Hamburg can get a bit chilly because of the winds so not many people want to stay on the rooftop for long. You can also sit indoors because there are plenty of levels and a lot of seats. The view from indoors is also lovely.

13) Alster Lake

Alster Lake in Hamburg

In my Hamburg things to do post, I mention Alster Lake as a good spot for watching the sunset. I still say the same, so if you have time on your hands then definitely include this on your list.

If you like photography then you know this already that the colors right before and after the susnet bring out the best in every landscape and as a result the photos turn out amazing. This is time is called “the golden hour of photography”.

There is a walking path that goes along the main road that’s next to the lake. You can walk on it and stop for photos. There are spots for going down the steps so that you are closer to the lake.

There are spots where you will see swans. You will also see a lot of locals sitting on the benches next to the lake. Opposite the Alster Lake is the Hamburg University. You will also see a TV tower in the background here.

Where to Stay in Hamburg?

Paradise Suite at Superbude Altona Hamburg

There’s just one answer – Superbude. This chain has the most stunning rooms that aren’t just hostels but also “paradise suites”. We stayed in the Superbude Altona with our toddler and loved it. The location was amazing and it was a quieter part of Hamburg. 

The room was very interesting for not just my toddler but also for us. This is how they design the rooms in all the Superbude chains with interesting elements and small interactive art pieces. I remember our room in Superbude St. George had a singing fish!

We have also stayed in Superbude St Pauli and Superbude St. George in 2017. They are all amazing in terms of location, breakfast and comfort. More than anything, it is the design element that sets Superbude apart from all other hotels.

If you are looking to explore Hamburg with your family then I suggest you book a room at Superbude Altona. If your motive is to party and to explore Hamburg’s nightlife, then you should consider Superbude St. Pauli. If you don’t mind being in a busy area and would like to be close to the central train station and the Hafencity, then consider Superbude St. Pauli.

Yes, I love the Superbude chain so much that I even have a post about them based on my trip in 2017. Maybe it is time to update that post with new information about Superbude in Altona. 

Final Thoughts about Hamburg Instagram Spots

I hope you find my list of Instagram spots in Hamburg useful. I wanted to compile this list for people like me who are always looking for the best photo spots in a destination but maybe they don’t have time to do their research. 

You must have noticed that I love photographing the same spots, so I clicked some in 2017 and others in 2022 at the same place.  If you come across some more interesting Insta spots in Hamburg then please leave a comment and let me know since I’d love to add more to my list for my next trip.

Disclosure: I collaborated with Superbude Hamburg in 2017 and 2022. However, all opinions expressed in this articles are my own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.   We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

The Externsteine: Stunning Rock Formation in Germany’s Teutoburg Forest

The Externsteine: Stunning Rock Formation in Germany’s Teutoburg Forest

This post has information about the Externsteine Rocks in Teutoburger Wald (Teutoburg Forest), which is Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia State.

Would you believe me if I told you that Germany has it’s own Stonehenge like natural site with rocks that standing there since the ice age?

I wouldn’t believe me, but thankfully I have visited this place twice. It is called the Externsteine, and it is often called the Germanic Stonehenge because of Wilhelm Teudt, an archeologist who popularized this term.

AKA the Germanic Stonehenge – The Externsteine

The Externsteine rocks are massive, and have a strange beauty about them as they appear to be jutting out of the earth out of nowhere. 

Living in Germany, I have visited a lot of destinations within the country but this place left a strong memory in my mind. The sheer magnificence of the Externsteine rock formations will leave you in awe of the geology, the nature and the history. I loved this place so much that I visited it twice already.

The Stunning Externsteine in Winter

These rock formations are a part of the Teutoburg Forest and are protected. If you have read about the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, then you probably recognize the name of the forest.

If you’re a history buff, or a nature lover or even an adventure lover, you will enjoy your time here. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Externsteine in Teutoburger Wald.

Everything You Need to Know for Visiting the Externsteine in Teutoburger Wald

The Externsteine – What’s with the Name?

The Externsteine in Teutoburger Wald, Germany

The oldest recorded names for the Externsteine were Agistersten and Eggesterenstein. The word “steine” means stones or rocks in German language but many historians and linguistic specialists have different thoughts about the name. 

Many linguistic researchers in the recent years say that the name “the Externsteine” means “sharp pointy rocks”. In older texts it was also written as “the Eastern Rocks”. 

The Externsteine, Teutoberger Wald, Germany

The most popular meaning of the name Externsteine is “the rock of the magpies”, which was popularized by Hermann Hamelmann. Now you’re thinking who is Hermann Hamelmann – well, he’s an important part of the Externsteine’s recent history and we will talk about him later in this post.

By the way, if you are into massive rock formations, then you should also check out my post about Jasmund National Park in Germany, which is famous for its white cliffs.

Where is the Extersteine, Teutoburger Wald?

The Externsteine Rocks from a distance

The Externsteine is in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state. Many travelers don’t spend much time in this state because it is mostly industrial, except if they are visiting the famous city of Cologne. (Of course, there’s a lot more to see in the state like Burg Eltz, Winterberg, Münster city, etc.)

These rocks are a part of the Teutoburg Forest (Teutoburger Wald in German), which are forested hills that cover an area of 4000 square kilometers. The forested ridge of Teutoburger Wald are mostly in NRW and some in the Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) state.

If you want to be specific, then the Externsteine is 30 KMs from Paderborn or 50 KMs from Bielefeld. The nearest town is Horn-Bad Meinberg.

How old are the Externsteine rocks? A MILLION YEARS.

It is shocking but it is believed that the Externsteine rocks are 120 million year old. No, it doesn’t mean that this exact structure is so old but the rocks are. They were laid down around 100 million years ago during the early Cretaceous era.

These rocks are from the Ice Age, more than 100 million years old

These rocks were originally horizontal layers but about 70 million years ago they were folded to an almost vertical position. The pillars look like this today after years of weathering as well as having been modified and decorated by humans over the centuries – wow!

It is interesting to know that these are outcropping of sandstone rocks in a region that is usually has no rocks. 

A Brief History of the Extersteine

I like knowing a little history of everything but I don’t like to go too deep in it every single time. So, keeping that in mind, I will make it short and sweet to include just the main points.

First Use of the Externsteine in the Prehistoric times

The Stunning Extersteine Rocks were first used in the Prehistoric times by nomads

The first use of these rocks was by nomadic groups who used them for temporary shelter. This was the prehistoric time and the stone tools daring back to 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC from the Ahrensburg culture were recovered. After that, there hasn’t been any evidence of the use of the Externsteine site in the bronze or iron age. 

The Externsteine as a Christian Sacred Site

The Extersteine in Teutoberger Wald, Germany

As per historians, the Externsteine site was mentioned in some historical documents to be used between the 10th and 15th centuries but these documents were destroyed in the Second World War. The thermoluminescence dating of the cave walls did suggest that this location was used between the the 10th and 15th centuries.

