A Guide to “Losing Your Heart” in Heidelberg, Germany

What to see, do, and eat in Heidelberg, an enchanting university town in southwestern Germany.

With romantic castle ruins, cobbled riverside walkways, and a gorgeous setting between two leafy mountains, it’s no wonder that people often “lose their hearts” in Heidelberg, Germany. In fact, there’s even a famous German song that attests to Heidelberg’s many charms.

I called this fairy tale city home for ten years, so I’m often asked for advice about things to do in Heidelberg. In response, I created this guide for first-timers who want to explore this graceful city on the Neckar River.

I’ve covered everything from historic tidbits and tasty eateries to shopping spots and places to soak up the best views.

All recommendations are within walking distance of Heidelberg’s Old Town (Altstadt). The Hauptstrasse (Main Street) is the Old Town’s epicenter.

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Love in the Air at the Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle Grounds at Sunset View of Altstadt and Neckar

The Heidelberg Castle grounds are one of my favorite spots to stroll. When I was just a young babe in a Kinderwagen, my mother posed for a now-iconic family photograph at the castle’s main overlook spot (Scheffelterrasse), with me in tow. Twenty years after that shot was snapped, I moved from the United States — back to Germany — into a Heidelberg apartment almost visible among the terracotta roofs in that original photograph.

Realizing my connection to this romantic spot, my husband proposed atop an elegant stone bench nearby several years ago. Later that year, we were married in the castle’s chapel following a Doctor Zhivago-esque snowfall. My teeth still chatter thinking about it, but I’m warmed by the memories of that incredible night.

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Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany

Osterbrunnen, or Easter fountains, herald spring’s return to chilly Germany’s Franconia or Franken region. Each year, wells and fountains in town centers are dressed with boxwood cuttings, ribbons and delicately-painted pastel eggs. The custom celebrates water’s life-giving properties.

The decorations typically spring up one week before Easter Sunday and they grace the fountains for a week thereafter, lending colorful accents to cobbled lanes and village centers that have been slumbering during the grey and frigid winter season.

In preparation for this long Easter weekend, my mother and I swung by her favorite Ansbach bakery last week, tucked away in the small city’s Altstadt, or old town. Though dogs are beloved in Germany and often seen accompanying their masters into department stores, cafés and restaurants, a sign outside the bakery indicated that Maltese, pup, Gigi had to remain outside while we loaded up the wicker basket with baked German goodies. In such establishments where dogs are verboten, there are hooks outside on which furry friends can be tethered while the Hund’s owner is inside shopping.

Eager to be showered with morsels of meat and biscuits from benevolent German shopkeepers – as Gigi and her canine sister, Meg, typically are when accompanying my mother on shopping errands – Gigi was decidedly unhappy that she had to remain outside – far from the culinary treats. Here’s hoping that you’re having a happier Easter and celebration of spring’s return! :)

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

Greeting Autumn at the Heidelberger Herbstfest

What a splendid day for an autumn fest on Heidelberg’s Hauptstrasse!

With our bellies full with Neuer Wein (new wine), Zwiebelkuchen (onion pie), Bier, Bratwurst, and Thai fare, we’re now at home resting, watching all the Herbstfest revelry from our fifth-floor apartment.

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Photo du Jour: Under the Rainbow – Heidelberg, Germany

Peterskirche Steeple and Regenbogen - Heidelberg

Our visiting friends and family are both horrified and sympathetic when they learn that our circa 1762 apartment has 87 stairs, and dare I say, no elevator. I argue that the views of the Heidelberg Castle, church steeples and Königstuhl and Heiligenberg hills make the treacherous ascent worthwhile.

Sometimes, following tumultuous activity in the skies above, a splendid Regenbogen will appear in the sky. Last week, Mother Nature gave us not just one, but two rainbows – simultaneously.

Schloss Panorama - Heidelberg

The light illuminating the Altstadt buildings was incredible!

Regenbogen Overhead - Heidelberg, Germany Altstadt

Jesuitenkirche - Heidelberg Altstadt

Schloss overlooking Uniplatz - Heidelberg Castle, Germany

It seemed that the pot of gold was somewhere in the vicinity of the Peterskirche…

Rainbow by Peterskirche - Heidelberg Altstadt

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

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, also falling 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:

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