Cities in GERMANY
Popular destinations GERMANY
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Heidelberg is a medium-sized German city in the northwest of the state of Baden-Württemberg and is known for its castle and beautiful old town, which is largely designed as a pedestrian zone. Heidelberg is also home to the Ruprecht Karl University, the oldest university in Germany and one of the oldest in all of Europe. The city has about 150,000 inhabitants, a quarter of whom are students. The city extends over an area of 110 square kilometers.
Heidelberg is located about 130 km north-west of Stuttgart and is also very close to Mannheim, which lies to the west, and to Frankfurt more to the north. The city is situated on the bank of the river Neckar exactly where the legend-rich Odenwald opens up towards the plain of the Rhine Valley.
Heidelberg has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Due to this influence, the weather is very even in Heidelberg. The precipitation is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year, but on average there is the greatest chance of precipitation in the summer. Summers are pleasant but rarely really warm with an average daytime temperature just above twenty degrees Celsius. Even in the winter months, the weather in Heidelberg is rarely extreme, with only light frosts in December, January and February, followed by noticeably warmer weather from March. By April the days start to get longer again and temperatures regularly rise to 16 °C.
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Heidelberg's history dates back to the 5th century BC, when a group of Celts settled in the area. They built a fortress and church on the Heiligenberg. In 80 AD, the Romans arrived in the area and set up a permanent settlement on the bank of the Neckar River. The city grew around the military camp and in the 8th century AD historical records mentioned the village of Bergheim for the first time. Bergheim is now a district of modern Heidelberg. The history of medieval Heidelberg dates back to the 12th century. The origin of Heidelberg Castle was a former fortress on this spot. In 1225 the castle came under the control of Louis I, the Duke of Bavaria. Another castle was built in 1303 to defend the area and the castle ruins can still be visited today.
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Heidelberg has many great tourist attractions, visitors fall in love with the charming medieval architecture and the river. The atmospheric old town offers endless narrow streets, historic sights and a handful of beautiful churches, all overshadowed by the imposing Heidelberg Castle. For the best views of Heidelbergs, you can walk along the high Philosophenweg or, as a comfortable alternative, enjoy the landscape via the Bergbahn (cable car).
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The picturesque Old Bridge is an essential stop on a stroll through the Old Town. Built in the late 18th century over the River Neckar, the old bridge was the first stone bridge on this site after a series of wooden bridges. The medieval gate leading to the old bridge is also very worth seeing.
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Passenger boats depart from the old town for cruises along the Neckar River. Typically the trip takes about two or three hours, you can relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the valley as you gently cruise past ancient villages, towns and their many attractions. Depending on the weather, you can choose from open-top or covered boats.
Last updated October 2020
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