Top 25 Things To Do In Heidelberg, Germany - Updated 2024

Malavika
Malavika 
Updated
| 9 min read

The leafy, baroque university town of Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest and most famous, is picturesque to the hilt - a riverside setting, mountains surrounding it, an Old-world Altstadt, and a haunting, yet beautiful half-ruined hilltop castle. The red-roofed Heidelberg has been home to many 18th- and 19th-century greats, including writer Mark Twain, who made the town this home for nearly three months - all of which led to Heidelberg being crowned the UNESCO ‘City of Literature’ in 2014. Today, the city is a heady blend of myths, legends, and contemporary features which make it a unique old-world town in a modern setting. Here are some of the very many things to do in Heidelberg, Germany.

1. Explore the city on foot (from USD 13.01)

things to do in heidelberg germany | explore the city on foot

If there was ever the perfect way to explore the soul of a city, its a walking tour. And what better a way to explore Heidelberg and its lovely history and stories than by joining an amazing guided tour of the Old Town and its galleries and museums, small gardens, and enchanting squares and alleys? Explore the Studentenkarzer, the Jesuitenviertel, the Church of the Holy Spirit, and more, including the main street of Heidelberg Old Town which is one of Europe’s longest pedestrian zones.

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Heidelberg: Walking Tour of the Old Town

Duration: 1.5 hour

1172 reviews

2. Marvel at Heidelberg's cultural history in Mountain Cemetery (from USD 378.5)

things to do in heidelberg germany | marvel at heidelberg's cultural history in mountain cemetery

The Bergfriedhof, one of Heidelberg’s 17 cemeteries, is a rich haven of Heidelberg’s cultural history, bearing numerous stories of Heidelberg and its communities and people. This tour is a journey through Heidelberg’s cultural history via tombstones and the biographies of those buried in the Bergfriedhof.

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Heidelberg: Mountain Cemetery Tour

Duration: 2.0 hour

3. Undertake a unique culinary tour of Heidelberg (from USD 105.17)

things to do in heidelberg germany | undertake a unique culinary tour of heidelberg

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Heidelberg, it’s the delicious local food! Indulge in a mouth-watering culinary experience with this culinary tour, beginning at Heidelberg’s romantic marketplace and choosing between different themes: ‘Werewolves, Revenants, and Vampires’ (scary legends and stories with a night guard), 'Hangmen, Witches, and Prostitutes’ (crimes from the Middle Ages), or 'Towers, Moats and Massacres’ (tour with a palace guard). Dig into delicious local culinary specialities at different places in Heidelberg’s Old Town, listening to anecdotes and stories about the town as well as its food and drink.

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Culinary Tour of Heidelberg

Duration: 4.0 hour

1 review

4. Get to know the town's history with Heidelberg History Tour (from USD 378.5)

things to do in heidelberg germany | get to know the town's history with heidelberg history tour

Heidelberg’s Old Town is a treasure-house of secrets, stories, and old legends. Indulge in them all as you embark upon this unique historical tour while listening to legendary tales about the Heidelberg City Hall, the Studentenkarzer, the Old Bridge, the Church of the Holy Spirit, and the mysterious Heidelberg Bridge Monkey and ‘Kettenkalb’. And who better to lead this tour than a local, eccentric guide dressed to the hilt in historic costume?

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Heidelberg History Tour

Duration: 2.0 hour

8 reviews

5. Explore the other side of Heidelberg at night (from USD 378.5)

explore the other side of heidelberg at night

Heidelberg is a different city by the night, as you will discover through this amazing traditional walking tour guided by a night watchman. Delve into a world of myths and legends surrounding vampires, ghosts, and werewolves and listen to goosebumps-inducing stories of the city’s lore as you visit one-of-a-kind locations of murder and myths in this two-hour walking tour.

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Heidelberg: 2-Hour Walking Tour with Night Watchman

Duration: 1.5 to 2.0 hour

123 reviews

6. Check out shops at Hauptstrasse and Altstadt


After a day of exploring Heidelberg, simply head down to the Hauptstrasse and the Altstadt and enjoy a leisurely evening strolling and checking out the many, many shops. The Altstadt is the city’s oldest part, extending a mile (1.6 km) along the Neckar river. It also houses old and new structures, narrow streets, and huge, expansive market squares - a perfect destination for shopping, dining, and relaxing.

