This Motivation Monday, I hope you will be motivated and encouraged to take an opportunity to travel solo. If Heidelberg, Germany, is on your list (and it should be!), here is your guide to what to do and how to make the most of your time going solo!
Why not? It’s a beautiful, historic village in the German countryside–practically a fairytale! There’s a castle, hiking trails, Christmas Markets in November and December, and charm coming from every cobblestone. People are super friendly and helpful, and did I mention they’re famous for their giant soft pretzels?
Is It Safe?
Absolutely! I don’t know what the crime rate here is, but it has to be incredibly low! People seem to always be in a good mood, they’re willing to try and help you through the language barrier without making you feel stupid, and I never once felt threatened or the need to be overly cautious while I was there. And I made a friend!
Also, the sun came up around 8:00am and set around 4:30pm, so I actually did more walking around town after dark than I usually do. Part of the point of visiting Heidelberg was visiting the Christmas Markets at night! I did not feel threatened, scared, or in any danger whatsoever. My last day there, I had to catch the 6:36am bus to the train station, and literally every other person waiting for the bus with me was a woman catching the bus alone.
How to Get There?
You can learn from my mistakes! You want to purchase your tickets from Frankfurt (M) Flughafen Fernbf to Heidelberg Hbf. I accidentally bought my ticket from Frankfurt Main Station to Heidelberg Hbf, and I didn’t know it until I got to the trains in the airport! You now know the secret: Flughafen is Airport! When you arrive at the train station, you will need to either walk three miles (even I was not in the mood for that) or take any bus headed toward Altstadt to get you to Old Town! I took Bus #33. Stay tuned for a more detailed post on taking the train to Heidelberg!
Where to Stay?
I stayed at the Hotel Goldener Falke in the historic area. I always recommend staying in a “touristy” area because that’s usually where the most sites and attractions are. It’s also generally safer than taking a chance on a (possibly cheaper and farther) out-lying area. There are several hotels in historic buildings all along the main road through the Old City, called Hauptstraße (and pronounced like “hopt-straw-sa”), so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding something great! Heidelberg’s historic area is full of places to see and things to do. It’s plenty to keep you occupied for a few days!
And if you’re staying at the Hotel Goldener-Falke at Christmastime, this will be the charming sight that greets you when you walk out the door:
How to Stay Occupied?
Visit the Heidelberg Schloss (Castle) and its Apothecary Museum, shop in the unique stores along the main street, walk down by the Neckar River, explore the Philosophers’ Way hike, take the funicular up the mountain for a bird’s eye view, and visit the many museums and churches in town. Are you a foodie? There are dozens of bakeries and restaurants to try every German food available! Take your pick!
How to Save Money?
Here are a few money-saving tips I picked up along the way:
- Take the bus instead of a taxi from the train station and back. It’s only 1.30 Euro per ride, where as a taxi could be 10-15 Euro or more! (Uber is not an option.)
- Stay in an accommodation that includes breakfast, and make up a sandwich from the breakfast buffet to take with you for lunch later. Bread, cheese, cold cuts–they’re all things that keep and pack well!
- Buy the right train ticket the first time! If you’re not sure about what ticket you need, just wait until you arrive and ask someone to help you. I unwittingly purchase the wrong train ticket online during my long layover enroute to Germany, and not only had to spend more than I needed, I also doubled my travel time getting to Heidelberg. Epic fail! Again, a detailed post about that is coming soon!
- If you don’t take a sandwich with you from breakfast, plan to eat lunch out and save half your meal for supper. Prices go up at suppertime!
- Take advantage of free attractions, like churches and the Castle gardens and courtyard!
Are you ready for your own solo trip to beautiful, charming Heidelberg? I definitely recommend it!