Heidelberg Castle, one of Germany’s most famous castles. Nestled on top of a hill overlooking the picturesque baroque town of Heidelberg.
The breath-taking Heidelberg Castle, Germany, is along with Neuschwanstein Castle the most popular spots for travellers in Germany. For good reasons. Just as breath-taking as the castle is from the city, so too is the city from the castle. The stunning views and surroundings combined with a history that spans 800 years back. No wonder why travellers keep exploring this area, – and you should too!
Not surprisingly in the summer, it’s packed with tourists. In spite of all the tourists, I still find it simply majestic.
History of Heidelberg Castle Germany
The history of Heidelberg Castle is a cycle of construction and destruction. It’s thought that the first foundations were laid in the 11th century, divided into two separate complexes – an ‘upper’ and a ‘lower’ castle.
It’s a combination of several buildings surrounding an inner courtyard. Each building highlights a different period of German architecture. It’s amazing if you’re interested in history or architecture.
The Legend of the Castle
The castle will be handed to any individual who manages to bite through the iron-ring door-knocker on the thick wooden door to the residential courtyard. Apparently, a witch managed to sink her fangs some distance into the ring but failed to bite through it completely. How about you? Will you try it?
The attraction of Heidelberg Castle isn’t all due to its history. But also due to the romantic appearance of the magnificent ruins which loom over the town. Fun fact; you can even get married in this historic building.
Heidelberg Castle is not all beautiful though, it’s over 700 years old after all. In many ways, Heidelberg reminds me of an elegant older woman’s face. It looks beautiful from a distance. But when you get too close you start seeing all the wrinkles, reflecting the age of its owner.
Instead of judging the wrinkles as flaws, it makes the woman more beautiful and gives her even more depth. And Heidelberg Castle definitely has its “wrinkles” after being damaged by fire not once, but three times. Twice by the French in war, and the third time when it was struck by lightning making it uninhabitable.
Why visit Heidelberg Castle, Germany
- Long and rich history with beautiful views. (Very Insta-friendly)
- World’s largest wine barrel where you can taste regional wine.
- World’s largest Apothecary Museum with a collection that dates back 2000 years.
- Explore the picturesque old town with baroque buildings.
- Walk along one of the longest pedestrian zones in Germany.
Visitor information for Heidelberg Castle
Visiting Heidelberg Castle is definitely a must-do when you’re in the area. The best way to fully explore the castle and its surroundings is by joining a tour. There’s a lot of different options, and it can be hard to find the right one. Below I have collected a few of my favourites.
Tours of Heidelberg Castle Germany
This tour is for you if you want to explore the castle while enjoying fantastic views. You will be guided through the castle ruins where you’ll find the world’s largest wine barrel, and the world’s largest Apothecary Museum.
The wine barrel measuring 7m high x 8.5 m wide. It could hold 220,000 litres of wine. Why was such a large wine barrel needed at Heidelberg Castle? To hold the taxes from the winegrowers who often paid in wine. Legend has it that the wine barrel watcher used to imbibe so much that when he drank water by mistake he died.
In the Apothecary Museum (Deutsches Apotheken Museum) you can see over 20,000 pharmacy-related objects. The collection dates back over 2000 years. A quick look at the medical equipment makes you thankful that you didn’t live in the middle ages.
If you want to fully immerse yourself in both the Heidelberg area and the Castle you should check out this private 3 Hour Historical Tour. You’ll see all the historical sights and learn about the fascinating history of this old town. Walk along the longest pedestrian zones in Germany, while admiring the Baroque buildings and Old Bridge. After exploring the town you’ll end up at the grand finale, – the Castle.
Or if you’re up for a bit more adventure while admiring historical sights and the castle ruins, you should try the Highlights Segway Tour. You’ll explore the same beautiful sights as the other tours, but it’s all done on a segway.
Not fond of doing tours, but want to explore in your own pace? Get yourself the HeidelbergCard which includes entrance to several attractions, discounts on restaurants, and free travel on public transport.
The view of Heidelberg from the Castle.
Did all of this reading about historical towns and a fairytale castle pique your interest? No worries, there are tons of amazing castles in Germany for you to explore.
Just an hour south of Heidelberg you can continue your castle journey with Schloss Ludwigsburg, which is my favourite castle tour. Before heading further south to Hohenzollern Castle and the small, yet worth visiting Lichtenstein Castle.
And of course, there’s Neuschwanstein, the castle that the Disney castle was modelled after. It’s further away in Bavaria but it is Germany’s most famous castle.
Heidelberg Castle Hours
Okay, we have now established why and how to visit this beautiful place. But when should you visit? You can visit the castle all year round. The peak season is in June, July, August. So visiting in late April or early September might be best to avoid the mass crowds.
The opening hours are 8 am – 6 pm, except for the Pharmacy Museum that opens at 10 am. Last entry is 5.30 pm. When doing a tour you will get a time and place for the meeting point.
Heidelberg Castle Tickets
Castle ticket cost 8€
It includes admission to the Castle courtyard, the barrel cellar, the German Pharmacy Museum, and the ticket for the funicular. (round trip from the lower station to the station “Molkenkur” with a stopover at Heidelberg Castle).
Castle tour tickets range between 19€ to 125€ depending on what’s included.