How to choose the perfect hotel for your European Weekend Break

I often get asked which hotel I’d recommend for a short break in Europe, which is a tough one since we all have different ideas about what makes the perfect hotel. Instead of reeling off a list of lovely hotels that I’ve stayed in (although you can see a few below), I thought instead I’d walk you through the process I use to find my ideal hotel. Using these tips you should be able to find the hotel that suits you best and enjoy a fabulous weekend away.

Bristol Hotel in Bristol Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

 

Read more about the Bristol Hotel in Bristol | Compare prices and Book for the Bristol Hotel

Why is a hotel best for a European Citybreak?

Before I share how to find the perfect hotel for your European city break, let’s consider why I’d recommend choosing a hotel at all? After all you could book a friendly B&B or local apartment, as I have done myself on occasion. I’ve found that if you are spending a relatively short time in a destination and planning weekend breaks for couples or small groups then a hotel is usually best. Here’s why.

With apartments and B&Bs there’s less flexibility with the check in times. You may have to meet the owner or key holder at a certain time and there’s no opportunity to arrive earlier. With a hotel there’s always someone at reception, so you arrive at your convenience, drop off your bags if your room isn’t ready and get out to start enjoying your weekend break. If you prefer to relax there’s normally a hotel lounge where you can get a coffee, but either way you won’t be hanging around the streets with your luggage. I typically book an apartment when I am staying for a week or more, or am travelling in a large family group. Then those precious hours waiting to check in are not such a big issue.

Intercontinental Budapest Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Have a coffee in the beautiful lobby of Intercontinental Budapest

Read about our stay at Intercontinental Hotel Budapest | Compare Prices and book for Intercontinental Hotel, Budapest

Finding a hotel that matches your budget

One of the biggest considerations for weekend citybreaks is how much you can afford to spend on a hotel and what it will buy you. Sometimes there’s a trade off between price and location but we’ll come to that in a moment. As an example, you might be planning a trip to Stockholm and want to check roughly what your budget will buy you. This is where it’s useful to do a quick check on the going rate for the price of different levels of hotels in Stockholm to see if we’re talking pleasantly affordable or need to take out a second mortgage.

I typically use a hotel comparison site like Hotels Combined that shows the best prices from a range of different booking sites; you can try this out on my Heatheronhertravels hotel booking page which is powered by Hotels Combined. By putting in your chosen city and dates (or tentative dates if you’re not sure) you can then filter on the 3 star, 4 star or 5 star hotels to see what you can get within your budget. For a further comparison you might change your search to another city such as Gothenburg and find that prices are lower than Stockholm which could influence your decision on where to go. Occasionally there’s a big event or conference in town that inflates the hotel prices, so if you have flexibility in your schedule, check the price for a few different dates.

Elite Plaza Hotel Gothenburg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Elite Plaza Hotel Gothenburg

Read about our stay at Elite Plaza Hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden | Compare prices and book for Elite Plaza Hotel, Gothenburg

Location Location

Having established what kind of hotel you’re likely to find within your price range it’s time to look at different locations in a city that work best for you. There are a few things that might influence you here such as:

  • A hotel that’s walking distance from the main sightseeing area.
  • A hotel that’s well located for a specific place you want to visit.
  • A hotel that’s well located for transport links, for instance close to the metro or main train line from the airport
  • A hotel that’s in a well lit, mainstream location if you’re a solo traveller.

Personally, if I’ll only be there for a few days, my first priority is to find a hotel close to all the main sights so that I can see as much as possible in the time I have. At this stage you could have a quick look at the destination’s official tourism website to establish where the major attractions are located, and if it’s a larger city perhaps to look at the metro or public transport map since there may be multiple areas for sightseeing. Having established where the main sites are, you can filter based on distance from a key tourist spot or just click through to see the hotels on a map.

