Why I Adore Heidelberg, Germany: Celebrating Ten Years in the Loveliest of Cities

Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren, (I Lost My Heart in Heidelberg). So goes a line from a German musical of the same name.

For the past ten years, I have called Heidelberg, Germany home. Along the way, I’ve also fallen for this extraordinary place’s charms.

What do I most adore about this graceful city on the Neckar River? Here are just a few things I love about Heidelberg:

People stand on Marktplatz (Market Square), in the German city of Heidelberg.

Cobblestone lanes that gobble up the heels of a lady’s shoes – at least once during every stay.

Her shrimp-colored sunsets.

The symphony of her Altstadt church bells, which sing on every hour, but most joyously at 11 o’clock on Sunday mornings.

The way she comes alive each spring when daffodils, tulips, and cherry blossoms appear in the most unexpected of places.

The ability to tell time by peering out our living room window to see the glimmering hands of the clock on St. Peterskirche’s copper steeple.

The manner in which her buildings and flora are dressed in a confectioner’s-like sugar snow – at least twice each winter.

Parades on the Hauptstrasse: the appearance of men in vibrant medieval costumes proudly twirling flags with the city’s lion emblem emblazoned on them.

The clouds that mysteriously roll in on grey mornings, caught between the Heiligenberg and Königstuhl mountains.

The rainbows that often flourish over her majestic castle on stormy summer days.

Neighborhood children filing along in charming Hauptstrasse processions carrying homemade lanterns (for St. Martin’s Day) or pretzel-clad, spring-welcoming wands (the Sommertagsfest).

Window boxes overflowing with geraniums, peonies and pansies.

All the street artists passionately performing on Theaterplatz, the square below our fifth-floor apartment. There are flame throwers, Bohemian folk vocalists, soulful singers with harmonicas, the cellist who plays ‘The Swan’, steel drummers, jugglers, and children giving their first public performance on a humble recorder.

Studentenkuß chocolates, delicate pastries, and Gummibärchen treats to sweeten any day.

Walls cloaked in veils of deep-green ivy.

The rowers’ chants — audible from our bedroom window — as they power their sleek boats along the Neckar River.

Her graceful Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Buildings and iron fences with a touch of whimsy, flair, and elegance.

Walking on her trees’ crunchy leaves on the grounds of her imposing castle… Seeing the silhouette of these grand trees gracefully reaching out over the castle walkways.

The image of her sky aglow with fireworks during Castle Illuminations and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Swallows that dance in the sky high above her red-clay rooftops.

Reaching her forested hills in a matter of moments so as to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Yet, once among her evergreens and sequoias, still being able to hear the street artists and church bells in the magical city below.

Might this epitomize the best of both worlds?

Have you also ‘lost your heart’ in Heidelberg? What are your favorite spots in this German city? 

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.


Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

31 thoughts on “Why I Adore Heidelberg, Germany: Celebrating Ten Years in the Loveliest of Cities

  1. Some very fine reasons to love Heidelberg! Ten years is a very long time, I am glad you made the best out of it and the city will always be worth coming back to. I myself am thinking about settling there when I’ve had enough of traveling and exploring other parts of the world….
    Love your pictures from the forest!! You seem to have lived right in the Altstadt, what a hustle and bustle! I was in Rohrbach and Kirchheim, so a bit away but still close enough to get to the Alstadt comfortably…
    Wish you a successfull sabbatical!

    1. Laura, thanks for your well wishes and kind comments. Yes, we live in the Altstadt, and like you, I once lived in Rohrbach. I love the quaint, main street there (the name escapes me). I’ll be posting an article on hiking in Heidelberg’s forest in the coming days, so keep posted! Wishing you extensive globetrotting, and perhaps some day our paths will cross in Heidelberg!

    1. :-) And I thought that during my sabbatical, I’d have tons of time to document all the adventures… It’s a challenge to find writing time when so many new ones await – just on the other side of your guest house’s courtyard!

  2. good work in both aspects, writing and shooting! Heidelberg is one of a kind! Have you ever been walking on some rooftops in Heidelberg Altstadt?If not, Do it! (if you need a possibility, get in contact :D)



    1. Greetings, Patrick – many thanks for your thoughtful comments and the offer to explore Heidelberg from a new perspective! I’ve technically moved away from HD, but am back to Germany (Bavaria) visiting at the moment. I would love to get some birds’ eye views of Heidelberg, though. I did a post from the Heiliggeistkirche platform last fall – what other fun spots can you recommend? :)

      1. private spots, but you will get access, if you know the right persons :D. One is the rooftop of the wonderful palais rischer, located in the untere straße 11.

