The 10 things you will love in Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

Photo: Heidelberg Castle

1. Heidelberg Castle

Ok – let’s face it: you can’t overlook it, you probably came along just to see it and actually it is the most impressive building in town: Heidelberg Castle – the Heidelberger Schloss. It’s romantic look an unique appearance of castle, old bridge and old town attracts roundabout 3.5 Million day-trippers a year and 1 Million overnight guests (which is a quite alot, considering the population of 130.000 people, from which are ca. 30.000 students).
You should consider two ways to approach the castle. To have a wonderful view at the castle, the old town and the bridge, switch to the other side of the river Neckar and take a walk up the “Philosophenweg”. You’ll have a steep rise, but you’ll be rewarded with the most wonderful look over the city and the to the castle vis-à-vis. The other approach is the direct one: enter the castle, have the close-up of the ruin (which the Heidelberg Schloss mostly is) and stroll through its park. You’ll probably have a lot of co-visitors, especially through the summer months, weekends… – I hate these crowds of people and my advice is to come early or late. But that’s the same old thing with every touristic destination. Inside the castle you have to pay to enter the castle’s court (hey, those bastards let the locals pay the same price…) and inside the castle you might want to have  a look at the the famous “big barrel”, which is – imho – not too impressive. There’s the “Deutsche Apothekenmuseum” (German Pharmacy Museum) in the castle, too – if you’re interested in that kind of stuff…


Photo: Bergfriedhof Heidelberg

2. The Bergfriedhof.

As I tend to visist the graveyards in cities I visit, I assume, that other people like to do that, too ;-). I think, that graveyards and tombstones tell us quite a lot about the local people and that’s one of the most interesting things, visiting a foreign city. The Bergfriedhof is situated near downtown and has a history of more than 17o years.  A wide area, situated on a hillside with large trees, impressive old and new tombstones, with the character of a romantic park (you can see some impressions of the Bergfriedhof here).


Prinzhorn Sammlung - Barszene aus "Bildnerei der Geisteskranken"

3. The Prinzhorn Collection.

Hans Prinzhorn (June 6, 1886 – June 14, 1933) was a German psychiatrist and art historian. He became famous for the publication of his book „Bildnerei der Geisteskranken“ (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), which was richly illustrated with works of his patients. In 1919 he became assistant to Karl Wilmanns at the psychiatric hospital of the University of Heidelberg, whete he was assigned the job, to expand an earlier collection of art created by the mentally ill, which was started by Emil Kraepelin. When he left in 1921 the collection was extended to more than 5000 works by about 450 “cases”. His book was disputed in the community of psychatrists, but the reaction of the art scene was ethusiastic. Jean Dubuffet was highly inspired by the works, and the term Art Brut was coined. Prinzhorn died in 1933, and shortly after his death the Prinzhorn Collection was stowed away in the attics of the Heidelberg University. In 1938 some items of the collection were displayed in the Nazi propaganda exhibition „Entartete Kunst“ (Degenerate Art). Since 2001 the collection is on display in a former oratory of the University of Heidelberg and has gained an immense popularity in the world of art. The curators of the Prinzhorn collection compose selected exhibitions from the complete stock of images and sculptures. The original book “Bildnerei der Geisteskranken” is available onlinePrinzhorn Sammlung.


4. The Botanical Garden Heidelberg

Botanischer Garten Heidelberg

The Heidelberg Botanical Garden ist the third oldest in Germany and was founded in 1593 (200 years after the university). It was first located in Heidelberg’s old town but moved afterwards seven times. The current garden is located at the Neuenheimer Feld since 1915. It was mostly destroyed at the end of the second world war. Most of its current famous collections were obtained under the direction of Prof. Werner Rauh, who was in charge of the garden from 1960-1982, comprising succulents, orchids and bromeliads. The botanical garden is also a resting point, a quiet place in the city, definitely worth a visit.

| A gallery from the Botanical Garden Heidelberg

| Botanical Garden Heidelberg


This whole site is under construction, just as this page. As a native, it’s a tough decision to choose the top ten 😉 -you might propose your own a the bulletin board!

Jazz in Heidelberg

Han Bennink jazz drummer, photo Schindelbeck

Looking for the good music in Heidelberg? Hear Jazz. There are some locations in Heidelberg an nearby Mannheim, worth to look for. In Heidelberg, the Jazzclub Heidelberg offers 10 to 12 concerts a year with an ambitious programme, which comprises high class bands from Germany and selected bands from abroad and the best of the regional jazz scene. Their scope ranges from modern mainstream to experimental and avantgarde.  The Jazzclub’s concert location is the DAI (Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut) in downtwon Heidelberg. Another location, with mostly local bands and sessions is “Jazzhaus Heidelberg”, which can be found in old town Heidelberg. There is some turmoil around the Jazzhaus these days and it will have to close soon, probably. Please check their website. One of the famous jazz locations in Heidelberg was Cave 54, where international jazz stars of the 1950ies and 1960ies used to jam, but these golden times are gone and nowadays, there’s only one weekly session left, which is held on tuesday evenings. Some other concerts are spread on several locations over the city.

If you chose to look for jazz outside of Heidelberg, there are some really nice spots not far away. In nearby Mannheim, the IG-Jazz offers a regular programme at “Klapsmühl am Rathaus”. A little, nice location with concerts of the locals jazz students but you can hear the best german jazz bands there, too (also: mainstream to experimental and avantgarde). At Alte Feuerwache Mannheim, the programme offers often some “bigger names”, with an international twist. The “Neuer Deutscher Jazzpreis” (New German Jazz Award) is held there each year. This price is quite unique, as the audience elects from three bands, which were chosen from roundabout 200 applications by a jury and a curator, the winner.

At Bergstrasse, in Heppenheim, the Forum Kultur offers an ambitius programme, which could be characterised as modern mainstream, also worth a little trip from Heidelberg.

There are some jazz festivals in and around Heidelberg, too. The biggest is “Enjoy Jazz“, which is held in fall. It runs over 6 weeks and offers roundabout 60 to 70 concerts on several locations of the Metropolregion Rhein-Neckar (the region around the cities of Heidelberg, Mannheim and Ludwigshafen). In summer “Palatia Jazz” offers concert – most of them open air – in several cities of the nearby Palatinate (a region, belonging to the neigbouring state of Rheinland-Pfalz), worth a look. It offers a mostly international programme and its USP is the offer of regional wine and food before the concerts. Another festival nearby is “Jazz and Joy” in Worms. A little bit more far away, but definitely worth the trave is the “Just Music Festival” in Wiesbaden, which is held in January: a fine selection of avantgarde, modern and sometimes free jazz. Recommended.


This is just a short sample of the most interesting jazz venues and festivals of Heidelberg and its surroundings. You can find all interesting jazz concerts in the region at, which offers a comprehensive overview of all concerts worth listening. As the Heidelberg-Blogger is also the webmaster of and the Jazzblogger, please feel free to drop a line, to get some expert’s advice 😉