How to Spend 3 Days in Heidelberg

Updated August 13, 2020.

This Throwback Thursday is all about my recent amazing solo trip to Heidelberg, Germany! This quaint village nestled in the hill country is everything you could possibly want in an old-world European getaway. If you need an itinerary suggestion, here is my recommendation!

Day 1

Checking In

The day I arrived, I totally botched my train travel and arrived about 1:30pm–two hours later than I thought I would. Epic fail! But never mind. Heidelberg was still adorable and waiting for me.

Mine is the yellow one! Hotel Goldener-Falke.
More here: How to Get to Heidelberg


After checking into my hotel, I spent my afternoon exploring the Altstadt, or Old Town. I found a fabulous antique bookstore, stumbled upon several Christmas Markets, and got my bearings. It’s very important to be outside the first day you arrive after a long flight. Your body will still be confused, but not nearly as much as it would if you took a nap or stayed inside museums or other indoor areas without enough natural light. Even an overcast day is better than being inside that first day!

First glimpse of a Christmas Market in Heidelberg!
Lebkuchen, anyone? That’s German gingerbread cookies!
More here: Your Guide to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets


For the full story on what I ate, checkout yesterday’s post! Getting some nourishment in you at a normal mealtime in the country you’re visiting is important to helping your body acclimate to its new place. I had some fun finding some delightful German cuisine!

Lunchtime Leberknoedel with Sauerkraut
Still hungry? Visit my World Foods Page!

Keep Going!

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent exploring the Christmas Markets, buying Christmas gifts for family, and truly feeling the Christmas spirit upon me! Oh, and I might have found a sweet treat, too!

Chocolate-covered Treats!

If you’re not around at Christmas time, spend your afternoon and evening exploring the paths beside the Neckar River! Cross the Alte Brücke Old Bridge to get stunning views of both sides of Heidelberg!

Old Bridge–with work happening on the historic gate on the other side!
More here: What to Pack for Winter in Germany

Day 2

Morning: Heidelberg Schloss (Castle)

Spend your first full morning in Heidelberg exploring their signature icon: the castle! You can take the funicular up for 7 Euro ($8.25), or you can walk up the cobblestone hill for free. Remember to wear your walking shoes!

300 meters up!

Admission is 4 Euro ($4.75), but you can explore the castle gardens and courtyard for free! Your admission includes entry to the castle, the restaurants, the gigantic wine cask room, and the Apothecary Museum! You can pay for a guided tour in English or German, but I felt like I got to see and do plenty on my own! 

Apothecary Museum

Grab lunch at the Castle while you’re there, and be sure to stop into the room with the Heidelberg Tun inside–it’s the largest wine barrel in the world!

Check out the size as compared to the people in the photo!

While you’re up on that mountain, take the opportunity to explore the castle gardens and the gorgeous lookout spot to see all of Old Heidelberg!

Heidelberg Schloss and Old Town Heidelberg
Close-up of the Castle on the way to the gardens!
Essential info: What to Know Before You Visit Heidelberg

Afternoon: Museums

Now that you’ve explored the Castle and its grounds, head back down the hill to enjoy some of the museums in historic Heidelberg. There are several, including the University of Heidelberg Museum (it’s the oldest university in Germany!), Museum of Palatinate, Antikenmuseum with Abguss-Sammlung, and the Carl-Bosch Museum. You don’t want to miss the University Museum–it includes a student prison!

All artwork is original!
More here: 10 Reasons to Visit Heidelberg

Evening: Authentic German Cuisine

Feel free to spend your evening exploring a bit farther afield to find some incredible German food! I ate in an historic building with original rafters and all, and I had authentic rendir goulash mit spätzel–beef goulash with spaetzel!

All authentically German!
More here: Iconic Eats Around the World

Day 3

Morning: Explore the Churches 

Germany has a rich history, including an important place in religious history. The Reformation started in Germany, and that is reflected in the Church of the Holy Spirit, right in the Marktplatz (Market Square). There is also a beautiful Jesuit Church just off the square as well, with a small museum inside. Heidelberg Providence Church houses the oldest organ in Heidelberg, and St. Peter’s Church is the oldest church in Heidelberg.

Church of the Holy Spirit
Jesuit Church

Grab a pretzel with cheese or other tasty bakery item on your way from the churches to the Old Bridge. You have some hiking to do!

Sausage and cheese flat bread.
More here: What to Eat in Heidelberg

Afternoon: Walk the Philosopher’s Way

I made the small mistake of taking on the Philosopher’s Way in the morning, but the sun was in the wrong place for photos–the mountain cast a shadow over the town and the castle! So I suggest doing this in the afternoon.

I also made the mistake of taking the long way to get there! It was fine, but there is a better, more straightforward way. Cross the Old Bridge from the Old Town to the opposite side of the river, walk to the left, and look up the first alley to your right. The black and white sign will say Schlangenweg Fußweg zum Philosophenweg, and the path there will take you right up to the top! You can walk to the left or right once you get to the top and take in the beautiful views.

Philosophers’ Way
Old Town from the Philosophers’ Way
Read next: Solo Travel in Heidelberg

Evening: Last-minute Shopping and Authentic German Street Food 

If this is your last evening in Heidelberg, make it count! Because I was there at Christmas, I bought plenty of gifts for friends and family, including some traditional German woodwork. I also made sure to get some lebkuchen cookies and gluhwein spices to take home with me for a taste of Germany!

And what was for supper? How about Kässe Spätzel and a banana Nutella crepe?

German mac and cheese!
A drizzle of Nutella!
More here: What to Eat at the Heidelberg Christmas Market

I hope you enjoy your three days in Heidelberg as much as I did! Are you ready for your own trip to Heidelberg?

Want more? Check out my Germany Page!

3 responses to “How to Spend 3 Days in Heidelberg”

  1. […] Tip Tuesday! This week I’m getting you in the know about what to expect before you visit Heidelberg, Germany. Or just Germany; a lot of this can transfer! Let’s get to […]

  2. […] favorite: What I Ate Wednesday! This week we’re specializing in pretzels and bratwurst from Heidelberg, Germany! Get ready to get hungry, my […]

  3. […] I’m an American girl. I swoon for castles, and this one is truly the iconic landmark of Heidelberg. Its oldest portion was built in 1214, and it had been added to over the centuries. A variety of wars, lightning bolts, and fires has left the castle in ruins, but for me, that only adds the romanticism! I visited the castle more than once in my 3 Days in Heidelberg! […]

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