Riad Star in Marrakech Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Riad Star in Marrakech was well located in the heart of the Medina

Read about our stay at Riad Star in Marrakech | Compare prices and book for Riad Star 

Find a style that suits you

As everyone’s idea of a perfect hotel may be different, you’ll want to consider the style of the hotel. Some of you may like clean modern lines, others classic elegance or a trendy boutique style and I’ve enjoyed stays at hotels that offer all of these styles. Use the filters on the booking comparison website to see what’s available in different categories such as luxury, romantic, boutique/design. You may also want to do an online search for something like “boutique hotels in Stockholm” to see what hotel names keep popping up. This is the time to look at the photos on the hotel booking page or hotel’s own website to give you a feel for whether the style is right for you. After all, one person’s vintage charm is another’s outdated and shabby.

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

What’s your style? Sleek and modern at Qube hotel in Heidelberg

Read my article about Qube Hotel and what we did in Heidelberg | Compare prices and book for Qube Hotel

What facilities are important to you?

If certain facilities like a gym, spa or free wifi are essential to your enjoyment, now would be the time to put these into the filters of your hotel comparison website and make sure you are selecting hotels that have what you need. You may need to prioritise your wish list, as in smaller cities the perfect hotel with everything you require may not exist, or at least not within your budget.

Kurhotel Skodsborg Spa Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

What facilities are important to you? Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen has a wonderful spa!

Read my article about Kurhotel Skodsborg in Copenhagen | Compare prices and book for Kurhotel Skodsborg

Make a shortlist

Having considered price, location, style and facilities it’s time to make a shortlist of hotels. You should aim to have a list of 5-10 hotel names that would broadly match your requirements and jot them down somewhere with space to add comments beside them.

Read the reviews

Now it’s time to read the reviews. While most hotel comparison websites, such as Hotels Combined, have reviews I find the best place for this is Tripadvisor. Although there’s been a bit of discussion about fake reviews on TripAdvisor I’ve generally found that if you scroll through and scan at least 15 reviews posted over a few months, you will get a balanced overview of the hotel. Things that reviews will often cover are:

  • How well located the hotel is for sightseeing
  • The staff and service – is there one member of staff singled out for criticism or praise?
  • The style of hotel, decor and general upkeep.
  • Mention of any building work or renovation going on in the hotel or nearby. If so check the date as this may now be complete.
  • Mention of hidden charges, things that weren’t working, rooms that were noisy.

When reading the reviews take a balanced view to consider whether any concerns raised by reviewers would affect your enjoyment of the hotel or are just unfortunate one-offs. Note how the hotel management answer the reviews, especially any negative ones.

If you scan through the reviews for your shortlist of hotels, you will probably eliminate a few of them based on the comments and ideally get to a list of around 5 hotels to investigate in more detail.

Absalon Hotel Copenhagen Photo:Heatheronhertravels.com

Check the travel reviews before you book – Absalon Hotel is one of the top hotels in Copenhagen

Read my article about Absalon Hotel and what we did in Copenhagen | Compare prices and book for Absalon Hotel

Shop around for the best price

With your shortlist of five hotels I’d go back to a hotel comparison site such as my Heatheronhertravels hotel booking page powered by Hotels Combined and do a price check for the dates you require. The beauty of Hotels Combined is that it scours a wide range of booking websites to come up with the best price deals. Of course you need to be sure you are comparing like with like. Check whether breakfast is included, that you’re comparing the same standard and type of room and look out for extras like local taxes. If any of your shortlisted hotels don’t have availability for your dates, it may be worth e-mailing the hotel directly just to check.

Moorland Gardens Hotel in Devon Photo:Heatheronhertravels.com

Moorland Gardens Hotel in Devon Photo:Heatheronhertravels.com

Read about our stay at the Moorland Garden Hotel in Devon | Compare Prices and book for the Moorland Garden Hotel 

Check the cancellation terms

Be sure to check the cancellation terms, which can be quite generous on hotel comparison and booking websites, but not always so generous when booking direct with the hotel. I was once in a situation where my plans changed before a hotel stay I’d booked and I found myself liable for the whole bill – read my article on how to avoid hotel cancellation fees. If there is a claim of ‘free cancellation’ check the small print to see what this actually means.

