Upon recommendation from our Heidelberg Castle tour guide, we went directly to the Philosopher’s Walk after visiting the Castle and town to try to catch the Castle at sunset from the Walk.
The Philosopher’s Walk is a well-mainained path that runs from the newer part of town and ends with steep stairs down to the Alte Brücke (or you can turnaround if you are mobility inclined, or just want to avoid the steps!). Our castle tour guide recommended starting the tour in the newer part of town so that we would be looking at the castle the entire walk (and not back at the castle), but we started at the Alte Brücke, because it was closer to the Castle, and ended in the new town, very close to our dinner spot – Dorfschänke!
The stairs near the Alte Brücke are not scary (I hate heights!) or that tough, but it was steep – bring water. At the top of the hill, there are great views of the Castle and the old town. The path is pretty level after the hill and ends in the new part of down after walking by some gorgeous homes.
The Philosopher’s Walk is entirely free. However, it is not worth it at all if it is raining. I would allow at least an hour for the entire Philosopher’s Walk.
In September, Dan and I embarked on Eurotrip2014 – an eleven day trip to Hiedelberg, Germany, Munich, Germany (our biennial Oktoberfest trip!), Hallstatt, Austria and Salzburg, Austria with his brother, Craig, and our friend, Pryor. We hosteled it up and traveled by train – just like college…kind of. So much fun!!
Our first stop was Heidelberg, Germany for two days and two nights. Heidelberg is a town on the River Neckar in South-West Germany, about an hour from Frankfurt and three hours from Munch. It is in the Baden-Wurttemberg state, has a large university and is right in German wine country! Because so many people have asked, I will go ahead and tell you that I choose to weekend in Heidelberg first due to its proximity to the Frankfurt airport and Munich, and then due to the castle and generally hearing that the town made for a nice stop. The main focus of Eurotrip2014 was obviously Oktoberfest, but I wanted to see another town in Germany, as well, and Heidelberg fit the bill! Mark Twain’s review didn’t hurt either!
After settling in and checking into our sweet hostel, Lotte – The Backpackers (it was seriously an awesome place to stay and so inexpensive), we went straight to Heidelberg Castle – the one must-see attraction in Heidelberg. The Castle has gorgeous views of the city. We took the guided English tour, which allowed us to see the Castle’s interior and gave us the history of the castle.
After touring the interior and the outdoor grounds, we stopped for a wine tasting at the Great Tun, aka the largest wine vat in the world, which just happens to be in Heidelberg Castle. Viewing the Great Tun is included with your castle ticket and a wine bar has been set up next to the Great Tun offering wine flights at a great price. Three heavy pours of local wine for €7!
After our wine, we made our way down from the Castle and walked across the Alt Brücke to the Philosopher’s Walk to try to catch the Castle at sunset. As promised, the Philosopher’s Walk had some great views, although I am not sure the views are any better at sunset.
For dinner on our first night, we dined at Dorfschänke, which was very close to the end of the Philosopher’s Walk (or beginning) in the New Town. This was our first real meal of the trip, and it was so delicious!! Their speciality is Flamkuchen, a local pizza-type dish in sweet and savory. We tried both! YUM!
We got really lucky the next day – it was scheduled to rain, but it turned out to be a perfect day – sunny and in the seventies! Heidelberg is such a gorgeous town. Beautiful sceneray, beautiful flowers everywhere. We took some great pictures while strolling through the town!
We started the day at Cafe Gundel for coffee and breakfast (well, cake).
After breakfast, we toured the the Church of the Holy Spirit, which, aside from the Castle is the centerpiece of the town. There is a little market near the church on saturdays, but we slept through it… We went stright up the Church’s bell tower to take in the town views from the top. The walk to the bell tower was steep and very narrow, but the views were lovely. Totally worth the €3! We also checked out the inside of the Church, which dates to the 1400s and is loaded with history and rotating art displays.
After touring the Church of the Holy Spirit, we spent the rest of the day shopping in the Altstadt. Some of our favorite finds were: Schneeballin (a round dessert from a few towns over), local beers at Brauhaus Vetter and Kulturbrauerei and the gummy bear stores!
Schneeballen! I had the champagne one!
Gummy window displays! A cake, soccer game and Oktoberfest-themed gummies!
We also visited the Heidelberg Monkey near the Alte Brücke. Touching it is supposed to bring good luck or something like that…It just seemed like a dirty monkey to me. We all took pictures, but its really just a tourist trap.
We ended the day by making a withdrawal from the Schnitzelbank! Haha- I had to say it! The Schnitzelbank is not a bank at all, but a small restaurant/wine bar in old town. It was delicious!
And, finally, one last picture of the castle at night! Until next time, Heidelberg!! We had such a great time!
Dorfschänke was our first real meal of the Eurotrip2014, and it was so delicious!! It remains a strong contender for best meal of the trip!
The restaurant is located in the new part of town, only a few blocks from where the Philosopher’s Walk ends (or begins…depending on where you start…we started the Philosopher’s Walk at the bridge end and ended just in time for dinner near Dorfschänke).
We did not have a reservation, and we were immediately seated outside at our request. Our waiver spoke perfect English and was very helpful in explaining the menu to us and their specialities. Dorfschänke’s main speciality is Flammkuchen, which is a pizza-type meal that comes in savory and sweet flavors. Yum!
We started with local beers that came from a town about 15 kilometers away. For dinner, Pryor and I split the savory flammkuchen, which was topped with tomatoes, bacon, veggies and cheese – and probably a few other delicious things. It was AMAZING! We also split a local pasta stuffed with cheese. Unfortunately, we did not get a picture. But, believe me, it was also amazing! Dan and Craig ordered the cordon bleu schnitzel and they seemed happy. For dessert, we split the sweet flammkuchen (pictured above).
All in all, this restaurant was so delicious I would recommend it to anyone in Heidelberg!
Notes – When we visited, the crowd seemed to be mostly locals. I would recommend calling ahead for a reservation in busy season.
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