Some historians also say that the Externsteine was used in the 9th century as a Christian sanctuary.  

The rocks of the Externsteine have caves and passages within them, and there are inscriptions on some of the walls. One inscription suggests that the Externsteine was declared sacred in 1115 by the Bishop of Paderborn – Henrico or Heinrich II. von Werl. 

Use of the Externsteine as a Hermitage

There are historical documents that suggest that the Externsteine was also used as a Hermitage – a temporary place for refugees. It is important to keep in mind that the place wasn’t always called the Externsteine and the documents describe the place but not name is exactly as it is known today.

Between 14 and 16 centuries, the Hermitage at the Externsteine was used as a hiding place for bandits. It was then in the 16th century that the Hermitage was dissolved here and eventually all the church activity stopped too.

Externsteine as a Sacred Pagan Site

The Externsteine in Winter

Do you remember I mentioned the name Hermann Hamelmann in the section where I talk about the name of the Externsteine? Well, he plays an important part in the history of the Expernsteine around this time in the Early Modern Period.

Hermann Hamelmann was a reformer from Westphalia who believed in works of Martin Luther. He was a theologist who worked as a priest and later as a pastor. In 1564 he wrote that the Extersteine was used as a site for Saxon pagan worship. Till date, many Germans believe that the Externsteine was indeed a pagan worship site.

The Strange but Beautiful Externsteine

Even today the Externsteine is believed to be a sacred pagan site and thousands of people gather here every summer for the Walpurgis Night. I do mention this in detail in the section about “when to visit the Externsteine”.

Dilapidation and then Sudden Interest in the Externsteine

The Externsteine wasn’t taken care of in the early 18th century but revived soon after and then it became a tourist destination. Due to this, the interest in the Externsteine grew and people because curious about its purpose historically.

In 1860s – 1870s, many publications wrote about their speculations of what may have been the history of the Externsteine and what it was used for.  There were mentions again of pagan worship and around this time a lot of excavations were conducted.

Summer Flowers around the Externsteine in Teutoburger Wald

An important moment in the history of Externsteine was in 1926, when it was declared to be one of the oldest and important nature reserves in Lippe. It was around this time that the Externsteine was called “the Germanic Stonehenge” by the archeologist Wilhelm Teudt.

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest of 9 AD occurred most likely in or around this area. This battle was one of the most significant defeats of the Romans. This battle abruptly ended the period of expansion under Ceasar Augustus and stopped the Romans plans for conquering Germania.

 Archeologist and hiostorians have tried to conduct excavations in 1880s to find evidence of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in and around the Externsteine, but none were found back then.

Wiembecke Pond

Wiembecke Pond next to the Extersteine Rocks

There is a small lake that’s next to the Externsteine columns. It is actually a pond that was created artificially by making a dam on a stream of River Wiembecke which was earlier flowing past the rocks.

Wiembecke Pond in Winter

This pond is called Wiembecke Pond and is offers stunning photo possibilities of the Externsteine and its reflection in the water.

Hermannsweg Hike or Hermann Trail

The gardens around the Externsteine in Teutoburg Forest

The Externsteine is also a part of the Hermannsweg Hike, which is a Germany’s one of the most beautiful high altitude hiking trails that goes through the Teutoburg Forest. 

This 156 KM trail starts at Rheine and ends at Lippe Velmerstot rock formation, which is another rock formation that’s close to the Externsteine.

How to Reach Externsteine

The drive through the Teutoberg Forest to Externsteine

Just like any other destination in Germany that’s not a main city, the best way of reaching the Externsteine is by driving to it. Put “Parkplatz Externsteine” on your navigation system and enjoy the drive through the beautiful forest.

I did mention hiking in the previous section. You can take a part of the Hermannsweg Hike, or do the full trail to reach the Externsteine.

It is easy to reach the Externsteine by train & bus too. Look for R51 train from Paderborn train station and get off at “H-BM-Horn, Jahnstraße“. H-BM is Horn-Bad Meinberg. From here, the walk to the Externsteine is 1.3 KMs. 

If you want to minimize walking, then arrive in Horn-Bad Meinberg city by train and look for a bus 782 to Horn-Holzh – it is 450 meters from the Externsteine. You can search for bus tickets here.

The Walk to the Externsteine from the parking place

The Externsteine car park is just 500 meters away from the rocks. There’s a visitor information center, a restaurant and a small playground for children. The parking charge is around EUR 4.50 per day.

A carved tree trunk near the Externsteine Car Park in 2017

The same carved tree trunk near the Externsteine Car Park in 2022

The walk from the parking place to the Externsteine rocks is easy and goes through the forest. In the middle, there is a lovely moment of wonder at the first glimpse of the rocks through the trees. 

What to do around the Externsteine

Walk around the Externsteine & Wiembecke Pond

The most obvious thing to do when you arrive here is to walk around the rocky columns. There is a path that goes through between two of the columns which is probably the first thing you will notice.

The view of the Extersteine across the Wiembecke Pond

This is a small trail that goes through the rocks and around the Wiembecke Pond. The trail will just take you 5-10 minutes and you can catch a glimpse of the rocks from the other side of the Wiembecke Pond.

Climb on top of the Externsteine rocks for the view 

Climb on top of the Extersteine Tower

The rocks are connected to each other with a series of steps. The path is narrow and can be slippery in rain if you’re not wearing the right shoes. It isn’t free to climb on top of the towers and I remember the fee per person being EUR 3.

View from top of the Extersteine Rocks

One the days when the Externsteine is closed, a small part of the staircase is open and the remaining is closed. So you can still go a little higher and look at the view from top.

See the Grottos of Externsteine

The Grottos of the Externsteine

There is a cave inside the rocks with three chambers that are connected by passages. This part is called the Grottenfels – or the Grottos. These are man made grottos. 

See the Markings and Drawings on the Rocks

The Carving showing showing Christ’s Descent from the Cross on Externsteine_

The marking and drawings on the columns of Externsteine are all different. They are very interesting to see. There is a carving that depicts the Christ’s Descent from the Cross.

One of the rocks of the Externsteine shows the coat of arms of the Counts of Lippe, which of course is one of the newest markings.

Explore the Beauty of Teutoberg Forest

Don’t forget that the Externsteine is just one of the many places in the lovely hilly forest of Teutoberg. Take out some time to explore the nature.

We did a slightly longer walk that went through the forest and it was very enjoyable in summer. On our second visit, we picked the smaller trail because there was snow and everything was slippery.

Exploring the forest around Externsteine – Teutoberger Wald

You can explore the forest on foot or you can bring your bicycle too. Pick one of the marked trails and see the beauty of the nature.

Please be careful of ticks while walking around the forest, some of them can be poisonous.