Get the maximum benefit

Perhaps you’re down to a much shorter list of just two or three hotels that meet all your requirements, so now it’s time to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. Scrutinise the deals on sites such as Hotels Combined to check whether there are any other benefits that would save you money, such as free parking. It’s also wise to check the hotel website to see if they have any special offers, for instance 3 nights for the price of 2, or packages that include extra benefits that would interest you. In the spring and autumn when hotels have to work harder to fill their rooms, they are much more likely to offer extra benefits to entice you.

Hotel Weissen Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Weissen Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

Read about our stay at Hotel Weissen Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria  | Compare prices and book for Hotel Weissen Rössl

Make your booking!

I normally find that it takes around an hour to do the research I’ve described above, but for me that’s time well spent if I choose a hotel that’s perfect for my European City break. Now it’s time to make your booking, taking care to save or print off the confirmation, then relax until it’s time to go. Hope you have a great time!

Do you have a favourite approach to choosing the perfect hotel? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments.

Disclosure: If you book through my Hotels Combined booking page on this site I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you which helps support this site.

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This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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Heidelberg – Germany’s city of romance

What could be more romantic than Heidelberg, with old cobbled streets and an ancient university, set beside the river Neckar? Among its charms are the ruins of an ivy clad castle on the hill that delighted the 18th century romantic poets, a tale of true love between a handsome prince and beautiful princess and a cheeky Student’s Kiss. If you’re looking for a place to visit with that special someone, here’s what we suggest in Heidelberg.

Heidelberg - Germany's city of romance

The romantic castle on the hill

Built in the 14th century as the residence of the Prince Electors of Heidelberg, the castle on hill above Heidelberg was once a magnificent renaissance palace, with stone statues from classical mythology decorating its ornate carved frontage. By the 18th century, however, fire and war had reduced the castle to an uninhabited ruin which made a picturesque sight for the romantic poets and painters who visited on their Grand Tour of Europe. Turner painted a misty vision of the castle and Mark Twain waxed lyrical about the “huge ruin of Heidelberg castle with empty window arches and ivy mailed battlements” when he visited in 1878, writing:

I have never enjoyed a view which has such a serene and satisfying charm about it as this one gives. One thinks Heidelberg by day with its surroundings is the last possibility of the beautiful, but when one sees Heidelberg by night a fallen Milky Way, with that glittering railway constellation pinned to the border, one requires time to consider upon the verdict.

View from the castle terrace in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View from the castle terrace in Heidelberg

Today you can visit the castle, walking through the old courtyards, admiring the carved stone facades and see the same view from the terrace as Mark Twain over the rooftops of Heidelberg.

Heidelberg writer, Cornelia Lohs of Atterrata.com told me, ” The most romantic thing you can do on Valentine’s Day is to walk up to the castle at night and look down at the city lights – this would also be a very romantic place to propose.

The Elizabeth Gate at Heidelberg Castle Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Elizabeth Gate at Heidelberg Castle

The Elizabeth Gate at Heidelberg castle

In the gardens of the castle stands a beautifully carved stone gateway that was built for Princess Elizabeth Stuart, wife of the Prince Elector Frederich V in 1615. Elizabeth was was the daughter of the English King James I and at the age of 16 she arrived at the Heidelberg court after a political marriage had been arranged to seal the alliance between the Protestant rulers. True love blossomed from the marriage, however, and the couple went on to have 13 children together, although after the Thirty Years War they had to flee Heidelberg and ended their days in exile in Holland.

The Elizabeth Gate was made for Elizabeth’s 19th birthday and was said to have been built in just one night. Surprise! After all, what do you give the princess who has everything? The royal couple were known for their extravagant entertainments and each summer the castle and city of Heidelberg are lit up with illuminations and fireworks that recall the firework display put on by Frederich V to celebrate the royal couple’s marriage.

The Heidelberg Kurfürstenkugel at Cafe Gundel Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Heidelberg Kurfürstenkugel at Cafe Gundel

The Heidelberg Kurfürstenkugel to celebrate the royal romance

At Café Gundel in the old town, you can order a unique cake that was created to commemorate the romantic story of Frederich V and Elizabeth Stuart. Created in 1820 when visitors started to visit Heidelberg, the Master Baker Gundel created the Kurfürstenkugel, a sponge ball, filled with nougat cream and covered with marzipan and chocolate.

