St. Blasien


Heidelberg 2

Heidelberg 1  

Pictures of Heidelberg, Germany. The old town, located on the southern bank of the Neckar, is dominated by the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which perches 80 metres above the river. Famous visitors over the centuries have included Martin Luther, who defended one of his theses in the city in the 16th Century, and French writer Victor Hugo, who visited in 1838 and felt the weight of history there. The castle and river were painted many times in the first half of the 19th Century by the great English landscape artist J.M.W. Turner, but as a romantic painter he took some liberties with reality for the sake of the picture, so his landscapes are not a guide to how the castle used to look!

Curiously, Heidelberg suffered more damage during the wars of the 17th century than in the Second World War, with the result that many of its buildings are 18th century baroque. While larger cities in Germany were heavily bombed, Heidelberg was almost completely spared. After the war the US Army based a large contingent to the south of the city, adding 30,000 Americans, both soldiers and their families, to the indigenous population, which already includes 28,000 students.

Heidelberg now is a relatively safe city with low crime statistics, although it is wise to take the usual precautions, especially at night. But a bigger danger might be getting knocked down by one of the many cyclists, who outnumber motorists in the city. Cycle lanes, some painted red, are separated from the footpath by a white line. It is advisable to keep off them as some riders are not necessarily too careful of visitors!

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If you are a backpacker or travelling on a budget, Heidelberg has some good options for accommodation. Steffi’s Hostel Heidelberg (Alte Eppelheimer Str. 50) charges only 20 Euros for a place in a dorm. Youth Hostel Heidelberg (Tiergartenstrasse 5) costs 28.30 Euros, including breakfast. Hotel ISG (in Boxberg) and Hotel Restaurant Scheid (in Schriesheim) are good options, but both are a bit out in the suburbs unless you have a car.

For nightlife, and especially if you are young, head for Untere Strasse, which is packed with student bars. Try Gro�er Mohr or Sonderbar for a lively atmosphere, or one of the Irish pubs, Dubliner or O’Reilly’s, or The Brass Monkey on Haspelglasse, if you want to speak English. There are no fewer than 8 theatres in Heidelberg; one, the Zimmertheater on Hauptstrasse is Germany’s oldest private theatre; another, the state-run Stadttheater, is much larger. For children there is the puppet theatre Plappermaul, performing in a small 99 seater theatre in the Heimgarten (Kranichweg corner), while for adults a number of pubs have theatre performances, such as Romanischer Keller (Seminarstra�er 3).

Should you stay so long in Heidelberg that you exhaust all its attractions, the forest of Odenwald is only a few minutes away and offers hiking, mountain biking and Nordic walking. Not too distant are the Palatinate wine region, and the historic cities of Speyer and Worms.

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