Hauptstrasse, Altstadt

Address: Altstadt, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Hauptstrasse, Altstadt

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7. Stroll along the Karl Theodor Bridge


While visiting Heidelberg, don’t miss strolling along one of its greatest treasures, the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge), named after the 18th-century Prince Karl Theodor, who also built it. Built from Neckar valley sandstone, the structure is one of the last large examples of classical stone bridge buildings, and links the Old Town to the eastern edge of the Neuenheim district on the banks of the Neckar River. Check out the medieval Bridge Gate, the Heidelberg Bridge Monkey, as well as the sculptures dedicated to Prince Elector Karl Theodor and the Roman goddess Minerva.

Karl Theodor Bridge

Address: Am Hackteufel, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Karl Theodor Bridge

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8. See different species of animals at Heidelberg Zoo


Lovers of fauna will particularly love the Heidelberg Zoo, with its wonderful location on the banks of the Neckar River. The zoo, which is home to more than 1,100 animals across more than 250 species, houses sea lions, tigers, primates, brown bears, and more, and also happens to be part of the WAPCA (West African Primate Conservation Action) and the European Endangered Species Program (EEP). Today, the zoo not only participates in breeding programs for many of earth’s endangered species but helps raise conservation awareness as well.

Heidelberg Zoo

Address: Tiergartenstraße 3, 69120 Heidelberg

Website: Heidelberg Zoo

Opening hours: 9am - 7pm (daily)

Price: From 5.20 EUR (6 USD)

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9. Explore the wonderful Botanical Garden of the University of Heidelberg


Established as a ‘hortus medicus’ for cultivating herbs, the Botanical Garden of the University of Heidelberg is one of Germany’s oldest. Today, you can walk along the outdoor sections and gardens which house more than 14,000 varieties of plants, as well as the expansive greenhouses which house one-of-a-kind collections of plants including orchids, bromeliads, and succulents of the New and the Old World.

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

Address: Im Neuenheimer Feld 340, 69120 Heidelberg

Website: Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

Opening hours: Sun: 10am - 5pm; Mon - Thu: 9am - 4pm; Fri: 9am - 2:30pm (closed on Sat)

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10. Be bewildered by the art of apothecary at Deutsches Apotheken-Museum

Deutsches Apotheken-Museum, Offizin aus Schwarzach (1. Hälfte 18. Jh.)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DAM Heidelberg TS used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located within one of Germany’s architectural landmarks - the Heidelberg Palace, the German Apothecary Museum is for chemistry and potions lovers, offering a fascinating insight into the history of pharmaceutics. With a collection of more than 20,000 objects representing the long, rich 2,000-years-plus history of medical sciences, the Apothecary Museum is the perfect place which demonstrates the healing powers of nature.

Deutsches Apotheken-Museum

Address: Schloss Heidelberg, Schlosshof 1, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Deutsches Apotheken-Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: From 8 EUR (9 USD)

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11. Go wine tasting at Heidelberg Tun

go wine tasting at heidelberg tun
Source: instagram

Heidelberg Tun gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘drinking a ton’ in the largest barrel of wine in the world - the Heidelberg Tun. This massive, one-of-a-kind 1751-built booze barrel, the third of its kind and the only one to remain now, is located in the basement of the Heidelberg castle and now plays host to an amazing wine tasting tour. Sample exclusive rose, red, and white wines from Germany’s best wine regions on this tour, as well as from Heidelberg’s local wineries. For a wine lover, a visit to this monumental drink tank is a must.

Heidelberg Tun

Address: 69115 Heidelberg

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

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12. Attend a mass at Church of the Holy Spirit

Heidelberg-Heiliggeistkirche
Source: Photo by user Tk used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Attend a beautiful morning mass at 11am every Sunday at the Church of Holy Spirit in Heidelberg. With its steeple rising above the roofs of Heidelberg, the structure of the Church of the Holy Spirit dominates the town. Located in the heart of the Old Town of Heidelberg, the Church of Holy Spirit took over 150 years to build and features a Baroque spire. Do head to the viewing platform in the church tower from where you can enjoy incredible views over Heidelberg.