The cakes come in many different varieties which you will see in the window of the Gundel bakery, with the dark chocolate cakes representing Frederich and the white chocolate Elizabeth, who was known as The Pearl of Britannia. Order your Kurfürstenkugel with a coffee in Café Gundel or buy some to take away in a special box that tells their romantic story.

Cafe Gundel: 212 Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg, near the Kornmarkt square

Love Locks and Romantic Poetry in Heidelberg

It seems that every city in Europe now has a bridge where lovers come to set their padlock and throw away the key to symbolise their everlasting love. Rather than risk damage to the Alte Brucke, the old stone bridge across the Neckar, Heideleberg has found a different solution; a Liebesstein or love stone.

Love stone or Liebesstein in Heidelberg Photo: Heidelberg Marketing

Love stone or Liebesstein in Heidelberg

Cross the bridge from the Old Town and you’ll easily find the sculpture by the river bank, made of sandstone with a circular window that frames the view of the romantic castle across the river. On the brass plate is the love poem Der Blick or The Look written by the German Romantic poet Joseph von Eichendorff who used to meet his sweetheart here.

“If she could also put it into words, what the heart deeply feels, still the eyes serve it up, becoming sweeter only when fulfilled.”

Padlocks on the Love stone in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Padlocks on the Love stone in Heidelberg

Walk hand in hand up the Philosopher’s Way

At the end of the Old Bridge, close to the Love Stone you’ll see the sign for the Philosopher’s Way, a stone paved path that winds up the hill through the terraced slopes planted with orchards and vegetable gardens. The path was named after the writers and philosophy professors of the university who enjoyed walking here and is an easy climb with plenty of benches and points to admire the view.

The Philosopher's Way in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Philosopher’s Way in Heidelberg

Perhaps this is the place to come for a walk with your sweetheart, strolling along the flat path halfway up the hill to overlook the city, or to climb even higher up to the top of the Bismark tower for that fairy tale Rapunsel-let-down-your-hair moment?

Philosopher's Way in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View from the Philosopher’s Way in Heidelberg

A delicious souvenir of Heidelberg – the Student’s Kiss

There are many lovely chocolatiers in Heidelberg, where you’ll be able to find a romantic gift for your loved ones but for the ultimate Heidelberg souvenir seek out the Knösel chocolate shop (Haspelgasse 16) for a Student’s Kiss.

Students Kiss chocolates in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Students Kiss chocolates in Heidelberg

These yummy chocolate truffles were created in the 1860s when the gentlemen students of Heidelberg University mights admire the young ladies of the local colleges who would be chaparoned when they went out for a coffee in town.

Since a meeting alone could not be permitted, an innocent box of chocolates could be presented to the object of your affection, with the image of the beautiful lady and the student in his cap, their lips almost touching and only room between for a ‘Student’s Kiss’.

A lollipop for your sweetheart

For more old fashioned sweetness, pop into the Heidelberg Bonbon Manufaktur (Steingasse 5) close to the Old Bridge, where you can see candies and lollipops being made in all colours and flavours. Treat your loved one to a jar of fruit flavoured candy or buy some of the pretty heart shaped lollipops for the little darlings at home.

Heart lollipops at the Bonbon shop in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Heart lollipops at the Bonbon shop in Heidelberg

Romantic Heidelberg recommendations from the locals

Staying on the chocolate theme I asked blogging friend Jordan Beck Wagner from Beertime with Wagner where she would go with that someone special, since she studied in Heidelberg. Her suggestion was the quaint CHCO Chocolate Company.

“Located on the adorable Hauptstrasse of Heidelberg, this chocolate shop serves delectable hot chocolate and mouth-watching cakes. The perfect place to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year!”

Heidelberg Chco Chocolate Company Photo: http://www.beertimewithwagner.com

Heidelberg Chco Chocolate Company

And for a romantic place to have a drink check out this suggestion from writer Cornelia Lohs of Atterrata.com who lives in Heidelberg:

 ” A romantic place for a drink is the Europa Bar at the hotel Europäischer Hof, one of the leading hotels in Heidelberg. I just love old bars and think they are very romantic.”