Enjoy a Picnic next to Externsteine

Picnic next to the Externsteine and Wiembecke pond

If you’re visiting on a warm day, then you can also carry your picnic mat and snacks for a memorable day here with friends.

When to visit the Externsteine?

All the seasons are good for visiting the Externsteine and offer something different. 

Snow on the grass around the Externstein in Winter

If you visit in Winter, with a bit of luck you can catch the beauty of the forest with snow. We did too. Although the main tourist office of the Externsteine isn’t open in winter weekdays but only the weekends, but you can still do everything except climb on top of the towers.

Unfortunately the grass and the benches will most likely be wet during a typical winter day, so you can’t sit and enjoy the nature, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting.

Wildflowers around the Externsteine

Spring and summer months are when the most of the people visit this site. The forest is sense during these seasons and you will see a lot of flowers and bees. Carry a mat and some snacks, because it’s the perfect time for picnic.

Wildflowers around the Externsteine in summer

On April 30 – May 1 every year, many locals camp here and jam (perform music together) – to celebrate Walpurgis Night. It of course helps that there’s national holiday of the labour day on May 1.  However, it didn’t happen during the peak of corona pandemic in 2020-2021.

The Externsteine Looks Lovely in all Seasons

Autumn is the best time for me to visit the Externsteine, particularly right before the leaves start to fall because of the stunning bright colors of an otherwise green and grey landscape.

Closing Thoughts on the Externsteine

The Externsteine is a an incredibly beautiful rock formation which will leave you in awe of the geology, the nature and the history. The sheer size of the rocks will amaze you and this is sure to be a place which will remain on top of your list of memorable places.

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Why I love Bielefeld Christmas Market, [NRW] Germany

Why I love Bielefeld Christmas Market, [NRW] Germany

Magical season is here, and the best way to make the most of it is by heading to a Christmas Market. 

Around this time every year, I thank the universe for making me live in Germany so that I can enjoy some of the best Christmas Markets in Germany.

Many first timer visitors try to find the most famous Christmas markets in Germany but as someone who’s living there, I highly recommend the smaller ones.

Firstly, the most famous Christmas Markets like the one in Dresden or Trier are extremely crowded. Second, the hotels sell out months in advance. Third, if you’re thinking of driving to them, then be aware that the parking areas fill out too.

Keeping that in mind, I highly suggest you check out the Christmas Markets in Germany that aren’t as famous. I did write a post about a small and sweet Christmas Market Rheda-Wiedenbruck (my town), but today I want to talk about a bigger one.  

Bielefeld is a big city in North Rhine-Westphalia (the Western German state). Although I never found Bielefeld exciting but I was presently surprised by the Christmas Markets here. Here’s why I love the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld and you will too:

Many Bielefeld Christmas Markets within Walking Distance, 

The View from the Top of a Ferris Wheel at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

The first time I visited Bielefeld, I walked around the main shopping street between the main train station (Bahnofstrasse) and Jahnplatz. It was beautifully decorated and had a lot of small temporary shops with Chrristmas-y things and Gluhwein, I thought that was the main Christmas Market but it is just one of the many.

Big Cities like Bielefeld have multiple Christmas Markets and they usually have different names. Three of the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld are near to each other so you can just walk from one to another.

My favorite one is in Klosterplatz, it is called Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” with a Winter Wonderland theme. Another one nearby is in Alter Markt (Old Market) with the backdrop of old buildings. A third one that’s right next to it is in Altstädter Kirchpark with carousels and a Ferris Wheel. Fourth market that’s just there too is on Niedernstraße, and fifth in Obenstrasse.

To make things easy, I have marked the Christmas Markets on a Map for you, you will find it at the end of this post.

So to recap, the 6 Christmas Markets of Bielefeld are:

  1. Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz 
  2. Shopping Street Christmas Market – Bahnofstrasse
  3. Alter Markt (Old Market) 
  4. Altstädter Kirchpark
  5. Niedernstraße
  6. Obenstrasse

If the above list confuses you, and if you’d like to pick just two, then I recommend number Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz  for ice skating, the bar scene and the old school feel and Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market for the carousels, food and bars. Actually they all have amazing bars but the ones in these two Christmas Markets especially stood out.

Honestly, if you move between these two then you can easily stop at Bielefeld Alter Markt Christmas Market, which is small but the decoration looks amazing with a backdrop of old buildings. The bars are nice and they have a nice gazebo like circular sitting area in the middle.

If you live in Bielefeld and know of another Christmas Market that I didn’t mention, then please tell me. 

The Decoration (+ Santa)

Altstädter Kirchpark Bielefeld Christmas Market

Bielefeld isn’t the prettiest city if you compare it to the likes of Cologne or Heidelberg, but I love how the city lights up during Christmas time. Expect to see pretty lights, massive Christmas Trees, Santas and literally everything that will make you feel like you just stepped into a winter wonderland.

Santa Claus at Weihnacht Markt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld Christmas Market

I wanted amazing Chrismasy pictures this winter, and I was planning on clicking them inside the house with the Christmas Tree but I clicked some of the best ones in the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld.

Ice Skating

Omg, I’m in a Winter Wonderland!

Ice Skating Rink at Weihnacht Markt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

That’s what I thought when I saw the Ice Skating rink in Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz. This was actually my favorite market of all because of the theme.

I absolutely love everything Christmas-y but for me the ice skating rink with pretty lights on top and wooden Christmas market stalls in the backdrop added a breathtaking touch. Activities such as ice skating, sledding or skiing scream winter. It was like a cherry on top of an amazing cake.

Ice Skating Rink at Christmas Market in Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

Seriously, the winter vibes can’t get more intense than this. For me, the ice skating rink was the highlight of the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld.

Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Typical Glühwein at Bielefeld Christmas Market

If you’re a Christmas Market newbie, then you probably don’t know what Glühwein is. I didn’t know too before visiting Germany in 2014.

Glühwein is Mulled Wine, which is warm wine with herbs, fruits, and spices added on to it. I don’t mean hot spices but things like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, mace, etc. Everyone has their own recipe for Glühwein and it is fun to try all different variations.

Most of the Glühweins are made with red wine but some also with white. Some also have fruit slices in them – mostly oranges. You will also find Glühweins that are mixed with rum, vodka and more interesting things. Of course the mixed ones are highly potent. 

Delicious Gluhwein with Orange at Christmas Market in Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz Bielefeld

Not only it is fun to try all the variations of Gluhweins in different Christmas Markets in Bielefeld but I absolutely adore the mugs or glasses that are used in most of the shops for Glühweins. 

The typical cost of Glühwein in Bielefeld Christmas market is around 3-4 Euros per glass. There’s also a “pfand” – refundable fee that you will initially pay and recover from the bar when you give your cup back. The prices go up per glass if you add more things to your glühwein.

In 2021, one needs to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a bar in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.

Christmas Markets are cold so if you want to warm up your hands and eventually your body, then get yourself a mug of Gluhwein. There are non alcoholic ones too!

