Heidelberger Schlossbeleuchtung
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Heidelberg Castle Illumination: The Castle is Ablaze!

Mark your calendars, as June 1st is just around the corner! For the first time this summer, an exceptional event takes place in Heidelberg, where all eyes are fixated on the legendary light and fireworks show taking place in the Old Town.

A Tribute to Historic Events

The Heidelberg Castle Illumination serves as a reminder of two historical occurrences. The red, spectacular fire lighting up the castle is an ode to the devastating fires set by French troops in 1689 and 1693, turning the castle into the admired ruin it is today. The second part of the spectacle is a nod to a fireworks event in 1613 when Elector Frederick V welcomed his newly-wed wife, Elizabeth Stuart, in a manner befitting her status.

Tips for an Unforgettable Experience

The fireworks display over the castle and Old Bridge attracts not only locals from Heidelberg but also numerous visitors who travel each year to witness this impressive show in the Old Town. Here are some tips to make your experience unforgettable:

Arrive Early

The early bird avoids stress. By evening, not only are parking garages full, but bus services to the Old Town are also heavily restricted. It’s best to spend the day or even the preceding day sightseeing and then stroll leisurely to your chosen viewpoint for the fireworks. Tip: If you can’t find a parking space, try your luck at the Messplatz parking lot in Heidelberg-Kirchheim, which is usually not overcrowded and free of charge. The tram 26 from “Messplatz” takes you to the city center in approximately 15 minutes.

Relaxed Picnic

If the weather is good, spending the hours leading up to the fireworks outside is a great idea. Spaces on the Neckarwiese in Neuenheim (#1) are in high demand, as they offer an excellent view of the event. Those who lay out their picnic blankets in the (early) afternoon can enjoy relaxed hours in the sun followed by a perfect view.

Dine & Shine

For those who prefer a bit of luxury, dining in a restaurant close to the Neckar River before the fireworks is a fantastic option. My absolute go-to place for this is the “Goldene Anker” (#2). Besides wonderful dishes, the host Mario often pulls a gem from his wine cellar. You can even take a bottle of wine to go, perfect for enjoying during the fireworks. Other great restaurants in a similar location include Chambino (#3), Kulturhausbrauerei (#4), and Hemingways (#5).

Rooftop & More

If you don’t want to give up your seat for the fireworks, you need to aim high! From the Jil Rooftop Bar (#6) at Bismarckplatz, you have a direct line of sight to the castle. Alternatively, Pier4 (#7) offers a unique atmosphere, being a bar on the deck of a ship docked in the Neckar River.

Hiking for the Perfect Spot

If you don’t mind a little hike, you can escape the hustle and bustle to find beautifully located spots. The Schlangenweg leading up to the Philosophenweg (#8) is very popular, but the few benches there fill up quickly – so pack your picnic blanket and snacks and head up early!

The Heidelberg Castle Illumination takes place two times a year on Saturdays and kicks off at 10:15 PM.

To perfect your experience, consider booking a NiceGuide, who will show you the castle and the routes to the viewpoints during the day.

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