Europa Bar Heidelberg Photo: http://www.europaeischerhof.com

A romantic drink at Europa Bar in Heidelberg

If you’re looking for a romantic Valentines Day gift this year, why not surprise your loved one with a weekend away in Heidelberg? Stroll through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, enjoy a romantic walk with views over the valley, find a cosy bar or cafe to cuddle up and treat yourself to some delicious chocolates. Germany’s city of romance has it all!

I hope you enjoyed romantic suggestions for what to do in Heidelberg.  If you’ve already been to Heidelberg, do you have any recommendations for places you found romantic? Do let me know in the comments!

Read more about our visit to Heidelberg:
9 German Christmas Traditions we enjoyed in Heidelberg
A Food Lover’s Guide to Heidelberg
My Top 10 things to do in Heidelberg – Video

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Read about all the Romantic things to do in Heidelberg, Germany's city of romance

Plan your visit to Heidelberg

For more information about planning your trip to Germany, visit the Germany Tourism Website and read more about German Traditions  | Follow them on Social Media | Twitter @GermanyTourism | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |

You can also find information about Heidelberg on the Heidelberg Marketing website.

Compare prices and book Hotels in Heidelberg through my Hotel Booking page powered by HotelsCombined.com – see below for my hotel recommendations.

If you need a guide in Heidelberg, we highly recommend Susanne Fiek who runs culinary and other tours of Heidelberg.

Where to stay in Heidelberg

Heather and Guy stayed at Qube hotel, a stylish boutique hotel that was a 20 minute walk or short tram ride from the Old Town. Our room was in Villa Qube, a large townhouse next to the main hotel, on the 4th floor under the eves. Our windows faced the gardens at the back and was quiet, with sloping ceilings and a grey linen sofa and desk as well as a huge comfy double  bed.

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany

There were interesting lighting effects which bathed the room in a purple glow and the bathroom was huge with both walk in shower and bathtub. The Qube restaurant has an excellent reputation, although we didn’t eat there, and in summer you can reserve a table on the rooftop terrace with views towards the river.

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany

Qube Hotel Website | Address: Bergheimer Str. 74, 69115 Heidelberg |Twitter @QubeHeidelberg | Facebook |

If you prefer to stay in the Old Town of Heidelberg you could try Hotel Hollaender Hof, a traditional hotel right by the Old Bridge, Hip Hotel where every room is themed to a different country of the world, or Heidelberg Suites, a luxurious Boutique Hotel.

Compare prices and book romantic hotels in Heidelberg through my Hotel Booking page powered by HotelsCombined.com. You can search for the best price from multiple hotel booking sites and I will receive a small commission which helps support this blog at no extra cost to you.

How to get to Heidelberg

Heather and Guy flew from Bristol to Frankfurt and took the train to Heidelberg. Trains run around every hour from the Frankfurt airport station with a change at Mannheim. On arrival in the airport follow signs for train station and then Fernbahnhof ( long distance train). Tickets can be bought from ticket machines as you reach the Fernbahnhof. The cost is €25 one way or €19 for a saver ticket which must be purchased 1 day in advance. The journey takes around 1 hour.

Thanks to the German National Tourism Board who hosted Heather and Guy’s weekend in Heidelberg

Photo Credits: All photos by Heather Cowper except the Love Stone by Heidelberg Marketing, Chco Chocolate Company by Beertime with Wagner , Europa Bar by www.europaeischerhof.com

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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My Top 10 things to do in Heidelberg – Video

Heidelberg is a delightful university town in Germany, set by the banks of the River Neckar, with a picturesque ruined castle on the hill that inspired the romantic poets and painters of the 19th century. Many visitors arrive as part of a tour of Germany or a day visit while on a Rhine river cruise, as we did the first time we visited. Whether you’re visiting just for the day or have time to stay longer (a long weekend is highly recommended), watch my video to discover the best things to do in Heidelberg.

