Living in Germany gave me ample opportunity to explore all of the amazing castles that have been dominating cliff-sides for many centuries. One of my favorite castles we had the pleasure of roaming around was Schloss Heidelberg.
Based in a university town, the Heidelberg Castle has been standing since the late 1100s and is a monstrosity at the tippy-top of the Königstuhl hill. After 800 years of wars, lightning strikes, and fires, Schloss Heidelberg still remains as a top tourist attraction, magnetizing over a million visitors a year.
Taking a walk around the entirety of the castle, visitors can see the high brick walls surrounding the castle grounds, bath houses and old meeting rooms, intricate details of doorways, sculpted fountains and beautiful rusty-colored landscapes with views of surrounding Heidelberg.
But my favorite part of the entire Schloss Heidelberg experience has to be of the castle itself.
The red-bricked ruins of the fortress majestically decorate the tree-lined hills, towering over the town of Heidelberg.
There’s a couple of interesting facts about Schloss Heidelberg; first, that it contains a wine cellar (Fassbau) that houses the biggest wine barrel in the world, Heidelberg Tun. The second fun fact is that in the mid to late 1800s, Mark Twain visited the Heidelberg castle and stayed at the Schloss hotel, overlooking the castle and the Neckar River down below. At the time of his stay, Twain was in the middle of writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and described how he had arrived to Heidelberg at a time where he was having writer’s block. He ended up taking a boat trip down the Neckar River and credits it as his inspiration for a specific chapter of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Many of the castles we’ve visited in Germany lack statement entrances and courtyards inside the fortress but Schloss Heidelberg has the largest, most beautiful inner plaza.
The architecture in this area remarkably stands out as one of the most stunning pieces of Renaissance era work. The façades enhance the courtyard’s majestic outline, adorned with golden sculptures of past emperors and kings.
I would’ve loved to see how the entirety of the castle operated back in its prime.
At the pinnacle of its days, Heidelberg castle was a self-sustaining town. When walking around inside of the castle, sets of stairs lead further down into the cellars where visitors can see 800 year old laboratories, Apotheken (pharmacies), storage rooms for every type of prescription used by doctors back in those times and antique equipment.
Amazing, right? Schloss Heidelberg is definitely in my top 3 favorite castles to visit! Germany is so full of them, about 20,000 to be exact, but Heidelberg’s beautiful fortress is a tough competitor.
Have you ever been to Schloss Heidelberg? Let me know in the comments!