The town of Heidelberg is a wonderful destination within the state of Baden-Württemberg in the southwest of Germany. With its Baroque architecture, impressive Gothic castle and many other buildings of historic interest, the city is often described as being a romantic destination. Situated in the scenic valley of the River Neckar, the city is home to Germany's oldest university, the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, which was established in 1386. Heidelberg is located in one of the warmest parts of Germany, often reaching temperatures of thirty degrees Celsius during the summer months. Due to the warm climate, visitors may see almond and fig trees, and bird-lovers may catch a glimpse of a rose-ringed parakeet. The city's population is in the region of 150,000, and hundreds of thousands of tourists visit throughout the year. Of the residing population, the university brings almost 30,000 students to the city, whilst another 30,000 inhabitants are American citizens who work predominantly at the U.S. Army and Department of Defense bases.
Location: Travelling to Heidelberg
The nearest airports to Heidelberg are Frankfurt and Stuttgart, and both have train stations conveniently located within the terminals. These provide access to the high-speed Inter City Express connections to Heidelberg. Alternatively, there is also the Lufthansa shuttle bus, available at Frankfurt. If travelling by car, the A5 motorway can be taken from Frankfurt, or from Stuttgart, the A81, A6 and E35.
Business: Convenient Conferencing Facilities
Heidelberg is home to numerous information technology companies, including SAS, General Dynamics, and tangro. The city’s top employers also include medical supplies manufacturer BD, aerospace specialist ITT Corporation, and Germany’s largest cement producer, HeidelbergCement. Maintaining a strong business presence, the city is well equipped with exhibition centres, the main one being the Heidelberg Convention Center. This is one of the most popular business centres in the country, and has the capability to accommodate many different types of events. There are other conference venues, including the Halle02, which is a converted freight train station and so has a fantastically industrial atmosphere.
Culture: Heidelberg Castle
The highlight of any trip to Heidelberg is a visit to its magnificent castle. Situated dramatically on the steep hillside of the Königstuhl, which aptly translates to ‘king’s throne’, it dominates the skyline when strolling through the old town. Heidelberg Castle possesses a mixture of architectural styles as its first building was constructed around 1400, with further additions being made during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Today, the more modern King’s Hall, built in 1934, is an exciting venue for banquets and theatre shows, whilst the courtyard comes alive with theatre, opera, and classical music during the annual summer festival.
Activities: Leisure and Dining in Heidelberg
If time permits, the Philosophers’ Walk is well worth undertaking. This follows the southern side of the Heiligenberg, or ‘Saints Mountain’, and provides spectacular views of the castle and the city. The panorama can be taken in from seating in the delightful Philosophers’ Garden. For those continuing on the walk, the eleventh century Monastery of Saint Michael and an ancient Celtic hill fort from the fourth century BC can be found further up the mountain. After an afternoon on the mountain, refuel in one of the numerous good restaurants to be found in the city, including Schnitzelbank and Simplicissimus, both in the northeast.