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Heidelberg and the Neckar valley

Heidelberg and the Neckar valley

By car, 85 km, 2 days

Thanks to Heidelberg and its castle, the Neckar valley is highly placed in German romanticism, where it is celebrated notably for its poet Hölderlin. The Neckar then goes down between wooded mountainsides upon which stand castles like Hirschhorn, built on a fortified mountaintop outcrop, or again like Hornberg castle. Regarding the elevated town of Bad Wimpfen, there is a magnificent collection of half-timbered houses to discover along the lacing, winding lanes.

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Heidelberg Castle   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Schlosshof 1 69115 Heidelberg
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The entry area consists of the Rondell, the Great Tower and the Elizabeth Gate. The southeast corner is formed by the Broken Tower gutted by the French in 1693. The Gothic hall of the Well Wing contains Roman columns originally from one of Charlemagne's palaces. Worth seeing: the Library, Friedrich Wing, Otto-Heinrich Wing, gardens, Pharmaceutical Museum and Gross Fass, a gigantic vat with a capacity of 221 726 litres.


Knight's House   Interesting

Hauptstraße 69117 Heidelberg
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This magnificent burgher's house (1592) owes its name to the bust of St George in knight's costume on the scrolled pediment. It is the only house from the end of the Renaissance to have survived the devastations of 1689-1693.


Museum of the Electoral Palatinate of Heidelberg   Interesting

Hauptstraße 97 69117 Heidelberg
Museums and art

The museum is housed in the Baroque palace built by JA Breunig. The section devoted to the history of the electoral Palatinate contains a mould of the jawbone of prehistoric «Heidelberg Man». The German Primitives department has the Altarpiece of the Twelve Apostles. The collection of Romantic works has a number of views of the city and castle.


Hirschhorn Castle   Interesting

Schloss Hirschhorn 69434 Hirschhorn
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The castle stands on top of a fortified spur. The terrace and tower both offer a majestic view of the bend of the Neckar and wooded valley roundabout.


Hornberg Castle  

74865 Neckarzimmern
Architecture, castles and historic districts

At the summit of a slope covered in vineyards, the castle stands out from afar with its high cylindrical donjon. Part of it has been made into a museum where the armour of Götz von Berlichingen can be seen. From the tower there is a fine view over the valley.


Guttenberg Castle  

Burgstraße 1 74855 Neckarzimmern
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Protected by a mighty defensive wall on the mountain side, the castle houses unusual collections of archives and art objects. Note in particular the 18C herbarium-library, where the plant specimens are enclosed in 92 false wooden books. Also see the reredos of the Virgin in her Mantle (15C).


Bad Wimpfen am Berg   Worth a detour Worth a detour

74206 Bad Wimpfen
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Imperial residence of the Hohenstaufens in the 13C, the small fortified town of Wimpfen overlooks the River Neckar. Remains of the imperial palace, such as the Blue Tower, which offers a superb view of town and valley, are still visible in Bad Wimpfen am Berg (upper town). Take the time to wander through the network of tiny narrow streets lined with old half-timbered houses.

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