You will find amazing Gluhweins everywhere but in terms of the variety, the bar atmosphere and the energy, I pick Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz as the best one for drinking.

Eggnogs (Eierpunsch)

Eierpunsch (Eggnog) in Bielefeld Christmas Market, Germany

Glühwein isn’t the only alcoholic Christmas Market beverage in Germany, there’s also Eierpunsch (Eggnog). This is actually made with egg, milk, cream, vanilla, and white wine.

Honestly, it sounds a little disgusting because of raw eggs and alcohol – eww. But if you have had mousse at any time or tiramisu, then be aware that they also are made with raw eggs. Thankfully if the Eierpunsch is well made then you won’t smell the egg but only vanilla.

i highly recommend the Eggnog in Altstädter Kirchpark Bielefeld Christmas Market. The main bar does tend to get crowded but the service is super quick.

The Eierpunsch in Bielefeld costs 3-4 Euros. You need to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a bar in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.


Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad) at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

Carousels aren’t just for children. Yes, they aren’t scare if you compare then to adventure park rides but they add a magical touch. The carousels aren’t there in all the Christmas Markets in Bielefeld but are only at Altstädter Kirchpark

You will find the typical Christmas carousel that’s simple but beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. There’s also a small snowman in the middle of the carousel that throws fake snowflakes on people. Cute, right?

Carousel at Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market in Bielefeld

I also love the big Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad in German) that’s in Altstädter Kirchpark Christmas Market. Of course the ride is fun (sadly a little short) but the view from the top is definitely worth seeing. You will see the Christmas Market from the high up in every direction and it looks magical with the lights.

The Carousel and Ferris Wheel costs EUR 2.5 for children and EUR 3 for adults. You need to show a proof of two vaccinations when buying your ticket.

The Food at Bielefeld Christmas Markets

Mushrooms with gravy and herb sauce and bun at Bielefeld Christmas Market

In terms of food, the Christmas Market at Altstädter Kirchpark has the most variety. You will find the typical German food that you can find in Christmas Markets – brat wurst, curry wurst, Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus, grünkohl, but also typical Kirmes food like Mushrooms with gravy, Lángos, Krakowska, etc.

My favorite of course are the Mushrooms (champignons) and I love the gravy and the bun that comes with it. 

In my experience, the food in Christmas Markets in Bielefeld isn’t expensive. It is always less than 10 Euros per person and is pretty filling. Just like drinks, you need to show a proof of two vaccinations when ordering anything from a restaurant in a Christmas Market in Bielefeld.

The Old School & Winter Holiday Feeling

The View from the Top of the Altstädter Kirchpark in Bielefeld

This is actually the case with not just Bielefeld Christmas Markets but most of them in Germany. There’s an atmosphere of joy, love and merry.

A Bar with an Old School Vibe at Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld Mitte in Klosterplatz

The magical decor with lights and garlands add to the festive mood. The small shops with handmade winter things offer something unique for everyone. In fact, the whole decor makes one want to spend their money as quickly as possible.

Bielefeld Christmas Markets Map (Walking Directions)

Below are the markets that I have marked on the map.

  1. Weihnachtsmarkt Bielefeld “Mitte” in Klosterplatz
  2. Shopping Street Christmas Market – Bahnofstrasse
  3. Alter Markt (Old Market) 
  4. Altstädter Kirchpark
  5. Niedernstraße
  6. Obenstrasse



Closing Thoughts on Christmas Markets in Bielefeld

If you live in NRW, then give the multiple Chrismas Markets of Bielefeld a try. Arrive here by train or car, park your car and spend a few hours moving from one Christmas Market to another. You can find more information about them on the city’s official webpage.

Burg Eltz Castle: Germany’s Iconic Medieval Castle that was Disney’s Inspiration

Burg Eltz Castle: Germany’s Iconic Medieval Castle that was Disney’s Inspiration

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Burg Eltz – a Castle that’s so stunning that it will make your eyes pop.

Brace yourself, I’m about to tell you about the most magical medieval castle that will transport you to the world of fairytales – Burg Eltz.

Burg Eltz is Germany’s iconic medieval castle that is more than 850 years old. Did I mention that it was an inspiration for one of Disney’s castles? A blueprint of this castle was actually used for Disney’s Cinderella movie. It is dreamy, romantic, and serene, and that’s not even the best part.

The Spectacular Burg Eltz Castle in Germany

The best part about Burg Eltz is the abundance of natural beauty around it. The Eltz Castle is surrounded by nature and there is the Elzbach river that’s next to it. There is a forest around it that’s hilly. You have to take a little hiking path through the forest from the parking place to reach here.

I have been living in Germany for the last five years. The country is known for its stunning medieval castles and for me Burg Eltz is the best of all.

Burg Eltz surrounded by the Eltz Forest in Germany CCO via Unsplash

Strangely enough, a lot of tour guides and articles about visiting Germany don’t mention Burg Eltz at all. You would read about the castles in Bavaria or the famous Heidelberg castle but enough about this one. However, Eltz Castle gained massive popularity because of Instagram.

Fun fact: an image of the castle was on the old 500 Deutsche Mark note. I wish I could hold one right now in my hands.

The old 500 Deutsche Mark note featuring Burg Eltz Germany

Oh, and it is owned privately by the descendants of the same Eltz family that lived here in the 12th century. How cool is that?

Our favorite thing about this castle is that it is surrounded by nature. Moselle River makes a tributary – Elzbach river that surrounds the castle. Even if you don’t want to go inside the castle, there’s plenty to do around. You can sit by the river, hike, or cycle around. 

What’s So Special about Burg Eltz?

Posing Outside Disney’s Cinderella Castle – Burg Eltz Germany (I was 8 months pregnant)

I mention a lot of these points in detail in the article but here’s why Burg Eltz castle is so special:

  • Burg Eltz castle was not destroyed in any of the wars, unlike many other European castles and old buildings.
  • It is architecturally stunning and is surrounded by spectacular natural beauty. The castle towers over the valley where it is built.
  • It is owned and taken care of by the same family since it was built, till today.
  • Many of the original furnishings still exist in the castle from the last eight centuries.
  • The castle treasury boasts of the best in the world gold and silver artwork.

Is Burg a Castle or a Fortress? Burg vs Schloss

Before we go further, I’d like to mention that the German word “Burg” directly translates into “fortress”. There’s another German word for the castle – Schloss.

In most cases, a Burg (or a Fortress) is a castle designed for defense in battle, and a palace or a castle (Schloss) is more of a place of residence. To make matters confusing, Burg Eltz was never designed to be for defense, but it is still called eine Burg and not ein Schloss.

Burg Eltz Castle – Burg vs Schloss – Castle or a Fortress – CCO via Unsplash

But, we will try to make things easy, let’s call it Burg Eltz, or Burg Eltz Castle as it is popularly known with English-speaking travelers.

