Things to do in Heidelberg

About Heidelberg

Visitors to Heidelberg should not miss the historic Heidelberg Castle, the scenic Philosophers' Walk, and the charming Old Town (Altstadt). Each provides a unique window into the city's rich cultural and architectural heritage.
The Heidelberg Zoo, Märchen Paradies (fairy tale amusement park), and taking a funicular ride to Königstuhl for breathtaking views and open areas for play are among the top activities for children.
Enjoying a hike up to the Heiligenberg for ancient ruins and views, exploring Heidelberg Castle's gardens, and walking along the Neckar River are some of the best outdoor activities Heidelberg offers.
For indoor adventures, explore the University Museum, visit the German Pharmacy Museum inside the castle, and enjoy the art at the Kurpfälzisches Museum.
The best Heidelberg tours include the Heidelberg Castle Tour, Old Town Guided Walk, and Philosophers' Walk Audio Tour, each of which provides in-depth historical insights.
The University Museum, German Pharmacy Museum, and Kurpfälzisches Museum rank among the most visited museums, offering diverse cultural experiences.
For rainy days, the indoor guided tour of the Heidelberg University, including the ancient Studentenkarzer (student prison), and the various museum tours are the best options.
Quick tours in Heidelberg, lasting an hour or less, include the self-guided Heidelberg Castle Courtyard Tour and the short Old Town introduction walk, perfect for those on a tight schedule.

Best Things to Do In Heidelberg

Embark on a journey through Heidelberg's storied landmarks and enchanting streets via immersive audio tours.

Heidelberg: University Museum

What is it?
An educational exhibit nestled in Germany's oldest university.
Why you should go?
The University Museum is a treasure trove of knowledge that holds the history of Heidelberg's famous educational institution. Located in the University's main building, the museum presents original documents, scientific instruments, and the Student Karzer – an old student prison – providing a glimpse into student life over the ages. It’s an essential stop among Heidelberg activities for those who appreciate history and scholarly pursuit.

Heidelberg: Jesuitenkirche

What is it?
A striking example of Baroque church architecture with a rich religious heritage.
Why you should go?
The Jesuit Church, with its magnificent facade and elaborate interior design, stands as a symbol of Heidelberg's religious and cultural history. Visitors are enthralled by the church's artistic splendor, which includes frescoes, stuccowork, and sculptures that silently narrate tales of faith and art. Whether seeking spiritual solace or architectural beauty, it's a serene sanctuary offering one of the most peaceful what to do in Heidelberg moments.

Heidelberg: Kurpfälzisches Museum

What is it?
A museum showcasing regional art, archaeology, and cultural artifacts.
Why you should go?
At the Kurpfälzisches Museum, the rich tapestry of Heidelberg's history is on full display. Art enthusiasts and history buffs alike can admire paintings, sculptures, and archaeological finds that span centuries. Its collections provide deep insight into the Palatine region's heritage, making this museum a critical stop for those delving into the best places to visit in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg: Thingstätte

What is it?
An open-air amphitheater reflecting a poignant piece of 20th-century history.
Why you should go?
Thingstätte, located on Heiligenberg hill, is an intriguing site that speaks to Germany's complex past. Constructed during the Third Reich as a propaganda monument, it's now a place for peaceful reflection and offers a remarkable view of Heidelberg. It's among unique Heidelberg tours for those interested in the nation's modern historical landscape. Visits here are usually quiet and contemplative, set against the natural beauty of the surrounding forest.

Heidelberg: Neckar River Cruises

What is it?
A scenic boat tour along the Neckar, revealing Heidelberg from a fresh perspective.
Why you should go?
For a different vantage point of Heidelberg, embark on a Neckar River cruise. This relaxing boat tour offers stunning views of Heidelberg Castle, the Old Bridge, and the serene banks of the Neckar. It's a favorite among things to see in Heidelberg as it combines scenic beauty, leisure, and a unique way to comprehend the city's layout and landmarks.

Heidelberg: Heidelberg Castle

What is it?
An iconic hilltop castle ruin with a rich history and breathtaking views.
Why you should go?
Perched on the slopes of Königstuhl hill, Heidelberg Castle is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance design, commanding attention from all who visit. Embrace the chance to explore the extensive gardens, visit the famous 'Great Barrel', and delve into the German Pharmacy Museum. With its dramatic red sandstone walls and storied past, a tour of Heidelberg Castle stands as one of the most captivating things to do in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg: Philosophenweg

What is it?
An inspirational walking path favored by philosophers and poets.
Why you should go?
The Philosophenweg or Philosophers' Walk is renowned for its peaceful atmosphere and stunning vistas over Heidelberg. This tranquil route, once trodden by scholars in contemplation, now welcomes visitors to meander among its greenery, taking in the serene views of Heidelberg Castle and the Neckar River, and is considered one of the best places to visit in Heidelberg for a scenic and reflective pause.

Heidelberg: Old Bridge

What is it?
A historic stone bridge from the 18th century, featuring artistic sculptures and old-world charm.
Why you should go?
The Old Bridge, or Karl Theodor Bridge, is a gateway to the past, with stories etched into every stone. Crossing this elegant bridge, you can enjoy the views, touch the famous bridge monkey for good luck, and capture the essence of what to see in Heidelberg. The experience is enriched by its romantic atmosphere during dawn and dusk, making it an unforgettable outing.