Church of the Holy Spirit

Address: Marktpl., 69115 Heidelberg

Website: Church of the Holy Spirit

Mass: Sun: 11am

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13. Explore the oldest bourgeois house of Haus zum Ritter

Das älteste noch erhaltene Haus in Heidelberg. 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Holger Uwe Schmitt used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Haus zum Ritter (House of the Knight) holds many titles - it is Heidelberg’s oldest surviving house. It is the only bourgeois house to survive the 1693 Great City Fire because it was the only stone structure, and it’s a hotel that you can stay at! The ornate, late-Renaissance mansion, which possesses an opulent facade, is located in the heart of Heidelberg’s Old Town. Look for touches immortalizing Charles Bélier (the builder) and his family - the ram symbol above the entrance (his family coat-of-arms) and engraved images of him and his wife Francina in the right box sill of the second floor.

P.S: If you want to stay at the Haus zum Ritter, book early.

Haus zum Ritter

Address: Hauptstraße 178, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Haus zum Ritter

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14. Have a picnic at Neckarwiese


As the weather warms up in Heidelberg, the Neckarwiese Riverside Park becomes the centre of all fun in the city! Enjoy stunning views of wildlife, the castle, and the Neckarwiese River as you bask in the sun, guzzle beers, jam to music, and enjoy a wonderful picnic by the Neckarwiese. What’s more, you can even rent paddle boats and ride along with the peaceful, green Neckarwiese River as it cuts through Heidelberg like a green-coloured breath of fresh air.

Neckarwiese Riverside Park

Address: Uferstraße 17, 69120 Heidelberg

Website: Neckarwiese Riverside Park

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15. Visit the open-air museum of Heidelberg Thingstätte


The open-air amphitheatre of Thingstätte is probably the most notable structure located on the sacred wooded hill of Heiligenberg overlooking Heidelberg. Built by the Nazi Party in 1935 and modelled after Greek amphitheatres, the edifice was originally used for solstice festivals and rallies. Thingstätte possesses exceptional acoustics, with one being able to hear stage voices even at the back. Today, Thingstätte is used for opera performances and open-air concerts during warmer times.

Thingstätte

Address: Auf dem Heiligenberg 1, 69121 Heidelberg

Website: Thingstätte

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16. Get some late night food at Schnitzelbank


Bring your appetite to enjoy the large, delectable portions of Schnitzelbank, a classic and cosy German wine tavern jam-packed with patrons every time you visit it. Offering great German food and beer until 11pm, the small but amazing restaurant features a spectrum of regional wines and local tipples and German delights including pork schnitzel and veal. Wooden workbenches lend the restaurant its feel as well as its name, incidentally.

Schnitzelbank

Address: Bauamtsgasse 7, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Schnitzelbank

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 5pm - 11pm; Sat - Sun: 11:30am - 11pm

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17. Try German steak at Heid's Grill & Restaurant


Meat lovers can dig into some delectable German steaks at Heid’s Grill & Restaurant on Speyerer Street. Specialising in American-style cooking and focusing on flame-grilled steaks, Heid’s with its perfect, relaxed, modern-rustic ambience is a great place to dig in after a day out in Heidelberg. Apart from the perfect charcoal-grilled steaks, the restaurant also features vegetarian options, pizzas, pasts, salads, soups, tapas, seafood, and fish, and a children’s menu too.

Heid's Grill & Restaurant

Address: Speyerer Str. 15, 69124 Heidelberg

Website: Heid’s Grill & Restaurant

Opening hours: 5pm - 1am (daily)

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18. Have a scoop of ice cream at That’s Gelato


Go innately German for your dessert cravings at That’s Gelato. Featuring an array of 20 different flavours from lemon to salt caramel, this place is where you need to go to for flavourful ice-cream. Do try the spaghetti Bolognese Tomato and Parmesan ice cream - don’t panic! It is ice cream pushed through a machine mimics spaghetti, strawberry sauce mimics tomato, and white chocolate is made to look like Parmesan!

That’s Gelato

Address: Bergheimer Str. 75/Steubenstraße 34/Rohrbacher Str. 77, Heidelberg

Website: That’s Gelato

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)

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19. Look for unique books at Antiquariat Hatry


Nestled on a cobble-lined street in Heidelberg, Antiquariat Hatry is a surreal literary explosion of sorts filled to the brim with books - and more books! In their own words, it is five floors of books from five centuries’. Discover some long-lost treasures in the form of old books with lithographs, books full of lovely sheet music, antique books, little-known biographies, and more. For book lovers, this is their heaven on earth.

