As a symbol of the city of Heidelberg, the castle is an obligatory stop for every traveler passing through the northwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg.
Heidelberg Castle is one of the most famous castle ruins in Germany, being located 80 meters on the northern side of the Königstuhl (“King’s Throne“) hill.
The castle can be reached either by climbing the 315 steps or by an alley along the fortress wall. There is also the alternative of the bergbahn (Heidelberger Bergbahn) – a cable car that leaves from Kornmarkt – or the bus.
Entrance to the outer courtyard of the castle is free, and visiting the interior costs €6/person.
Much of the current castle dates from the 16th and 17th centuries, the various eras in which modifications and new additions were made, giving it an eclectic style with Renaissance and Gothic elements.
In the late 17th century, the palace was repeatedly attacked and finally destroyed by the French in the War of the Grand Alliance. Subsequent wars and fires destroyed the edifice, being rebuilt and renovated several times.
In 1764, after several repairs, the palace was heavily damaged, this time by the forces of nature, in the form of two devastating lightning strikes. The once proud residence caught fire and was left in ruins.
Part of the castle is currently undergoing restoration, and every year in September, the castle courtyard hosts the Heidelberg Castle Festival , where locals and tourists alike enjoy music and theater performances.
Over time, many famous writers, including Victor Hugo and Mark Twain, visited Heidelberg Castle and were so impressed by the area’s beauty that they wrote in their works fragments and impressions of “the most beautiful Renaissance palace in north of the Alps“.
In addition to visiting Heidelberg Castle, you can also take a walk on the Alte Brücke (“Old Bridge“) that crosses the river Neckar or see the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität: one of the oldest and most famous universities in Europe, inaugurated in 1386, where they studied many of Germany ‘s best-known writers and philosophers. In addition, the city of Heidelberg attracts 3 million tourists annually due to the very well-preserved old center with buildings from the 14th to 18th centuries.
If you liked our post about Heidelberg, you might also like the post about Hohenzollern.