happiness in heidelberg

On a recent visit to Germany, the PoshGirls found a lot to smile about in the little town of Heidelberg. With a wonderful view from a charming hotel, the longest pedestrian walking street in Germany, delicious local cuisine and an awe-inspiring castle, Heidelberg is full of delights and surprises that make it an ideal stop during your travels in Western Europe.

Heidelberg
Charming Heidelberg

The place that will most capture your imagination and on the south bank of the Neckar river is the "Old Town" area. In it you will find much romance and culture blended in an irresistible recipe. One recommendation if you are looking for a place to stay is the lovely Hotel Holländer Hof, a moderately-priced gem that is situated ideally in the old town just next to the Old Bridge leading into town. You may even get a room with a view of the bridge. And regardless of the view, you will be right near all that you will want to see in Heidelberg.


Our view from the Hotel Hollander Hof

And, there is plenty to see. The most dominant historical feature is the dominating Heidelberg Castle. A mixture of architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Renaissance, the castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The castle is surrounded by a huge park, where poet Goethe once spent time walking. The famous sculpture Father Rhine reclines in the expansive garden. During the Heidelberg Castle Festival in the summer, the courtyard is used for music and theater performances, while the King's Hall, one of the newer buildings, is used during the year for banquets and balls.


Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg, known as a center of romanticism in poetry, literature and philosophy, also has a strong link to educational excellence. The University of Heidelberg boasts a connection to 55 Nobel Laureates.

There are not only academic interests, but popular ones as well - such as shopping. When it comes to that, Heidelberg is also quite spectacular, having a Hauptstrasse (Main Street) filled with shops, cafes, bars and all manner of delights, that extends 1.6 kilometers, the entire length of the town and one of the longest in Europe. There you will find everything from well-known name brands to local boutiques. When it started to rain, we found ourselves inside a souvenir store where, in addition to an umbrella we found a darling carved cuckoo clock magnet to add to our collection.

Hauptstrasse Heidelberg
Hauptstrasse - plenty of shopping

No trip to Heidelberg would be complete, however, without mentioning the culinary treats in store for you when you visit. Schneeballen are a Bavarian specialty, made from strips of buttery cookie dough wound together in a ball. Some schneeballen contain a filling, such as chocolate or fruity jam. Many are coated on the outside with everything from cinnamon sugar to chocolate. There are many flavors and many bakeries to sell them as well.


Schneeballen

And, if you are looking for a great restaurant with delicious local food and an incredibly warm, welcoming atmosphere, look no further than Wirsthaus Zum Spreisel, the restaurant next door to the Holländer Hof. The proprietress, Maria Ueberle, is actually Greek. She married a German man, and they and their children make Spreisel a wonderfully warm place to spend an evening. The food choices range from the local traditional to steaks with sauce you will dream about for days (we highly recommend the Le Mans, if you are a creamy mushroom sauce lover). Nice fresh salads and home fries accompany many dishes. They also have their own local brewed beer, as well as other beverages to suit your tastes. If you stay at the Holländer Hof, you may also get a certificate good for a free schnapps or coffee at the end of your meal. When Maria became aware of the "Greek connection" (PoshGirl Diana has a bit of Artemis in her blood) she had to do something special - which came in the form of providing us with jars of homemade pumpkin and quince jams. It was a cold and rainy evening, yet we were thoroughly warmed through and through by our delicious meal and the warm hospitality of Maria and Spreisel.


Wirsthaus Zum Spreisel                                      Maria & Diana


LeMans Steak - delicious!


Krautwickel - a local specialty

Unlike many places in Europe, Heidelberg is a big stop for many travelers in October and the small hotels of old town fill up fast. Be sure that if you plan to go in the fall that you book in advance. No matter the season, if you are looking for a charming way to spend some of your western European vacation time, Heidelberg will make you happy.