Heidelberg: Altstadt (Old Town)

What is it?
A well-preserved historical quarter brimming with German culture, shops, and eateries.
Why you should go?
Old Town Heidelberg takes you back in time with its medieval architecture, baroque churches, and the bustling Market Square. Key Heidelberg activities here involve savoring traditional German cuisine at a local tavern, shopping for unique souvenirs, and partaking in the vibrant street life that echoes along these age-old lanes. No visit to Heidelberg is complete without immersing in the Old Town's energy.

Heidelberg: Königstuhl

What is it?
A towering hill offering hiking routes, spectacular city views, and natural escapades.
Why you should go?
Königstuhl is Heidelberg’s natural oasis, providing panoramic views that are second to none and a host of outdoor activities. Reach the summit via the funicular railway, discover the fairy-tale ambiance of the Märchen Paradies park, or follow the winding trails through lush forests. Königstuhl is a haven for those seeking both adventure and tranquility, adding to the range of things to do in Heidelberg for nature lovers.

TOP-5 tours in Heidelberg for first time visitors

  • Heidelberg Castle Tour: Explore the Renaissance ruins and learn the secrets of its illustrious past, from palatial grandeur to wartime destruction.
  • Old Town Exploration: Dive into the heart of the city's historic district, with tales of Old Bridge, University Library, and charming squares.
  • Philosopher’s Walk Experience: Enjoy the legendary trail of thinkers, offering breathtaking views and insight into Heidelberg's academic prestige.
  • River Neckar Promenade: Stroll the peaceful riverside, uncovering stories of the riverside homes and the significance of the Neckar to Heidelberg.
  • Church of the Holy Spirit: Unravel the history of this iconic structure, central to Heidelberg's culture, through an in-depth narrative experience.

Fun things to do in Heidelberg with kids

Heidelberg is a playground of adventure for families, brimming with activities that will delight children of all ages. A visit to the Heidelberg Zoo will let little explorers come face-to-face with animals from around the globe in a compact, easy-to-navigate space. An interactive journey through history awaits at the Heidelberg Castle, where kids can marvel at the grand ruins and learn through dynamic stories on a self-guided audio tour. For a touch of whimsy, the Märchen Paradies amusement park on Königstuhl hill offers rides and fairy-tale attractions suited for younger children. These attractions strike the perfect balance between education and entertainment, ensuring that a visit to Heidelberg with kids is not only fun but also memorably enriching.

Things to do in Heidelberg with family

Crafting magical family moments is a breeze in Heidelberg, where historical charm and modern entertainment meet. Take a step back in time with a tour of the imposing Heidelberg Castle, enchanting visitors of all ages with its ruins and majestic gardens that whisper tales of yesteryear. Keep the fun educational with a hands-on experience at the Heidelberg Zoo, where conservation and biodiversity spring to life amidst an array of exotic and native animals. For a leisurely end to a day of exploration, the Philosopher’s Walk offers a gentle hike with spellbinding views of the city and castle, providing a picture-perfect backdrop for family memories. Each activity presents a facet of Heidelberg's rich tapestry, making it the ideal destination for families in search of a fulfilling cultural journey.

Free things to do in Heidelberg

Bask in the rich cultural atmosphere of Heidelberg without spending a penny. Wander the historic lanes of the Old Town, where the past comes to life at every corner, offering a free, open-air museum experience. Delight in the lush surroundings as you venture up the Philosophers' Walk, providing not only a serene environment but also a splendid panorama of Heidelberg Castle and the city below. For a peaceful retreat, the Neckarwiese, the local riverside park, invites you for picnics, people-watching, or a lazy afternoon under the sun. These selected attractions offer visitors a glimpse into the soul of Heidelberg and prove that the city's beauty and charm are accessible to all, making them top choices for what to see in Heidelberg.

Cheap things to do in Heidelberg

Discovering the charm of Heidelberg doesn't have to come with a high price tag. Stroll through the historic Heidelberg Castle gardens, where for a small entry fee, you can savor the beauty of the Renaissance landscape and get lost in the tales of times gone by. Dive into academia at the University Museum with its low-cost admission, offering a glimpse into the life of students past and present. Enjoy the city's natural beauty by walking along the Neckar River, which weaves through Heidelberg at no cost. These diverse attractions showcase the best Heidelberg tours that are affordable and rich in cultural experience, ensuring a memorable visit that goes easy on the wallet.

Things to do in Heidelberg for couples

The romantic cityscape of Heidelberg is a paradise for couples in love. Begin an unforgettable day by wandering through the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, where the echoes of history blend with breathtaking views, offering an intimate backdrop for shared memories. Continue the romance with a stroll along the Philosopher's Walk, famed for inspiring poets and scholars, now a tranquil path for couples to enjoy panoramic vistas and tranquil nature. As evening falls, meander hand-in-hand through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, punctuated by intimate cafes and inviting taverns. These cozy establishments provide the perfect ambiance to conclude a day spent discovering places to visit in Heidelberg, savoring local cuisine and a glass of wine. For couples, these experiences encapsulate the quintessential blend of romance and culture.

Things to do in Heidelberg at night

Heidelberg's evenings sparkle with a distinct blend of culture and entertainment. Begin with a twilight stroll across the iconic Old Bridge; the illuminated views of the castle and the serene Neckar River create a captivating atmosphere. The vibrant Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg's main street, becomes a lively promenade at night, perfect for experiencing the city's nightlife and trying local and international delicacies al fresco. For a dose of night-time culture, a visit to Heidelberg Theater offers an array of performances from classical theater to modern plays, all under the spell of the city's starry sky. These nocturnal activities provide unforgettable experiences for those seeking to enjoy Heidelberg tours and attractions against the backdrop of the picturesque evening hours.