Yes, I know if you’re a German, you’re probably shaking your head in disappointment because calling it “Burg Eltz Castle” is like calling it “Castle Eltz Castle”, but hey, a lot of people say “Chai Tea”, and I’m an Indian and I’m not even complaining, haha.

Burg Eltz at night – a popular astrophotography spot – photo by Digital Thangka (follow on Instagram), or check Danny Martens on Flickr

Burg Eltz Name – is it a family name?

Burg Eltz hasn’t been named after a family, but the Eltzbach River. I talk more about the family in the next section. Read on if you’re interested. 

A Brief History of Burg Eltz (Castle)

Burg Eltz – Germany’s Medieval castle – CCO via Unsplash

How can I talk about a historical building and not discuss the history? Well, about Burg Eltz, it was constructed between the 11th and the 13th century so it is around 850 years old. It is STILL owned by the descendants of the same family that lived here in the 12th century, 33 generations back. 

Back in the 11th to 13th century, the Eltz Castle was built along the trade route that linked the Moselle river with the Eifel and Maifeld. It was one of the most important trade routes in the German empire and therefore Burg Eltz’s location was strategically important.

The castle and the estate were divided in 1269 by the brothers Elias II, Wilhelm II, and Theoderich. Three succession lines were established, which were “with the Golden Lion”, “with the Silver Lion” and “with the Buffalo Horns”. These three families shared the estate and lived together in the castle, forming a constitution – “Ganerbengemeinschaft”.

The Romantic Medieval Castle – Burg Eltz in Germany

Until 1815, this joint constitution remained but after that, “the Silver Lion” line sold their share of the castle, and the “Ganerbengemeinschaft” was then dissolved.  In the 15th and 18th centuries, the “Buffalo Horns” line (later the line Eltz-Rodendorf) had ended and the shares were transferred to the Kempenich line (of the house Eltz-Kempenich), which remained as the only owner of the Eltz castle.

Today the Rübenach and Rodendorf families’ homes in the castle are open to the public, while the Kempenich branch of the family uses the other third of the castle.

Honestly, if I start detailing out the history of Burg Eltz, I’d need much more than just one page. You can check the official page of Burg Eltz to read more about its history.

Fun Fact: Burg Eltz was featured on postal stamps from 1977 to 1982 which were published by the German post office.

Anyway, enough about the history and fun facts, now let me help you plan a trip to the Burg Eltz and enjoy everything in and around the castle.

How to Reach Burg Eltz Castle

As with most of the destinations in Europe, the easiest way to visit Burg Eltz is by driving to it. The parking place is around a kilometer away from Eltz Castle so remember to wear comfortable shoes.

The hiking trail from Castle Parking to Burg Eltz

Alternatively, you can also take a train to Moselkern or Hatzenport or Mueden stations and from a taxi from there. Call Taxi Charly, Pillig, Telephone: +49 2605 2022 or TAXI-Reuter GmbH, Treis-Karden, Telephone: +49 2672 1407.

If you’re visiting Burg Eltz on the weekends and public holidays, there’s also a bus – “RegioRadler Burgenbus” that takes you from all the above-mentioned train stations to the castle. This bus is only on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from May to October.

Visiting Eltz Castle can be an adventure because you can walk from the train station, it is just 5 kms. The forest around the castle makes this walk super rewarding. But remember, that you will again have to walk 5 KMs back to the train station and also 1-2 kilometers around the castle so that’s a lot of walking for a day.

If you’re arriving at Burg Eltz by train, then I suggest you stay in the town of Moselkern overnight. Book Hotel Moselkern, that’s next to the train station and then hike to Burg Eltz whenever you want to.

What to Know Before Visiting Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz – castle surrounded by the forest – CCO Unsplash

Burg Eltz Corona Restrictions

  1. As of September 2021, entry for the castle is only for those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, those who can show proof of recovering from the disease in the last 6 months, and also those who can show a negative corona test.
  2. Only a limited number of people can enter the Eltz Castle complex.
  3. Children under 11 are exempt from these rules.
  4. It is mandatory to wear a mask inside and outside the castle while on the castle ground.

No Photos Inside the Castle Grounds

You Can’t Click Photos Inside Burg Eltz but the Best Photo Spot is Outside

If you decide to enter the castle or do a tour, then be informed that you aren’t going to be allowed to click photos. Yes, you can click a lot of photos outside and you will find many stunning spots but not when you’re inside.

This is also the reason why you wouldn’t find any photos of Burg Eltz’s interiors unless someone found a way not to follow the rules. You can buy pictures of certain interior sections in the gift shop as postcards, but that’s only if you want to.

Book Your Castle Tour in Advance to Avoid Waiting

The stunning Burg Eltz and the line of people to enter the castle – CCO via Unsplash

In order to enter the castle grounds of Burg Eltz, you have to take a tour. The tours are available in English, German, Dutch, and French.

If you’d like a German language tour then most likely you won’t have to wait for more than 10-15 mins. However, if you’d like a tour in English, then be prepared to wait for a long time. See the above picture for a row of people that are waiting to enter. If you’d like a tour in Dutch or French, then keep in mind that they are only available if you prebook.

There is more to Burg Eltz than just entering the castle complex

I have mentioned it before but Burg Eltz can be enjoyed by just hiking and looking at the castle from the entry area as well as some other viewpoints. The above corona restrictions apply to those who’d like to enter the complex. You can still enjoy the beauty of the castle from the outside.

If you’re like me and you like places where you can admire nature and historical structures, then you will love my post about the Externsteine in Teutoberger Wald. (It is a prehistoric structure unlike Burg Eltz)

Be Prepared to Walk / Hike

Sure, you want to click a picture in a pretty dress in front of the castle for your Instagram, but make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you will have to walk a lot. I suggest sneakers or flats for the trail that goes in the forest.

The View of Burg Eltz Castle from the hiking trail

Burg Eltz Parking Location and Costs

If you are driving to Burg Eltz, then here are the google coordinates of the castle parking. Parking isn’t free, it is € 2 for cars and scooters and € for vans and camper vans or any cars with trailers.

The path that goes from the parking to the castle is more of a hiking trail. It goes through the woods and offers at least 1 or 2 spots from where you admire the view. The hike is short, and fun, and adds to the experience of visiting Burg Eltz castle.

Burg Eltz Shuttle Bus

If you’d prefer not to walk, then be informed that there is a shuttle bus that goes to the Burg Eltz castle entry point. The shuttle stop is next to the barrier near Antonius Chapel. The shuttle isn’t free, it costs € 2 per person.

Honestly, I didn’t take the shuttle because I walked.

Burg Eltz Hours of Operation

Burg Eltz is closed in Winter – CCO via Unsplash

Burg Eltz is open every day during summer, autumn, and spring from 9:30 am to 5 pm. When I say “open” I mean everything beyond the entry gate that you see on this path that leads to the castle.

