Located approximately 55 miles south of Frankfurt and 74 miles northwest of Stuttgart, the charming, yet lively city of Heidelberg has long been considered one of Germany’s top destinations. According to Lonely Planet’s website, it is estimated that each year, an impressive 3.5 million tourists descend upon the country’s oldest and most renowned university town to bask in its beauty, history, and culture.
While there are several must-see attractions and places of interest in Heidelberg, including the imposing Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schloss), the historic Old Town (Aldstadt), and a number of interesting and varied museums, visitors are also offered the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy nature in the city’s beautiful parks and gardens.
If you are planning a trip to Heidelberg, be sure to set aside some time to take a break from the crowds and the hustle and bustle of the city center by visiting at least one of the following parks and gardens:
Neckar Park (Neckarwiese)
Neckar Park, as noted on the Tourism HD website, lies along the north bank of the Neckar River and features an unobstructed view of Heidelberg Castle and the Old Town. Play areas, barbecue grills, and a kilometer’s worth of green grass amidst stunning scenery make the park an ideal location for a period of rest and relaxation.
University Botanical Garden (Botanischer Garten)
According to the German National Tourist Board’s website, the University of Heidelberg’s botanical garden was originally founded in 1593 as a medicinal herb garden. Today, the garden is the oldest of its kind in Germany, and features a variety of vegetation both on the garden grounds and within the greenhouses. The garden is open year-round and admission is free.
Sculpture Park Heidelberg (Skulpturenpark Heidelberg)
The Sculpture Park Heidelberg, as mentioned on Tourism HD, is located on the grounds of the city’s Orthopaedic University Clinic. In an effort to give the clinic’s patients, as well as the general public, the opportunity to enjoy modern art in a garden-like setting, the park was built in 1995 by former hospital director Dr. Horst Cotta and sculptor Klaus Hortsmann-Czech. The park is open all day, and there is no charge for admission.
The Heidelberg Castle Gardens (Schlossgarten)
Finally, both the German National Tourist Board and Tourism HD report that when Heidelberg Castle’s gardens were created in the early 1600s, they were considered by many to be a masterpiece worthy of being described as “the eighth wonder of the world”. From the castle gardens, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Heidelberg, the Neckar River, and the Neckar Valley. Both the castle and gardens are open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.daily.
German National Tourist Board