The top things to do in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

I hope you enjoy my video below about what to see in Heidelberg

If you can’t see the video above about the best things to do in Heidelberg Germany see it on my blog here or Youtube here and please do subscribe using the button above

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1. Walk across the Alte Brücke or Old Bridge

Alte Brucke or Old Bridge in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Alte Brucke or Old Bridge in Heidelberg

The Alte Brücke is one of the first places to visit in Heidelberg since it stands at the centre of the picturesque Old Town. The bridge was built of stone in 1786 by Prince Elector Carl Theodor to replace the numerous wooden bridges that had crossed the river at this spot but were washed away by floods. Look out for the marks on the pillar of the bridge that show how high the water came in the floods, the last one being in 1784. There’s also a more recent bronze monkey statue beside the gatehouse that reminds us that those living on either side of the bridge are no better than one another, since there was a longstanding rivalry between them when the river formed the border between two regions of Germany.

Our Tip: Walk right across the Old Bridge from the Old Town, since the best photos are taken from the opposite bank looking back towards the castle.

2. Schloss Heidelberg – the romantic castle on the hill

Schloss Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Schloss Heidelberg

The romantic Schloss Heidelberg on the hill above the old town was built in the 13th century and became the residence of the Prince Electors who ruled the Palatine region of Germany, until the 18th century when war and fire led to the castle’s decline. What you see now is the shell of the old Renaissance palace with finely carved stone facades, courtyards and a terrace with views over the town. The ruined castle was much admired by painters and writers of the 19th century at a time when ruins were considered picturesque and romantic, a symbol of Germany’s historic past.

Our Tip: Look out for the foot sized depression in the stone pavement on the terrace – legend has it that a fire broke out causing a knight in full armour to jump from the window onto the terrace. Not sure whether I believe that story!

3. Take a river cruise along the Neckar

River boat cruise on the Neckar at Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

River boat cruise on the Neckar at Heidelberg

We enjoyed a river cruise from the pier near the Old Bridge with Weisse Flotte who run many different river trips depending on the season. We took the boat down to Neuberg Abbey where there was a Christmas Market, and with beautiful gardens, a farm shop selling regional produce and a restaurant with biergarden, this would be a fine place to visit in summer too. Read more about the 9 German Christmas Traditions we enjoyed in Heidelberg.

Our Tip: If you visit Neuberg Abbey, it can also be reached on the path by the river and by the Philosopher’s Way path along the hill, so you may like to take the boat one way and walk back the other.

4. Walk up the Philosopher’s Way

View from the Philosopher's way in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View from the Philosopher’s way in Heidelberg

Crossing the Old Bridge from the old town, ascend the mossy stone pathway on the other side that takes you up to the Philosopher’s Way. There’s a flat path running along the side of the hillside with fine views over the town and if you turn left at the top you’ll reach some terraced gardens where you can sit to admire the view. The path is named after the University professors and philosophers who loved to walk here among the vineyards and orchards that clothed the slopes of the valley.

Our Tip: When you get to the top, follow the signs with a small castle symbol and you will find the Bismarck Tower above the flat path, which is open to climb with great views over the valley.

5. Enjoy coffee and cakes in a cosy café

Coffee and cake in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Coffee and cake in Heidelberg

Around the cobbled streets of the Old Town are many cosy cafés, often favourites with the University students over the years. Sit here with a coffee and a slice of creamy cake or a traditional German pastry. We recommend exploring the small squares or side streets that lead off Hauptstrasse as you’ll get a more authentic experience. In summer the same cosy cafés will often have tables on the street or a biergarten, perfect to sit and watch the world go by. Read more about the food we enjoyed in Heidelberg here.

Our Tip: We enjoyed sitting in the small side room of Café Knösel where there were old photos of University students, many with bandages on their face from duelling, one of the favourite sports of the student fraternities.

6. Climb the church tower of the Holy Ghost

View from the church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View from the church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg

If you find yourself in the heart of the Old Town in Markplatz, you’ll easily find the imposing church of The Holy Ghost. The interior of the church is quite plain but pay a couple of euros in the gift shop and you can climb the steps of the church tower for 360 degree views over the old town.

Our Tip: If you’re outside the church when the small kiosk shops are closed, look out for the bagel symbols that are carved into the stone that are normally hidden by shutters. They were a measure of size to ensure that the bakers in the old days were not cheating the housewives coming to buy their daily bagels.