In winter the castle is usually closed from the inside but it can still be enjoyed from the outside. It actually looks amazing when it snows!

Honestly, the castle is so lovely and the hike around it is refreshing that one doesn’t really need to feel sad about not being able to go in when it’s not possible.

What to do when you reach Burg Eltz

Hike around Burg Eltz, 5 Hiking Trails

The Many Hiking Trails of Burg Eltz

In order to arrive at Burg Eltz, you will most likely walk for a kilometer or more. Even if you arrive by car or a shuttle to the entry point, I highly suggest you take out at least 30-60 minutes to walk around the castle. This trail is super easy. I was 8 months pregnant when I did this!

For many people, this hike is enough but some hikers will crave more. There are five hiking trails that go around the castle through the forest and along the Eltzbach river. These trails are very nicely marked and you will see the distance in kilometers on most of the markings as well.

Burg Eltz Castle panorama views from different hikes CC0 via Unsplash

1) Eltz Castle Panorama trail

The length of the Eltz Castle panorama trail is 12.5 kilometers and it takes approximately 4-5 hours to complete. This hike starts in Wiesen at the Wierschem community center. It offers amazing views from the Mosel plateau. 

2) Up the Romantic Eltz Stream

The length of this hiking trail is 2.5 kilometers, and it takes approximately 35 mins to complete. This hike goes along the Eltzbach river. It starts in Ringelsteiner Mühle in Moselkern and ends at Burg Eltz. If you’re traveling with children that are over 4 or 5 years, then this is the hike that you should pick.

3) From Pyrmont Castle to Eltz Castle

There’s another castle in the area and it is the Pyrmont Castle. It isn’t as stunning as the Eltz Castle but you can enjoy an amazing hike that’s 9.5 KMs long that goes from one castle to another.

4) From Müdener Berg to Eltz Castle

The word “Berg” means mountain in German, so this hike starts at Müdener and goes to Burg Eltz. Even though it is a short route of 1.7 KMs, the hike is challenging because it gets steep in places. You can enjoy the views of both the Eltz and Pyrmont Castles along this hike.

5) From Karden to Eltz Castle

This hiking trail is 7 km long, it starts at Karten and ends at Burg Eltz. It goes through meadows, vineyards and goes along the Moselle river during the first half of the hike. 

Inside Burg Eltz – the Castle Attractions

Inside Burg Eltz, Germany – CCO via Unsplash

A tour inside Elz Castle costs €11 per person. The duration of the tour is around 35 minutes and is in German, English, French, and Dutch.

When you’re inside Burg Eltz, you will see the famous inner courtyard that was built over 500 years ago. If you decide to do a tour, you will get to witness the Armoury and Treasury of Eltz Castle, which is world renowned for gold and silver artifacts, as well as many other interesting precious things from the three families’ collections.

One of the most interesting sights inside any preserved palace or castle museum is a historical kitchen. Burg Eltz also has one of them and it is the Rodendorf Kitchen. It is where you will see the medieval way of kitchen life with old-school cooking machines and utensils. 

Burg Eltz castle tour will also take you to the Knights Hall, which is the place where many important discussions and meetings took place. It was also the location for many festivities.

Burg Elz also has a restaurant and a souvenir shop inside.

Best Time to Visit Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz looks stunning at Sunsets and Sunrise – CCO via Unsplash

This completely depends on your purpose of visit. If you’re visiting Burg Eltz for hiking, cycling, photography or to enter the castle grounds for a tour.

For hiking or cycling, pick a day in the spring, summer, or autumn months when it doesn’t rain. Check the weather forecast to know when it will rain and avoid that day because the path through the forest will be slippery.

Another purpose of these hikes is to enjoy the views of the castle. When it is raining or cloudy, then you may not get good views. Of course, you can hike or cycle around in winter months but be prepared to handle German winters.

Burg Eltz on a cold and foggy winter day – cco Via Unsplash

If you’d like to enter the castle and do a tour, then be aware that you can only do it from May till October starting at 9:30 am to 5 pm.

You can do photography at any time in Burg Eltz, each season adds something special. The colors of the forest change throughout the year. I visited Burg Eltz in early autumn and it looked spectacular because some of the trees had turned a little yellow. Even the small hike from the parking spot to the castle offers amazing views to see fall foliage in Germany.

You can’t enter Burg Eltz in winter but it looks stunning when it snows when it is foggy or even when it rains. It is a popular spot for astrophotography because the forest around is obviously dark. Hiking in the forest at night isn’t advisable but do this in a group or call a taxi.

Burg Eltz Map

Here is a map of Burg Eltz Castle as fetched by Google Maps.

Where to Stay when visiting Burg Eltz

Burg Eltz is a short drive away from the lovely Bonn city, which is the birthplace of the legendary Beethoven. You can either stay in Bonn or pick one of the below-mentioned hotels that are just a hike away from Burg Eltz:

Hotel Ostermann

Hotel Ostermann is 2.5 KMs away from Burg Eltz and is along the Mosel River. This hotel also has a swimming pool and a restaurant on the terrace.

Hotel Moselkern

Hotel Moselkern is also next to the River Mosel and is 2.8 KMs from Burg Eltz. This hotel is pretty convenient for those who are visiting by train because Moselkern Train Station is less than 500 meters away.

Ferienwohnung Moselallee 5 Sterne (Apartments)

If you’d like to book an entire apartment with a kitchen so that you can cook your own meals, then check out the newly renovated Ferienwohnung Moselallee.

Burg Eltz Castle Germany’s Iconic Medieval Castle, was Disney’s Inspiration

Why is Burg Eltz famous?

Burg Eltz was featured on the old German currency note – 500 fünfhundert Deutsche Mark. It was also an inspiration for Disney’s cinderella castle.

Despite that, the castle was fairly unknown but it gained massive popularity in the last few years because of Instagram (of course!). It is easy to click amazing photos here because of the summary and the narrow path that leads to Eltz castle.

How long is the hike to Burg Eltz?

The hike from the parking area to the entry point o Burg Elz castle is just a bit over a kilometer, so the hike takes around 10-15 minutes if you do it at a leisurely pace.

This hike is through the forest and at the end there’s a lovely viewpoint from which one can see Burg Eltz. From there, you just have to walk around and then in the direction of the castle.

Honestly, this isn’t really a hike but a nice walk through the forest but one needs decent shoes. I have mentioned 5 other hiking trails in my post, check the section – “Hike around Burg Eltz”.

Can you go inside Burg Eltz?

Yes, you can definitely go inside Burg Eltz when it is open, which is usually 9:30 am to 5 pm. It isn’t allowed to click photographs inside Burg Eltz.

How many times has Burg Eltz been attacked?

Burg Eltz castle has been attacked only once, and it was between 1331 and 1336. The knights of several houses (including Burg Eltz) had a dispute with the leader of the Trier region of Moselle.