Antiquariat Hatry

Address: Hauptstraße 119, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Antiquariat Hatry

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10:30am - 7pm; Sun: 2pm - 7pm

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20. Enjoy unique drinks at Bent Bar

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Pfingstmontag haben wir von 14 - 23 Uhr geöffnet. Bent Bar im Außenbereich von Frollein Bent. Kaffee, Kuchen, Cocktails, Sonne.

Posted by Bent Bar Heidelberg on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Widely acclaimed as one of the best bars in Heidelberg, Bent Bar is the place to hit after a tiring, exciting day of exploring Heidelberg! With a creative genius of a well-knowing bartender, the cocktails at Bent Bar are to die for. Try the Penicillin (Fresh Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, and Fresh Smashed Ginger, Four Roses Bourbon, and Laphroaig 10 years shaken on ice) and the wildly popular Commonwealth (Greenall’s Gin infused with Earl Grey Tea, Ginger Beer, and Ice Cubes). For something truly different, try the Black Elder Sour and the Russian Mule.

Bent Bar

Address: Leyergasse 2, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Bent Bar

Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 7pm - 1am; Thu - Sat: 7pm - 2am (closed on Sun)

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21. Dance at Jazzhaus


Since the year 2000, the vaults at Jazzhaus on Leyergasse in Heidelberg has been a haven for jazz fans, which originally served as a brewery in the 17th century. Swing to the tunes of everything from modern experimental jazz to swing and even traditional big band music. Don’t miss one of the 150 concerts that the venue hosts annually, featuring everything from modern jazz to cabaret, rock, blues, soul and more.

Jazzhaus Heidelberg

Address: Leyergasse 6, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Jazzhaus Heidelberg

Opening hours: 8pm - 12am (daily)

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22. Check out a prison for students at Studentenkarzer


If you have a hankering for the weird, then visit a ‘student prison’ at Studentenkarzer, a private jail for punishing students which was once the norm at many higher learning and finishing schools in Germany. Located at the back of the Old University in Augustinergasse, Studentenkarzer imprisoned students between 1778 and 1914 for so-called 'Kavaliersdelikte’ (minor transgressions bordering on fashionable stunts). Check out the impressive 'artwork’ in the form of paintings and graffitis left behind by students and preserved perfectly at Studentenkarzer.

Studenetnkarzer

Address: Augustinergasse 2, 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Studenetnkarzer

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

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23. Hike the hills of Königstuhl


Hiking aficionados will love the verdant slopes of Königstuhl hills, located in the Odenwald Mountains. Hike to the summit of Königstuhl which allows one to have sweeping views of the Neckar River and Heidelberg, as well as the Pfaelzerwald on very good days. One can even take the two-section historic funicular railway of Heidelberger Bergbahn from Kornmarkt in Heidelberg’s Altstadt to the Heidelberg Castle on the lower slopes and the Molkenkur restaurant/hotel, the last stop. Do spend time at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy located near the summit.

Königstuhl

Address: 69117 Heidelberg

Website: Königstuhl

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24. Explore the world of human anatomy at the Body Worlds Museum (from USD 20.61)

explore the world of human anatomy at the body worlds museum

The amazing Body Worlds Museum is home to 150 one-of-a-kind interactive exhibits, housing permanent collections which explore the human anatomy. Indulge in this different tour by examining organs, their health and functions, as well as track your happiness quotient at the interesting, interactive, and whimsical Anatomy of Happiness exhibit.

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Heidelberg: BODY WORLDS Museum Entrance Ticket

201 reviews

25. Indulge in a fun-filled Segway tour of Heidelberg (from USD 70.5)

indulge in a fun-filled segway tour of heidelberg

How about exploring Heidelberg on a Segway along the Neckar River? Start at Neckarmünzplatz before crossing the Neckar on the Old Bridge to see the Neuburg Abbey, Köpfel with stunning views of the Rhine plains, Heidelberg city, and the Neckar Valley before continuing into the Ziegelhausen valley. Ascend steeply to the renovated, historic Wolfsbrunnen before riding towards Heidelberg castle and its incredible views, and further on to the last stop of Klingenteich Jewish Cemetery.

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Heidelberg Highlights Segway Tour with Castle

Duration: 2.0 hour

160 reviews

Historic Heidelberg

The university town of Heidelberg combines natural beauty, legends, and modernity with utmost aplomb, creating an atmosphere of curiosity and exploration that travellers to this city will end up loving.

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Malavika, a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast, is well-versed in Kopfkino. Her interests include engaging discussions on New Zealand, the domino theory, dystopian fiction, and Harry Potter.

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