It’s been more than a year since I’ve visited the Christmas markets in Heidelberg, Germany, and despite the fact that I was almost seven months pregnant and despite the fact the weather was outright nasty, Heidelberg still ranks as one of my favorite Christmas market destinations.
The city of Heidelberg has a beautiful Altstadt (historic downtown), making it an altogether charming city at any time of the year. The Heidelberg Castle looms on a cliff overlooking the Altstadt, and the buildings downtown are historic and detailed. When you add the lights, carolers, food and craft vendors, and holiday decorations at Christmastime, Heidelberg is magical. The fact that the vendors there sells hot, buttery corn on the cob to pregnant women (this girl right here) makes the Heidelberg Christmas Markets hard to beat.
If you time your trip to the Heidelberg Christmas Market right, you can also visit the Heidelberg Castle Christmas Market. While the town’s market lasts the entire Christmas season, the castle’s market only runs for one or two weekends during Advent. Be sure to look up the dates before you go!
The Heidelberg Castle Christmas Market was smaller than the one in the Altstadt, but there were craft vendors, Gluhwein, and food. You can take an inclined railroad/funicular from the public parking area in the Altstadt up to the Castle fairly inexpensively, or there’s a trail you can walk to the top of the hill where the castle sits. Note that there is not any parking at the castle itself, so you should plan for the funicular or a short, steep hike.
If you’re at the Heidelberg Castle anyway, definitely take one of the English language tours. The castle is pretty fantastic, and the tour guides share some good information on the castle’s history. Also, there’s a HUGE wine cask inside the castle, as well as a coffee bar.
Side note: I may have begged my husband for a Euro (my maternity pants didn’t have pockets for carrying my own change) for a donut and coffee. I can’t help be grin remembering that day…It was so cold and rainy, and my coat wasn’t waterproof. In retrospect, I can’t believe I ate a donut in a castle. How cool is that?
If you ever have the chance to travel to Heidelberg at Christmas time, I think there’s something there for everyone in your group. From the pretty Altstadt to the town’s history to the foreboding Heidelberg Castle to the Christmas markets to the open air ice skating rink there, Heidelberg remains one of my very favorite German towns.
- You can learn more about the Heidelberg Christmas Market (in English!) right here.
- Get all the details on Heidelberg’s Open Air Ice Skating Rink (in English!) here.
- Here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip to “Heidelberg Castle Christmas,” too!
- Read about all of the Christmas markets we’ve visited in Europe right here!
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