Things to do in Heidelberg, Germany’s Riverside Castle Town

Things to do in Heidelberg, Germany’s Riverside Castle Town

Here’s everything you need to know before visiting the stunning Heidelberg, things to do, how to reach, where to stay, what do eat and more.

Heidelberg is a student town but it somehow turned into a travel destination because it is pretty. It is small, yet is one of the most picturesque towns in Germany because of the castle, old bridge and an old town that boasts of baroque architecture. Yes, it is like a mini Prague.

We visited Heidelberg in August 2020 during the Corona pandemic. Honestly that was one of the lighter months because there were hardly any restrictions and the number of cases were low. Everything was functioning like normal except one had to wear a mask for even walking in Heidelberg’s old town.

Our visit to Heidelberg was as a family because we were with our 1 year old girl. We arrived here with our camper van and found a nice river side camping place. I will talk more about that at the end, but let’s talk about Heidelberg first. 

Family Kayaking on Neckar River, Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg looks like it was plucked straight off a tin fudge box. Also, because it is a student town then it has a decent nightlife. We weren’t able to bar-hopping for German wines and beers in the old town because of our baby girl but we did end up doing more than we thought we would. Here are some of the best things to do in in Heidelberg for every kind of a traveler.

Fun Fact for all the Potterheads out there – Heidelberg actually has a professional Quidditch team and they are called the Heidelberg Harriers. Insane right?

What is Heidelberg in Germany known for & Why visit it?

Neckar River, Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg is situated on the serene banks of the winding Neckar River in the southwest region of Germany. It is a 14th-century town renowned for its local university, but also for its romantic and idyllic cityscape surrounded by green forested hills.

The local castle is one of the most famous landmarks in the area and a stellar example of Renaissance architecture. I have mentioned Heidelberg as a prominent  part of Germany’s “castle route” road trip. If you have a thing for castles, Germany has many of them. Yes, Heidelberg Castle is beautiful but my favorite one is Burg Eltz.

Despite welcoming many students each year, Heidelberg is not the cheapest German city because it attracts tourists. You may want to keep an eye on the Forex exchange rates before you travel if you’re coming from overseas. But it’s certainly not as expensive as some other European destinations like Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam or Rome.

How to Reach Heidelberg

Heidelberg Old Bridge, Hills and Old Town

As mentioned before on this website over and over, the best and the most convenient way to travel in Germany is by road because public transport can be very expensive. Just rent a car and drive to Heidelberg if you don’t have one.

Check Car Rental Prices in Germany

If you arrive in Germany by air, then Heidelberg is 1 hour train ride away from Frankfurt and the train ticket costs EUR 25 – super expensive. Yes, German trains are. You can also look for bus tickets from DeinBus and Flixbus. A one way bus ticket is usually 10 Euros from the nearby Frankfurt or Stuttgart.

Best Things to do in Heidelberg, Germany

1) Philosophenweg (the Philosopher’s Walk) + Heiligenberg

We just happened to walk along the Philosophenweg just by chance because we found a nice path along the river Neckar and decided to take it. It happened to be the most memorable thing that we did in Heidelberg. We were able to take our baby on her stroller for almost the entire part but not all. Which was ok, because we were 4 adults so we could just lift her up and her pram together.

Philosophenweg – Philosopher’s walk in Heidelberg via Unsplash

A little info for you – the Philosopher’s Walk is named as such because it was a walk taken initially by the Heidelberg University’s professors and philosophers. Thanks to them for popularizing this walking path for not just the students but also the visitors, dogs and solo travelers.

View from the Philosophenweg, Heidelberg

The Philosopher’s walking path has some of the most amazing views of the Castle and the old town. It overlooks the winding river beneath so you will have a lot of photo opportunities on this path. Most of the two-kilometre walk is not physically challenging, although there is a steep part towards the end. Take some water and your camera for a great hour outside the hustle and bustle of the town.


2) Admire Schloss Heidelberg – Heidelberg Palace

The Massive Heidelberg Castle over the city

You can’t visit Heidelberg and not admire the Schloss Heidelberg with its mix of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. Schloss is a German word that means castle. Actually Heidelberg Castle is many times referred to as the Heidelberg Palace too. Even if you don’t want to visit it from the inside, you will definitely look at it with awe because it is massive. 

Inside Heidelberger-Schloss via Pixabay

Entering Heidelberg Castle is not free. In case you’re visiting the city and are going to do some of the other activities then I highly recommend you get the HeidelbergCard. It includes the public transport, Heidelberg castle entry, cable rail to and back from the castle and a discount on many other attractions.

Click for the HeidelbergCard

This card is valid for 1 – 4 days so make sure you get it if you’re going to visit the castle and ride the cable train to it.

Here’s a little dose of history for you which I found very interesting. Heidelberg Castle was initiated as a royal residence by Prince Elector Ruprecht III who lived from 1398–1410. It was further built in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries by different Princes. However, post that the castle suffered. First, it was destroyed several times during the Thirty Years’ War. Second, it was stuck by the lightning during the restoration attempts. Third, the stones from the castle were taken apart to build new houses. Thankfully it came to an end in 1800 under Count Charles de Graimberg.

Heidelberg Schloss Castle – via Pixabay

Despite its tragic history, today Schloss Heidelberg is the biggest tourist attraction in the town. If you take time to see the castle from inside, you will be charmed by it and love the breathtaking views of the region from the top of its towers. Also on-site in this 14th-century structure is a restaurant and German museum. You’ll be able to spend an entire day here and keep everyone entertained.

The Heidelberg Castle Festival is held every year in the summer months here where one can enjoy concerts, musicals and theatre performances in the courtyard.

3) Ride the Heidelberg Bergbahn Funicular (Cable Rail) to Königstuhl-Mountain

Heidelberg Bergbahn Funicular via Unsplash

The Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway runs from the Heidelberg Altstadt to the Königstuhl viewpoint via the castle. “Bergbahn funicular” is actually mountain cable railway, Königstuhl means King’s Chair and Altstadt means old town. So, this train runs from “Kornmakt” in the Old Town to Heidelberg Castle and to the Königstuhl.

If you’re taking the train from the old town to the Königstuhl, then you will have to change the train once. The best part of the journey is the upper section of this cable rail – it is called Königstuhlbahn. It has a 100 year old engine and historical looking wooden cars – so truly a historical ride. The service starts at 9 am and ends late during summer but much earlier during the winter months. You will end up paying around 10-15 euros per person for a return ticket, depending on how many people are together. You can find the updated info and tickets for the train here.

If you’re thinking of riding the cable rail and also entering Heidelberg Castle then we highly recommend you get the HeidelbergCard to save money.

Click for the HeidelbergCard

Heidelberg view from the top – via Unsplash

Königstuhl is 567.8 meters high and is the highest peak in the Lower Odenwald forest. The view from the top at Königstuhl is known for the views of Heidelberg, the Rhine Valley, the Neckar River and Katzenbuckel mountain.

