Heidelberg Castle or Schloss Heidelberg is one of our favorite castles in Germany. It is one of the most impressive castles with awe-inspiring fortress ruins scattered across the beautiful green hill of the Jettenbuhl. The castle is clearly visible from nearly everywhere in historic Heidelberg. The town itself is a quaint wine Riviera bustling with touristy German cafes along interesting cobbled roads.
Even though the castle has some interesting history (it has burned after being struck by lightning TWICE), its attraction is more due to the romantic appearance of the ruins, which loom over the town. Mark Twain actually described it best – “deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful”.
We last visited Heidelberg in October when my parents were visiting. It’s a castle that I’ve heard my parents talk about for many years. They stayed in Heidelberg a few times when they lived in Germany in the late sixties, so it was a definite on our list of things to do while they were here.
What’s at the Castle
We opted not to take a guided tour, but to instead just stroll the courtyard and garden, Heidelberg Tun (Big Wine Barrel) and the German Pharmacy Museum (Deutsches Apothekenmuseum).
Courtyard and Garden
The courtyard and gardens offer some really incredible views over the town and Neckar River. Spend some time to walk around, as there are some excellent vantage points that you really should not miss.
The Heidelberg Tun (barrel) is an enormous wine vat contained in the cellar of the castle. Its original capacity was 221,726 liters (58,573 US Gallons). That’s a lot of wine!
A bit of history…the tun actually never really served as a true vat; it had more of an unexciting purpose. In the era it was created, public taxes were paid in goods, and of course, what was being produced in that area at the time was wine. According to the staff, it was rarely used as a wine barrel and is currently just a tourist attraction. Oh, and it serves as a dance floor since they built one on top of the tun. You can also enjoy a wine tasting. Big shock, I know.
I think the most interesting thing to see at the castle is the German Pharmacy Museum. I haven’t decided if it amazes me or terrifies me to think of some of the “treatments” for illness that were used in that era. Either way, it certainly is intriguing.
Things to Know
Castle Opening Hours: Castle, Courtyard, and Heidelberg Tun are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can only visit the interior of the castle as part of a guided tour. English tours are available.
German Pharmacy Museum Hours: The pharmacy is open April – October from 10:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.; November – March from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Admission/Tickets: Admission to the Courtyard, Heidelberg Tun, and German Pharmacy Museum is €3 for adults and €1.50 for children.
Guided tours of the Castle: Adults €4, Children €2, Family ticket €10
For more detailed information, please visit their website.
How to Get There
Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults, 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Preneur and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Cheryl Koller