      2. That sounds like a fabulous perch! Wish we could be in Heidelberg today, as I bet it’s a splendid day for snapping. Hopefully in the coming weeks… Enjoy the weekend, Patrick!

    1. JW, thanks for your kind words! I’m happy to have recruited another visitor to beautiful Heidelberg – when you make it there, feel free to drop me a line with any questions. And, via your writings & pics, I see you’ve been to China. That’s a spot that we’re really hoping to make it to soon. How long did you spend there?

      1. Thanks Tricia! China’s lovely. I’ve been here for over a month now and am leaving in a week. Not nearly enough time but I saw a good chunk. I’d recommend southern and SW China (Yunnan/Sichuan) and Shanhai/Suzhou/Nanjing were highlights from Eastern China. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask!

      2. Savor your last days then! Thanks very much for the pointers about where to go. We were in Asia for 5 months and just left India. We decided that instead of cramming in another country, it was best to enjoy China on a future trip. Did you get your visa at home or on the road?

      3. Good thinking. I got my visa through a service back in the states because I wasn’t close enough to an embassy to do it on my own. I’ve heard a lot of different stories about people having trouble with their visas and allotted time, so in China’s case I’d take care of that ahead of time. But I’m sure some places are no trouble if you do your research. Good luck.

      4. Thanks for the visa pointers. We got a few of ours (India, Vietnam) while on our Asian trip, but since I’ve been living overseas for the past decade, I wondered how it differed getting it Stateside or on the road.

        Enjoy your travels – how I miss Asia right now!

  3. We visited Heidelberg last June – it was so beautiful I wanted to stay longer. Thanks for all the gorgeous photos. They brought back such lovely memories.

    1. Carol, I understand why! :) Did you have a favorite spot or two? I really enjoy strolling along the Philosophers’ Walk and the castle courtyard in the morning.

      Hope you’re having a super weekend; thanks again for dropping in!

  4. As you know, I have travelled a bit, but I have never been to Heidelberg! Shame on me. Mind you, after perusing this delightful post, I feel as though I’ve been there, in a way. I can see why you love it so.

    1. Seeing the lovely subjects you photograph, I definitely think you’d take a liking to its charms. We just paid Heidelberg a visit the other day. It was a rather teary departure for me, since I’m not sure when we’ll next return. The city holds such a special place in my heart, and a plethora of memories.

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog! We just got back from a Rhine River cruise where we got a chance to spend a nice afternoon in Heidelberg. My wife and I split up on this excursion: she went shopping in the Old Town while I toured the castle ruins on top of the hill. We both enjoyed ourselves.

    1. Crowcanyonjournal, my pleasure! I’m not surprised that you had a lovely time in Heidelberg – I miss it so! My husband and I had a winter wedding in that castle, and I’ve spent many afternoons buying sweet treats and other fun items on the Hauptstrasse, where your wife probably shopped. Did you know that Mark Twain once stayed in a hotel not far from the castle? I believe it’s just been recently renovated into luxury condominiums.

      A pleasure to connect & until next time! :)

    1. Thank you, Bespoke Traveler, and Heidelberg certainly has her fair share of them.

      Funny, this was the very first post that I wrote here, when I was actually still a Heidelberger. :) Wish you a splendid weekend!

    1. Eric, I see that some of our years overlapped – it was a great time to be there, wasn’t it? Here’s hoping the “misty eyes” facilitated the recall of happy memories! I haven’t been back to Heidelberg since 2012, but I hope to change that soon. I miss hiking in the hills above the city, walking along the Neckar, plus the Schnitzelhaus and Sahara restaurants. When were last there?

  6. I was fortunate to be stationed in Heidelberg for most of 1955. It was a marvelous year and the city was always in my thoughts. I finally returned with my wife in 1998 and 2000. My wife fell in love with this magical town. Then we were able to visit again in 2014,2015, 2016 and will,again visit there again. Our children are urging us to stay a lengthy period. We have traveled extensively but Heidelberg is one of our favorite places.

    1. Sheldon, as the German song goes, it seems many of us have left our hearts in Heidelberg! Your comment reminds me that I’m 5 years overdue for a visit – here’s hoping 2017 will be the year.

      Having lived there a few decades ago, it must be fascinating to see how the city has changed. In what part of Heidelberg did you live in the 1950s?

      1. I worked in the Campbell barracks which was where the Headquarters for the U.S. Army for Europe was located. We worked very normal hours which meant we had time to be in the old city on a regular basis. It was as though we were students in Heidelberg rather than soldiers. . For the most part the old portion of the city has changed very little. The biggest change was taking the trolleys off the Hauptstrasse.and making it a pedestrian zone. The intersection of the Neckar River, mountains and intimacy of the old town makes Heidelberg an exceptional place to visit.

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