Once you’re up there, look out for the two walking paths – Königstuhl Route and the Kohlhof route. They are almost the same length which is between 4.5 to 4.8 KMs and are easy to cover. There is also a 2 KM long nature trail that you can take if you’re here with small children.

4) Walk on Karl Theodor Bridge – the Old Bridge

Karl Theodor Bridge in Heidelberg – aka, the Old Bridge

Don’t all the famous European cities have famous bridges? Prague has the Charles Bridge, Istanbul has the Bosporus bridge, Paris has the Pont des Arts, Amsterdam has 1200 and Hamburg has 2400 of them. Heidelberg has an awesome one too that goes over the River Neckar. 

Walking on the Old Bridge in Heidelberg

Heidelberg’s bridge Karl Theodor Bridge is usually known as Old Bridge. It is an 18th-century sandstone bridge with interesting arches and located in the northern part of the town. The bridge has Baroque tower helmets and some strange looking structures that make interesting photo subjects. Make sure you spot the Bridge Monkey (Brückenaffe) – it is a funny looking bronze statue of a monkey which is a part of many Instagram photos.

Heidelberg Brückenaffe – the monkey on the bridge – via Pixabay

This bridge is actually a very good starting point if you’re entering the Old Town – Altstadt, because you can see a lot of places from here already. The view from the bridge captures the old town at a glorious angle.

Heidelberg Old Bridge with Baroque tower helmets

There’s something super romantic about walking on a bridge with your partner and just like most famous bridges all over the world, here too you will see couples. Of course a lot of tourists too who want to click an Instagram-worthy photo.  Many things are closed on Sundays in Germany, so this is an excellent time to explore the bridge.

5) Get Lost in the Altstadt (the Old Town) 

The Arch at the end of the Old Bridge in Heidelberg with old town in view

Even if you don’t do some of the above mentioned activities, you will surely do this particular one. Heidelberg’s old town is unmissable and you definitely will end up spending most of your time here. After all, it is the city’s historic heart.

Heidelberger Altstadt is long and narrow and has the typical “European-old-town” vibes – cobbled streets, beautifully preserved old buildings, main square, and even a castle. 

Heidelberg Views from the streets

I do talk about getting lost in the old town but still, here are the things to do (and see) in Heidelber’s Old Town during your first visit. 

Church of the Holy Spirit

The first thing that you will see in the Old Town is probably the Heidelberg Castle even before you walk on the old bridge. From the old bridge as you walk to the Altstadt, you will see the famous Church of the Holy Spirit.


Montpellierplatz in Heidelberg Old Town

Walk through the Old Town and make sure you also see Montpellierplatz. It is a very peaceful park with a very interesting looking old building. Sit here to relax for a few minutes before you move further.


When you’re in the old town, you will definitely end up walking on the famous Hauptstrasse. It means the main street and is around 1.5 KMs long pedestrian street which is more than just the town’s shopping street. You will definitely see fashion to cosmetics and handmade treasures.

Heidelberg Funny souvenir

The Hauptstrasse has some very interesting stores where you can buy super fun and quirky gifts, like we did. I normally don’t buy travel souvenirs unless they are extra special and I did find something funny here. There is even a booth within the street where you can go to exchange books. Take your used ones and pick up a new title for free.

Enjoy a Roadside Cafe in the Market Square

Heidelberg Main Square, Altstadt Heidelberger – via Unsplash

If you don’t feel like climbing the towers of the castle and would prefer a relaxing few hours, you may like to spend time in the town’s market square. The square is full of life and vibrancy with scores of bars and cafes.

Yes, town squares and market squares are touristy but there’s usually a lot of funny stuff going on to watch. Grab a seat outside, a coffee and watch the world go by in this fabulous location. Once refelled, go and explore the old town.

Heidelberg University Library & Studentenkarzer

I suggest spending some time here with an aim to get lost. We did too and we wandered off inside a part of the Heidelberg University and saw the beautiful Heidelberg University Library building. Another place to see in Heidelberger Altstadt is Studentenkarzer. It was once a university prison cell that’s now covered with graffiti. 

Visit a Brauhaus and Drink Locally Brewed Beer 

Explore the Beer Scene in Heidelberg

We just happened to visit Vetter’s Alt Heidelberger Brauhaus by chance while waiting for a friend and bought extra beer for the road. It ended up being the best tasting beer and we felt stupid for not having bought more. It is in the beginning of the old town and even if you’re not stopping here for a meal, I highly recommend you buy a bottle to try it.

Walking around in Heidelberg’s old town was something that we all enjoyed as a family because there was something for everyone. Moreover, the city’s narrow streets gave me the perfect opportunity to click interesting street view photos and most of them turned out to be amazing.


6) Neckarwiese Heidelberg – the Park with a View

Neckarwiese Heidelberg along the Neckar River via Pixabay

Neckarwiese is maybe one of the best places to spend a few hours “on your own terms” while you look at the lovely city. I say in your own terms is because you get to sit, you don’t have to pay a restaurant or a cafe and you’re out in the open. Of course, this is a place to be if it is a sunny day. 

We visited Heidelberg during an especially warm weekend so we did see a lot of sun bathers in Neckarwiese. It is along the Neckar river and on the opposite side of the Old Town, so it is very easy to reach. Due to it’s location, you will have a nice view of Heidelberg castle, the Old Town right behind the river Neckar. 

If you’re traveling with children to Heidelberg, you will be happy to know that this park has a play area of children. There are also toilets and shower areas. Of course, like most of the German areas there is also a skate park here. This park also has a sandy beach volleyball area.

Where to Stay in Heidelberg?

NH Heidelberg

NH Hotel chain is lovely, I have stayed in their Amsterdam one and I highly recommend the Heidelberg one too. It is located just outside the Old Town and hence is super convenient if you don’t have a car. You can read the reviews about this place on TripAdvisor here.

Hotel Garni Am Kornmarkt

If you’re looking for a budget family run place that’s scenic and close to everything, then this is the place for you. The rooms are super spacious and the hotel is located literally right below the Heidelberg Castle. You can check deals for this hotel on here or read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Camping in Heidelberg

Camping in Heidelberg

We drove to Heidelberg with our camper van, so of course we found a camp ground since our van has two beds for sleeping. We camped in a place called Camping Heidelberg Fa. Weber and it was right next to the Neckar river. It was actually very peaceful to stay here because it was away from the hustle bustle of the main city. Yet, it wasn’t too far from the city centre too.

There was a REWE Supermarket right next to the campground, which turned out to be super convenient. Also there was a bus stop literally right outside the camp ground. We walked from the camp ground to the old town, it was totally doable because we enjoyed the views. We came back with the bus in the evening.

Heidelberg – Germany’s Riverside Castle Town – Pin it

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