7. Wander the Heidelberg Altstadt or Old Town

The Old Town of Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Old Town of Heidelberg

The whole of Heidelberg’s Altstadt or Old Town is a very pleasant place to wander with cobbled streets, with plenty of shops and cafes and glimpses of the river Neckar. While you’ll find many shops and restaurants on the main street of Hauptstrasse, be sure to explore the streets that are just a couple of blocks on either side of this which are much less crowded and where you’ll find plenty of interesting little artizan shops and cafes that have a more local feel.

8. Ride the 100 year old funicular up to the Kings Throne

The Old Funicular in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Old Funicular in Heidelberg

After you’ve visited Schloss Heidelberg, take the 100 year old funicular up to the very top of the mountain for views from the Königstuhl or King’s Throne. The funicular, which was opened in 1907 still retains the charming old wooden carriages, while the lower portion of the funicular between the castle and the town has been completely modernised. Up at the top there are plenty of walks through the woods as well as a falconry centre and childrens’ park.

Our Tip: When you get to the very top at the King’s Throne be sure to look in the waiting room which is full of interesting memorabilia and some information about the history of the funicular.

9. The Students Prison

The Students Prison in Heidelberg Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

The Students Prison in Heidelberg

In the last century, the University had its own legal juristiction over the students, who when they were found drunk or disorderly would spend a few days in the Studentenkarzer or Student’s Prison. They spent their time playing cards and painting murals and slogans on the walls which now make a colourful mural of 100 year old graffiti.

Our Tip: Your combined ticket for the Student Prison will also take you into the Student Museum and Great Hall in another part of the building. Be sure to ask at the desk of the museum for a visit to the Great Hall with wooden seating and classical murals where University lectures were held in the past.

10. Stay at Qube hotel

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Qube hotel in Heidelberg Germany

For a stylish, boutique hotel try Qube hotel, which is a 20 minute walk or short tram ride from the Old Town. Our room was in Villa Qube, a large townhouse next to the main hotel, on the 4th floor with sloping ceilings facing the gardens. There were interesting lighting effects which bathed the room in a purple glow and the bathroom was huge with both walk in shower and bathtub.

Qube Hotel Website | Address: Bergheimer Str. 74, 69115 Heidelberg |Twitter @QubeHeidelberg | Facebook |

If you prefer a Heidelberg hotel in the Old Town, you could try Hotel Hollaender Hof, a traditional hotel right by the Old Bridge, Hip Hotel where every room is themed to a different country of the world, or Heidelberg Suites, a luxurious Boutique Hotel.

Compare prices and book Hotels in Heidelberg through my Hotel Booking page powered by HotelsCombined.com. You can search for the best price from multiple hotel booking sites and I will receive a small commission which helps support this blog at no extra cost to you.

I hope you enjoyed my roundup of what to do in Heidelberg.  If you’ve already been to Heidelberg, what did you enjoy? Do let me know in the comments!

Read more about our visit to Heidelberg:
9 German Christmas Traditions we enjoyed in Heidelberg
A Food Lover’s Guide to Heidelberg

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Read about the best things to see in Heidelberg & watch the video

Plan your visit to Heidelberg

For more information about planning your trip to Germany, visit the Germany Tourism Website and read more about German Traditions  | Follow them on Social Media | Twitter @GermanyTourism | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |

You can also find information about Heidelberg on the Heidelberg Marketing website.

Compare prices and book Hotels in Heidelberg through my Hotel Booking page powered by HotelsCombined.com.

If you need a guide in Heidelberg, we highly recommend Susanne Fiek who runs culinary and other tours of Heidelberg.

How to get to Heidelberg

Heather and Guy flew from Bristol to Frankfurt and took the train to Heidelberg. Trains run around every hour from the Frankfurt airport station with a change at Mannheim. On arrival in the airport follow signs for train station and then Fernbahnhof ( long distance train). Tickets can be bought from ticket machines as you reach the Fernbahnhof. The cost is €25 one way or €19 for a saver ticket which must be purchased 1 day in advance. The journey takes around 1 hour.

Thanks to the German National Tourism Board who hosted Heather and Guy’s weekend in Heidelberg

This article by Heather Cowper is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

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