View from the Heidelberg Castle onto the city during sundown
Udo Filsinger

10 things to do in Heidelberg – a true beauty

Every summer – and only in summer – the Heidelberg Castle shines. The city’s landmark is then illuminated from every corner so that every single Heidelberger can know that summer is now upon them. But the city on the Neckar is also worth seeing without the fiery red lighting. Here are 10 things to do in Heidelberg.

When a church meets a pretzel

There was once a Palatinate War of Succession and it was certainly a serious one for Heidelberg. You can see that from the fact that apart from the Hotel Zum Ritter, only the Gothic church right on the market square – called “Heiliggeistkirche” in German – survived this event. And yes, at the risk of rolling your eyes, the church is worth checking out. In the first half of the 15th century, it fulfilled not only religious but also secular functions. It was the university’s ballroom and also the repository of what was once the most important collection of books in Europe: The Bibliotheca Palatina. The documents were on the galleries, which also explains the peculiar width of the side aisles and the narrowness of the nave.

If you come with children, you can play a little hidden object game: who can find something to eat in the outer wall? It helps to look directly at the sales stands. Pretzels of different sizes are engraved there, with which buyers once checked whether their pretzel corresponded to the valid minimum size.

Young and hungry

Feeling nostalgic for the old student days and craving something to eat in a canteen? If so, then you should know that the Zeughaus canteen in the Marstall has won many awards. At the buffet, the menu can be put together according to your own taste. The prices are unbeatable and that doesn’t come at the expense of taste. The student atmosphere, which is why you come, is free anyway and if you stop by in the summer months, you can also dine in the beautiful inner courtyard.

One of our tips for Heidelberg is to eat in the Zeughaus canteen
Tobias Schwerdt

A history of being freshly packed

Here at the publishing house, we have a particularly close relationship with packaging. Because we actually do a trade magazine about the packaging industry and it’s called Packaging Journal. And yes, we touch packaging every day, but we rarely deal with it. That’s probably why there were very few locals in the packaging museum. The entrance to the German Packaging Museum is located directly on the main street: the inner courtyard leads to the former Notkirche, which houses the small museum. You can see packaging classics from popular, major consumer brands such as Nivea, Coca-Cola, Persil, Milka, Odol – and we promise that we’re not the only ones who find the journey through time exciting. Anyone interested in graphics and design will have a great time here.

Visitor to the German Packaging Museum, one of our tips for Heidelberg
Tobias Schwerdt

True vegan lust

Admittedly, one could be a little confused about the colors. Why you ask? Well, what color associations do you associate with fine vegetarian and vegan dishes? Or, what color scheme do you associate with the information that all the ingredients come from controlled organic cultivation or straight from a house garden? The “Red” restaurant serves these delicacies. We, of course, were thinking more of “Green” but obviously that would be too easy. Here, we feast but be sure to leave room for the homemade cake!

It’s a head thing?

The origin of these exhibits is not so easy to explain and it does indeed sound quite strange the first time you hear about it, if not exciting, at least. The Prinzhorn Collection preserves an inventory of works created by patients in psychiatric institutions around the turn of the 20th century that is truly unique to this world. At that time, the psychiatrist and art historian, Hans Prinzhorn, collected around 5,000 works. But the collection continues to grow. 200 works each are presented in a former lecture hall building shown to the neurological clinic.

Photogenic breakfast

Bread rolls with different types of cheese are no longer enough for a night out. The delicious breakfast creations at “Deer” are available until the afternoon (3 p.m.!) and they are anything but boring. Of course, this pleases the soul of Instagramers, who like to photograph their food. There definitely something to see here. All dishes are artfully presented and almost too good to eat. In the evening, people meet for a signature cocktail under the open sky in the outdoor area.

The ferry connection

As with to New York – it’s always better to take the ferry than the expensive excursion boats – it is also advisable in Heidelberg to explore the city from the water with the “Liselotte von der Pfalz“. The Neckar ferry is inexpensive and can be easily inserted into any city tour. The ride is short and crisp, but gives a wonderful holiday feeling! From the old town (Landing Place Stadthalle) to the Marriott Hotel and back to the Old Bridge.

A trip on the Neckar ferry Liselotte von der Pfalz is part of a trip to Heidelberg
Thomas Vennen

Stories rich with history

There are only a few student bars in the city that can really call themselves historic. But the Red Ox is one of them. And a lot of things remain traditional here. For example, the down-to-earth menu, with a daily regular meal and a man at the piano! He plays his songs every evening from 7:30 p.m. and you just have to experience that.

People sit in a convivial atmosphere in the student pub Roter Ochse
Tobias Schwerdt

Hunt for the green fairy

Absinthe: The sin in a jar or as many once called it, the elixir of art. Oh, we could tell you so many stories. But why, when there is a suitable dive bar in Heidelberg where there are around 600 varieties of absinthe from all over the world. 280 variants of the notorious herbal spirit are available in the Grüner Engel gallery. Just to calm things down: The effect of today’s absinthe is no longer as dangerous as it was then. Or is it? Oh, and the store itself is worth a visit too.

Absinthe served in a shot glass
Victor Moussa/

Party mode

The former goods station is now called Halle 02 and is the city’s hotspot for culture. In the evening, there are concerts, 90s parties and other events spanning across all genres. That’s why you should definitely check the calendar beforehand. Everything from indie to electro beats roar from the speakers. But one thing is the same at all parties, the audience is pleasantly relaxed. During the day, the halls are used for cultural events such as art exhibitions and flea markets. And in summer, you can relax with a beer or ice cream on the meadow next to the halls.

Art and culture location Halle02
Tobias Schwerdt