If you want to feel young, head to a university town of Heidelberg in SouthWest Germany, the common name for the state of Baden-Württemberg. Even if you were one of the backbenchers in class, you would want to go back to school here and never want to leave. I visited just before the academic break was about to end so did not see too many students, but a day was enough to tell me that this is the town where one could spend years and not get enough of it.

A short cab ride took me from the railway station to my hotel in the old town. It could well have been a movie set. I walked on cobbled streets lined with amazing cafes, shops, restaurants, university buildings, churches and more. I looked up on the hilly side to see the impressive Heidelberg Castle looking down upon the town; on the other side, you had the pristine Neckar river with boats showing the sights of the city. Beyond lay more hilly forests, inviting one to explore its many trails.

Of course, I had just a day on this particular occasion – so what stood out for me? Here are some highlights you may want to explore yourself.

Old town market square - enjoy an open air meal here

Old town market square – enjoy an open air meal here

Check out the café in the Heidelberg University; you can order a meal here

Check out the café in the Heidelberg University; you can order a meal here

The Great Hall in the Old University used for ceremonial events like annual celebrations, inaugural and farewell lectures and graduation ceremonies

The Great Hall in the Old University used for ceremonial events like annual celebrations, inaugural and farewell lectures and graduation ceremonies

A drink to wake the night up?

A drink to wake the night up?

COFFEE AND CAKE
Those who know me know that I go sniffing for the best coffee and cakes in every new town. My senses get confused when spoilt for choice as I was in Heidelberg but that’s a good problem to have. During the day, I took three breaks for coffee – the images below should get your mouth watering.

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TRAIN RIDE TO THE HEIDELBERG CASTLE
All caffeinated, the best way to start would be to get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Heidelberg Castle set on the north flank of Königstuhl hill, also referred to as the palace. The fun way is to take the funicular railway up and get off the at the Schloss (palace) station; it is a good idea to get there early as queues can get very long. If the city was beautiful below, it was breathtaking from up above; you can plan to spend a full day there if you want to, and even hike down back to town. Or hire a bicycle to go both ways.

One of the grandest palaces of the Renaissance, the earliest mentions of the palace go back to 1225. Wars, fires and acts of Nature saw it partly or completely destroyed over the centuries, before being restored to its current state in the 19th century. In the 17th century, it was commonly referred to as the eighth wonder of the world; one can only imagine what it would have looked like in its glory days.

More on the Heidelberg Castle at http://www.schloss-heidelberg.de

The Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle

Don’t miss out on the ‘Big Wine Barrel of Heidelberg Castle.’ With a capacity of 220,000 litres (58,000 gallons), it is the largest wooden barrel to be ever filled with wine. If you want a flavour of local wines, you can’t turn on the tap on the barrel anymore but the bar in the same hall will serve you.

Don’t miss out on the ‘Big Wine Barrel of Heidelberg Castle.’ With a capacity of 220,000 litres (58,000 gallons), it is the largest wooden barrel to be ever filled with wine. If you want a flavour of local wines, you can’t turn on the tap on the barrel anymore but the bar in the same hall will serve you.

Try local wines at the bar in Heidelberg Castle

Try local wines at the bar in Heidelberg Castle

View of Heidelberg from the castle

View of Heidelberg from the castle

View of Heidelberg from the castle

View of Heidelberg from the castle

Inside the Heidelberg Castle

Inside the Heidelberg Castle

The historic funicular railway to take you higher above the Heidelberg Castle

The historic funicular railway to take you higher above the Heidelberg Castle

The tracks of the funicular railway to Heidelberg Castle

The tracks of the funicular railway to Heidelberg Castle

Inside the Heidelberg Castle

Inside the Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle

Panorama inside the Heidelberg Castle

Panorama inside the Heidelberg Castle

Panoramic view of the town from Heidelberg Castle

Panoramic view of the town from Heidelberg Castle

LET’S GO ON A SOLAR BOAT RIDE
Having seen the town on foot and from above, it was only natural to take a boat ride – on the Neckarsonne. The 36.9 metres long ship, powered by solar energy, is literally a silent machine gliding over the waters of the Neckar river. With a capacity of up to 250 people, it claims to be the largest solar steel ship in the world. The 50 minute ride showed me a good part of the town, including houses I would love to make a home in. And who could have missed out on a coffee on board to add to the experience?

Book your ride at http://HDSolarSchiff.com

The Neckarsonne

The Neckarsonne

Who wants to race?

Who wants to race?

Don’t you want one of these houses along the Neckar river in Heidelberg?

Don’t you want one of these houses along the Neckar river in Heidelberg?

TIME TO GO TO JAIL
I have never heard of students having their own prison – but Heidelberg University had one. From 1823 to 1914, students could be sent to ‘jail’ for transgressions like night-time carousing or other offences against the public order. Imprisonment could last two days to four weeks. Students were still allowed to attend classes but many chose this as an opportunity to cut classes and make artistic and political statements on the walls and ceilings on their quarters. Life was relatively comfortable inside the prison so students did not really mind being there.

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

Inside the Student Prison of Heidelberg University

A BOHEMIAN NIGHT
What better way to round up a visit to the city than by joining a Bohemian themed party; I may not have been prepared for the dress code but neither were many locals. For me, the singers seemed to be singing just one tune: Come back to Heidelberg, we will be waiting.

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

Enjoying a Bohemian themed party in Heidelberg

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FOR MORE VISIT:
* Web: http://www.heidelberg-marketing.de
* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heidelberg

 TIP: Pick up a HeidelbergCARD for free and discounted entry to attractions, restaurants and shops.

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