With a bag of “road” chocolates and a new CD, we jumped on the autobahn and headed for our first stop.
We arrived in the centre of the old city, and gleefully checked into our hotel along the riverside.
Similar sweater here
The Hollander Hof was an old building in the perfect location, filled with charming staff and cozy rooms, and at once we knew our visit was off to a good start. Following a quick rest, an instagram
snap brag of our view, a glance through our tourism brochures, and a change of clothes, we were off to do some exploring.
First on our list? The old castle.
We’ve knocked quite a few castles off the list on our travels, so the minute we saw Schloss Heidelberg overlooking the town, we knew it would be another box worth checking.
We took the funicular for a spin upwards, having arrived a little late in the afternoon.
Immediately, we were provided with shots of beautiful autumnal trees and spanning views of the entire town – complete with red roof tops and old church spires.
Not wanting to miss the parts of the castle open for tours, we did a quick stroll through the pristine gardens, crunching fallen leaves with each foot step.
We could have easily spent the day meandering through the various pathways, or perhaps bringing a picnic up for lunch, but the castle itself closed around dinner time and we wanted to hit up the museums.
Just before nightfall, we managed to tour the history of pharmacy and then pop in to see some pretty massive wine barrels.
Should we open it up for a taste?
When we finally made our way back outside, the sky had fallen and the castle was illuminated, with an absolutely majestic appearance. We toured the grounds again, this time taking in the castle ruins and the twinkling lights of the town below.
Once we began to feel a bit chilly, we walked back down into the town, in search of a spot for dinner. I made a quick stop at the Lindt factory store since I can’t resist a stracciatella ball (or three), before ducking into a small Italian restaurant.
The town is quite alive at night, with couples and young university students roaming through the main pedestrian boulevard. We took the opportunity to do the same, peering into the shops and enjoying each other’s company, stopping when necessary for an after-dinner drink.
It was an incredible feeling to be back in Europe, surrounded by old and charming buildings, and hearing the sound of your shoes on the cobblestone streets.
We walked to the end of the main walkway in the alstadt, crossed the river, and returned back to our hotel along the other side, stopping along the way to admire the beautiful houses and pick out our favourites.
The next morning, the sun shone through our windows, telling us to wake up. We filled up on the complimentary breakfast, dropped our suitcases off at reception, and headed out for a few more hours of adventure.
Covered in beautiful fall colours, the cobblestone pathway curved and winded up hill, as ivy grew up its old stone walls.
^ Caught in the act ^
The walk itself was pretty uphill – and I fuelled myself only by remembering all the chocolates I had already ate (and thinking about how many more I would eat). In the end though, the views of the old town were worth it.
We walked back down to the river, passing through many of the Heidelberg university buildings, and a few residential mansions.
Bits and pieces of the university are hidden throughout the entire town, surrounded by racks and racks of bicycles. Each one more charming than the last – I’ll admit, I had some pretty serious school envy.
Feeling like hopeful and giddy students again, we popped into the town’s historic shop – Knosel Chocolatier – for a classic Heidelberg sweet treat. Organic and made by hand, the Studentenkuss is a circular chocolate made with wafers. The treat itself was originally made as a gift to be exchanged between students, secret admirers or lovers. Grabbing one for each of us, we each opened our “Student’s Kiss” and devoured it. Simple and Delightful.
Returning back the starting point of our walk, we arrived just in time to hop on a river cruise along the Neckar River – our final plan for the visit. Gliding along in a solar powered boat, we enjoyed a warm drink and let our feet take a break.
We passed along both sides of the river, admiring the small buildings and learning about the town’s history – all while seeing it in a perspective you can’t gain on foot. Ducks and swans swam in our midst, and the atmosphere was utterly relaxing.
Heidelberg itself showed us a warm welcome and really took me by surprise. It was bustling with locals, cafes, and shops while still maintaining a peaceful and historic appearance. I wasn’t ready to leave, but we had a schedule to stick to! So, we loaded our suitcases back in the car and headed out. More on that tomorrow…
The making of this post was sponsored by Tourism Heidelberg, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I absolutely loved the town, and the itinerary was just perfect! I highly recommend adding it to your future Germany travel plans.