Cruises to Heidelberg

130 Reviews
Heidelberg (Photo:S.Borisov/Shutterstock)

About Cruising to Heidelberg

With so many cities to consider on your upcoming cruise to Germany, Heidelberg is certainly worth your time. With a population of 150,000, Heidelberg remains a small, charming city in a beautiful setting nearly 150 years after Mark Twain penned a glowing review in his 1879 travelogue "A Tramp Abroad." And Heidelberg's most charming aspects are, just as they were in Twain's day, focused on the quaint Altstadt (Old Town) and its surroundings.

"The town lay, stretched along the river, its intricate cobweb of streets jeweled with twinkling lights. Behind the castle swells a dome-shaped hill, forest-clad, and beyond that a nobler and loftier one. The Castle looks down upon the compact brown-roofed town; and from the town two picturesque old bridges span the river. I have never enjoyed a view which had such a satisfying charm about it as this one gives." --Mark Twain

Below the ramparts of Heidelberg Castle nearly 300 feet above, the Old Town and its narrow, cobbled Hauptstrasse (main street) are nestled in snug, picturesque fashion between the Neckar River and the castle hill.

Heidelberg has truly ancient roots. Evidence of human habitation dates back thousands of years -- 500,000-year-old fossilized remains of a likely human ancestor were found nearby and named after Heidelberg -- and the city is also rich with a more tangible history, in its mishmash of ancient, medieval and modern architecture. And this is, perhaps, what makes Heidelberg such a pleasing place to visit. Amid its beautiful natural surroundings, the city's cultural landscape creates a kind of continuous historical narrative that visitors can follow back through the centuries. From the "Old Bridge" -- originally built of wood in the 13th century and most recently rebuilt after much of it was destroyed in the final days of World War II -- to the 2,500-year-old Celtic ruins of the Heiligenberg, you can hardly turn a corner without being confronted by some enduring edifice and its fascinating stories.

  • More about Heidelberg

  • Why Cruise to Heidelberg?

  • Heidelberg Cruise Port Facilities?

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Viking Idi
Viking Idi

11 Night
Cities Of Light

195 Reviews
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Viking Alsvin
Viking Alsvin

11 Night
Cities Of Light

171 Reviews
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Avalon Illumination
Avalon Illumination

7 Night
Festive Time On The Romantic Rhine

61 Reviews
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Viking Alsvin
Viking Alsvin

11 Night
Cities Of Light

171 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

10 Night
Jewels Of The Rhine & Lucerne - Zurich

170 Reviews
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10 Night
Jewels Of The Rhine & Glacier Express

170 Reviews
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11 Night
Cities Of Light

195 Reviews
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7 Night
Festive Time On The Romantic Rhine

92 Reviews
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7 Night
Festive Time On The Romantic Rhine

104 Reviews
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10 Night
Jewels Of The Rhine & Copenhagen

170 Reviews
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7 Night
Festive Time On The Romantic Rhine

91 Reviews
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7 Night
Jewels Of The Rhine

170 Reviews
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7 Night
Jewels Of The Rhine

170 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

13 Night
Copenhagen & Jewels Of The Rhine & Glacier Express

170 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

13 Night
Copenhagen To Zurich & Jewels Of The Rhine

170 Reviews
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More about Heidelberg

Why Cruise to Heidelberg?

Pros:

Aside from being incredibly charming and scenic, Heidelberg has a rich and ancient history to delve into

Cons:

Heidelberg itself does not have a port, so it typically needs to be reached via shore excursion

Bottom Line:

Whether you're visiting Heidelberg Castle or perusing its Old Town, you're sure to be smitten by it

Heidelberg Cruise Port Facilities?

Cruise ships don't stop in Heidelberg, so if you want to maximize your limited shore-excursion time for relaxed pursuits like eating, drinking and shopping, stay near to the Hauptstrasse (main street), a mile-long pedestrianized road that runs the length of the Old Town. Although the Hauptstrasse is dotted with chain stores, boutique shops and cafes can be found there and on many side streets, too.

Good to Know?

The city has a comprehensive network of well-marked cycle paths, but jaywalking visitors distracted by the surrounding sights can pose a hazard when they meander in front of oncoming cyclists. The cyclists don't always pay close attention, so look carefully before you cross.

Getting Around?

On Foot: Despite its modest population of around 150,000 inhabitants, Heidelberg is a challenging city to cover on foot. Some sections of the city are steep, it spans both banks of the Neckar River, and most of the pedestrianized areas are at least partially laid with cobblestone. The Altstadt's Hauptstrasse is, at a mile long, more than enough territory to cover if you're only in the city for a short time and determined to walk.

By Bike: If your cruise ship doesn't have bicycles available for use, your best bet for hiring one in Heidelberg is Fahrradverleih Heidelberg an der Alten Brucke (Heidelberg Bike Rental at the Old Bridge; Neckarstaden 52 / Lauerstrasse 11; +49 (0) 62 21 / 65 444 60).

By Cable Car: A tram runs up the hillside from Heidelberg to the castle above. The mountain railway runs between four stations (including the castle), linking the old city on the level of the river with the summit of the Konigstuhl Mountain, about 1,312 feet above the city. The Heidelberg Card, a tourist pass that includes public transportation, many museums and the lower section of the mountain railway (a separate fare is required for the upper section), can be bought at the tourist information center located just outside the main station, where most tour buses park. (Heidelberger Seilbahn, Oberstrasse 37)

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Germany's currency is the euro. ATM's and banks are plentiful, particularly at the west end of the Altstadt, and credit cards are widely accepted in restaurants, bars and shops.

Language?

German is the local language, but English is widely understood and spoken in Heidelberg and much of Germany. A few handy phrases in German will always enamor you to the locals, though, so try these:

Hello / good afternoon: Guten Tag (GOO-ten tahg)
Please / Thank you: Bitte / Danke (BIT-tuh/DAHN-kuh)
Yes / No: Ja / Nein (yah/nine)
Excuse me: Entschuldigen Sie (ent-SHOOL-de-gen zee)
Beer: Bier (beer)

Where You're Docked?

Because Heidelberg lies about 10 miles east of the Rhine along the Neckar River, most visits to the city begin after disembarking the ship at the nearest major port, often Mannheim, and boarding a shore tour bus.


Heidelberg Cruise Reviews
The all day Heidelberg tour was fabulous including a wonderful lunch at a great German restaurant. Had a wonderful tour guide here. Views from the Heidelberg Castle were wonderful.Read More
SM77
Heidelberg is the quintessential German town on the river. It is beautiful and the castle is unbelievable!Read More
chonkod
Loved the castle and enjoyed wandering around the shops in Heidelberg afterward.Read More
topoceo
Enjoyed the walking tour of the castle grounds and views out over Heidelberg.Read More
Bmadison219

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