Schloss Heidelberg
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Heidelberg Castle – a historical jewel

Perched high above the city, Heidelberg Castle attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year. It is considered one of the most famous ruins in Germany and is a symbol of romanticism. In this blog post, you will find all you need to know about the castle in Heidelberg, its history, sights, its transformation into a ruin and why a visit is an absolute must.

The History of Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle was built in the 13th century and served as the residence of the Electors of the Palatinate for centuries. Originally conceived as a medieval fortress, it evolved over the centuries into a magnificent Renaissance palace. During the Thirty Years’ War and the War of the Palatinate Succession, the castle suffered significant damage. Particularly in 1689 and 1693, it was plundered and destroyed by French troops. Since then, it has stood as an impressive ruin that reflects the region’s tumultuous history and cultural significance.

Another turning point in the history of Heidelberg Castle was the 19th century when it was rediscovered by Romantic poets and painters. They significantly contributed to making the castle a symbol of Romanticism, capturing the hearts of visitors to this day.

Daily Castle Tour by NiceGuides

To fully experience the fascinating history and impressive sights of Heidelberg Castle, we recommend one of our daily castle tours. Our experienced guides from NiceGuides will lead you through the castle courtyard and gardens and share exciting anecdotes and historical background with you. Of course, you can also enjoy the unique view of the Neckar, the Old Bridge and the Old Town from the large terrace. In fine weather, the view even extends across the Rhine plain to the Palatinate Forest. Book your guided tour here and discover Heidelberg Castle from a new perspective.

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Sights in Heidelberg Castle

Based on its history, the castle is a place full of fascinating sights. Each area of the castle tells its own story and offers visitors unique insights into the past:

  • The Castle Courtyard: The Castle Courtyard is the heart of Heidelberg Castle. Here you will find impressive Renaissance facades and Gothic elements. The Ottheinrich Building, considered one of the most significant structures of the German Renaissance, is particularly noteworthy.
  • The Great Barrel Cellar: The Great Barrel Cellar houses the world-famous Great Barrel, a gigantic wine barrel with a capacity of 220,000 liters. It is the largest of its kind and a highlight for every visitor. The history of the barrel and the humorous anecdotes about the court jester Perkeo are particularly entertaining.
  • The Castle Garden: The Castle Garden, also known as the Hortus Palatinus, was once planned as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Although the garden was never fully completed, the terraces, fountains, and paths remain impressive to this day. From here, you have a breathtaking view of the city and the Neckar River.
  • German Pharmacy Museum: Heidelberg Castle is also home to the German Pharmacy Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of historical pharmacy utensils, medicines, and medical devices. The museum offers a unique insight into the history of pharmacy and the development of the healing arts. Particularly impressive are the recreated pharmacies from different eras and the rare herb books.

Events at Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle is not only a historical monument but also a vibrant event venue. Numerous events take place here annually, including:

  • Castle Illumination: The Castle Illumination is a spectacular event where the castle is bathed in romantic light. Accompanied by fireworks over the Neckar, this event attracts thousands of visitors.
  • Heidelberg Castle Festival: The Castle Festival offers a varied program of theater, music and dance in the summer. The historical setting of the castle gives the performances a special atmosphere.
  • Other Events: The castle offers a diverse range of concerts, dinner events and much more. Current events can be found here.

Tips for Your Visit

  • Arrival: Heidelberg Castle is easily accessible by public transport. The funicular railway runs from Kornmarkt in the Old Town, not far from the city center, directly to the castle. The ticket for the cable car also includes admission to the castle courtyard, the barrel and the Pharmacy Museum.
  • Opening Hours and Admission:

    • Current Opening Hours:
      Castle Garden: Accessible during the day
      Castle Courtyard: Daily 09:00-18:00 (last admission 17:30)
    • Admission Prices:
      Castle Garden: Free
      Castle Courtyard, Great Barrel & Pharmacy Museum: 9 € p.P. (including funicular railway)
  • Guided tour: A guided tour is highly recommended to better understand the history and secrets of the castle.
    • Daily at 13:30 (German) and 14:00 (English).
    • Price including castle ticket: 25€ p.P.
  • Gastronomy: The castle also has a restaurant offering regional specialties. Enjoy lunch or coffee with a magnificent view.

An unforgettable trip to Heidelberg Castle

If you come to Heidelberg for a short trip, you should definitely visit Heidelberg Castle. It is a very special excursion destination that offers history, culture and a breathtaking view over the city and the surrounding area. Use our tips and take part in the events to enjoy your trip to the castle to the full. Discover the beauty and secrets of Heidelberg’s ruins and let yourself be enchanted by their magic and unique atmosphere.

At NiceGuides, we offer many other exciting tours in addition to the castle tour. Discover with us the culinary delights in the Old Town, the wonderful nature around the Philosopher’s Way and Heiligenberg and much more!

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